The Battle of Mice and Men

If you’re experiencing a problem with mice now, just wait until there’s a time that regular sanitation services aren’t available. The mild winter, flooding, and record heat have created a perfect storm for the mouse population. If you see signs of one in your home, there’s at least 34 others…for about 3 weeks anyway, in which time another litter of 4 to 6 are bred and the female then immediately  begins gestation again. Though the average lifespan of a mouse is 18 months, in that time they can produce 60-80 mice.

Mice are definitely not cute—not in this writer’s opinion anyway. They threaten the safety and security of nearly everything that a person values in a self-reliant world—crops, seeds, food stores, sanitation, clothing, shelter, health, and peace of mind. This is why preventing an infiltration of these critters is on the top of my list.

 

Thanks to the very mild winter we had last season, mice have made themselves known for the first time in 13 years. Unfortunately I know that I’m not the only one who is experiencing an increase like this. I have to admit that the sight of a mouse causes me to shiver at the very least, but most likely a holler. Why? Well, it might have something to do with them scampering across me while I was saying my prayers on my bed in the Philippines and seeing the death that occurrs as a result of the diseases they bring with them. Perhaps it’s because I know that a pair of mice can eat 8 pounds of food in a year’s time and spread 36,000 feces droppings! They have the ominous past of carrying several deadly diseases with them including The Black Plague (yup, THAT plague) and the most oft times fatal hantavirus.

 

They are able to enter a home in an opening no larger than a dime. They have no bladder and thus they spread urine everywhere they go. And worst of all they refuse to tap dance in any particular rhythm in the walls and attic of the house.

 

In a crisis situation their potential to wreak havoc will be heightened as the lack of proper sanitation and medical care will make us that much more vulnerable. It’s highly likely that in a crisis immune systems will be compromised, regardless of the cause of the crisis, as a result of the inherent stress. This is why I believe that being very proactive in preventing them from  having any place in our surroundings is critical and the time to prepare for that is BEFORE mice infestation becomes an all out infiltration.

 

Mice and Disease

Mice carry and spread various diseases and then transmit them a myriad of different ways, such as their feces, urine, biting, or contaminating food. Even if you keep a mouse as a pet and all nice and clean the insects which live on the rodents won’t differentiate between those mice which are named and those which are hobos hanging out in your home. These insects such as mites and fleas spread the disease as well; and they commonly affect the water supply, too as a result of their fecal, urine, and bacteria contamination.

 

For those of you who don’t know about the various diseases that are spread through mice and other rodents, the droppings of mice can be dust-like as they age and become brittle and the particles of this dust can be inhaled, thus transferring the Hantavirus (Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome--HPS) through the respiratory system. This is a deadly viral infection that’s spread through mice urine and droppings, which literally can infect the air with miniscule particles of the virus in the air.

Hantavirus isn’t the only thing that mice are known for carrying. They are also well known for carrying Salmonellosis which is a bacteria infection of the food, Lymphocitic, which is a form of leukemia, Rickettsialpox, which results in a bacteria infection caused by a bite from the MITES which live on the rodent, Choriomeningitis -  which is a form of cerebral meningitis, Leptospirosis transferred by the urine of the mice, Tularemia which is which is an infectious disease which is transmitted by the insects which live on the rodents, Black Plague—yes, that Black Plague, and Lyme disease—just to name a few. (Yup, I’m having a hard time finding value in mice, but I’ll keep working on it.)  If that hasn’t caught your attention yet, in third world nations the people have to sleep with their feet covered or else risk having the soles of their feet chewed at night. Yup, “for real.”

 

Mice can and will eat through just about anything. If it’s softer than their teeth, the will gnaw their way through. Their front incisor teeth never stop growing and can grow as much as 5 inches in a year’s time. They can jump 12 feet horizontally like a superhero and 12 inches vertically. They don’t require water and thrive in the heat. They have Spiderman-like abilities in scaling vertical surfaces.

 

With all that being said, now you know why I loathe mice.

 

While it’s easy to physically see the droppings of mice and rats, it’s quite difficult to see urine and impossible to notice any infected air. This is one of the reasons why I NEVER open a can of anything before cleaning it. For one, I don’t want the virus to contaminate my can opener, nor do I want it to end up in the food I prepare or the air I breathe. I do this regardless of whether or not I’ve just brought the product home from the grocery store or if it’s been in my cupboards and shelves. As you can imagine, the warehouses where food is stored are havens for all kinds of vermin. So, no matter where it comes from, my canned goods get cleaned with hot, soapy water all over the can, not just the lid. This is also the reason why I insist on using one of those safe-edge can openers. I don’t want to risk the lid of the can dropping into the food when I’m opening it—just in case I didn’t get it all cleaned.

