Sunday, September 27, 2009

Fall in New England Means One Thing....

It is Mouse Season.

No, this isn't an advertisement for Disney World. This is a reminder that during the first few cool days of fall, mice enter homes looking for vacation spots for the cold, long winter.

Now, for some info on these disastrous creatures.
Mice have a 12- 24 month lifespan. They are able to procreate in less than 2 months and have 6 mice per litter every 3 weeks. That is close to 100 mice per year from one mouse!
Mice that come in for the winter are usually deer mice or white footed mice. They are easy to spot due to white underbellies or feet.
Mice have a definite scent... a musky smell that once you detect it, it stays with you and haunts you for your remaining years. While mice are just looking for a place to stay while it is cold, but they can do serious damage while they visit and they can transmit disease and they are filthy.

PREVENTION - (Keep all food contained in plastic, not tempting cardboard and keep the floor swept.)
Package "nesting" supplies in plastic as well - mice love to make nests with fabric, rags, old sheets, etc.
Try to keep entrances to the house covered, caulked or sealed. This is all but impossible, as mice can squeeze into spaces as tiny as 1/4" tall. YIKES, the nasty little devils.
And their diet isn't exactly gourmet, they eat just about everything except metal....they love cardboard, wood, plastic, fiber, grains, sweets, anything.
Mesh wire, can be crumbled and stuffed into openings to prevent the critters from vacationing in your home.

TREATMENT
I go all out and declare war on the rodents. Because we have cats, I don't put out poison, but I do put out glue traps and snap traps.... I don't let my cats in the basement and on the odd chance they come in contact with a mouse, I don't want the cat ingesting a mouse that ingested the poison.
(All though I must confess, our 3 cats do not earn their keep. They don't know what to do with mice. One time they all sat there staring at a mouse, purring, while I had to take care of the mouse....)
Snap Traps - I find that the cheaper the better. The super duper black ones don't always work and a crafty rodent can escape if he can get the trap caught on something else and pull out. Some times, the trap snaps the animals head off and it can be a bit messy. I am OK with this, as it is a quick death and I didn't invite them in my home anyway.

Glue Traps - these work. The caveat is that the trapped animal is stuck to very a very sticky gummy substance and dies from stress or starvation. Or, the mouse chews his own leg off and escapes. This is not my first choice method but it works. While I prefer a quick death, I just want the things gone, so I am OK with glue traps. They are VERY sticky. Other creatures can get trapped on them as well, so don't be surprised to find crickets, bugs, a snake etc. AND don't use with little kids around.

Mice are a nuisance and a costly one at that. I don't understand people who trap them and then set them free. While it is supposed to be humane, it is not. It now becomes someone else's problem and someone else's disease ridden nuisance to deal with.

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