This is not a mouse house

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rentokil_mouseLast week I was putting out food for the birds when I saw something scurry along by the side of the patio.

A rodent no less; you know, one with cute whiskers and a long tail…

I have to admit this particular mouse looked amazing – quite beautiful really with his glossy coat, shining eyes and sleek body.
I don’t mind living in harmony with nature or even sharing a bit of my food with other creatures. I’ll let slugs munch on lettuces and sparrows tug at the runner beans as long as they leave something for me.

We have several cats in the neighbourhood who do a pretty good job of keeping the rodent population down, but when rats or mice come into the house and start eating our food, I have to confess it’s one area where I toss my green and natural credentials aside and resort to chemicals.

This week I learned that mice are genetically built to find a way into houses and businesses. I’ve experienced myself how tenacious these creatures are; you have to admire them really. They will not only chew through plastic to get to a food source, one of our visitors actually excavated concrete!

I watched one the other day climb up a slim metal pole to get to some bird seed; it kept slipping back but was absolutely determined to reach the prize!

Amazing mice facts:

  • They can squeeze through holes the width of a pencil
  • They can climb walls (not to mention metal poles!)
  • They can jump as high as 10 inches
  • Mice live up to 18 months, by which time they may have had 7-8 litters of 4-16 pups
  • They can chew through electrical wires and cause fires
  • They can spread salmonella

How to prevent a mice infestation:

Fill the gaps

Ours got in through a gap where the washing machine hose came through the wall. Spend time checking your home for holes, and check around door and window fittings too.

Food storage

If you remember mice are after food it’s no good storing tempting goodies in paper or cardboard; use strong plastic or metal containers for cereals and grains.

Keep it clean

Make sure you clean up after preparing food and eating. Mice will be attracted to the smell of food, so pay attention to areas around your cooker, cupboards and behind the fridge.

Whilst having mice in your home can be a serious and annoying problem, there’s a fun way to teach young children about them with this ScamperMouse Facebook app

You could even win one of my favourite childhood board games: “Mousetrap”!

What about you – what is the one area of your lifestyle where you can’t or won’t use the green / natural option?

Sponsored by Rentokil


  1. Steve on April 13, 2012 at 9:14 am

    I completely understand your position regarding chemical warfare against rodent pests but it really isn’t an option for us. We are situated in a very rural setting and there are just too many birds and mammals (and maybe even snakes) that rely on carrion for food and I just can’t bring myself to use poisons that might enter the food chain via dead rodents. We also have a dog with a scavenging nature and I worry she might find posioned bait.

    We have recently seen an increase in the number of rodents, rats in particular, on our campsite. The campsite is currently closed so there are no sources of food available other than from our compost piles. They seem particularly fond of our worm compost bin and have chewed holes through the plastic bin. I always believed that provided you don’t try to compost meat waste, piles of composting vegetation will not attract rodents. This is clearly not true in our case. I suspect they are feasting on the worms and insect that thrive in it.

    I initially tried mechanical traps but these critters are clever and they soon learnt how to take the bait without springing the trap. I have however found a very effective alternative to poison and traps (Buddhists, vegetarians etc might want to skip to the next comment at this point).

    It is a kind of extremely sticky glue known locally simply as “rat glue”. You spread it around the areas where the rodents “run” and they get stuck to it and either die of shock, dehydration, or in one case, soon die from their wounds having gnawed their own limbs off to escape. Not a pleasant death I grant you but death through poisoning can’t be that great either. The packaging claims it is a totally natural product so I’m hoping the impact is limited to the rodent population. After an initial period of regularly trapping some rats we have not seen any evidence of them for some time. I’m sure there are still a few around but we appear to have redressed the balance and hopefully nature (aforementioned raptors, ferral cats, snakes etc.) will keep them in check.

    I had never heard of this product in the UK but it is widely used and recommended here in Montenegro.

  2. nadine sellers on April 13, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    although i do hesitate to use any chemicals, i must admit to using the dreaded mouse poison in 2 previous houses; for health reasons..i survived a bout of rodent borne hanta virus in the Utah desert region and did not want to suffer through this near fatal disease again.

    we have had mouse pets and do not wish to harm the creature, we also had tried to use traps (haha) glue (ugh) cats (mph) but when the deer mice came too close to housing, i sprinkled cayenne pepper and talc around the house..that was very successful in making dogs sneeze and whimper, and slugs to curl up and die.

    in the basement, i put two lids full of green warfarin, only one got a bite, soon no more mice..i was very grateful and slightly guilty..

    we keep no food to attract rodents, all in recycled tins etc. i liked steve’s blog..and tips.

  3. Neil on April 13, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    Over the past week I have caught 4 mice indoors, in the footwell of the back door. No idea how they are getting in.

    We only use live traps to catch them, they are humane trip traps. You place the food bait at the end and as the mouse moves over the trip to get at it, the trap falls down and the mouse is trapped. No problem finding these traps they are available on Amazon.

    Bait them well, no cheese, mice are not attracted to it much. Use dried cat food, it’s irresistible.

    When you have caught them, take the mouse at least 200 yards away from your house, otherwise they will find their way back! if you can introduce them back into natural surroundings such as a hedge or bank.

    Back in Winter 2011 (Look up my post 1st Jan 2011) I caught 13 voles indoors (very unusual to have voles). I used the Big Cheese live trap for them, but found mice are not so keen on that trap.

    So no need to kill them with crude snap traps or use horrible poisons that only leaves a nasty taste of guilt in the mouth when you look at their toxic bodies.

    Happy humane hunting.


  4. Jennifer Ward-Pelar on April 13, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    Loved the video!! If a pencil can fit under, so can a mouse. THAT is amazing. And a bit creepy.

  5. [email protected] eco friendly homemaking on April 14, 2012 at 4:02 am

    I really don’t like mice and have to admit that we used to live in a house and had to deal with them a lot. We also used mouse poison.That was several years ago and I would probably opt for a different method now.

  6. Mrs Green on April 22, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    @Steve: thanks for sharing Steve; I knew there had to be another way. To be honest I just wish I had my cats again; they were marvellous hunters 😉

    @nadine sellers: Oh goodness; that’s awful that you had such a horrible illness. Glad you got over that …

    @Neil: thanks for sharing your story (and the tip about cat treats!)

    @Jennifer Ward-Pelar: It’s incredible the size spaces they can get into!

    @[email protected] eco friendly homemaking: Well I’ve learned a lot about alternatives from the wonderful comments on this thread; I hope there’s something in the info that helps you too Alicia 🙂

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