 

How do you stop mice?

Fortunately, in spite of how quickly they can populate, stopping mice is relatively simple so long as you don’t underestimate them.  You can poison them, trap them, and you can even create small areas of talcum powder or diatomaceous earth which will cause them to leave footprints, making it easier to find their “home”. Mice don’t travel far from their living center (whereas rats will travel much further distances).

Poisoning them is relatively simple as you can mix poison with rice, however, doing so will cause a nasty smell that you’ll have to live with for sometime as they will eat it then retreat back to their home base.  You will never forget the smell of dead mice, let alone a bunch of them. Ugh!

When using traps, use them right next to the known holes of travel and next to walls and such. The mice usually stay near the perimeter as opposed to running right out in the open. Mice CAN swim, though they don’t do so commonly. So it’s not recommended to just flush them down the toilet to kill them. They can still survive it and may actually be fooled into believing they’ve got the front row spot at the latest Disney World water ride.

There are two common mistakes I see when it comes to mouse control. 1—underestimating their number and ability and 2- setting the traps before trying to find and plug up the holes in which they enter and exit the home. There’s no sense setting traps unless you want to constantly be taking on a new slew of them. Mice aren’t allowed to use cell phones ya know…something about causing brain cancer, and thus they don’t communicate very well to tell each other to stay away from such-and-such house because there are traps there. So, plug things up and THEN set the traps.

In terms of underestimating them, don’t underestimate the number of them and set your traps accordingly. Err on the side of too many traps as opposed to too little or you will have an unconquerable infestation on your hands. Remember, there is no such thing as “just one mouse.” The official rule of thumb is that if you see one there are at least 34 more. You’ll want more traps than rodents actually; this is rarely understood by homeowners, though.  Secure the traps as they can be dragged away by a big enough mouse or rat. I suggest the snap traps which use heavy-gauged steel and kill the mice immediately to be the best tools for control. The only downside is they can hurt a young child’s hand or the paw or tail of a small pet, but otherwise they are the best, inexpensive option that meets the ultimate goal.

I’m not a fan of live traps. It’s too much effort to dispose of them and they already live in a 200 yard radius. For the enticement in the trap you can use gummy candy, nuts, seeds, oats, and dried fruit, but I’ve found peanut butter to be most effective in that it attracts them to the area and stays on the trap well, making it less likely to be dragged somewhere else. Place at least 1 trap for every site of mice presence you see (such as holes in the wall, mouse droppings, urine, smudge marks, etc.) and place them about 5 to 10 feet away from each other. Once you’ve trapped a mouse successfully in an area, be sure to change where the trap goes again. Also, mice can avoid a trap up to a week’s time, so rotate them every 2 weeks. I’m not a big fan of using rat poison because it takes them up to 5 days to die. Then they end up smelling up the house as they decompose within your walls and you run the risk of exposing pets and kids to the poison as well. I’m also not a fan of the sonic control units. They may aggravate the rodents, but they don’t necessarily make them leave and they are too expensive for a job not performed with certainty.

 

How do I find mice?

Watch for the telltale signs that mice leave behind. You know that mice have made a home for themselves if you see their small dark droppings or feces as they do so in areas which they frequent. You will also note smudge markings caused by the oils they produce in their fur and you’ll see these smudge markings along the wall as they tend to get set in their travel routes quickly once they’ve found a good food source. Gnaw markings will also manifest their presence. You can also detect them with a black light (including their urine trails). Don’t give them any leeway by having piles of newspaper or yarn about your home. Be sure you keep your woodpile at least 20-30 feet from your home. So your best bet is to target such areas with your chosen traps.

 

The key to safety in this matter is staying proactive in your rodent control. Prevention is the best way to control them. Once they find an abundant food source of grains and seeds they will go back and forth between their center and the food source as much as 3 dozen times in a 6 to 8 hour period (they like peanut butter too). When they are surviving in a “sparse” food supply scenario, they will literally got back and forth hundreds of times in a 6 to 8 hour period.

 

Keep an eye out for holes and openings in the house. Steel wool is a good “emergency fix” if you spot a hole that you can’t fix immediately. But keep in mind that this means they will be dying within the walls and bringing their smell of death with them. These odors always attract insects. So it’s better to fix a hole rather than just plugging it up. Look specifically around the holes drilled for cables, duct work, and piping as they tend to be big enough for them to make their way through.

