Sunday, November 04, 2018

Mice in the house

First of all, let me say this is not an unusual situation for us.  We’ve always lived in old houses or trailer houses, so mice are going to come in when the weather starts getting colder.  People are told to seal up the holes, but very often you can’t find where they’re coming in.  In the case of this trailer house, we know where at least a couple of their entry-ways are, but there is honestly no way to seal them.  Just trust me on this.  A squirrel could get in if he tried.  When I see evidence of mice, I put out poison and wait for the stench of death.  Sometimes I can find the bodies, sometimes not, but the smell eventually goes away.  

I don’t scream, faint, or jump on chairs if I see a mouse, although if they surprise me, I’ll jump, as one does at anything moving when she isn’t expecting it.  It does rather turn my stomach to know they’re here, though, because they will crawl on everything they can and help themselves, defecating as they go.  Just thinking about that, or finding the evidence, turns my stomach.  

The rodents can’t get into most of my cabinets or onto the kitchen counters or table.  Thank God for that!  And even in the mouse-proof cabinets, I keep food such as flour, sugar, cereal, and so forth tightly sealed... more to prevent meal-worms and weevils than mice.  Oh yes, in the distant past I’ve had problems with meal-worms and weevils, too.  You can bring them home from the store, not knowing they are in the cake mix you just bought.  They they multiply and move from one product to another until you have to throw away everything in the cabinets; thus, the tightly sealed containers.  I grew up poor, in old, drafty houses.  My mother fought these kinds of problems with a passion.  If she saw one cockroach in the closet, she had everything pulled out of there in a minutes’ time, looking for them with her Stanley Sure-Kill in hand.  One Wednesday night she sprayed that stuff all over the house just before we left for church.  When we returned, my parakeet was dead.  

It’s harder for me to fight mouse problems these days.  For one thing, mouse poisons aren’t as effective as they used to be.  The old-fashioned mouse traps that used to be strong enough to break a finger aren’t much good either.  Killing the mice is also a problem because I have a dog, so we can’t put poisons out where he might find it.  As I’ve said before, Gabe eats everything!  But Cliff and I saw two different mice this morning, which means Lord-only-knows how many are in here.  So I spent quite a bit of time checking all areas for evidence of mice, cleaning here and there in corners that don’t get much traffic, and putting out poison that I hope and pray works.  It always has before.

This is the sort of thing most people would be too ashamed to blog about.  Don’t worry, the food I cook is clean, thanks to the many mouse-proof cabinets and counters.  I recall Charles Gusewelle writing in his column about the mice invading his hunting cabin near Appleton City every year.  He didn’t like to kill them, as I remember, although he was an avid hunter of various kinds of wildlife.  

I hope this entry doesn’t shock or sicken anybody.  It’s what I have on my mind at present.  You see, I grew up poor.  Although I truly don’t consider myself poor now, we live pretty much as if we are.  We’ve never cared about fancy new houses.  Our priorities were always tractors, gardens, livestock, and the outdoors in general, and it’s expensive enough to live in the country without trying to keep up with the Joneses.  Cliff says I insult people when they want to show me around inside their nice homes, because my lack of interest is evident.  So just for his sake, I try to act as if I’m impressed these days.  It’s a house, for Pete’s sake!  I’m more interested in whether they have decent internet.  

Yours sincerely, 
      Donna the mouse-hater


Jon said...

Donna, I can fully relate to this post - especially now that I live in a rural area. I grew up as a sissy city boy. When I moved to Texas I got a rude awakening when I had to deal with scorpions, lizards, and snakes (yes, snakes) in my house.

Here in the Tennessee wilderness I'm plagued with mice, 'possums, squirrels, and incredible dampness and mold. Your descriptions of mouse problems are exactly what I've experienced and - you're right - there isn't any way possible to seal up all the places where they come in.
I was stunned a few months ago when I discovered they were nesting in the drawers of one of my desks. I threw nearly everything out of the drawers and had to scrub them. Now I'm paranoid about checking (and rechecking) everything in the house. Thank God they haven't gotten into the food (which I keep carefully under wrap).

My cats don't catch very many mice - simply because the mice are far too fast. I'd like to use poison, but they don't seem to sell it in my area of TN - - and I'd worry that my cats would get in it. I've used some traps with only minimal luck.
Lately I haven't seen any mice - but I have no doubt they are still here.

This is getting too long. Sorry for the rant!

The Feminine Energy said...

Poisoning mice poisons the wildlife who find them & eat them. It's just the way it is. We live in the woods and thus have very similar problems, including with mice.

The mice have to get from an outside "surface" to an inside "surface". It's a lot of work to find the openings but it is possible. My husband spent an entire weekend, armed with cans of that sealing "foamy" stuff", and looked and sprayed and looked some more. Under sinks, outside where all the pipes & such are coming into the house, where the wood siding meets the concrete block foundation, I mean everywhere. He sealed up every single opening.... and it worked. That was many years ago and we haven't had one mouse back in the house yet.

So it can be done. It's better than poison. Anything is better than poison... other than those sticky strips. Those are just downright cruel.

I appreciate your predicament. Truly I do.

Lovingly, Andrea xoxo

Charade said...

For years my friend refused to quit using poison, even when faced with the evidence of dead owls, fox and other wildlife close to her house. Then two of her cats dies a horrific death on the same night after playing with dying mouse in the house. We've found that the Victor brand snap traps (old-fashioned style without the fake piece of cheese) work extremely well with a dab of peanut butter as bait. And when we dispose of the dead mouse, the raptors take it away without paying the ultimate price. I agree with you that it's impossible to keep them out when the weather moves into winter, but when you get them before they breed, they seem to disappear. said...

In the children’s home in Mexico we were plagued with mice. Our only option was traps for obvious reasons. We would set as many as 20 a night. One night we got 18! When we left, I assumed it was over. Our home in Ventura, CA was infested with both mice and rats. We tried but it was impossible. Fortunately (knock on wood) we have not had the in our home in Las Vegas.

E in MN said...

Hi Donna.
Have you tried using steel wool to plug obvious holes? Mice hate the feeling of it on their teeth. Good luck!

E in MN


i don't have mice in this house. but years ago in another house we lived in a mouse nibbled on a pumpkin pie i had left on the counter overnight. definitely sickening.

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

Like you I live in a modular home. It's a single wide and sits in a park of many just like it. There are much fancier ones than mine here. Some are beautiful double wides. For the first time I've also had trouble with mice too. All I can say is yuk. They don't scare me, but I don't want them in the house. I did catch one, but you are right about the traps. I finally put the poison out and haven't seen any since. I have really mouse proofed the cupboards and put everything in containers. Even the silverware.

Margaret said...

I have an indoor cat, so there better not be mice or she is NOT earning her keep! ;) I fought with those tiny ants this summer and finally got an exterminator in. I have a clean-ish house, but those things are insidious.

krueth said...

Oh, Mice are so icky. I live in the country so yes, every fall they decide to move on in. I have caught 2 this fall is all and no sign of any more yet. I know they will be coming in again. Yuck. I do have 2 outside cats so I am hoping they are keeping them away from the house. I too live in an old home, early 1900's. It's not the best but its mine and if people don't like it then they don't need to come and visit me. I don't care what people live in either. It's there home and if they want to be prideful, well, that's on them. haha! Good luck with the mice :-) Wendy

Lori said...

We get mice this time of year now and then -- not every year, but we got them this year! We try to be vigilant and find where they might be coming in. Thomas catches them with traps because with all of our pets, I don't like to put out poison. And I am against those sticky traps.