How to Deal with a Mice Infestation

Walt Disney chose a mouse to be the quintessential icon of his empire.  This mouse has become the most recognized and beloved vermin in the history of the world – yes, Mickey Mouse.  Why did he choose a mouse?  I guess when it comes right down to it, a mouse is actually a fairly cute, none-threatening creature.  If fact, many have made pets of them.

In fact, a member of the mouse family – the pack rat, looks more like Mickey Mouse that a regular mouse.  The pack rat is a little larger than a mouse and has big round ears just like Mickey.  Unfortunately, I’ve had far too much experience with both mice and pack rats.

Our rustic cabin in the mountains has been the home of countless numbers of mice and pack rats over the years.  In spite of every attempt we’ve made to put out poison and plug the holes to make the cabin as mice free as possible, those little buggers are able to find their way in.

I must admit, there were times these little critters provided some entertainment in the form of sheer terror for the females in our family.  This usually happened in the middle of the night when you could feel the mice running over your sleeping bag or hear them climbing the walls and scampering across the floor.

I’ve been wakened in the night to the sounds of wrenches, toys and baby bottles being dragged across the floor by pack rats as they tried desperately to stow away their new found treasures.  They loved to collect all kinds of items for their nests.  I guess these critters felt that the cabin was really their domain and we were just occasional visitors.  They may have been trying to let us know the cabin was their turf and we should hit the road.

We had one very disturbing experience with the mice at our cabin.  Our water system was fed from a mountain spring through 2” black PVC flex tubing that supplied a total of nine cabins.  Our cabin is at the end of the road and is the last one connected to the water.

The owners of the cabin just up the road from us decided to try and make a parking space for their vehicles close to the road.  In the process, the tractor they were using tore up and severed the water line leading to our cabin.  When we arrived that weekend, needless to say, we were just a little upset as we had no water.

After a fair amount of time trying to do a quick and dirty repair job so we’d have water, I opened the valve pressurizing the plumbing in our cabin.  As we’ve all experienced when we turn on a faucet after the water has been turned off at our homes, it sputters and coughs blowing air with short blasts of water before the line is completely filled with pressurized water.

As I opened the cabin’s kitchen faucet, it sputtered and coughed followed by a blast of blood, guts and mouse fur!  Yes, a mouse!  Apparently, a few mice had decided it would be a fun adventure to climb inside the severed water line.  When I reattached and pressurized the line, they were in for the ride of their lives – literally!

Well, you can imagine how my wife felt about using any water from the cabin ever again and it took quite a bit of effort to clean out all the faucets in the kitchen and bathroom and then sanitize the line.  Bottom line – regardless of how cute Mickey may be, his family can destroy our food storage and create havoc in our lives.

I thought it might be helpful to discuss the issue of mice infestation and how to naturally get rid of these critters.  Here is an article that addresses this issue fairly well:

How To Get Rid Of Mice Infestation Naturally

On the homestead, you will often have chickens, food storage, or a garden. That’s what most of us do, anyway, right? It makes the homestead, “The Homestead”. Unfortunately, chicken feed laying around, compost bins with leftover chicken scraps, garden produce growing, and food storage containers can also attract another common aspect on the homestead.

Mice. A mice infestation is not the definition of fun. Truly. Having just 2 mice can mean many more in just a short time. Chemical baits are not always the best option, as they may poison the owls that would eat the mice.

Some signs of mice infestation:

●  Cereal boxes or bread bags chewed through
●  Kitchen towels are shredded (pulling threads to build a nest)
●  Mouse droppings on the floor, in drawers, or near food storage
●  Hearing scurrying in the walls

How many mice are considered an infestation? For most of us, it only takes ONE to become an infestation. Fortunately, there ARE natural ways to get rid of mice. Unfortunately, having cats isn’t always the answer. My cats like to bring LIVE mice into the house and release them. This must provide entertainment for them, watching them scurry as I scream, but I digress. So, I went to my readers and asked for their help. Here are the best ideas for getting rid of a mice infestation.

First and foremost, what you need to do when you discover you have a mice infestation:

●  Keep all food covered and stored in hard plastic containers. They can easily chew through bread bags, ziploc bags, and cereal boxes. Remove these items to hard storage containers, or store in the refrigerator.
●  Keep dishes and food crumbs cleaned up. Mice can be attracted to even small bits of leftovers.
●  Remove inside pet food dishes at night, and store that food in a hard plastic container. Nothing says “free buffet” like a dog or cat dish full of food.
●  Be sure to keep outside animals’ feed cleaned up and stored in plastic containers. We use 55 gallon sized garbage pails with tight fitting lids for this.
●  Close up any holes you can see under sinks or in walls if you can. Add some steel wool pads to the hole if possible, since they are unable to chew through that to get back in your house from that space. This is especially important if you don’t have a finished basement or a slab foundation. Any hole you can fit your thumb into is big enough for a mouse to climb through.

How To Get Rid Of Mice Infestation

Method #1 Use snap traps with peanut butter or cheese loaded in there. Snap traps are the kind you “set” and are spring loaded. The mouse climbs onto the trap, pulls at the food, and the spring goes off, snapping a metal bar across their neck or body. The mouse is usually killed instantly by this. The trick to this is to have the food near the spring so the mouse can’t get the food out and still escape. (yes, they have done that) Traps also need to be placed in direct line of where the mice scurry across the floor. Place them along the wall, since they do not usually deviate from their path.

Method #2 Use a 5 gallon bucket. Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of water. Take a paper sack and cut the top a little (inch or two) larger than the top. Lay it over the top opening, fold excess over the edge and tape it down. Making sure it’s pulled tight. Then take an Razer knife and put a cross or x in the paper. Spread a little bit of peanut butter on the center. When they walk to the center to get the peanut butter they fall into the bucket and drown.

Method #3 Peppermint leaves, or peppermint essential oil. Mice are repelled by the scent of peppermint, so laying some peppermint leaves on their path, or soaking a couple cotton balls in peppermint essential oil and laying those on the path will help keep them at bay. Of course, they may also encourage the mice to gain another path, so make sure you cover up their entry holes before you try this.

Method #4 Use Moth balls around the house. Fill the holes mice would climb in with moth balls to help repel them. Laying some around the outside doors may help as well.

Method #5 Chickens are excellent mousers. Chickens can sometimes be better mousers than cats are. If possible, let your chickens free range where you see mice outside and they will often catch them.

Remember, have mice loose in your preps can destroy hundreds if not thousands of dollars of food storage.  Mickey really doesn’t care if your preps are ruined so get aggressive and let him know who’s boss.


More than 35 years experience in the Preparedness Industry

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