Other methods of prevention are having plenty of traps on hand, keeping food tightly covered, keeping bags and paper boxes off of the ground and preferably storing them in other containers—this include pet food. For example, my boxes of Rice-a-Roni are sealed in a FoodSaver bag (the box and all) and then put in a 4 gallon square bucket. Metal and glass are the best containers to prevent mice; however, I don’t’ store my grains and seeds in glass so that they can continue to breathe. So I use quality plastic containers and exercise all of the other measures I’ve got available to me, such as doing the dishes and keeping the counters and floors clean from all food.

Be sure that you also immediately clean up fecal droppings and urine areas with a sanitizing agent as soon as you find them. Reinforce potential rodent entries with sheet metal, caulking, or cement. Ensure that you don’t’ leave any piles of paper, wood shavings, yarn or even dust balls around. You’d be surprised at how quickly a dust ball can become a new home for a mouse. Set and maintain the traps simultaneously so that the mice don’t have time to get used to one location and quickly choose another. In our house, we don’t leave food out for our pets. They have designated meal times so that we’re not doing anything to continue to attract them.

 

Let’s not forget the natural rodent protection and prevention that’s provided by felines and fowl (This makes having fresh eggs that much more attractive, eh?). I have only had housecats during my adult life. If you’re going to have cats for the purpose of keeping rodents at bay, might I suggest that you keep your outside cats outside as they can bring with them the diseases of the mice. This is exactly how the man in Oregon contracted the Black Plague recently. Yorkshire Terriers were originally bred to control the rat problem and there are other small canine breeds which will help with this as well.

 

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Comments

Kellene - The thought of a mouse infestation even in this "Terminex" world is scary. Varmint proliferation will be geometric in conditions without sanitation. It is a great topic and something I will be forced to discuss with our pest control guy when he next visits. Your discussion was unnervingly comprehensive...disease consequences and all. Learning how to best handle this in difficult times will be a new challenge to prepare for. We won't have time or opportunity to second guess a plan of action.
I have a question about a comment you made in this article about storing your wheat berries. You stated you like your wheat to "breath". Most storage methods I have read about called for oxygen absorbers, Mylar bags, and food grade plastic buckets. I am assuming this procedure is good for wheat you intend to grind and use for food, (non-breathable). The other method is diametaceous earth, (breathable ?) that would permit the wheat to be planted. What methods are you using? I respect your approach to storage and I trust you are through and researched. If you haven't already written an article on this subject it would be greatly appreciated. Wheat is a necessary and expensive staple and I for one will not appreciate the 'surprise' of a system failure. Keep up the fantasitc work!

Anything that you want to sprout must be able to breathe. I do not use oxygen absorbers in my grains. I only use DE. And yes, there are 3 articles on the use of DE for multiple different purposes.

Okay... Kallene, you've finally written an article that was hard for me to read :)
I'm a gr-granma, grew up in and have since lived in the country but can't stand that nasty beedy eyed critter! Gives me chills to even think about them. I can "deal" with a snake any day of the week but to face a mouse and I go to pieces! Lol
When we lived in a 12 foot wide mobile home in a small farming community the population of field mice were unbelivable and came inside in droves! Hubby was at work so I had to show the electrician the fuse box, in the closet of the back bedroom. This poor guy was pitifully shy... I opened the door, pushed the clothes aside and there on top of the fuse box sat a mouse!! In a split second I backed out of the closet, sat down on the bed with my legs pulled up against my chest... crying... and all I could say was there's a mouse, there's a mouse, there's a mouse!!! I know he got a lot of milege out of telling everyone LOL! Thing of it is, he didn't even have to embellish the story !!
Yep, will be buying some more mouse traps :)

I bought $100 worth of "rodent protection" as my storage preps two months ago. When you need it, you need it. Great article. Thank you.

I have also learned in the past that some rats can actually get the food and not trip the trap. We now will wrap a little thread around the part the food is placed. Then we add a little peanut butter. The little creeps teeth get stuck in the thread and then BOOM!!!! dead rat. lol. Just a couple months ago we saw a mouse and of course set a trap. The trap was gone the next morning when we checked it. It was in my kitchen. We looked all around and could not find it. I was freaking cuz I knew the smell would be horrible. Later that night I happen to see a movement under the front of the fridge. I looked and saw a little of the trap and a tail. I of course started screaming. lol..the little jerk was still alive in the trap. My husband of course got it out while I was standing on the window seat. This was not a huge rat but a little mouse. Its just the way the trap hit it I guess that did not kill it. YUK

Wow, I did not even think about stocking up on mice traps!! Thank you for the tip Kellene!!

