As seems to be the case most winters, we have mouse droppings starting
to pop up (or is it plop down?) in our basement.
Some judicious mouse trap use always stops the problem. But I'm
getting old and tired of the "standard" traps - baiting them, making
sure to not set them off myself, emptying the gross dead mice from
(By "standard" I'm talking about the kind seen in Looney Tunes and
other cartoons - bait with cheese or peanut butter, and a piece of
metal snaps onto the mouse and kills it.)
What's a "better" mouse trap? By that I mean one that might kill
multiple mice without rebaiting, and that's easy to clean and reuse.
Not so fond of the bait traps that feed them poisoned food, as they
force me to figure out where the dead critters are. I'd rather
confine my looking for carcass hunting to where the trap(s) are.
Thats a myth. They don't seek water. Instead they get sick, they crawl
off to a quiet, secluded spot. They die, they decompose and stink the
place out for a month or so. I know. I've used it and after mutiple
kills ended up ripping down the ceiling drywall in the rec room. This
year we have 2 cats. We made a pact. I feed them and they keep the
mice out - and it works better than any trap or bait.
If you go the cat route, you need to get a hunter. Not all cats will
hunt and kill (chase and play with, yes, but actually slay, not
necessarily) prey as they have to be taught by their mothers. Kittens
rescued from the outdoors with their mothers are probably the best
We once had a cat that was a great hunter *outside*. She caught
tons of mice, chipmunks, rabbits, and even brought home a mink one
day. But 'inside mice' were beneath her. I've seen one run over
her paw. She let them stuff her favorite chair with cat food.
My BIL had outdoor cats and an indoor cat and still had mouse episodes.
He didn't understand why one invasion ceased. Several months later he
pulled out the refrigerator and found a five-foot snake skin.
I use "the bucket method." Just get a 5 gallon plastic pail. Drill
two 3/8" holes near the top of the bucket (about 1/2" down from the
top edge). Make sure the holes are directly across the bucket from
each other so you can stick a 1/4" dowl rod straight through. the
dowl rod should be about an inch or so longer than the diameter of the
bucket. Then get an empty plastic peanut butter jar with lid and
drill 5/16" holes at the center of the bottom of the jar and through
the center of the lid. Slide dowl through one of the holes in the
side of the bucket, then through the empty peanut butter jar and then
through the other hole in the side of the bucket. You should be able
to spin the jar around the rod. Put about 4 inches of water in the
bucket. Smear cheap peanut butter over the surfaces of the jar.
Place the bucket near a wall where you suspect mice might be
traveling. Get a narrow (2" wide x 1 " thick) board about 2 or 3 feet
long. Lay flatways one end on the floor and the other resting on the
top edge of the bucket near where one end of the rod is sticking out
of the side of the bucket. By next morning you should have a mouse,
or even several mice floating dead in the bucket. Get a small minnow
net and scoop the dead mice out of the bucket and dispose of in manner
of your choice. There probably should still be enough smeard peanut
butter still left on the jar for several more nights depending on how
many mice you might have living with you. No need to refresh the
peanut butter, old moldy stuff works just as good. Once a week or so
or maybe longer you might have to change water in the bucket. If you
aren't going to be checking the bucket each day, no problem. Just
change the water more often. Good luck!
For a long time, that was the only method. I haven't tried it but think
may still be the best.
In 1880, Luchs, a German company, began selling the Capito Original
mouse trap. It was in production until 1920. Many were sold in Britain
and America. That seemed to usher in the Age of Mousetraps.
It seems to be consumer appeal more than efficacy that sells mouse
traps. The appeal to the Capito was that it was a Rube Goldberg
contraption. In the vestibule, a seesaw would trip a latch, letting the
door fall. Then the mouse would clime in a vertical tube and go out on
another seesaw, which would drop him into a drowning tank while raising
the door to admit the next mouse. The design was so popular that
several American knockoffs were patented. The latest was in 1990.
The snap trap, invented in 1894, took over the trap market. What it
lacks in efficacy it makes up for in consumer appeal.
The electrocuting mouse trap was invented in 1909.
At one time I had a Victor Tin Cat. It's about the size of a cigar box
and holds mice for disposal. It could trap several at once. One
disadvantage was that even if I picked it up to look through the vents,
a mouse inside could be invisible. Nowadays I think they have
transparent covers. Eaton makes one for a much lower price.
I also had Kness Tip Traps. It's a rectangular plastic tube big enough
to hold a hot dog. You could see from across the room if there was a
mouse in it.
Mouse traps are cheap and disposable for very good reasons - so folks
don't contact the
disease-carrying rodents. Good grief!
Clean up the place, put all cereal, grain, pet food in hard containers.
Put a dab of peanut
butter on a mouse trap, put trap in path of meese, check often. I used
plastic bag to pick
up the mouse and trap so's I would not touch it; dispose of the whole
thing. Only mice I
have had indoors were seasonal, late fall, and the always showed first
signs by droppings
and chewing into food packages, esp. flour sack in lower cupboard. I
tried Decon once,
but the mouse died beneath kitchen sink - retrieveable, fortunately, as
the smell was
I've adapted this. I have a string running from the points that the
handle attaches to the bucket, and I have an empty orange juice
concentrate can slathered in peanut butter on the middle of the
Four hours into this experiment, no mice, but maybe they're waiting
for the house to be quiet.
My only concern is the board; the one I have is probably at a 30
degree angle and I hope that's not too steep.
Sounds like it will work. Fingers crossed.
Although not sure if I want there to be mice (proving the thing works,
but confirming I have mice), or no mice (possibly indicating poor
execution on my part, but maybe indicating no mice left in basement),
when I next check it.
Good for you! I even keep a bucket out in my garage and during the
winter I will use RV antifreeze in place of water. Works great! I
have far fewer mice around than I ever used to BB (Before Bucket).
The fewer there are mice outside, the fewer that will be trying to get
ps Once and awhile I will get a squirrel in the bucket. So if you're
after squirrels, it will work great for them too!
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