This is one of those posts I don’t want to write, but feel I have to. It’s not like everyone else out there has perfectly clean wall interiors – no mice problems anywhere. That’s simply not the case. Pretty much every house we’ve lived in has had mice running around one area or another. Not of epidemic proportions or anything, but in our first house, we had them in the basement and in the second house, the issue was mostly in the garage. In that house, we also had them in a closet in the kitchen. They love closets. In the last house we lived in, I remember hearing a mouse scratching under the kitchen sink. I opened the door to see what it was, the mouse popped his head out over the edge, I got nervous and slammed the door shut. Unfortunately, I closed the door right across the poor mouse’s neck, killing him instantly.
It was during our stay in the Connecticut house when I finally learned how to deal with mouse problems effectively. The solution is to kill them. I know, I know, I’ve tried everything. Havahart is my middle name. I tried those traps with some success. The problem lies with human nature. Most of the time, I set a trap and checked on it daily. There were occasions, though, when I forgot about the trap. The mouse died in it and I felt awful. Actually, I always feel awful when I’ve got to get rid of a mouse in the walls.
Every time I’ve taken the “nice” approach, I got a couple. It seemed, though, that the little critters had a way of multiplying behind my back. I’d trap one, let it go, only to return to seven more setting up shop in the garage. Frustrating can’t even begin to describe the feeling. Especially when I’m worried that they’re going to chew on the wires of the cars. It seems that we transport the mice from house to house in those very vehicles.
Starting last week, I’ve been hearing scratching in the walls near our bed. The scratching and chewing actually woke me up this morning. I can’t tell you how close I came to putting my foot through the wall in an attempt at catching the mouse and wringing its neck. I told Laura in no uncertain terms, “I want it dead.” Sort of like a nemesis.
The way I successfully dealt with the mice problem in Connecticut was to use place packs. These are small paper packets that have poison laden bird seen inside. You just lay them on shelves or where ever you see evidence of mice and let the mice chew the packs. They get dizzy and go outside to die. Strangely, I never found a dead mouse. I sure did find some nests though. They loved to shack up under my miter saw.
When we moved to Maine, I knew I would need to bring out the big guns. I went ahead and ordered a bucket of Tomcat mouse bait chunks.
Within a week of getting here, I started hearing and finding evidence of mice in the basement. I threw a few of these mouse bait chunks around and within a week, stopped finding the evidence. so much so that I actually forgot about the mice all together. Well, guess what. They’re back. I’m not sure if they know autumn is coming up and they’re trying to build nests in preparation for winter, but I’ve so far heard a mouse upstairs near the bed and another one in the log cabin room. You see, I think they’re making their way up the inside of the house siding.
There’s a gap under the siding that I’ve got to get out there and seal up. I believe the mice are coming from the woods and either moving into the house or just coming in and stealing the fiberglass insulation. No matter what they’re attempting to do, they’re unwelcome guests. And being so close to the woods, things get exponentially more difficult.
I though about the best way to get to the area where I heard the mouse. I figured that since we’ve got a closet in the hallway, right next to the bedroom, that would be the most inconspicuous place to create an opening to see what’s going on.
Since it was simple enough, I cut a square hole in the back wall with my utility knife.
I only made the hole in the back of the closet; the other two were here when we moved in. I think there’s a water pipe in there or something.
We’ll see how things go. The bait smells pretty good. Sort of like cake batter. I plan on checking the bait in the wall tomorrow and if it has little chew marks, I’ll know the mouse won’t last for long. The worst case scenario is that the mouse eats the bait and then dies in the wall and stinks for a week. I’d prefer that over the scratching and chewing, which is going on right now as I write this post, by the way.
How to Catch a Mouse in a Wall
Wow. It’s been less than an hour since I finished typing up my last post. You probably won’t believe it when I tell you that we caught the mouse. Good thing too – because that mouse was starting to get under my skin. I was beginning to fear something bad was going to go down.
Here’s what happened – After I finished writing my previous post, I started watching videos of mice in walls. It only took a few videos to realize that the mouse we have in the wall may be trapped. One video I watched showed a dead mouse that was stuck in the wall. They had to cut away some sheetrock to get at it and eliminate the stink. In the second video, there was a mouse trapped in a wall cavity as well. The guy in the video demonstrated how to dangle a glue trap down into the cavity. He eventually got the mouse to stick to it and pulled both the trap and stuck mouse out. This one was live. I’ll never understand how people use glue mouse traps. They are probably the most barbaric methods available to man. I know, the poison isn’t much better, but every time I see someone catch a mouse using glue, it’s almost like they’re enjoying themselves. Freaks. You have to keep an eye on people like that closely.
After I watched these videos, I went back up to the closet with my hole saw. I cut a hole in the sheetrock in the approximate area of the mouse. Seconds after I was finished and pulled the material out of the way, I saw a little nose stick out. Here’s a picture of the hole.
In the second picture, you can see some gray fur. I don’t know how long this mouse was stuck or if it’s his or her fur. I do know that it smelled of urine.
The mouse really didn’t want to come out. I had an old yogurt container held up to the wall, covering the hole, in hopes that the mouse would walk into it and make things easy, but that didn’t work. After a while, I decided to drill another hole. And then another. I ended up with three holes and no place for the mouse to hide.
It was right after I drilled the third hole that the mouse flew out of one of them causing me to scream. Do you have any idea how embarrassing it is for me to scream in front of my lady? Thanks mom. Genetics.
Anyway, the mouse ran out of the hole and the closet and zoomed right into the bathroom. Laura followed it and closed the door. I gave her the yogurt container and lid and she trapped the mouse. What a pal.
In order to deal with this beast, we decided to drive it up the road and let it go in the woods. Probably a good half mile away. Here are some pictures of the mouse.
It ends up that this is a house mouse. Cute little guy, right? I’m glad that we were able to amicably bring this ordeal to a close. I really didn’t want to smell a dead mouse in the wall and wonder how long it was going to last.