Great article! I think I need to look for a cat. Since we live in the forest, we have had a mouse problem. Mouse are clever, they have learned how to avoid the various traps we have laid. Recently, my car mechanic found a nest in my car engine! Kellene, you are correct, the diseases these critters bring must be stated for all to hear.

It's worth mentioning that the soft plastic lids that you can put on #10 cans after opening do not deter mice. We lost an entire container of powdered cheese by trusting a lid. Eww, gross, expensive! When I open cheese or egg cans now, I put them in the fridge--but the fridge gets full faster that way. Grrr. Since we expect to lose electricity eventually I'm not crazy about the idea of buying another fridge.

The mice also chewed through the little plastic seals used to "Pump-N-Seal" jars; they couldn't get to the food through the metal lids, but they did uncover the holes and let air in. Grrr. I had to go through my entire supply of jars and move unsealed ones to the kitchen to be used first and the rest into plastic tubs for an additional layer of protection. They especially liked carrots and peppers and tomatoes, so when I open my #10 cans of those things I will have to bring them in, too.

That was the last straw--we adopted a cat and the mice population dropped drastically. However, there was a period of time when we couldn't let the cat in the storage area by itself because there was a lot of jumping around in there--and several jars of food got knocked off shelves and destroyed. Solution--put guards on the FRONT of the shelves, too.

The cats (yes, we adopted a second one to keep the first one company) don't seem interested in the storage area anymore, so I guess the mice are gone for now. But, yes, I expect as things get worse they will come back so we'll have to keep our guard up constantly. BTW, our cats are indoor cats/outdoor cats. It's too cold here for them to stay outside in the winter and we don't like to leave them outside at night anyway. Getting a chance to get outside gave the second cat an opportunity to learn to hunt and she's now our designated fly/bee/moth catcher. Even birds, dang it. She brought in a live bird which somehow managed to get into the walls and, we assume, died in there--behind my desk. Grrr...

I don't have a mouse problem, probably because I keep a large supply of cats outside. I have maybe 16-20 feral cats. I trap them, have them neutered or spayed and I put out some food for them to keep them around. I haven't had a mouse, gopher or even a squirrel for years. What the cats miss, the population of jungle fowl and guineas I keep will take the rest of the little varmits out. The guineas are very noisey but they also keep the tick and snake population down.

Yuck. Gross, but I'm glad you discussed it. Great ideas on important items to have in stock just in case a problem develops. We used traps years ago with peanut butter and they seemed to work the best for us also. We now have three cats and a Jack Russell and although they could catch the mice, I really don't want an animal who cuddles with me to have mice on it's breath! Yuck, yuck, yuck.

Roger that, Kellene,

We had someone "watching" our house in Colorado until we got back 7 months later. She never informed us about the mouse droppings we had! My husband thought we had one or two. I said, "Are you kidding me, I just saw 3 of them doing a Vaudeville act with top hats and canes near the oats in the basement pantry!"

We ended up finding the entry near a new water/electrical line my husband had run down to our horse barn. Instead of using cement he had filled it with gravel and they were tunneling under the foundation to get in. We killed 33 mice and had to throw almost all of our linens away. Susan

EWWWW! What a post to wake up to! I hate mice, as well. The husband of a friend of mine made a great mousetrap from an idea in the Foxfire books. Get a bucket of water and make a little ramp from the ground to the top of the bucket. Cover the top of the bucket with brown paper like from a grocery store bag. Each day, leave an inticing mouse treat on top of the paper. After a few days, cut an "x" in the paper. The mice still climb the ramp for the treat, but fall into the bucket of water. Gross, but effective. He caught many mice with this.

So Kellene, could you take your rice a roni and other such things out of the original box, seal up several in one food saver bag and then dump them in a food storage bucket with lid? I am thinking I need to get a food saver next payday. Just ordered a nutrimill electric grinder. Already have a Wondermill hand grinder, but it is for emergencies only. I find it very difficult use and the fact I have a bum rotator cuff doesn't help matters. lol

yes, Cindy, you can do that although I do cut out the instructions and put them with the Rice-a-Roni so that I know which flavor they are. Check on Amazon or E-bay for your FoodSaver for good savings.

We live on a 7 1/2 acre farm and had a horrible problem with mice until we had our house sealed thoroughly.....but we still have a problem with the in our hen house and pigeon loft and big barn. My husband has come up with an ingenius way to get rid of them without harm to all our other critters. I will try to explain it as best I can. He took 2 inch pvc pipe and built in the shape of a T but upside down. You fill the center pipe with poisen and place outside where they are entering the dwellings. The mice go in and help themselves to all the poisen they want and leave and die somewhere else. It works very well with no harm to our animals and all I have to do is to once in a while go around and shake the pvc to make sure it still has poison in it. I know that I didn't explain the system as well as my husband could but hope you get the idea. It works like a charm and best part is I don't have to clean up nasty squished mouse bodies.

