What to do about mice--potentially lots of mice? - Mothering Forums

What to do about mice--potentially lots of mice?

Laurel's Avatar Laurel (TS)
07:33 AM Liked: 13
#1 of 14
10-01-2011 | Posts: 2,133
Joined: Jan 2002

Last year we had some issues with mice, and we set traps and caught probablyt 3-4 and then never saw any more.  This year we've already caught one (outside under the back steps), and it hasn't even gotten cold yet.  We know there are more because of the way our dog has been acting.  We have quite a large pile of debris in our backyard (grass clippings, weeds that have been pulled, dirt, rocks, etc....the yard is still under construction), and I am pretty sure that this is where the mice have been living and breeding.  I would like to get rid of the piles, but it is enough that we'd have to pay to have it all hauled away, and we simply can't afford that right now.  It would need someone with a small loader to do the job, so we'd be looking at several hundred dollars at a minimum.  We also live right across the street from a very large field.


Anyway, I'm starting to freak about the probability of a winter dealing with mice.  I'm looking for natural and safe solutions to get rid of them.  I'm feeling like there are potentially going to be enough that just setting traps isn't going get to the root of the problem.   It seems like an exterminator-sized job, but obviously I REALLY don't want to bring in any kind of poison.  What are my options?  And if I do go with an exterminator, are there any companies that will do a family-safe, natural treatment?  I would love to just get a cat, but our dog can't deal with other animals, and having two pets simply would not work.  One of them would get hurt.


I really, really detest mice! 

swd12422's Avatar swd12422
08:59 PM Liked: 199
#2 of 14
10-01-2011 | Posts: 2,111
Joined: Nov 2007
I was going to say cat(s) -- rescue ferals from a shelter and let them live outside where they can reduce the population near the pile. Feed them just enough to keep them around, and maybe provide a shelter (close to the mouse source) to keep them warm in winter but still working. If your dog is an indoor dog, this could still work...

Otherwise, I know we have a non-poison exterminator who traps and disposes of rats (he live traps, then gasses and leaves them out in the wilderness for predators to take away). You may be able to find a service like this near you, but it's not cheap. You could possibly just set a bunch of traps yourself and empty and reset multiple times a day.... Not my ideal solution, but it's the cheapest no-cat solution I can think of! (Or start hauling away the nest bits at a time....)
JamieCatheryn's Avatar JamieCatheryn
08:04 AM Liked: 1295
#3 of 14
10-03-2011 | Posts: 5,068
Joined: Dec 2005

Mice don't like mint, that might help. You could make that pile into a proper compost pile maybe, add a lot of leaves and keep it moist and turn it over somewhat now and then. By next spring you could screen out the rocks and spread a great compost on your yard. Of course, you couldn't add kitchen scraps to it if you want to deter mice, unless you fermented them first to make them unappetizing.

Laurel's Avatar Laurel (TS)
06:57 AM Liked: 13
#4 of 14
10-04-2011 | Posts: 2,133
Joined: Jan 2002

I would love to make all that debris into compost!  I was afraid, though, that if mice have been living underneath it, it would already be contaminated.  Do you think that would be the case?  I thought of just buying one of those tumbling composter bins, but I really don't have the money for that either.


JamieCatheryn's Avatar JamieCatheryn
07:14 AM Liked: 1295
#5 of 14
10-04-2011 | Posts: 5,068
Joined: Dec 2005

If you're worried about germs in it, make sure the compost gets hot. Maybe try adding microorganisms to it instead of waiting for them do show up on their own. Look for something like "compost activator" "compost accelerator" or "bokashi bran", around $15.

insidevoice's Avatar insidevoice
07:29 AM Liked: 221
#6 of 14
10-04-2011 | Posts: 1,320
Joined: Feb 2011

Seal up any potential entrances to your home.  If they are in the pile and you drive them out of that, they will head for other comfy places (like your kitchen cupboards!) We use steel wool at any potential entry points (around pipes etc) as the mice won't chew through it. 


Living near a field though- it's really hard to keep them out 100%


My mouse solution has been a cat- I got him as a kitten from a farmer who kept them around to guard the grain bins and hay piles.  Every so often I see a sign of a mouse here or there, but within a matter of a couple days he's taken care of the problem.  He's an indoor only cat, and really, if mice are outside I am ok with that.  I just don't want them IN my house. We also have several neighborhood cats who lounge around on our property, I figure they keep the outdoor population to a minimum.  


