Mouse Patrol

This year they are a bigger problem than usual
BY: CINDY RAY

This year is a bad year for mice on the East Cape.  Everyone is having the problem here; if it’s not Mickey, it’s packrats, or rats.  No bueno.  Even my neighbors with several cats are having issues.  The mice seem to be getting the best of us.

I found a rat in the garage and two dead mice. Ick. But when I was standing in my kitchen and had a mouse sprint across the top of the oven and then dive down behind it- I was mortified.  It not only startled me; but it was very fat which perhaps meant it was pregnant!  I have read that they can give birth to 23 babies at a time.  My imagination ran wild with visions of hoards of mice running around my house.  I immediately removed all garbage; food; and water from the kitchen area and sanitized the counters.  I had nightmares that night. 

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So I did what everyone would in this day and age.  I went on line for suggestions.  Living a good hour from a town where I could purchase mouse traps, I thought I would try some other options.  One article suggested that mice cannot burp and that large quantities of soda (with real sugar) would cause them to basically explode inside and they would die overnight.

 So I left out two dishes full of Coke in different areas where I had found mouse droppings.  It did feel a bit like I was setting out treats.

The next morning I bounded out of bed certain that I would have a dead mouse from carbonation poisoning.  Unfortunately; it loved the cola, drank almost all of it, but alas, did not explode and die.  I think then I had only created a hyperactive mouse because as I watched a movie that night it bounded off the kitchen counter and onto the bar stool, and then onto the coffee table right in front of me. What a brazen little creature.

The next night I tried another option.  I have stainless steel sinks which are at least a foot and a half deep with slick sides.  I filled one with about five inches of water thinking it would go to take a drink and hopefully not be able to climb out and ultimately drown.  Poor mouse. Well not surprisingly that did not work either.

 So off to town I went to purchase mouse traps and worst case scenario poison.   I bought the sticky traps- small ones and a couple boxes of the 4 by 8 inch size sticky traps. 

I put two of the sticky traps on the counter where I had seen it sprint across, baited with chocolate brownies in the middle.  (Yes I actually bought the brownies for the mouse.)  I was excited and a little apprehensive hoping to find my captured rodent in the morning.  Alas, the clever creature; upon finding itself stuck; dragged the trap to a neon Corona sign I have on the kitchen counter and literally scraped it off of its little feet.  The trap (missing the bait) was upside down and empty.  Grrrrr…..

Okay time for the big trap.  I baited (more brownie, it loved chocolate) the big trap and placed it in the bottom of my deep stainless steel sink.  My thought was that it would not be able to drag the trap up to the top and scrape it off on anything. Ha, I will get you now, you little beastie!

About 3 am I heard noises in the kitchen.  Where I live it is so quiet that sounds travel very well and I was still having mouse nightmares.  So I bounded into the kitchen and to my amazement in the sink; in the trap were two mice chowing down on the brownie.  Got you now; and your friend.  I grabbed a heavy stock pot cover (the old fashioned heavy aluminum kind with a wooden knob) and placed it over the whole mess.  Then I placed two more glass bowls to weight it down; and a heavy 3 wick candle on top of that.  Then I went to bed to deal with the mess in the morning.

Well Houdini had nothing on these two pests. Not only did they get free of the sticky goo; but they wiggled their way out from under the weighted pile.  Apparently the lid had just enough unseated space around it for them to get out.  Not only did I lose them, there were now two and not just one. Time for round 5. 

I relayed all of this to my husband who was not here at the time.  He told me that the big traps are for rats and that the mice are lighter and can get free.  Apparently the small traps have deeper goo and the mice sink into it.  So my next plan was to put two small traps into the bottom of the sink with the brownie bate (the chocoholics), and hopefully I will have success.  I set out a spatula; a square glass bread pan lid; and gloves, to capture one or both this time.  I made sure it did not waft in the sink- it set perfectly on the bottom of the sink cavern.  I was ready.

Well there are two outcomes to this story.  Either I caught the mice in the gooey traps and disposed of them; or I re inspected the entire room for entrance/exit holes and sealed them preventing the mice from getting in. Right...the later was true.  Embarrassingly enough I did not look close enough for holes and could have prevented the entire scenario.  So perhaps you can learn from my mistakes.

A.    Don’t let emotion control sound decisions and actions. (I had panicked.)

B.    Utilize primary problem solving to find the root cause and a possibly simple solution.

C.    Inspect, re-inspect and perhaps inspect again. It is hard to notice all clues the first time around (i.e. the small hole I found in the screen door)

Note: as the weather gets warmer the mice will attract snakes. Mice are snakes’ primary food source.  It is still a bit chilly for most snakes now.  If you trap in the garage; storage; or outside, be aware that snakes have been known to lie in wait for the bounty.  They learn that the traps will have fresh mice and actually stake out the traps so keep them cleaned out or move them frequently.   With simple problem solving skills; and a little education; you can live a safe and mice free life! Remember, you are a human being, you are at the top of the brains heap, and as such, you are smarter than a mouse.