In the magazine "Countryside & Small Stock Journal" Volume 96* number 4, the July-August edition is an article about ground squirrels. It uses the same principal, if you are able to locate this magazine it is worth reading. Many of my neighbors are using it for getting rid of the squirrels. The mixture and pvc setup might work on mice, without using poisen. Had never thought of it for mice but they are a rodent like ground squirrels, will give it a try. Who knows it might just work.

We have also been told of something that is supposed to work very well: Soak cotton balls in peppermint oil & place them wherever you don't want the critters. Apparently, they are allergic to it!

My father-in-law uses bubble gum on moles and something he calls ground squirrels that are more like small prarie dogs. He swears by it. He won't use poison just in-case one of his dogs digs up a critter and eats it. I've used gum and peanutbutter. Mice eat both out of the traps without setting them off. They are very small mice. I swear, they sit and lick all the peanutbutter off and walk away fat and happy. So far we only have caught them in the garage but I worry they could be in or come into the house even though we have not seen any signs inside. As far as cats, keep in mind they will also kill rabbits, birds and squirrels which may be one of your food sources in hard times. Do you really want to fight the cat over a rabbit for dinner? Or worse yet there will be none around because the cat killed them all off. Besides, like Kellene said, if your cat catches mice they (the cat) can carry the diseases that the mice may have. Keep this in mind if it's allowed in the house.

Great article Kellene and helpful comments also. I just got up and added "mouse traps" to my grocery list before responding.

One commenter mentioned her car. Several months ago we killed three in my SUV. "Being prepared for everything", I had a blanket and a couple of totes in the back that had not been moved in quite a while. I smelled something awful, backed the car out of the garage to inspect in full light and air it out, saw "it" and screamed. Hubby hit it over the head with a plastic bat.

Then, we put out two clamp type mouse traps with peanut butter and two of the glue traps. The glue traps caught two more and we haven't seen any since, although I'm keeping traps in the garage.

My son inspected my car and we have not determined how they breached the firewall and entered but ...they were there. I transport groceries in my car but never eat in there or leave any food.

Anyway, great article and mouse traps will be an integral part of my "preps".

I visit a lot of prepper websites, and I watch a lot of prepper YouTube videos. This is the very first time I have come across this topic in the prepardeness movement. And it is so basic and so vital to one's preps. How is it that all of the prepping community have missed this topic but not Kellen?

Holy Toledo!! What a long article, ugh, nasty critters. Did you mentionusong bleah water to clean up the areas mice and rats were in? Also I would use gloves and a mask when you clean.
In a master Gardener class recently a state wildlife biologist told us to kill rats(and mice?) by setting out traps with peanut butter on the trap spring, but not setting them for a few days before to get the rats used to eating off the traps, then on DEATH TO RATS NIGHT putting the usual treat on it and set to death mode, also set lots of traps. Rats wi
L figure out quickly how they work.
I had a ratty problem this Spring in my backyard shed, they loved the nice supply of bird seed I put out for the birdies, and salad bar in my compost heap next to it.
ThEy enjoyed it so much that they presented me with a present,, a 3 inch perfectly round ball covered with pink petals, Botha of chewed particle board And chewed up sticks! Very Artistic and strange, whT the hey was it???
After a week of rain, the covering of the decorated sphere started peeling and underneath was a round stet foam ball!! My rats were doing Pinterest!
Wish I could show you, the state wildlife Biologist requested a copy of my photo, he thought it was crazy.
I must say you have presented the medical hazard very well, these diseases are terrible and make people die slow horrible deaths with many life threatening problems and life altering problems. I have taken care of these type patients and it's horrible for them and their families. We are talking about months of ICU care and rehab. So yes I think this is important.

Yolanda, If this is true and bazooka bubble gum really works on moles, I will be indebted to your ingenuity. The state we live in frowns upon our interfering with "breathing" moles. Not to be subdued, we have tried, poison pellets, gas bombs and pitchforks. The pitchforks work...but who has the time... and our neighbors think we have gone off the deep end. Bubble gum I like..so if the moles don't enjoy their last meal, it won't go to waste. I'll let you know if I can still blow those huge bubbles.