I won't use traps if I can  help it, I saw a skunk running around with one stuck on a foot a few years ago, and you could smell the infection in the foot from many yards away (even over the skunk smell!)  I am not comfortable with the chance that something other than a mouse would be caught and injured.  

swd12422's Avatar swd12422
09:03 AM Liked: 199
#7 of 14
10-04-2011 | Posts: 2,111
Joined: Nov 2007

Originally Posted by insidevoice View Post


I won't use traps if I can  help it, I saw a skunk running around with one stuck on a foot a few years ago, and you could smell the infection in the foot from many yards away (even over the skunk smell!)  I am not comfortable with the chance that something other than a mouse would be caught and injured.  

I've been living in the city too long! Of course traps are a bad idea out in the country.... In a 15th floor apartment, however, traps are the best solution! I tend to forget about all the other creatures out there. :(

09:39 AM Liked: 5875
#8 of 14
10-04-2011 | Posts: 4,031
Joined: Jul 2011

Peppermint oil!  We had neighbors that were infested.  When they moved their infestation found our garage.  We went througout the house and crawl spaces with Peppermint oil.  We smelled like a candy cane factory but it worked.  However if anyone in you residence has High BP, then it's not a good idea. 

talia rose's Avatar talia rose
03:49 PM Liked: 17
#9 of 14
10-06-2011 | Posts: 1,163
Joined: Sep 2004

I am going to try the peppermint oil! We are dealing with it also and all our cats are not taking care of the problem. They are in our cabinets and silverware drawers!!!!

05:12 PM Liked: 5875
#10 of 14
10-06-2011 | Posts: 4,031
Joined: Jul 2011

Put it on cotton balls and switch it out every couple of days.  Funny thing, our little furry friends found their way into our other neighbors car... the screams we heard that morning were priceless. 

Snapdragon's Avatar Snapdragon
09:44 AM Liked: 929
#11 of 14
10-08-2011 | Posts: 4,561
Joined: Aug 2007

we had a pretty bad mice problem in my other house a few yrs back. I would be waking up every day and find mouse poop on the kitchen counter, and they had built nests inside the stove! I also had dogs at the time so the mice would hoard the dog food in shoes and closets. Finally, my husband set up like 12 kill type mouse traps.  the ifrst couple of nights we caught like 10! Then after that it was only one once in a while.  We put traps in closets, counters, shelves, attic, basement,- we just went for it and dh would check them in the morning and empty them. It got rid of them and they didn't really come back- one or two did but we just set up the traps and killed them. We used peanut butter for the bait.

I guess some people feel more compassionate about it and do have a hearts but they were starting to eat through some of the wiring in my house! they ate through a tube in the washing machine- etcetera so I wanted to just do it full force.

05:45 PM Liked: 79
#12 of 14
10-10-2011 | Posts: 4,669
Joined: Jan 2004

You could put traps under a milk crate and put a brick on top to keep animals from tipping it.Snap traps are cheap and effective. I would not recommend poison in the home.Decomp lasts a good 2 weeks,and the smell is pretty darn nasty.Pee smell is just as bad though I had saturated insulation.Nasty. Love the snap traps.Tea tree oil might deter as well. I had mice living in the engine of my old car.What a mess they make and they chew those wires!

BubbleMa's Avatar BubbleMa
04:45 PM Liked: 47
#13 of 14
10-14-2011 | Posts: 1,572
Joined: Sep 2007

We had a bad mouse problem in a previous house.  There was a big hole under the kitchen sink that lead straight to the crawl space.  They would be in my kitchen drawers when I opened them.  I could hear them running around on the counters at night.  *shiver*


Anyway, I tried all the natural remedies I could find and nothing worked.  Until I found fox urine granules at the garden store.  SO sprinkled them around the entire perimeter of the house, and we never saw another mouse again! 



sk8boarder15's Avatar sk8boarder15
11:34 AM Liked: 298
#14 of 14
10-24-2011 | Posts: 727
Joined: Jan 2010

I was also going to say a cat.... its the only thing that really works for us. Our cat keeps the mice and chipmunks at bay. 

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