Maggie and I have a mouse problem. I’ve never seen them, but sometimes you can hear them in the kitchen when you’re in the living room. We weren’t sure what the noise was until they chewed through a plastic container to get at some granola (maybe they’re hippie mice). Since then, we’ve found lots of mouse droppings on the counters. Luckily, they don’t seem to have gotten into the cabinets where we keep the food. Instead, they’ve contented themselves with wandering through our drying dishes.
The only mice I’ve had contact with before have been in cages, so I’m not really sure what to do. Even discounting any moral problems, traditional traps seem messy and problematic with a dog in the house (she’s definitely not a ratter). Poison is right out for similar reasons. The catch-and-release traps seem neat. I ran across one with a cracker barrier so that you don’t even have to touch in when you let it go. On the other hand, that’s a lot of plastic and I don’t really know where we’d let them go.
I did some research and found a bunch of homemade repellants and traps. An easy homemade traditional trap is to get “mouse glue” at your hardware store and put it at the bottom of a paper bag. Put some food in there as bait and the mouse will get stuck. It’s not very humane, though, since you can’t unstick them. About.com had an interesting alternative: a peanut butter bucket. Basically, you smear peanut butter on the inside of a bucket and create stairs up to the outside. The mouse goes up the stairs and into the bucket to get the peanut butter and then can’t get out, so you can pick the bucket up and release them somewhere else.
They also suggest putting peppermint oil on cotton balls and placing them along the mouse paths. If peppermint oil seems too simple to work, there’s also fake bobcat urine! We’ll probably try the peppermint oil to keep them away from the counters, but that seems unlikely to get rid of them entirely.
If we could find out where they’re coming in, we could plug those spaces with steel wool. Unfortunately, the crawlspace is pretty open to outside and there’s only the flooring between it and the main house, so there are lots of possible ways to get in. We’ve plugged up the holes we can find, but it hasn’t helped.
The ultrasonic mouse repellers sound cool, but I don’t know how well they work. $50 is quite a bit to spend on something that might not work.
Have any of you had mouse infestations? How did you deal with it? If you have any tricks for figuring out where the mice are coming from, that would be especially appreciated!