My husband had a food shed built for us. Soon after I insulated it, put the shelving in and moved in the food, along came an the mooch, yes the mouse.
I tried the bait traps, she ignored them, threw her kids out from the first litter for the cats to have some fun, she left, but came back. It took a bakers chocolate bar, I forgot to seal in a plastic tub that did her in.......I even tried carmels. The neighbor was getting his with carmel treats. I can't begin to tell you how much food I disposed of, and shelving I washed. I am now storing the food in food grade buckets(that I have washed).

Thank you for the hint about re-cleaning the cans before opening them and the can opener. I try to wash it after every useage, I know, over kill.

Yes, I left the chocolate bar in the shed should another unwanted guest show up in my food shed. No, my cats and dogs are not allowed in that building.

Great information about the mice...might I add. I have had small field mice come into my kitchen through the garage/kitchen wall ( don't know how they do it) anyway a few months ago I read a magazine article that said to lay down "Bounce" dryer sheets inside the cupboard...I thought it strange but I did it and I haven't had a mouse since. Also, I know from experience that a small line of "Boric Acid" around the perimeter of cupboards will eliminate roaches. Supposedly they eat it and take it back to their nests and their young eat it and die. I hope this helps someone.

Being a farm gal, unfortunately I have had more than my share of run ins with mice. I Can't Stand Them! They are the exact reason I make it a point to Mouse-Proof as much of my food as possible! Thanks for the update. :)
K

We had a very stubborn mouse that our cat actually brought home to show us. Our cats for some reason do not kill the mice that they find outside. They like to play with them. We tried all the other ways of catching our mouse to no avail, then someone recommended the following method that worked. I took a medium sized plastic pail and filled it 1/3 full of water. I then took peanut butter and spread a band of it around the inside of the pail just far enough down that the mouse could reach and a little below. The theory being that if the mouse was trying to eat the peanut butter that was just out of reach it would then fall in the water and would drown as it would not be able to get a grip on to the side of the inside of the bucket. It worked beautifully. No more mouse. Here is hoping that this fall our cats do not bring home any mice. :)

Amen! Mice are not Nice.

Laura, my wife, documented our struggles with mice and storing food over on our site. Needless to say, it's been a struggle living in an old farmhouse.

Good article!

Joe

Thank you for your response to my post. I will email your site to members of my church. I will continue to read all of your postings. You work so hard at giving others information you have gleaned from other sources. I don't know where you find time to prepare. Stay well, we all rely on you for the help you give us. I know that the Lord blesses you. This is " your" missionary work.

I learned this method of controlling/killing mice and rats, when I had a mole problem. Moles are obligatory breathers. So are young/babies or rats and mice. Get a bag of individually wrapped bazooka bubble gum. Unwrap, without touching and drop or leave in areas of know travel points for moles and/or mice. They will bring it back to thier nest. Eat/chew and suffocate.

This doesn't hurt gophers, or squirrels, or chipmonks. And, its enivornmentally friendly.

I use an electronic mouse trap. The mouse goes inside and zap! He's electrocuted instantly. Just dump out the critter into a bag and dispose of however you see fit. No need to ever touch the mouse or a bloody trap. For bait I use a piece of dog or cat food "kibbles". Works best with a touch of peanut butter for frosting. I can get 100 of the little critters before replacing the 4 D cell batteries. Mine's big enough to get rats as well. Just check the internet for sources. Bought mine from ebay. I love the thing and would never go back to a mechanical one again ( unless our "emergency scenario" drags on so many years that I can't find a D cell ).

Thanks, Kellene, for a useful article. You mentioned rats several times, and I'd like to add anecdotally that rats are becoming a huge problem, at least in urban areas. My children and I live in several large metropolitan areas of the country in different states, not just in 1 geographic area, and all report seeing rats where we had never noticed them before. Rats are no respecters of economics, they can affect anybody in any station. If trash pickup ever halts, it's going to be bad. Those outdoor cats are looking pretty good!

I love your website. I have a calling in my church of which I'm very passionate about. I'm on the Prepardness Committee. I would like to be able to copy some of your articles for distribution in our church. When I find articles of interest, I copy them and lay them out on the table next to our library. I'm hoping that they are helping others. Most websites have a copy icon, that I use. Will you please send me confirmation. Thank you for all that you do.....I'm hoping that someday I'll get to meet you....

I'm Sorry, Bette, the information is copyright protected for a bigger purpose than must protecting my works. We're working with publishers now who have claim to this content and they don't take kindly to it being disbursed, thus causing a potential problem on verifying it's originality. As you know, very little of the information in the internet world is original any more, thus the Copyright Protections will have to stand in order for the publishers to get what they've paid for. Person's can print out the article for their own personal use, but not for distribution. I get many requests like this each month and I simply encourage them to simply post the title of the article, a small excerpt, and the link to the article. Thank you.

