We're being overrun. By mice. The neighbors theory is that our mild winter has led to a boom in mouse numbers. I’m inclined to agree! I caught four mice in the last two days using snap traps and I see evidence of more.
Don't get me wrong: I actually love mice. I used to breed them when I was a kid and sell them to my friends. But unless they are a cute pet in a cage, there is no such thing as peaceful cohabitation with mice. They pee and poop everywhere and chew wires, so mouse control is important! A trip to our barn loft to find a bin of baby toys found a lot of mouse dirt (poop!) on top of pretty much all the bins! Thank goodness I used mouse-proof plastic bins rather than cardboard boxes, but it is still pretty gross.
That led me to wonder about the options to control mice. What can we do to avoid the next plague? Hire a pied piper? And that wondering led to an argument with my hubby about the best way to get rid of mice. We - grudgingly- ended up agreeing on a combo of snap traps, peppermint essential oil, and steel wool... Here's why:
1. Snap traps. Fast and generally humane as long as the mouse is killed quickly. Kind of gross if you forget to collect said snap trap and dead mouse for a few days. Trust me. Set a few and check them often! Baiting with peanut butter seems to work the best and mice don’t care if the smell of humans is on the trap: If they didn’t like the small of humans they wouldn’t be in your house! Place traps along the walls where mice run or behind furniture. Mice tend to stay close to walls and furniture. Under the stove or in cupboards where you find mouse poop is also a good bet. Actually anywhere you find mouse poop. A good trick is to do it once a week and set a lot of traps at night, then collect all the traps the next morning. This way the mice don't get used to avoiding them and you don't accidentally forget you put one on top of the emergency canned food stash... ***ouch****
2. Glue traps. Cruel. They don't kill the mouse and just trap it to starve or dehydrate to death. Awful.
3. Sonic devices. From the look of our loft the mice might actually like the sound/vibration. I am not sure if these work on certain types of mice or if some work better than others. I've linked to one that is highly rated on Amazon, but I haven't had a chance to try it yet. If you try it, can you let me know what you think?
4. Poison. Works but if anything else eats the poison - or the poisoned mouse - they can die too. Plus the dead mouse stench is horrendous and they usually crawl into walls and die. If you use poison, make sure to use the
bait holders that keep it away from cats and kids.
5. Cats. One of our cats is an awesome mouser, but we have two allergic people in the house - one so allergic she gets welts and has to carry an epi-pen. So that doesn’t work for us, but otherwise, a good mouser is worth its weight in gold! Rescue a kitty cat today! You can rescue a cat from your local humane society, or check Craigslist: There are usually free cats on there that really need a home.
6. Peppermint essential oil. Yes folks, another use for essential oils - although I’m not sure I’d call this application “aromatherapy” ;)… Mice are apparently repelled by peppermint essential oil. Soak cotton balls and dot them around the place. You must use pure peppermint essential oil and frequently (at least every week or so) reapply essential oil to the cotton balls as essential oils are volatile (which means they evaporate). I've found this quite successful to keep mice out of my pantry. My favorite source for essential oils is the Apothecary Shoppe. I think the best use of peppermint oil is to deter mice from areas you REALLY dont want them, like your pantry or kids toys. Be careful kids can’t get to the cotton balls as the essential oil could sting their eyes. If you have no mice in your home, placing them by areas where you think mice could may help keep them outside. But if you can spot areas where you think they might enter, the best bet it to block that space with steel wool!
7. Moving into a condo in the city… But I hear they have rats in the cities.
What other ways are there to get rid of mice? Please share your stories in the comments...
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Hi! I'm Erika and I'm an info addict! I love travel, vacation rentals, online education, primal and paleo living, crunchy (ish) parenting, holistic nutrition, lavender, bees, animals, technology, and sustainable living. This blog is a central space to pull together my research and writing on a wide variety of lifestyle topics! I hope you'll join me for a few minutes and share your thoughts in the comments :)