of mice and modern living

Anyone out there struggled with a mice infestation?  I have gotten quite the education in pest control and removal, let me tell you!  Read on as I share my experience.

Just over a month ago my daughter and I were at the kitchen sink when she saw, and I felt, a mouse crawl over my foot.  What? A mouse in the house?  14 years we’ve been here and we’ve never seen a mouse in the house.  Oh but we were about to learn all about these rodents.

A few days after the first mouse sighting, I heard noises in the kitchen and when I went to investigate I found Eddie, our older cat, lying in the middle of the floor staring at the oven.  And then I heard the scratching noises coming from the oven that he was hearing. Several days later we turned on our oven to make dinner and this putrid smell came out of it!!  I thought it was the mouse my daughter had seen and was now dead somewhere in the oven.  We looked inside, no mouse. We pulled the range away from the wall and found our first mouse droppings.  Now what?  We elected to not take off the many screws on the back of the oven to peer inside there.

About 2 or 3 days later I found more mouse droppings, this time all over the counter and some on the stove.  Oh boy, time to get traps!  We struggled a little bit about how to rid ourselves of these lovely creatures from our indoor existence. We could get live traps and release them outside. That seemed the more humane approach and if I had more time I might have seriously considered that route. Well, that and the fact that our local hardware store did not sell any live traps.  So, onward with catching the mice.  It was time to be rid of the rodents.

I had read that peanut butter in a trap was the best way to catch mice. And sure enough that was our experience with all but one mouse. Or so I think it’s just one.  I’ll get back to that in a moment and that story is not quite over yet.  We had three traps, one of which would not stay open. Then we were down to two traps a night, catching 6 in the next several days.  One Friday morning a few weeks ago was the last mouse we caught, or so we thought.

We were going to turn on the oven one week after the last mouse sighting.  Then decided against it as my husband looked at me and said “do you really want to use that oven again?” What apparently happened was that the mice got into the oven’s surroundings and made a mess of the insulation causing the oven to stink when it was on.  Buy a new oven we did!  It looks very nice but we’ve not yet turned it on.  The day after it was delivered there were fresh droppings on the stove.  YUCK!! We obviously weren’t quite done with the mice.

I had read that peppermint oil is a deterrent so I found a small bottle of 100% pure peppermint oil (it has to be 100% and not an extract)  I then doused many cotton balls with the oil and placed them strategically around the shiny new oven.  Long story short, there was still at least one more mouse left in the house.  I found more droppings behind the new oven. We had sealed a bunch of holes with steel wool and thought all the ways they could get into the house were patched.  Guess again!

Finally we called the pest control experts.  Loved the technician that came.  He had much knowledge and we hired him to seal any other holes that we missed(apparently there were many!!) and to set more traps in the house.  As of yesterday one mouse was captured, hooray!!!  I also cleaned up all the mouse droppings that I had found in the last several days.  My thinking is that if this is the last mouse there should be no more droppings.  It felt great vacuuming up all that crap and I’m hoping that’s the last time I have to do that.

What I learned is that this has been the worst year for mice infestations, the worst our tech has seen in 7 years.  It seemed so odd to us that we’ve been in this house nearly 14  years and have never had this problem so at least there’s an explanation.  Our tech also recommended foaming up the area where the front stoop meets the house.  When this first began I suspected they had gotten in over there so I shoved a bunch of steel wool in that corner.  He also said we had holes by two windows in the basement as well as the where the A/C lines come into the house.  The mice then crawl up the walls and in our case they ended up in the kitchen for the most part.  I did find droppings behind the couch as well as near the cat box but we caught most of the mice in the kitchen.

Mr. Tech Extraordinaire will return for a follow-up on Tuesday next.  And we made reservations at a restaurant for Thanksgiving as I don’t want to turn my oven on until about two weeks after the last mouse is caught. I’m actually looking forward to a year off from cooking and cleaning. I may even do a blog post about that experience.  We might even make a Thanksgiving meal in early December, we shall see :)

Happy Sunday!


Filed under Minnesota, Writing

13 responses to “of mice and modern living

  1. Mice are sure a pain in the neck, or in your case kitchen. Hope your troubles are now over. The little pests are pretty persistent. They know a good thing when they find it. :-D

  2. Eeek! I’ve had stray mice in the house before, but never an infestation, thank God. Two years ago, though, I was forced to learn all about cockroaches. They are not abundant in Northern Europe, where I spent most of my life, but here in Spain, it’s a different story.

  3. Eeek!! No-one can blame you for not wanting roast mouse plus droppings for Thanksgiving dinner. Good luck, Toby.

    • thanks. I keep saying that this completes my Minnesota adventure methinks. We’ve had bats and flooded basement(s) so now I know what mice in your house is like. I’ve learned a lot but I wouldn’t want to repeat this!

  4. Best wishes on the meal. We had a couple in our attic many moons ago when the neighborhood was still being built. Unique smell.

  5. Pingback: my bat story | travels with toby

  6. Pingback: not our usual Thanksgiving | travels with toby

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