War on mice – updated

The Listener says the late Sir Paul Callaghan’s plan to eradicate all introduced pests won’t work , at least not yet:

Callaghan’s inspiring, visionary and audacious idea of ridding the entire country of pests, allowing natural plants and wildlife to flourish, is worthy of his name and one that New Zealanders should embrace wholeheartedly but for a single, crucial flaw: it will not work. Perhaps one day it might, but not yet. The resources, technology, commitment and public buy-in are not available at present to make the plan achievable.

I can assure you that I have bought in to the idea, am fully committed to it and am doing all I can by stepping up my annual war on mice.

We almost always get signs of invasions in autumn and early winter and this year it’s particularly bad. I’ve spent three hours this morning cleaning out the pantry after spotting mouse dirt there and am about to attack a cupboard in the hall where we’ve never seen evidence of them before.

I took Mark’s advice and bought a rat zapper – although the jury is out on its effectiveness.

I set it in the garage where something took the bait and escaped unscathed. I then brought it inside and caught a mouse the next night. The following morning the bait was still there, the light wasn’t flashing but there was a dead mouse a metre away from the trap.

I moved it to the hall, caught another mouse and put fresh bait in it. This morning the light was flashing and the bait was gone with no sight of whatever it was that took it. *

Conventional traps have caught three mice and I’ve got them set in strategic places. All were still set this morning, but I’m not convinced that means I’ve caught all the intruders.

I’ve also laid poison in places pets and children can’t get to it.

Some battles have been won but the war continues. Sir Paul’s goal is a big one but if we all do what we can, it won’t be an impossible one.

UPDATE:  * My farmer’s just told me he got rid of a dead mouse from the rat zapper while I was away at the weekend but hadn’t re-baited it or turned off the light. My faith in it is restored.

I ventured into the hall cupboard to clean it this afternoon and found the mice had been dining on foam disposable cups and candles.

I also discovered a hole in the wall where a plug had been removed which is probably where at least some of the mice were getting in. I nailed a bit of wood across it and also stuffed tin foil round all the gaps round pipes in the kitchen.

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11 Responses to War on mice – updated

  1. DianeT says:

    Does any one know how to train a cat to kill the mice it catches, instead of just bringing them inside to show off, then letting them go to make themselves at home?

  2. Bulaman says:

    Sitting in my office watching a small mouse eat the peanut butter off the plastic trap. Hopefully it will eat enough to get heavy enough to set the thing off!

  3. From the Cowshed says:

    Diane I have the same problem! I think it is because we feed our cats well and they can be choosy about whether to eat the mice or not. I got sick of hearing my cat ‘torturing’ a mouse in my son’s bedroom and went and got the jolly thing and disposed of it myself. Actually my cat could do a good job of torturing paedophiles and other such scum – it would be a long lingering death!

    The only thing that can help is to do your best to keep them out. I have put tin foil in all the cracks in my cupboards. That seems to minimise them.

    They are horrible little critters. When I’m feeding calves I always give the meal bag a good kick to give anything a chance to bugger off before I pick the bag up. My husband says he’s never seen me move so fast as when I see a rodent – he reckons I goose step across the barn.

  4. DianeT says:

    LOL. Cat brought in 4 baby mice at one hour intervals last night. Only one dead. Fortunately I managed to catch the other three and put them back outside. Don’t quite have the where-with-all to knock them on the head. (actually it could have been one mouse three times)

  5. Gravedodger says:

    Alas Diane T your last observation is very likely the truth.

    Swambo was over the moon this morning having perhaps got the one that scuttles from the console Heatpump to the Bookcase for the last three days. I suspect the Darwinian outcome that trapping the stupids is manifesting as a super race of mice.

    However the reality is the mice will have another suicide peanut butter bomber to come tomorrow to try and enforce the will of the moucians in their quest for world domination.

    Back to Diane’s problem, do you Diane, trap flies and release them outside or do you visit a horrible death from mortien apon them.
    Methinks drowning is a possible best practice ending for the mouse’s life, war is never nice .

    The Late Sir Paul could have started with cockroaches that would possibly have led him to see the extreme difficulty of the project. I recall with much mirth the “last rabbit theory” when in fact the second to last could have been sufficient so long as the last was not a pregnant female.

  6. homepaddock says:

    Bulaman – a commenter on a previous post on this issue advised me to put just a wee, wee bit of peanut butter at the back of the trap so the mouse is forced to step onto it (the trap) to get the bait.

    FTCS – oh yes, getting rid of the ones outside is even harder though we’ve found nailing poison down does help.

    Diane – I second Gravedodger. I caught a mouse by the leg last week, dropped it and the trap into a bucket of water – but had to push it under. I didn’t enjoy it but if vermin come inside I take no prisoners.

  7. DianeT says:

    Bucket of water outside the back door ready for the next one.
    Hubby can hold it under if necessary.

  8. I have pet rats, and love them dearly. However I well understand the damage that rodents can do- and so some advice.
    Mice fear rats and cats; cat and rat urine and faeces are a deterrent.
    Despite legend, neither rats nor mice seek out cheese [before electricity foods would be in a cupboard and boxed away, except for cheese, which sweats if closed up- so it was all that they could get to]. Sweet jam is best.
    Vomiting, or emesis, is the reflexive act of ejecting stomach contents forcefully through the mouth by coordinated muscular contractions. Neither rats nor mice can vomit, but they do regurgitate occasionally. Vomiting is the forceful expulsion of stomach contents, requiring the coordination of many muscles, while regurgitation is a passive flow of undigested stomach contents back into the oesophagus without any abdominal contractions.
    Rodents practice food avoidance, and will rarely eat food that is new to them. Notably the first to try new food will be the oldest rodents; their deaths are less serious for the group. Putting out bait without poison for at least two weeks to allow the taste to become familiar will result in a far more successful poisoning.
    Cats unfortunately prey on rodents and birds;reducing their feed increases their predation rate, but to train them to target one prey type is hard [it has been done, but certainly not by me].

  9. Bulaman says:

    Thanks HP the little bugger has got most of the Pnut butter and continues to taunt me. I could shoot it but..1) that’s a bit noisy and 2) won’t do much for the wall..

  10. IHStewart says:

    I spent weeks trying to get rid of a mouse infestation. Every day droppings appeared, every day I would check traps and poison stations and to no avail. I had redone my kitchen linoleum and the installers had made a small hole and welded it, I was furious but having extracted a 10 year written guarantee from them I placed a black rubber mat over the weld as it was a high traffic area, the mat was covered with little bits of upstanding rubber points that when they broke off look exactly like mice droppings. What is embarrassing is it took me 3 months to click.

  11. Bulaman says:

    Da moose has bit da dust

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