Years ago, my dad (or my mom?) gave me the book Club the Bugs and Scare the Critters. It has lots of useful information about natural pest control, although at least half the suggestions will not appeal to those who think killing rodents is not nice. Even I balk at some (most) of their ideas.
But it’s good to know what works.
Ever since this incident, I’ve been reading (and re-reading) the section on mice. According to the book, gadgets that use sound waves to deter mice are a waste of money. Peppermint oil, though, is a natural repellant. I can see me putting cotton balls soaked in that on the kitchen counters, especially at night. Might even be nice, although it may make me hungry for candy canes.
I will not follow the suggestion of putting out instant potato flakes and a bowl of water. Apparently, the flakes will expand in the stomach causing a rupture and a torturous death. Not my style.
I have seriously considered getting a cat. But not all cats are mousers. A friend suggested one of the strays in her neighborhood. That increases the odds they know what to do. Hmmm…
The book says that some dogs are good at killing mice. I have a dog. She has demonstrated an ability to catch small furry things. Maybe I don’t need a cat, methinks.
This morning, I finally met IT. I had started a load of clothes last night, but failed to close the lid. The washer and dryer are in a closet to the right of my kitchen counter where I have my coffee pot. I was on my way to get my cuppa when I noticed the lid. Closing it, it immediately began the spin cycle, startling IT. As I was pouring my coffee, I noticed IT, and IT noticed me, stopped short, made an about-face and disappeared among my laundry baskets on the floor.
My brief, but classic, cry of eek woke Bill (sorry, honey) and brought the dog. But she, like me prior to this past Monday, was not expecting a non-human life-form, and could not understand what my pointing and gesturing was all about.
To appease my mouse-loving Franciscan commenters, I just ordered a non-lethal trap. I’m not sure exactly what I’ll do with the ones I trap (release them on the median of a busy highway?), but I’d prefer to handle a live mouse than a carcass.
I didn’t intend to make a long post (this one was begun hours ago), but one more possibility for mouse disposal presented itself this morning. We were getting ready (in that insane chaotic way a household of 8 gets ready) to take Bill to physical therapy when the dog started barking. Wondering what could have gotten her riled, beyond the usual repertoire of local dogs barking, cats howling, joggers passing and kids acting like maniacs, I stepped out of my bedroom and looked out the sunroom window. There, perched at the top of a post holding our bird feeders and staring right at me, was a barred owl. It took my breath away. I tried to get Bill over to see it, but the kids report that another owl attacked it and the two fell off the deck and away. Such excitement for 7 am!
Anyway, if an owl or two wants to show up every morning, I could plan a release then. It wouldn’t be cruel. I’d be helping the food chain, that’s all. The book doesn’t mention getting a pet owl to help you out, but I’ll bet they’re the best mouse catchers of all.