Weekly Roundup – A Mouse in the House Edition

Photo courtesy of Denis Defreyne

The Frugal household came to a screeching halt Wednesday night when we discovered mice have decided to take up residency in our garage.  My wife is threatening to move out until they are eradicated, and my daughter is terrified.  My son, on the other hand, has decided mice are “cool” and Daddy’s exasperated attempts at catching them is even cooler!  I thought about getting a cat, but I could envision the cat taking off after a mouse, and our dog taking off after the cat, and me chasing all of them.  Besides, knowing my luck the cat would be about as concerned with mice as the one featured in the photograph above.

The mice have taught me a valuable lesson in perservernace.  They found a loose brick outside our garage, squeezed through the crack, chewed completely through the baseboard and are hiding in our garage.  Let’s just hope they leave before deciding to start a new colony behind our freezer.

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  1. Reading about your pest problem makes me think about the Frugal household as if it were a Tom and Jerry cartoon episode. I can see you now chasing the mouse all over the house with a frying pan! I hope you catch them before it comes to this.

    Thanks for linking up to my ideas on frugaling up!

  2. Yes, do try to “borrow” a cat to stake out your garage. We had a mice in our garage one time and “Tom” did the trick. But make sure the cat is a “mouser” and not a “birder”, (It’s hereditary) or as you would predict, the cat will then be useless for the job. A “birder” is one of those cats who stare and follow with their eyes or try to pounce when a bird comes into view. A “mouser” will be oblivious to birds.

  3. My husband and I live in the country and have mice problems now and then as well. I think the worst was when one got up into my husband’s truck engine and started chewing through wires. Even though the truck was under warranty we had to pay about $250 to get it fixed (should have gotten the optional mouse damage coverage). We also get them in our sun room occasionally. We have set our cats loose on them before but to no avail. They see the mice but just don’t seem that interested. Our dogs however are very interested and but they don’t have the courage to actually bite at one.

    Our larger problem when we moved in was actually ground squirrels. One of them chewed through the corner of our garage door. We learned quickly not to keep our dog food and bird seed in the garage as it started attracting raccoons as well.

  4. Oh, what fun! We had the same problem, but couldn’t use the poison blocks because of the cats and dogs in the house. We tried sticky pads that fold into a box, but that came to a screeching halt when the cat came flying through the kitchen with the box stuck to his head. There was a mouse stuck to the pad, and he thought it would be easy pickins. Had to chase the cat to get the gluebox off his head. Very funny — after the fact. Now we use the Victor Mouse trap, it’s a battery operated do-hicky that zaps and kills the mouse. Disposal is very easy with the cat around, he knows something good is going to happen when the little lite flashes. Got three mice in one afternoon.

  5. If you are going to bait a trap for them use peanut butter. It get’s them every time. We had a field behind our house & after a few were trapped & gone the rest didn’t bother to return for at least 6 months by which time we’d battened down the hatches. Good luck with the mouse hunt!

  6. I 2nd the peanut butter. Creamy, not chunky.
    Smooth just a little on the flapper – not a glob of it. Buy a 6 pack of traps and set them all with peanut butter.

    They sticky pads work, but then you have a live mice on your hands and that is kind of a heart-breaking situation to handle.

    If you are ok with poisons, then the D-Con and the One Bite I will both recommend – but not around little kids and pets.

    For repairs, stick brillo pads in the cracks – they won’t chew thru them. Repair the chewed board with metal screwed into it. A little steel plate works well also.

    Good luck!

  7. @Marci: Thanks for the tips! I crammed brillo pad into the hole and spackled over only to find the hole reopened in the morning–persistent creatures, those mice! I’ll give your steel plate idea a try. If they chew through that I’m moving!

    @thatgirlblogs: You’ve piqued my curiosity…do you remember what the exact mention was? A friend TiVo’d the program, but couldn’t find a mention for “FrugalDad.com.”

  8. Get the cat STAT & have it hang out in the garage for a month or two without feeding it (keep a bowl of water out) & the problem will go away – at least it did in our location.

    Good Luck!

  9. OMG We had a huge rat problem several years ago and we tried *everything* to get rid of them. We tried those little mouse traps (which work horribly, btw), we tried cage traps (eventually, a lot of them learned not to get near them– that was another challenge, that we were dealing with pretty intelligent creatures), we tried gas, but nothing was too terribly effective.

    We eventually tried these boxes of poisoned kiblets of food and after that, we never saw another rat. Maybe you guys can try something like that…

  10. We ended up caving in and bringing in an exterminator. What we learned was that oftentimes the holes and cracks the mice enter from are underground and can be so small as to be invisible to the naked eye. We first tried to deal with it ourselves with glue boards and poison pellets, but it was apparent they were outsmarting us.

    Our cat was useless, though he did alert us to a mouse stuck on a glueboard.

    Good luck.

  11. Try peppermint oil. Mice strongly dislike the smell of peppermint. Your garage might smell like Christmas, but at least the mice should flee 🙂 We have a mouse problem at work, and I regularly dab a bit of full strength peppermint oil in the drawers – I’ve had people on either side of me hit by the mice in search of food, but mine’s been completely left alone.

  12. I third the peanut butter! Just be sure to fasten down the trap so they can’t crawl off with it. When I was first married, we lived in a mobile home, and the little critters would come up through the floor near the sink pipe in the kitchen. We stopped counting at 30-something mice before my ex finally got the hole adequately sealed up, and peanut butter with the trap nailed down worked the best. The cat we had at the time was an indoor cat and was more scared of the mice than I was! We then adopted a stray who was more than adequate in not only mousing but birding and snake-ing and bunny-ing, you get the idea, and that was despite the fact that we were feeding her and considered her a family cat, not a barn cat. (Strays and barn cats that aren’t fed regular cat food are very focused on making sure they have food for the day and don’t often let a mouse get away.) In fact, at about 16 years old, this is the first year that cat didn’t get a bird in the spring, although she still enjoyed chasing the squirrels.

  13. My cat took care of the problem maybe a week after I noticed the most.

    And to the comment above about a cat being a mouser or a birder, I had a cat who caught birds, mice, snakes, and squirrels.

    You could always get one of those humane traps where the mouse gets caught in a one way tube. But then you have the issue of where to let him loose.

  14. oh yes – I 2nd the nail it down part… if you nail it on the end of a long 1×2 board you can then shove it back where you want it, and bring it back out when you need to.