Mouse in the House

flowerbug

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set more traps outside along the mouse highway where i usually catch them. raining and cruddy weather, but i did it anyways. been banging on the wall with a hammer and a piece of wood all day so that if there are any mice in there they haven't gotten much sleep... maybe they'll leave and get caught in the traps...
 

flowerbug

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arg! still have not caught the miscreant!

there hasn't been enough snow on the ground to see any tracks (i went out a bit ago to take a quick walk around the house hoping to see some tracks in the little bit of snow that we did get but no luck there).

now that the rains have passed i'll reset the traps later today with a bit of fresh peanut butter in them and see if i can get it trapped.
 

CrealCritter

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I'll probably be hated for this but I set bait boxes up in the wood shop and in the chicken building. After about 2 weeks no more mice. I still have at least 1 trap set in every room of the house and have not had any mice in them since setting the bait boxes.

For some reason I recalled a sermon I once heard. Where this contrast was made on speaking truth vs lie - rat poison is 99% grain and 1% poison, but that 1% poison is 100% effective. It's a excellent metaphor.

I also stopped free choice feed for my chickens and turkeys, now I feed them daily and only as much as they eat so there is no left over for mice.
 

flowerbug

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I'll probably be hated for this but I set bait boxes up in the wood shop and in the chicken building. After about 2 weeks no more mice. I still have at least 1 trap set in every room of the house and have not had any mice in them since setting the bait boxes.

For some reason I recalled a sermon I once heard. Where this contrast was made on speaking truth vs lie - rat poison is 99% grain and 1% poison, but that 1% poison is 100% effective. It's a excellent metaphor.

I also stopped free choice feed for my chickens and turkeys, now I feed them daily and only as much as they eat so there is no left over for mice.
there are no outside animals here to feed other than the wild animals so if we put out any sunflower seeds or heads for the birds to pick at they are placed a long ways from the house. we used to have bait boxes out for chipmunks and mice, but after some time i figured out that what it really did was attract yet more of them in from the surrounding area. it wasn't actually controlling anything and wasting a lot of $. i still had to hunt and trap.

the best results i had were from finding gaps in the house itself and getting them plugged up. there is just this last spot i haven't found yet, but i suspect i know where it is i just have no easy way to look.

i'd have to lift the AC unit... i'm pondering a way to lever it up and put some bricks under it but that's not going to happen any time soon. the AC unit has been a place where they've put nests in before but i've never thought to look underneath it. which had i thought of it this past spring i would have had the guy doing the service help me move it while he was here to check it out. the reason for the service was needed to begin with was that mice had built a nest in the control panel and chewed through some wires. i don't know if the plastic pad the AC unit is sitting on is a solid chunk of plastic or if it has holes through it that the mice can be using to get under it and then along the house and up into the walls. i can't see any other gaps. i've got them all filled with cement and any smaller holes filled with the expanding spray foam (and then caulked over to protect the foam from degrading) it helps keep the bugs out.
 

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I recently had an extensive e-mail conversation with UMO cooperative extension agents re: the safest poison options for dealing with mice/rats in/around garden and livestock areas. I'll post her pertinent responses.

My initial question was regarding a mouse infestation in my high tunnel. The mice had decimated one of my beds of greens, and was starting on the second one. Here's part of her response:

Below is a response from the State Toxicologist with the Maine Board of Pesticides Control, Pam Bryer. With respect to your first question, I would avoid eating the remaining greens if you are certain they’ve been contaminated by mouse droppings.
As prep for a talk I did recently I went to my local big box store to see what types of rodenticides they were selling. You are right in that many of them are the neurotoxic bromethalin but there are also two others you might be interested in: cholecalciferol and zinc phosphide. And, by the way, if you were to hire a commercial pesticide applicator they would be able to use a different set of pesticides as well (namely the anti-coagulants).
Bromethalin: persistent in soil, doesn’t volatilize, doesn’t wash out, highly likely to transfer up the food chain, not carcinogenic, moderately toxic to soil invertebrates, and highly toxic to mammals. If it were used in the scenario you mentioned it would persist in the soil for some time but it would be difficult for it to be translocated into the plant tissues. Essentially, because it binds tightly to organic matter and is a large molecule it would be difficult for the plant to take it up in significant quantities. Also, you are looking at a volume dilution effect. Rodents are more susceptible to these poisons than humans so a lower dose is used to kill them than would kill us — plus we are much larger and would need many more times the dose than it would take to kill some mice. That said, because of its persistent nature and bioaccumulation potential and toxicity it would be best to avoid that if you can in a garden space.
Cholecalciferol: not persistent in soil, doesn’t volatilize, doesn’t wash out, low likelihood of transferring up the food chain, not carcinogenic, moderately toxic to soil invertebrates and mammals, and low toxicity to birds and fish. Cholecalciferol is another name for vitamin D. Rodents are more susceptible to vitamin D overload than humans, and other mammals, are which makes this a less risky pesticide to use around humans. Because it breaks down in the soil quickly, 97% will be degraded within ~25 days, this becomes a better choice for a garden area. Again, like above, the dilution of the chemical within the soil, and then the plant, and then folks who eat that plant, the actual amount of active ingredient would be unlikely to cause effects. This rodenticide acts by disrupting calcium balance in the body; excess calcium is released from the bones and leads to multiorgan disfunction.

