[FRIAM] keep getting mice.

Steve Smith sasmyth at swcp.com
Tue Jan 3 16:18:00 EST 2023

Gil -

  To misquote Leonard Cohen: "There is a crack in everything, that is 
how the mice get in".

I have lived with mouse-flux all of my time in my current 
(rural)property 20 years).  The mice (and ground squirrels and packrats) 
in the environs require that I remain vigilant to keep them living 
outside my home.   This has involved a lot of care around making sure 
that doors fit (and close) tight and that any wall-penetrations (dryer 
vent, etc) be well managed/screened, etc.

Virtually *every* Fall I recognize that one or more mice have taken up 
residence in some nook or cranny inside my house... evidenced primarily 
by foodstuffs nibbled on my counter and of course "droppings".  
Sometimes the sight or sound of scurrying. If I trap these invaders 
quickly enough I don't have a whole family (or several) and even worse, 
multiple generations take up residence.   I've been a vegetarian most of 
my life but I still would stoop to kill-traps to stop this business 
right away.  When Mary moved here (5 years ago now) her (yet) softer 
heart lead me to buy a decent no-kill trap which was limited to a 
single-catch per night nominally.   It still worked.   Equally important 
for me has been to have a live mousing-cat in the house... even though 
I've never had one catch/kill more than one or two in a season, I think 
the presence and threat helps to reduce the number of mice willing to 
force their way in when the opportunity is found... I don't know if any 
voluntarily move back out once they realize what they are facing.

Last winter I finally buttoned up a sunroom I'd had 90% finished for 
years... this included replacing the raw adobe floor with a clay-plaster 
finish, sealed with walnut/citrus oil.   The adobe floor (and cement 
bancos, etc) could absorb/hide a lot of mouse-droppings/activity that 
the new surfaces patently just enhanced... so the flux of mice in my 
sunroom was mostly ignorable/tolerable or in any case too hard to try to 
eliminate. With the new finish it was just the opposite, and 
thoughtlessly, the walnut-oil surface in the process of (many months 
long) curing fully was a terrible attractive nuisance.    I think the 
little buggers thought it was a buffet laid just for them.  We had 
evidence of quite a few mice living in there and even when we were 
catching and expelling one per night, there was a never ending supply.   
There were nominally *no* holes for them to get in, but if you've seen 
my construction techniques you might not be surprised to find that I 
actually *did* have a few *hidden* weak spots where they might have 
entered.   Our 20 year old cat had gone blind the Fall before (quite 
gracefully) and finally passed away on her own that winter... so no more 
mouser or even the whiff of a threat of a mouser in the house.

  We then went away for 2 months with several different house-sitters in 
the house who had not instruction nor reason to try to keep up with the 
mouse flux.  Besides, I was used to mouse-infestation being entirely a 
winter-time phenomena.   When we returned mid-summer I sat in the living 
room with the final house-sitter who was scheduled to leave the next day 
and I sequentially set, caught/released 6 mice in the space of a couple 
of hours.   The trap was just outside the room we were sitting in and I 
could see the little buggers playing chase on the floors, bancos, 
furniture as well as dancing over the top of the trap and teasing their 
way in and out of the trap before finally springing it.   I went on to 
catch several each evening (at twilight and beyond) until we were down 
to rarely seeing more than two chasing through the room... and catching 
one per night.   Hole after potential hole was plugged during this 
time.   And yet they keep coming.   There is a chance these are 
recycling, we haven't gone to the effort of notching their ears or 
painting their tails or anything.   My experience in this environment is 
that there will always be dozens (hundreds) of field mice aspiring to 
become house-mice... so killing (or hauling far away) the ones we catch 
probably doesn't change that much.   I now wish I hadn't moved the three 
bullsnakes I caught eating eggs in our chicken coop across the rio 
grande, but invited them to live in the sunroom... I think they are 
better (yet) mousers than a cat.

We now have a fresh mouser who doesn't have continuous free access to 
the sunroom (lest the buggers re-invade the house proper) but who does 
spend time out there stalking the hell out of every nook and cranny... 
she hasn't caught any yet (though she did help catch a few who had 
gotten into the house before we could trap them).

My best recommendation is to eliminate any food-attractive-nuisances 
(refrigerator, cupboard, animal-tight containers, etc), make sure you 
have no known extgerior wall-penetrations (even the tiniest cracks they 
seem to squeeze through) and then go on a trapping frenzy...  clean up 
any trace of mice ASAP so that you *know* if you have any left as you 
trap them down to near zero.   And I recommend a housecat (or two), 
though I know some do not like keeping cats.  Maybe a ferret or a 
schnauzer?  My best ever Gopher-Getter was a weimerainer who would sit 
for hours at the entrance to a gopher burrow just to grab one... if 
allowed, she might have cleaned them entirely out of the yard.   We 
limited her time OCDing out in front of gopher holes... it was hard to 

Or maybe a bullsnake (or one of many other rodent-eating varieties)?

On 1/3/23 11:52 AM, Tom Johnson wrote:
> Yeah, I buy traps from Amazon a couple dozen at a time.
> =======================
> Tom Johnson
> Inst. for Analytic Journalism
> Santa Fe, New Mexico
> 505-577-6482
> =======================
> On Mon, Jan 2, 2023, 10:45 AM Gillian Densmore 
> <gil.densmore at gmail.com> wrote:
>     Another surge of mice Q: For all of Dismember i've had nothing but
>     an ongoing trickle of mice. what the is going on here? Is anyone
>     else having mice issues as well?
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