I have not done the research to confirm this, but I heard that mice cannot "pass gas". If you set a saucer of 7-up out for the little critters they will partake and not be able to let out the gas bubbles. They literally blow up. Again, I have not confirmed this. I have 2 very large healthy male cats ( and meds set aside for possible issues) and several dozen traps. All I can say is have lots of bleach available and keep your pets healthy. Mice dont scare me, but I would much rather do without!!!

This wouldn't make sense as the gas bubbles deteriorate over time thus couldn't be relied upon to do any good after it had been laid out for a few hours AND it would attract a whole lot of ants in the meantime.

I use a chocolate chip on my mouse traps. Just warm it a little and place it tip top down and smash it a little. It will stay on the trap through many mice and they love chocolate. It will not crumble over time like peanut butter, but stays great.

THANK YOU SO MUCH for the information in this article! I didn't know that guinea fowl will eat rodents! "They" say that the only things that will survive when civilization ends are the mice/rats and the cockroaches. That may be so, but I'll take a bunch of them out before I go!

To quote Jinx the cat from the old Pixie and Dixie cartoons, "I HATE MEECES TO PIECES!" I can't stand having the critters around. They have been my mortal enemies ever since a mouse ran down my arm at my MIL's house as I went to take some thawed hamburger out of her top oven. I still shudder at the memory and that's been 30+ years ago! She had a house full of cats - supposedly good mousers - but she was still overrun with mice!

I've had mice literally DARE me to hit them with something as they dashed across the kitchen floor in my sight. [Picture a mouse wagging his fingers in his ears and sticking his tongue out - nanny nanny, can't get me!] Then there was the time hubby and I were in NV and the motel had meeces chewing on the wood in the walls. I threw my shoes, slippers, book, pill bottles and anything else that would make a noisy impact at the wall to try to chase them away - to no avail. Needless to say, I didn't get any sleep that night! The bad part was when I complained to the management, they didn't seem to care at all.

Did I mention that I *HATE* mice??

It's been quite a while since the last mouse invasion. Our extermination methods are limited because we are owned by a herd of dachshunds. Not only do we have to worry about them getting hold of a dead/poisoned mouse, we have the added adventure of having the mighty hunters burrowing though walls to get the little buggers themselves. The holes in the sheet rock in the unused second bathroom (now long term storage) and in the laundry room bear witness to dachshund determination when it comes to hunting!

We tried glue traps, but I can't stand to hear the mice squeaking in distress as they starve to death on the glue, and the squeaking agitates the dogs and kicks up their prey drive another notch or two. Plus, I'm not gonna touch the dang things while the mice are still alive!! We tried the big commercial box traps - the kinds restaurants and commercial buildings use. We never caught one mouse in them - they figured out from the start how to get in, grab the bait and get out untouched.

I had heard that dry instant rice is supposed to work on mice the same way that dry grits works on ants. I put out bowls of rice at strategic places, but I think the mice just figured they had Chinese food delivered!

The only 2 things that have worked for us have been snap traps and poison. I have found that chocolate works better than peanut butter to bait traps. This discovery came when I found my stashed secret bag of Hershey's miniatures had been liberally sampled by said rodents. They seem to prefer the very darkest chocolate. I don't bother to soften the chocolate, just grind it onto the trigger plate. That makes it harder for the mice to get at and more likely for them to get snapped in the trap.

Because of the dogs (and the dead mouse odor, too), I'm reluctant to use poison. I have used poison as a last resort and so far, the mice that have died seem to have found the rodent equivalent of the fabled African elephant burial ground. We've only seen one or two skeletonized mice in the garage - in the far corner behind the hubby's workbench, and no further evidence of living ones. I don't leave any poison bait where the dogs can find it and so far, we haven't had a dog get sick. ::knocking wood::

I will add additional traps to my list of supplies for my next shopping trip, especially since our city ordinances won't let me have chickens or guinea fowl.

It cost us $800 in re-wiring our truck in Scottsdale Arizona last year due to mice/rat/rodent/whatever infestation. The truck wasn't being driven on a regular basis so the packrats moved in. I learned that some of the wiring in trucks are covered in what I thought was a petroleum-based rubber. WRONG. Some are made with small amounts of PEANUT OIL! Delicious for the packrats. So a word of caution if you leave a vehicle undriven for long periods of time...well, don't.
Also, if you do find a nest, but sure to have everything under the hood power washed to remove and scent the rodents left behind. That scent will bring them, and their buddies, back.

