September 23, 2003
Gluttony Kills

I seem to have taken care of the mouse problem in my new apartment, at least for the moment. No doubt more will move in as the weather turns cold, but I'm told they usually come in pairs and the first pair is dead.

The first two nights I put out three old-fashioned mousetraps baited with stinky French cheese, but the mice nibbled all the cheese off two of them both nights without setting them off. My brother recommended flour and water to make the bait stick to the trap, so I put a gob of French Münster on each with a little flour and water before and after and all around, making sure to jam cheese, flour, and water into the inner part of the bait-holder. I hadn't even gone to bed when the kitchen trap nailed one of the furry little bastards. Perhaps he was old and shaky, or young and inexperienced: either way, he died hungry. I reset the trap, since the bait was still nearly intact. The second night was uneventful, but on the morning after the third, I found the same trap with every last bit of the bait gone and one dead mouse. If he hadn't been so intent on nibbling off the last of the cheese, he could be alive today.

Posted by Dr. Weevil at September 23, 2003 11:47 PM

Another effective bait for mice is peanut butter.

Posted by: Bashir Gemayel on September 24, 2003 11:07 AM

Peanut butter is #1 for mice.
Also be sure to find and plug the holes they are using to get in. Stick a little poison into each hole, then seal it up with water putty.

Posted by: David on September 24, 2003 01:56 PM

Last year I had a rat in the garden, and I used peanut butter as bait in the rat trap. I didn't know that cute, happy squirrels like peanut butter, too. Please don't tell my kids.

Posted by: Pass the Gas on September 24, 2003 08:29 PM

Squirrels are just rats with better PR.

Posted by: Robin Roberts on September 24, 2003 09:42 PM

If you want to hear something funny, ask a French person to say the word "squirrel." It seems to be made entirely of sounds they don't use.

They don't, however, have any trouble with the word "skunk."

Posted by: Pass the Gas on September 24, 2003 10:22 PM

"And zat would be pronounced, 'Shee-racq'.."

Posted by: Bashir Gemayel on September 25, 2003 04:46 PM

The newer mouse traps are little sticky glue rectangles. The mice crawl onto the surface, their feet sink/stick in, and they can't get out. No snapping. Very effective.

Possible downsides:

Morning disposal of live mice in glue may be required. [Some people float them upside down in a bucket of water for a few minutes. The glue won't dissolve.] Also, chance of desiccated mice a week later with signs they perished slowly in glue.

Of course, those are not necessarily downsides. It depends on how one feels about mice. But I, personally, feel such experiences are to be avoided.

Posted by: Robert Musil on September 25, 2003 11:45 PM

We had a PA day ... part of our 'motivational speaker's' presentation was the following, which seems to apply to this situation:

(you need a fast modem ... it's 9 megs)

Posted by: rogueclassicist on September 26, 2003 06:13 PM

I did a contract job revamping accountancy software for a firm of pest controllers in England. The owner told me the two things that mice go nuts for is peanut butter and chocolate. Peanut butter is easier because you can just smear it on the trigger plate of the traps. The other important thing is to have the traps up against a wall with the bait side closest to the wall. Mice hug the sides of walls and they will often set off a trap simply by walking over it if the traps are positioned correctly. I virtually eliminated a rodent problem in a week using these techniques.

Posted by: David Gillies on September 28, 2003 12:57 AM

Snickers candy bars always worked best for me. Mice and rats just can't resist that chocolate and peanut combo.

Posted by: excitableboy on September 29, 2003 04:27 PM

Give me the glue traps any day. You can catch more than one at a time, and they'll holler when you catch them. Quiet as a mouse my eye.

Humane? No. But I'm not gonna worry about that until they quit spreading disease, they relieve themselves in toilets and they start respecting property rights.

Posted by: J Bowen on September 30, 2003 04:31 PM

When I was a kid, in upstate New York, we had a mouse problem. We used live traps and baited them with gumdrops (very effective, by the way), but releasing the mouse fifty yards from the house and resetting the trap was maybe not such a good idea. It would always spring again five minutes later. You began darkly to suspect that it was all one mouse with a secret portal into our kitchen.

But if it was one mouse, it was extremely industrious. We had a row of shelves in the basement for storage, full of cardboard boxes full of stuff. One day my parents ordered a spring cleaning, and we went through everything. And found a box that contained (I think) an old blender or something, but was now additionally stuffed full of amazing quantities of dry cat food. They'd been collecting it out of the cats' dishes, hoarding it, for months if not years.

Posted by: Michelle Dulak on September 30, 2003 05:17 PM

To be honest, mice are NOT that keen on cheese. Here in Britain, we know that mice go ga-ga for peanut butter. They love it.

We had a mouse take up residence on the patio, just outside our dining room window. We had a bird table and peanut dispenser out on the patio and the mouse must have decided that our patio was a great place to live, what with all that free bird food lying around.

Anyway, we set up a mouse trap of sorts. we used an empty glass milk bottle on the patio and set it up against a block of wood (a brick or a rock is just as good) so that the bottle was tilted on the ground, at say 40 or 45 degrees to the piece of wood it was leaning/resting on. Then we got another small length of wood that acted as a mouse ramp up to the milk bottle neck opening.

A piece of food was placed in the base of the empty milk bottle and left over night. When we got up in the morning, we found the mouse in the bottom of the milk bottle trying desperately to clamber its way out. The trick is, the mouse can smell the food, climb up the ramp, enter inside the milk bottle through its open neck, slide down the steep bottle glass wall and once inside the bottle sides are too steep and glass too slippery for it to get out again. It's trapped.

Bingo... you've got one live mouse to set free in the countryside somewhere. Mice...pest or wildlife? Very eco-friendly, no mouse corpse, no blood and guts or reeling stomachs with this method. And when you let it go free (prefarably a long way from your home) you will feel all warm and happy inside. That feel-good thing.

That's how we Brits do it anyway.

Trust me it works. In fact, in my experience it works damn well.

It's either that, or get a cat.

Posted by: Mouse catcher on October 1, 2003 11:17 PM