Irreversible?
June 2, 2005 4:40 PM   Subscribe

So the building has no history of mice infestation, as far as I know. The place has always been immaculate. Recently I have been living there on the generosity of a good friend. The past fortnight has been a bit difficult, and I reverted to being a slob. There are no tracks, no droppings: no sign of anything. But just now I saw a mouse taking a stroll down the hall. Have I fucked my friend's place? Even if I get rid of the little critters, will they always come back?

I've already cleaned up the place completely, and sealed all food sources. Do I need to do the same for paper sources? I'm going to get traps tomorrow. But once they're out, are they out?
posted by anonymous to Home & Garden (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
If you're lucky, it might be a single random mouse that's wandered onto your turf, not a whole family. If you see no droppings, I'd take that as a good sign.

Is there serious construction work going on nearby, like sidewalks being dug up, sewer work, etc.? Heavy construction work on my street coincided with the only times (twice) I've seen a mouse in my apartment, and in both instances, no more mice appeared after I caught the first (the two incidents were two years apart).
posted by Prospero at 5:07 PM on June 2, 2005


Traps: You need snap traps. Put the baited traps in a small paper lunchbag. Then put the bag somewhere where you saw the mouse. They like to walk along the same paths. When you catch the mouse, just pick up the bag and throw everything out.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 5:11 PM on June 2, 2005


Or glue traps. Though they seem a little cruel to me. Place along the wall.

If there is no food for the mice, there will be no mice.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:24 PM on June 2, 2005


Glue traps are incredibly cruel. Mice are stuck to them until they starve to death. The old-fashioned kind is better. And bait them with peanut butter.
posted by interrobang at 5:30 PM on June 2, 2005


If you feel guilty about using traps, bait them with something *really* expensive. [Caviar? At least the kiddo went happily...] I recommend against using poison; we used those in the basement, and instead of crawling into the walls, the mice died in the middle of rooms. Stupid mutants. It did work though...
posted by michaelkuznet at 6:05 PM on June 2, 2005


Some friends were living in our place a couple of years ago while we were away (for the most part they were miraculously tidy, responsible people) and suddenly mice appeared. Not without reason, either: my friends left big, giant, gross bowls of dog food sitting out in the kitchen.

But guess what: I was at least as mortified as they were about this whole thing, maybe even more. The whole idea made me gag. But they did normal things while they were living there (pets, etc.), mice got attracted, and I realized for the first time ever that there was a big old gap in the floorboards under the cabinets next to the kitchen sink. Hello vermin!

From your message it sounds to me like you could probably more than make it up to your friend by finding the obvious points of rodent access and plugging them up. It’s not even a question of traps. Could you do this on your own? Can you tell your friends about this, or is that out of the question? In our case, we minded the gap, and we have laughed about it a bunch of times since it happened.
posted by sophieblue at 6:18 PM on June 2, 2005


There are also kill-free gravity traps available if you really don't want to glue mice down to starve to death, or snap them in half - which can occasionally and/or often spray mouse gut/brain/poo/bits everywhere. (The bag idea is a good one, though) Snaptraps aren't pretty.

Just be prepared to relocate and release them miles and miles away from your place and others. Do not flush them and assume that it'll kill them. There are many known instances of rodents climbing out of toilets right through the water trap.

I don't remember what they're called. But the ones I have seen are long blue rectangle tube-shapes with a slight bend in the middle and a plastic door.

Bait goes in the closed end, door props up over the open end. Mouse goes in and gets the bait, tilting the bent rectangle with it's weight, and releasing the door to snap shut.
posted by loquacious at 7:24 PM on June 2, 2005


Mice are probably always nearby--they don't just pop into existence. They probably live in the slob's place next door most of the time and just cruise the nieghborhood every once in a while. They happened upon your slovenliness and moved in. Maybe your detritus is tastier.

Solution: move out------forever.

If you don't move out then definately set many snap traps, and close all food in tupperware, glass is better. But you know, mice are way better than rats, and they don't coexist.
posted by recurve at 7:32 PM on June 2, 2005


Sloppiness can attract mice, but they need very little food to live and can exist very happily in clean places as well. We had a mouse problem. The best bet was covered snap traps from D-con. They caught two out of three mice we had quickly (and you didn't have to touch the mouse to dispose of it!). The last was trickier, he escaped a trap and became trap-shy, he would tear around the house at night and leap over the 15 traps we had laid out. The only way to catch him was with glue traps - giant rat-sized glue traps - placed everywhere by the walls. Humane traps never worked for me, by the way.
posted by blahblahblah at 11:01 PM on June 2, 2005


Back in the days when I lived in in wee silly houses in the woods near Chapel Hill, the houses were old and drafty enough that mice would come in from the cold in fall/winter (even when the house wasn't slovenly).

