Are these bugs or eggs
March 11, 2012 11:17 AM   Subscribe

I keep finding these small cocoon-like things on our kitchen counter. My wife thinks they may be bugs or cocoons coming from the molding above the sink. I tried to inspect it closer, but it just seems like there is dirt inside. Should I worry?
posted by hbon23 to Home & Garden (30 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Those are mice droppings. Better get some traps.
posted by dawkins_7 at 11:18 AM on March 11, 2012 [9 favorites]

Mouse droppings.
posted by dunkadunc at 11:19 AM on March 11, 2012

Yep, mouse poop.
posted by essexjan at 11:21 AM on March 11, 2012

The live traps often work better than the snap traps. Use a skewer to put a small dab of peanut butter on the back wall.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:30 AM on March 11, 2012

Mouse shit.
posted by Sternmeyer at 11:39 AM on March 11, 2012

Mice. Be aggressive in going after them. When I had mice, I wasted time with a number of live traps that were ineffective (mice would escape). During the couple of weeks that I spent with ineffective solutions, the population exploded and there was a lot of damage. Snap traps were the solution for me.
posted by quince at 11:41 AM on March 11, 2012

We had lots of success with an electrocuting trap, and I like to think the little critters didn't suffer too much.
posted by thirteenkiller at 11:41 AM on March 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

Nth-ing mouse poo. If you're actually seeing evidence out in the open, you may have quite the family hidden away already.
posted by radwolf76 at 11:42 AM on March 11, 2012

Mouse poo. Or palmetto bug poo (it can be pretty large too.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 11:43 AM on March 11, 2012

Ridding yourself of mice can be unpleasant. If live traps work, great. If not...I've only ever had success with glue traps or actual poison traps.

For prevention, you'll want to look around for entrance points where mice could be getting in.

In the meantime, move any foodstuffs that you have in paper, cardboard or any sort of 'chewable' container into heavy-grade plastic, glass or metal.
posted by gimonca at 11:44 AM on March 11, 2012

Those are not cocoons, those are mouse droppings.
Cheap snap traps with peanut butter work great. Please don't use glue traps. They are cruel.
posted by SLC Mom at 11:44 AM on March 11, 2012

Live traps for me were essentially feeding stations. Your mice may be stupider, or you might find a better trap.
posted by gimonca at 11:45 AM on March 11, 2012

Also, the warning about glue traps is appropriate. They do kill, and it's not quick.
posted by gimonca at 11:46 AM on March 11, 2012

Response by poster: why aren't our cats killing these mice??!!!
thanks to everyone, we are going to call a specialist to assess the situation.
posted by hbon23 at 11:47 AM on March 11, 2012

Pix of cats?
posted by thirteenkiller at 11:50 AM on March 11, 2012 [10 favorites]

`I'd be willing to bet your cats have been trained to stay off the counters and the mice have learned that's a safe zone.
posted by buggzzee23 at 11:51 AM on March 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

We have mice who show up in my pantry, despite the pantry being directly off the room that the cat is barricaded into at night. Sometimes cats just fall down on the job.
posted by KathrynT at 11:53 AM on March 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

And glue traps are both the most effective and the slowest method of death. I use glue traps, then put the caught mouse and trap into a paper bag outside and administer the coup de grace via a heel stomp from my motorcycle boot. Seems the most humane thing to do in the situation.

If using the glue traps, you should keep a can of denatured alcohol on hand in case a cat gets stuck in the trap.
posted by buggzzee23 at 11:55 AM on March 11, 2012

Most cats have had the usefulness bred out of them, or trained out with kibble. Anyway, your mouse problem is in the ceiling where your cats probably are not.

