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Mice. Not Mice?!?!?!?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

I'm going to start this thread by saying that I am definitely going to kill the mice. 

 

That being said, we just bought a giant farmhouse and I just found out I'm pregnant.  Today, I went to work on cleaning the kitchen (we haven't moved in yet, just closed Thursday) and there was a dead mouse in the mop bucket that DH had left.  Ew.  DD freaked out and so we got lunch and came home.  I'm going to get some snap traps and work on finding where they're coming in at.  I'm pretty sure that they're in the crawlspace under the kitchen, where the seller left a bunch of insulation and mess.  He was supposed to clean it out before closing and he didn't.  He also forgot to take half of his stuff out of the kitchen so I'm calling that a wash.

 

What precautions do I need to take while cleaning and working at the house until we get the mouse issue solved?  Can I handle dead mice in snap traps if I have gloves on?  Should I wear a mask?  Or am I overreacting?

post #2 of 20

I would wear a mask and gloves, personally.

 

I'd also get a good barn cat.

post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 

We're planning on getting a barn cat once it warms up a bit.  It's been in the teens here so I'd feel pretty bad, though we do have a giant barn for it to hole up in. 

post #4 of 20

Is hiring a professional in your budget.  IME, our guy was able to pinpoint the entry points and seal them up way faster then I ever could have.  And then monitored with snap traps to make sure we got them all (fortunately for us it was just the crawl space, not the kitchen).  They tend to come in around through gaps aroudn pipes under sinks, behind dishwashers, etc or through the ventilation system if they have chewed into the vents.

post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
We set 24 snap traps with peanut butter this evening before we left. The gross thing is, I keep finding poop in places like a closet shelf that the seller had covered in sweaters a week ago. As in, either the guy cohabited with them or they took over in two days. We're going to check the perimeter more closely tomorrow.
post #6 of 20

If they are deer mice (brown, bug-eyed, white belly, and long back feet) instead of house mice, they are risk of carrying hantavirus. If this is this is the case, you definitely want professional help to clean the whole house. A simple google search will point you toward all the public health info you need about. It's not the dead mouse you need to worry about as much as the all the droppings...  please research and be careful!

post #7 of 20
I hate to say this to you, but depending in where you live, mice just may be a part of life. I live in SE Michigan and it's a suburban area with lots of woods around. Everyone here gets field mice seasonally. They actually dont go for living in houses, generally. They come in at the end of fall, looking to overwinter when it gets cold, and then again in the spring when it starts to thaw, but then gets crazy cold again and they try to get back in. they can fit through really incredibly small places, it's virtually impossible to mouse proof a home. We get them mainly in the areas that are close to the crawl spaces and slab. They don't get into the living spaces, except when we first moved in (see below)

We set traps all year, but only catch 4-6 mice per season. The rest of the time the peanut butter goes untouched an there are no droppings.

I would say that they may have gotten in and taken hold under the owners nose. When we first moved in here, we didn't know that it was like this. The previous owners had a cat. By the time we realized we had mice, they had made their way into the ducts and were just going wherever the heck they pleased.

When we figured it all out, we laid traps and changed all the old heat registers to newer ones that didn't have gaps that they could get through. That stopped the migration around the house. We caught double what usually catch that first fall. Some were babies! Yuck!
After that we were wise and have always nipped the few that come in based in weather before they get the chance to infest. We also cleared away a lot plants that were close to the house and that helps too. Any debris piles or chopped wood piles that are close to your house are places that they tend to nest in, so removing that may help too. I wear gloves and masks to clean up as well.

Good luck! I always hate those couple of weeks in the year :/
post #8 of 20
Friends have mice, and got cats. No change. Then they got a dog. Bye-bye mice. Not sure why. Then they got rid of the animals because of allergies. Mice came back. If it were me, I'd get a dog.
post #9 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

Friends have mice, and got cats. No change. Then they got a dog. Bye-bye mice. Not sure why. Then they got rid of the animals because of allergies. Mice came back. If it were me, I'd get a dog.

It's true, some cats don't earn their keep! I think there are some dogs that are known as "ratters" even. Some terriers, I think.

One nice thing about getting one of those "barn cats" from the humane society is that you *may* be able to get a proven mouser. It doesn't hurt to ask, anyway!
post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 

DH is over there now and there were two traps with mice in them.

 

Banana - there aren't any woodpiles or brush up against the house.  DH is checking out every crack right now and has steel wool to put in any spaces.  My parents have a "rat terrier" but the thing is so high strung, I'd hate to see what would happen if it actually saw a mouse!

 

I just can't believe that the seller lived like that, with mouse poop all over his stuff!

post #11 of 20
Quote:

Originally Posted by MariesMama View Post

 

 My parents have a "rat terrier" but the thing is so high strung, I'd hate to see what would happen if it actually saw a mouse!

We had a rat terrier. He was really high strung, but was a really good mouser/ratter. He was too much for us when we moved to an apartment so we gave him to my uncle who lived in the country. He turned into the best dog when he had the space to burn plenty of energy out in the country. He kept my uncle company on the tractor, slept in the outbuilding with plenty of straw. He had a blast catching small rodents. He turned into a dog that everyone quickly fell in love with. He just wasn't meant to be a town dog.

post #12 of 20

We had mice rather badly at our apartment building in Richmond.  It was an old building that had been fitted and retro-fitted and modified and restored within an inch of it's life, and was currently serving as nine apartments.  I want to second, third or otherwise strongly suggest the "animal solution", as in, get a terrier or a few cats.  (Two or three cats rather than one, cats aren't guaranteed mousers so with one you may get a dud, and they are social animals.)  Out of the nine apartments, one had a boxer, and mice, and the rest of us had cats or small dogs and no mice. 
 

post #13 of 20

We had a mouse problem at one point, but it was before we had children, and it was in a Brooklyn apartment building, not a farmhouse, so I'm not sure how well the techniques we used would apply to you. 