So I'd set out snap traps, and 1--5 mice later, depending on the year, the mice would be gone. At the very least, they'd be gone for the year, and they wouldn't necessarily come back every year. So, yeah, once they're gone, they'll likely stay gone for a while.

My problems with snap traps were not that they were overactive and caused exploded mouse to go everywhere. More the reverse -- occasionally one would only hurt a mouse real bad, or, once, just seemed to pin the damn thing without even hurting it much. So you should expect that you're going to have to personally inflict death on at least one poor cute mousie with big sad eyes. I recommend putting them in a bucket and gassing them with car exhaust -- they die inside of 10 seconds. It beats the hell out of drowning them, or whacking them with a shovel.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:49 AM on June 3, 2005


While glue traps may be cruel to the rodent, living with the stench of decaying rodent is cruel to me. Snap, as xeno says, have always been problematic for me as well. Poison gets you said decaying rodent somewhere that you will never ever reach it.

On the occasions I had to use them I policed them once a day and if they'd caught something I put it out of its misery. As other also said, the best thing you can do long-term is stop being their snack bar. Besides, leaving food out is disgusting - satisfy your sloppy tendancies with books and papers. They rarely breed disease and vermin.
posted by phearlez at 9:32 AM on June 3, 2005


As far as cruelty-free traps go, I've had repeated success with the TIN CAT. It's extremely easy to use, and can catch several at a time.
posted by sarahmelah at 10:16 AM on June 3, 2005


I have had much experience with recurring mice issues in my old, gap-floored apartment. You may be surprised how long they can dwell with no visible signs (Poops and dried pee puddles are the main signal, along with gnawed food boxes/bags or food fragments collected in odd areas.) Look under the electric stove burners, in the backs of drawers, under drawers (take them all the way out), backs of closets, behind the canned goods, under the radiators (if you have steam heat) behind the toaster (and clean the toaster thoroughly), under the sheets (disgustingly enough). If all those areas are clean, you're probably in good shape.
I say, screw being humane, they're disease-carrying vermin stealing and contaminating your food. I have had very good success with the sticky traps (make sure they're fresh, and check them daily) baited with peanut butter or drops of egg nog. Also poison - I've heard lots of talk about stinky corpses but never experienced that myself. I've taken to just leaving opened poison packets in one or two key spots and checking them for activity occasionally. that way, the first sign of a mouse's arrival is also the last you'll see of them. Good luck!
posted by BigLankyBastard at 10:30 AM on June 3, 2005


I recommend putting them in a bucket and gassing them with car exhaust -- they die inside of 10 seconds.

With an older model car, I'm guessing; the new ones are extremely low-CO emissions, neh?
posted by five fresh fish at 10:34 AM on June 3, 2005


It's never just one mouse, I'm sad to say. I labored under that illusion for awhile until the traps started working and my roommate and I caught 6 within a day.

Snap traps are my preference. Glue traps leave you with a live mouse that needs to be disposed of. Blech.

Steel wool (they can't chew through it) in every hole, nook and cranny may help limit their access to your apartment. If you have radiators, fill in the holes where the pipe comes from the floor. That's how mine were getting in.

Mice seem to love the stove, probably because it's warm and there are lots of food bits in it. If you can, lay traps in the stove (obviously don't cook while the traps are in there). I caught several in the area under the burners.

Cats help too, although that's a pretty drastic step. Do you know anyone who will lend you their pet? Just don't use poison and cats together.

As the weather warms up, mice usually head for the outdoors, so your problem (depending where you live) may be short-lived.

Also, if it does get worse, it's worth have a pest inspector out to figure out how they're getting into the apartment.
posted by Sully6 at 11:00 AM on June 3, 2005


I recommend putting them in a bucket and gassing them with car exhaust -- they die inside of 10 seconds.

With an older model car, I'm guessing;


1991 or 92 Ford Probe (that passed emissions-testing every year) in 96 or 97.

Doesn't need to be CO. CO2 kills just fine.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:08 PM on June 3, 2005


Way after the fact of course, but a quick "Dear God Thank you" to Sully6. I've heard the friggin' mouse IN the oven, but never thought to leave a trap in there for some reason. I'm down to "the smart one" and hoping to defeat him....
posted by kalimac at 8:45 AM on November 13, 2005


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