Someone's going to need to go look. I'd recommend an exterminator, but you could take a preliminary gander yourself.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:00 PM on March 11, 2012

Ha! I am reading this while boiling the kettle for cleaning out our pet mice's cage. Peepiceek and Lilygloves assure you that that is indeed mouse poo, but would need to see a picture of your cats in order to tell you why they're not a mouse-deterrent.
posted by peagood at 12:02 PM on March 11, 2012 [6 favorites]

Yes, those are mouse droppings. Walk around the outside of your house with a flashlight and look at where the siding meets that foundation and at the corners. If you find any gaps or holes, push a wad of steel wool in there (they can't chew through steel wool) and caulk over it. Unless you find where they're getting in they will just keep coming back.
posted by Ostara at 12:18 PM on March 11, 2012

Oh! And your counter could be the mouse highway, not giving the cats enough time to alert to them and catch them. And worry more about the urine than the poo - do you have a blacklight? That will show you where they are too. Or, if you lightly sprinkle flour across your counter before you go to bed at night, you may see the trails where they're coming from and where they're going to.

And my cat says that unless our mice are rolled in Fancy Feast and sprinkled with catnip, it's not worth facing THE SPRAY BOTTLE or the RICKETY STAND to get at ours. Though, he'll go for the Sea Monkeys' water every chance he gets. If your cats have been trained to stay off the counters, that's maybe why.
posted by peagood at 12:27 PM on March 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

I came to say mouse shit, but looks like that was already proffered. I use poison myself, but the problem with that is they eat it and die in the wall or ceiling and can smell.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 1:41 PM on March 11, 2012

Live traps for me were essentially feeding stations.

You must have put the bait in the wrong place. If a mouse goes anywhere near the end wall, the trap will tip and the door will close.
It is the snap traps that become feeding stations.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 1:47 PM on March 11, 2012

why aren't our cats killing these mice??

Because some of them haven't bathed yet.
(thanks to Bill Cosby, from back when he was funny)

posted by Rash at 3:03 PM on March 11, 2012

When I used to rent a place that had mice/rats come in, the landlord gave us several electric rat zapper traps like these. We put a few peanuts in them and set the trap along the wall near where we'd found droppings (mice/rats tend to run along the edges of the room), and the traps were successful fairly quickly. An LED lights up once they've gone off, and you can then dump the trap out into the garbage, toss in a few more nuts, toggle the switch to reset it, and put it back out. I've been told that avoiding handling the trap helps keep it from smelling like human and warning the mice off, so I always picked it up through a paper towel or a piece of newspaper.
posted by JiBB at 3:27 PM on March 11, 2012

The best way to get rid of a pest in the long run is almost NEVER to try to kill the pest, it's to eliminate its food source.

Mouse-proof your pantry as best you can. Anything in cardboard or bags (pancake mix, flour, etc.) gets put into an air-tight hard plastic/metal/ceramic container or the refrigerator.

My family had terrible luck with pests growing up - mice, ants, moths....I think the only thing we *didn't* have was cockroaches, thank goodness... We were constantly putting out traps (glue traps....never again) have a heart traps, you name it. It reduced the population, but never eliminated them.
posted by Lt. Bunny Wigglesworth at 3:52 PM on March 11, 2012

(ah, posted without finishing).

I wanted to say, now that I'm on my own, I don't have nearly as many problems with any of those, because I'm insanely careful about storing my food (which my parents weren't).
posted by Lt. Bunny Wigglesworth at 3:54 PM on March 11, 2012

Peanut butter in the snap style traps. Put them under the sink and in the backs of drawer cabinets. I never had any luck with the live or electrocution traps.
posted by bonobothegreat at 9:51 PM on March 11, 2012

Please really think through the type of traps you'll use and where you'll put them, since you have cats. Snap traps can seriously injure a cat, and glue traps can be likewise a serious hazard. Even if your cats are trained to stay off the counters, it's just not worth the risk of injury to your cats. Go with a good live trap and learn how to properly bait and set it. You generally want to place your traps against the wall or baseboards, as mice don't like to run around out in the open.

Please do not use D-Con or other poison. You'll just wind up with dead, rotting mice inside your ceiling or walls or wherever they are hiding. As others have said, tidy up the food sources, eliminate their points of entry, and then use good live traps to remove the population.
posted by xedrik at 11:07 PM on March 11, 2012

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