Got mice?
November 6, 2006 11:52 AM   Subscribe

Got mice? I've got mice behind the drywall and I'm trying to figure out an expedient way of snuffing out their lives.

So, it's the time of year when the mice come in from the cold. This is a relatively new house, well built overall, but there are scritch-scritch noises behind the drywall in the basement. I do not see any sign of mice in the living areas of the house - I believe they're confined between the drywall and the cinderblock outer wall. Thus, trapping won't be effective - they're not out and running around to run over traps I place on my side of the drywall, and I can't get behind the drywall to lay traps on their side.

The best solution that occurs to me would be to jab a needle through the drywall and spray poison on their side. (And find the entry point and stop it up, naturally). Is that done for mice, or is that just an insect thing? Any other solutions that don't involve tearing down the drywall to get at the rodents?

I'm aware of the possibility of retaining a professional exterminator, so you don't need to mention that, thanks.
posted by jellicle to Home & Garden (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
i don't advise poisoning them behind the drywall ... that can get pretty stinky ... all the same, there's probably some place where they're getting into your living space, even if you don't see signs of them

put a few traps here and there and see what happens ... peanut butter and cracker is your best bet for bait
posted by pyramid termite at 11:58 AM on November 6, 2006

You probably have holes in your drywall already. Look for outlets, remove. Place food and trap at outlet. Wait.
posted by bh at 12:01 PM on November 6, 2006

Definitely find their entrances (there will be more than one) and plug them up. A prior post mentioned steel wool as an effective plug.

I know from sad experience that a dead mouse in your walls will make an average sized room intensely reek of rot for a minimum of three weeks and render the room uninhabitable unless you have no sense of smell whatsoever and while one would hope a poisoned mouse would run out of the house to die, they usually don't have the courtesy to do so (what with being busy with dying and all, I guess).
posted by jamaro at 12:09 PM on November 6, 2006

The easiest way would probably be to cut through the drywall, and put some traps back there directly. This has the added benefit of allowing you to use catch-and-release traps, if you want.

Drywall is really easy to cut and patch. All you really need is a boxcutter, a piece to use as a patch, and some putty. You could cut a little hole in your wall, trap the mice, then patch it.

If you stop by Home Depot or whatever building supply store is in your area, the folks there can help you out.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 12:46 PM on November 6, 2006

get a cat
posted by Max Power at 12:53 PM on November 6, 2006 [1 favorite]

We had the same problem and, as Max Power said, it was solved by a cat.
posted by TheRaven at 1:05 PM on November 6, 2006

We saw a mouse on Saturday. Today we are borrowing a cat.
posted by mustcatchmooseandsquirrel at 1:54 PM on November 6, 2006

Block all holes except one, pump with CO2?
posted by oxford blue at 2:19 PM on November 6, 2006

Drilling a small hole and putting poison in the wall may work. My exterminator did that in the space between my cabinets and the floor. He used some kind of powder poison that supposedly adheres to their fur and is consumed when the mice groom themselves. Instead of drilling a hole, you may also be able to get the poison into the wall by removing an outlet cover.

As for the smell, I think the general consensus among experts is that mice (as opposed to rats) don't smell that bad, or for so long, since they're small and mostly skin and bones.
posted by dshargel at 3:25 PM on November 6, 2006

They are coming out to eat, just not while you're around.

When we bought our house there was a serious mouse problem. We had a few months of work to do on the place before we moved in so I covered the house with old school spring traps. Every one of them was eventually sprung and even in places that showed no sign of mouse activity. When I found their point of entry, gap in the fieldstone foundation opened by some vines, leading into the framework; I used a few cans on spray insulation to plug up the opening. Two years and no sign of anyone moving back in.
posted by paxton at 4:16 PM on November 6, 2006

99 cent trap and peanut butter
posted by caddis at 5:51 PM on November 6, 2006

Best answer: I can definitely attest to the stench of dead mouse. Skin and bones or no, they rot just the same and it can drive you out of the room for weeks.

I have had success in this kind of situation by drilling a small hole every so often in the drywall and dropping in some mothballs. The mice hate the smell of these and vacate the premises. I did not notice the smell of the mothballs in the rooms once I put a piece of tape over the holes.
posted by RMALCOLM at 6:00 PM on November 6, 2006

I used to live trap (peanut butter) then drop the cute furry bastards off on my way to work. However the cat cought more than me by far.
If you know any ravers, heads or rock-bug people borrow a black light. Rodent pee glows under the right uv light and you can backtrack to all the rat holes for proper cat placement.

Keep in mind you may not want to know just where they have been in your house, peeing on your things.
posted by blink_left at 8:23 PM on November 6, 2006

If you do snap traps: put the snap trap in a paper lunchbag with the opening facing direction of mouse travel. Makes cleanup a breeze, unless you're going through so many that at 50c a trap you need to reuse them.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 11:51 PM on November 6, 2006

I'm in the midst of my own mouse invasion. I've learned a few things over the past month.

1. Cheapo three for $1 mouse traps are the way to go. I foolishly spent $5 on a fancy-looking plastic trap which I ended up smashing with a baseball bat in an attempt to put my first mouse/rat/capybara out of its misery.

2. Mouse traps rarely kill mice. I've trapped 6+ so far. Only one was killed nearly instantly. The other ones ended up with only broken paws, they squeaked a lot. Some of them run around, dragging their trap with them. Be prepared to kill some mice. They're kind of cute up close and it's a bummer to kill them.

3. After some experimentation I've found that the best way to kill a mouse is to grab it by the tail and whack it against the floor a few times. Baseball bats and hammers are a bad idea. I tried disconnecting the spinal cord lab style, but it's really tough with a scared, wild mouse. I bought a box of latex gloves for this.

4. Like all living things, mice do not die quietly. They're going to twitch a bit even when they're dead. Try not to be too squeamish and make sure you whack them hard enough to minimize their suffering.

My neighbors have a cat who has definitely killed more than a few mice. Cats might be the best option as you don't feel like you're killing an animal needlessly. At least you feel as if the death is more natural.

The advice about the poison is right on. I tried poison in my last home and things get unbearable really quick.
posted by Telf at 1:51 AM on November 7, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks for the responses. I'm 99% sure this is a new infestation and they're not out in the main premises of the house. There is still plenty of food and water outside the house for them, it's a new house without large baseboard cracks or anything of that sort, and the entire length of the wall is visible to me, so I'd notice a mousehole chewed through the drywall. I want to convince them to relocate before the depths of winter when they do get hungry and thirsty and do decide to come raid my pantry in the middle of the night.

A cat is out - allergies.

Mothballs sounded like an excellent idea, followed by poison and traps only if necessary. I've also deployed one of those ultrasonic noisemakers - not sure how effective it will be, but it can't hurt.
posted by jellicle at 7:00 AM on November 7, 2006

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