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.
I’ve used small live-capture traps that I bought at the grocery store. Just put a dollop of peanut butter in the back and they walk in, triggering the door closing mechanism, and can’t get out. Then I just take them really far away, like to the woods in a park or to the part of post that has only abandoned buildings. One particular mouse had babies that wouldn’t take the bait, though, and we had to use a glue trap, from which there is no getting unglued without ripping off their tiny limbs. Poor things.
Feed the owl, that’s brilliant!
Oh of course you want a cat. Grin
We went through our own mouse woes last year. Our walk-in pantry started to STINK and when we tried to find the source, thinking it was a spoiled box of food, we found mice droppings. Finding the droppings everywhere, like in the soup tureen, and discovering all the food that had to be thrown out because they’d gotten into it, plus all the time spent enclosing everything in plasticware, and washing every single washable thing in the pantry…not so much with the humane mouse love. Nope. Old fashioned mouse traps for the disease carrying rodents. Snap, snap and they were gone. Good riddance!
The last house we lived in had mice. >>I think it was a huge colony of them from the noise levels in the walls…>>IT WAS HORRIBLE.>>But then, one day I caught one in a glue trap and saw those sad beady eyes looking at me and cried. >>Then I got over it when they got into the flour. UGH.>>Peppermint oil (I have heard) works great. Cats I have also heard recommended. Dogs? Nope. We left one inside one day in hopes of killing one. THE DOG JUMPED ON TOP OF THE TABLE AND THREW UP it was so scared. >>GOOD LUCK!!!!>>By the way, I found your blog through Jennie C.’s 🙂
Owls sound like a wonderful idea. But perhaps letting the mouse go farther away from the house won’t lead the owls to think you have an endless supply of their favorite food.>>Please avoid the sticky traps – even adults cannot be unstuck without undesirable results.>>Good luck!>>Mom
I suggest stapling them by their tails to the post so the owl knows where to look.>>Guess that makes me more of a Dominican than a Franciscan.
I had no idea that Havaheart made mouse traps!!>>I have no heart. Bring on the owl. Unlike some other Franciscans, I object to rodents in the house. Besides, your mouse-loving Franciscan commenter happens to have a multitude of cats!
Just wanted to say thanks again for posting your molasses cookie recipe (way back when). We hadn’t had them in a while, and I made them yesterday. The kids practically made a meal out of them.
I’ll bring by my cats. They’ve been leaving dead mice all around the outside my house like they’re trying to ward off some evil spirit. They could use some real work.