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Jeruba's avatar

Mouse problem: better strategy? better alternatives? better mousetraps?

Asked by Jeruba (50420points) March 17th, 2019

Until a few weeks ago, we’ve never had to deal with mice. All of a sudden we have one or more rodent intruders. And we’re not winning.

If you’ve ever won a battle with mice, or even scored a few points, what worked for you?

We’ve set conventional traps, sticky traps small and large, and electronic traps. After one narrow escape from a sticky trap, the pest has stayed clear of all the rest and shows no interest in peanut butter. Is there a more enticing bait?

We’ve discovered and closed off little gaps under doors and between floors.

We’ve put foodstuffs such as muffins and cereals in inaccessible places.

We’re not getting involved with another family cat at this stage of things. I lived with cats for about 50 years and loved them, but that’s enough.

We found that the mouse had been feasting on some dried maize (corn) that I used to use as decoration in the fall and that has been stored in the basement. Are we better or worse off if we remove it and now the mouse wants our active supplies? I don’t want to find a hole in a 25-pound bag of rice.

Finding a gnawed potato is one thing. Finding little mouse poops on dining room chair cushions is another. I want to win this, but I don’t know what else to do.

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13 Answers

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

In the Grey Nuns hospital in Edmonton, Alberta they used to use bubble gum for get rid of the ground hogs in the holes. It bungs them up and kills them. No reason why it wouldn’t work on mice and rats.

janbb's avatar

I did traps and peanut butter when I had my mice but stopped when I found one still in its death throes. I called in an exterminator who set out poison traps and came back a few weeks later. The problem was solved. I would get rid of the corn in the basement and make sure all your food is tightly contained.

Zissou's avatar

Another problem with poisoning is that the mouse might crawl off and die in some inaccessible corner, and then you have a decomposing mouse in your house, which stinks and attracts other pests.

I’ve had some success with homemade bucket traps. Put a few cm water in the bottom of a big bucket, float a milk bottle cap on the water, place some attractive-smelling bait on the cap, and place a box or something beside the bucket that will allow the mouse to climb into the bucket, and put a little more bait on the box near the edge of the bucket to attract the mouse. The mouse will find its way into the bucket, but the water will soak the mouse and prevent it from getting its footing, so it won’t be able to climb out. Then you can let it go outside if you wish (but it may return if you do). If you make the water level a bit higher, the mouse will drown.

But if you have a lot of mice, it may be quicker to use a bunch of old fashioned spring-loaded snap traps. Don’t try to save a few pennies by using off-brand dollar-store junk; use Victor or another reputable brand. The cheap ones aren’t forceful enough to do the job and break easily. You can re-use the higher quality ones if you aren’t too squeamish to lift the kill bar and release the dead mouse.

Jeruba's avatar

Yeah, we tried the poison traps too, and my son built a nifty bucket trap, but no luck. This is one savvy mouse. I think there’s just one.

Probably we’re leaving a scent on the traps we place, and the mouse knows the scent after the first close call. Maybe what I need is something that smells like cat even if there’s no claws or jaws involved.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^Try to contact@Luckyguy. He’s a pro, at rat traps.

kritiper's avatar

I always set traps in pairs. One here, one someplace else. Use peanut butter for bait. After you catch no more mice, continue to leave the traps set for a couple more weeks.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

The drawback to poison is they can die in the walls and smell for a while. Though I deal with rats at home. They are much, much bigger.

I also help care for a cabin with mice. Here’s my mice advice (I know you have already covered a lot of this)

Option 1)
Get a cat (OK, this has been ruled out, but I like cats and they do eliminate the problem).

Option 2)
—Plug any holes where they can enter
—Make all food inaccessible. Use plastic bins and jars for potatoes, oatmeal, rice, etc.
—Use Victor traps. No fancy plastic ones, no rubber bands, no batteries. Plain ol’ Victor traps.
—Place traps (plural) along walls, behind furniture or appliances that make “hallways” which they will have to run through
—Start with “open” baited traps, meaning don’t set the springs. Put a dab of peanut butter on there and let them learn where to find the local eatery
—When a trap has been licked clean, then bait it and set the spring

stanleybmanly's avatar

I prefer the traps to poison any day. This is because most poisons bring on an excruciatingly terrible death for the animal through internal hemorrhaging leading to a prolonged, agonizing and unquenchable thirst. The creatures will seek water to slack the overpowering thirst and attempt to even chew through pipes in full view of predators. The traditional cheap snap traps (Victor is my preferred brand) should do the trick. And you should set multiples in rooms with evidence of infestation. Mice, are notorious for invading houses in cold weather. I’ve heard of baits from tuna thru bacon or walnut chunks. But even after your traps are successful, you should leave one or 2 set as sentinels against future invasions.

Patty_Melt's avatar

Drenched ground has caused them to enter my home recently.
Mine got the same memo on traps as yours did.
I tried using my blow gun. I got three hits. They just squealed and ran with the dart in them. I rounded up the darts later from behind furniture.

I think somebody has been cross breeding mice with sharks.

In regards to bait, in the past I have had fabulous success with chocolate.
They can’t resist the smell. Also, if you warm a piece of chocolate just enough to make it stick to the trap, they can’t just grab it and run.

I have just started trying a live catch. If it works I will pass on the details to you.

EDIT: what a shame yours don’t want peanut butter. It normally works very well.
Perhaps if we prowl about singing Three Blind mice, they might just leave.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I’ve often wondered if our relentless extermination of mice and rats must lead to an inevitable culling of the dummies, leaving the sharper vermin to breed. Is our war on mice forcing up the aggregate “intelligence” of our opposition?

longgone's avatar

Have you thought about borrowing a cat? If you have a local petsitting website, there’s bound to be a cat in need of a home for a couple of weeks.

stanleybmanly's avatar

There is a scenario from this science fiction novella from my youth, the name of which escapes me. But the story is about a gigantic ark of an interstellar vessel transporting genertaions of people required in the eons required between stars. As with any man made or occupied enterprise , there are the ubiquitous rats which always accompany us. The people believe the rats well under control, but fail to appreciate that some of them inhabit remote spaces of the ship unshielded from cosmic radiation. So without my realizing it the story shifts from a tale of folks on a spaceship to a ditty of a tale about a group of rats as bright as the humans they’re trapped with, and how they handle it while dealing with their less astute cousins from different regions of the ship.

Anyway, it makes you wonder just how we might cope in a world with rats as smart as us. And it may be a topic well worth considering now, as genetic dabbling proceeds barely regulated at a breathtaking pace.

reijinni's avatar

Try Shawn Woods and see if any of the traps that he got would work for your circumstances. He has a few that you already tried, but there might be some that you haven’t heard of yet.

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