You said to "put your stuff in a 4 gallon plastic bucket", but don't mice chew threw plastic too? How good are plastic buckets when they can chew through them? Might 6 or 10 gallon galvanized can with locking lid be a better choice (Behren is a brand I found online available at neighborhood and big box hardware stores)? Yeah, might cost more than a plastic bucket, but what good will a plastic bucket be once the mice chew through it and ruin the bucket and your food.

Yes, mice will chew through plastic too if they see fit, however, putting things in the buckets is PROVEN to mitigate your storage from being as attractive to them. They are attracted to what's easy and what they can smell. They'll go after a regular bag of pecans before they'll go to the effort of chewing through the plastic to get to the pecans that are sealed in FoodSaver bags. And when it comes to mice, the lid makes no difference whatsoever.

We had a mouse problem until last summer, at which time my brilliant son came along and sprinkled plain old ground black pepper all along the backs of the cupboards and other areas where the mice were showing up. Within a day or two, ALL the mice were gone and they haven't been back since. I highly recommend this method, no killing, no poison necessary, no chance they're going to go off into the walls and die and smell up the place. They just leave. I don't care where they went, as long as they left my house. :-)

I use those masks when I'm deep cleaning storage areas. But then again, I also load up on using the essential oils after doing so too in order to give me an extra boost to my immune system and added protection.

We use Oreos when trying to catch a mouse and it works amazingly well. Open one up and stick a small piece of one to the trap by smashing the white stuff onto the trap. Happy hunting!

I'm trying to clean up my parent's old home and there are mouse droppings throughout. I'm using gloves and I was wondering are those cotton face masks enough to protect from the contaminants in the air? The guy at home depot said that they are sufficient protection.

Great article, thank you! I just recently killed a mouse (under kitchen sink) using a snap trap with a little peanut butter on tip...that was about 4 days ago and I'm still traumatized. Haunted by this discovery, I decided to clean out the closets as there is a lot of clutter, needless to say my daughter's closet had quite a few droppings....I wore a mask, soaked the droppings in a bleach/water mixture and pick up those little suckers with a paper towel, with a rubber glove on of course. The items that were on the closet floor will either be thrown out, others will be laundered (comforter). I'm planning to rent a steam vac so I can clean the carpet. My concern is the clothes that are hanging in that closet...what kinds of precautions should i take? The droppings were on the floor so would hanging clothes be at risk of anything? I've read clothes that come in to contact with the droppings or urine should be washed in hot water....but I'm not sure if her clothes need to be treated this way since they were all hanging. I'm tempted to wash them all in hot water but I'm afraid of ruining them. Help...please.

Frantic and disgusted in NJ.

I've come to discover that so long as we don't give them a disorganized pile of anything, they don't bother. Kind of like a criminal/thief who prefers to go after easy targets instead of hard ones.
If it's necessary for the clothes to hang there, then they need to be covered in a clothes cover that hangs over the clothes. that will help protect them from moths and the mice as it will make it less obvious of a target for them. You could get them drycleaned before doing so. If it were me, I'd store them in a bin, not on the hangers.

I moved into an older house

I moved into an older house with my small children after my separation. I've tried to seal everything up but it's impossible in an old house like this. I'm finding lots of droppings everywhere BUT the kitchen. Now I'm really scared after reading this. Are we going to be okay? How do I know if one of us has one of those diseases? We can't afford to move but if I need to sell my car to move us out of here I will. I can't take a chance on my kids or me catching something terrible or deadly.

Mice are social creatures.

Mice are social creatures. When there's a death trap, word gets around. :-) You need to get an outdoor cat or two AND have mousetraps around the house. It's the old-fashioned technology that works in this case. Good luck!!  just be sure to wipe off everything before you use it for mealtimes.

"they don’t communicate very

"they don’t communicate very well to tell each other to stay away from such-and-such house because there are traps there."

The above quotes are from your article written, yet when you answered a question for someone you said

"Mice are social creatures. When there's a death trap, word gets around. :-) "

I'm confused

Excellent article. Nice to

Excellent article. Nice to know I'm not alone in despising these vermin as much as I do. I get pretty fed up with people telling me how cute they are and that I should "set them free" *ugh. seriously?*.

Considering spraying Lysolup

Considering spraying Lysolup my nose and down my throat! Just loaded all my expensive, nonstick "not recommended in dishwasher" pots and pans into the dishwasher. Looking for Hazmat suit rentals. Sigh...

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