Zinc phosphide: not persistent in soil, doesn’t volatilize, doesn’t wash out, not carcinogenic, low toxicity to soil invertebrates, moderate toxicity to fish, high toxicity to mammals. This compound to changed by the low pH of the rodent stomach into phosphine gas. Phosphine is very volatile and moves quickly into the lungs were it acts to prevent normal respiration and death ensues. The amount of phosphine that is generated is unlikely to harm humans and it ends up dissipating quickly. Phosphine (or a precursor) is used in agriculture as a soil fumigant and agricultural storage fumigant.

Based on this information, I have bought some Cholecalciferol. D-Con is now changing all of their formulation to Cholecalciferol. My research, after reading the links provided by the UMO extension agent was that Cholecalciferol is the ONLY mouse/rat poison that is approved for use around organic farms. I would never buy mouse/rat bait that is not provided in chunk or bar form. The very last thing I want a rodent to do is pick up bait pellets and transport them to a nest. So, no matter what chemical one buys, options are automatically limited if you want it in chunk, block or bars that fit into bait stations.

Further reading tells me that traps may work for a short time if there are only a few mice/rats. However, they quickly become trap wary, and won't touch a trap, or... in the case of the traps set in my HT, IME, they learn how to snap them, so they can take the bait freely. If any feed sources are available: bird feeders, compost piles, gardens, just a few spilled grains from your livestock, hay or straw bales, the rodents will move in and proliferate. The best way to deal with them is to remove ALL feed sources. That may not be possible if you have livestock, or a garden. Next up is a combination of traps and poison. Sadly, if you want to keep rodents from setting up housekeeping with resultant population explosions, IMO poisons must be employed.
 

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@CrealCritter , I've been feeding fermented feed for years. I feed the birds in the morning, putting out only what I expect them to eat. If they don't finish it, I bring the remainder inside at the end of the day, or lock it into a safe place in their coop. One of the benefits of fermented feed is that it is wet, so rodents, even if they were to belly up to the feed bowl... can't carry any feed away. I also stopped putting out bird feeders years ago because it attracted rodents.

I think it's a wise plan to NOT keep feed available at night. Not only does having it available at night welcome rodents, but it could be a draw to some predators.

We live in a rural area, horses less than 1/4 mile from us. My neighbor feeds the birds. So... mice and rats are part of the scenery now.
 

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My neighbors feed the birds. My guinea hens go over there every day to get the sunflower seeds that she puts on the ground for them, lol. It seems that the 6 barn cats that we have have been really helpful in lowering the mouse numbers. I snap-trapped a big, fat mouse in the house the other day and all signs of mouse activity in the house have stopped. Even the dead mouse smell from teh basement is gone.
 

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Oh how I hate mice.
i don't hate them when they're outside where they belong! just when they get in the walls and disturb my lethargic slumbers or chew on wires in places they should be or destroy my car or get caught in a trap and then drag it someplace in the car i can't find and smell up the place and ...

what some people don't really know about them is that they have no sense of fear when it comes down to being hungry and food. they'll crawl over their dead kin to get to the bait, they'll chew through their kin to get to the bait, etc.
 

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They will eat their kin. I hate them even outside. B/C I have a garden, and they eat and poop on the food I am growing for my own sustenance. If I am fast enough, any mouse that I see quickly becomes a flat mouse. I remember when I was a kid... I was in the shop while my dad was working. He always wore a full "coverall". One day, he disturbed a mouse. During the ensuing chase, the mouse ran up his pant leg. I didn't know my dad was such a dancer! I've had a mouse run up my pant leg before when I was doing the mouse stomp dance.

And, they are a host to the deer tick which carries lime disease.
 
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