 

Some animal lovers also might consider the story a little disturbing - so if you want, I can PM you, or post the story here, or not, whatever you prefer. 

post #14 of 20

We've had mice in every single house Dh and I have ever owned, from suburban living to in-town home to a brand new construction in the country. They just find their way in. We've had them in cars, in our campers, boats, garages. We've had dogs and cats, some were good mousers, some were not. One dog was rather excellent at it! You have to identify the points of entry. Which could be many! I have literally watched mice climb up wood beams to enter a second story open window. In another house, they climbed up the crawl space walls and accessed the main floor by wedging around the hot water tank. Yeah.  Those suckers are hardy. They are able to contort their bodies to fit into an opening the size of a pencil. And hence the reason you can spent years identifying where they get in at. We are in CO, and mice is just something many people have to deal with. There does not need to be any wood or brush piles around the house to have mice. We've never had any of that and obviously have still had mice issues! We had had to hire professionals once winter when they got into our walls through the heating system. Nothing worse then lying in bed at night and hearing them in the ceiling above you...

 

 

 

Like another poster mentioned. Do identify what type of mice. Deer mice can and will carry hantavirus. It is a nasty, nasty disease. My old neighbor years ago actually died from it. You do not want to mess around with deer mice poop. The virus is excreted in the poop and must be killed with bleach. I always wear masks, gloves, and use a spray bottle with bleach solution when cleaning where mice have been. 

post #15 of 20
Thread Starter 
They're deer mice, though Michigan has no reported cases of hantavirus. I think I'm just starting to feel overwhelmed by the whole thing right now. It's just so dirty, and I'm kicking myself for not saying anything about the crawl space at closing. We're also storing a bunch of stuff for the seller with no contract or agreed upon time frame.

I'd really love to just hire someone to clean it all up.
post #16 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by MariesMama View Post

They're deer mice, though Michigan has no reported cases of hantavirus. I think I'm just starting to feel overwhelmed by the whole thing right now. It's just so dirty, and I'm kicking myself for not saying anything about the crawl space at closing. We're also storing a bunch of stuff for the seller with no contract or agreed upon time frame.

I'd really love to just hire someone to clean it all up.

Did you have the house inspected before closing?  Did the inspector say anything about rodents?  They have been there long enough (I would assume) that he should have seen something...

post #17 of 20
Thread Starter 
He didn't see any signs of an infestation at inspection. We've only caught three mice total, even in the garage. So maybe I'm just seeing old poop.
post #18 of 20
If you set the traps, they will come...

No, really though, it takes some time. They are smart too. At first we put too much pbutter in the traps, and they ate it off! We realized that they were getting snapped when they had to get in there to get the last bit. Our rate of trap set up to length of time to capture went down dramatically when started putting less of peanut butter and really working it in there.

I think they are less active in the winter too.

It would be awesome for you if you only have the three you caught. I hope it's that! But I would keep the traps up.
post #19 of 20
Thread Starter 
Update: traps are still up, no more mice! In laws brought their squirrel dogs over and they didn't even sniff around.

Now if I could just convince my husband that pregnant ladies can't help with scraping lead paint or removing asbestos, we'll be all set. (Don't worry, I've put my foot down on those fronts.)
post #20 of 20

Oh, those deer mice in my area are BIG.  I was used to small little field mice and recoiled in horror the first time I caught a deer mouse in a trap.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Banana731 View Post


It's true, some cats don't earn their keep!

 

Yep.  My female cat was a great mouser.  Her brother on the other hand, not so much.  Once, I actually saw a mouse run into his foot and he did nothing but shake his foot like he was shoing a fly.  Cats also like to bring their "treasures" to their owners so be prepared for kitty to drop a dead mouse at your feet, on the doormat or, as in our house, a live mouse in bed in the middle of the night.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MariesMama View Post

 

I just can't believe that the seller lived like that, with mouse poop all over his stuff!

 

Our exterminator told us he is amazed that many people live with mice but will go bonkers over spiders, rats or other infestations.

 

We have battled mice.  Some places and houses are just prone to them where we live (North East).  Really, the best thing is to get a professional exterminator.  For every one mouse you see, there are probably 10 or more you don't see.  I tried to do it myself but grew tired of spending money on traps.  I would beat them back for a while and then out of no where, it would start again.  I think our total annual pest control bill is less than $500 per year and that is as many visits as needed to control any pests including 24 hour on-call service.  Our service uses bait placed in out of the way areas and plugged all the holes with some sort of copper mesh that they can't chew through.  

 

"Giant farmhouse" makes me think of all sorts of pests like wasp nests, bees and the freakishly large and terrifying hornets we had last year.  All covered under our contract.  

 

Are you working on this house prior to moving in?  If so, a bucket of water is an amazing trap for when you aren't there.  We have a cabin and dead mice rotting in a snap trap was less than idea.  A friend told me to fill a bucket partially with water and put something like a nugget of pet food or even a splash of olive oil in the water, lean a board against the bucket (creating a ramp) and let the suckers drown themselves. (the mice seek out water and will fall into the bucket)

 

I laughed at her but it totally worked for us.  Just dump the bucket and water out in the field, no need to touch the mouse.  This is particularly effective if you are using bait or poisson, which is nothing more than blood thinner that makes the mice incredibly thristy and seek water.

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