Is Your Home a Holiday Inn for Mice?

The Brunette Lucy discovers that regardless of what fairytale classics like Cinderella would have you believe, mice and humans can not co-exist.

Even though I enjoy summer, I’m a cold weather fan. By September, I’ve had about enough of high heat and humidity. When fall comes around, I usher it in with unmitigated glee.

Of course, like everything in life, nothing is perfect. As I prepare my house for the winter months, little field mice are packing their bags as well, in search of their winter home. My house, apparently, has a neon “Holiday Inn” sign with a perpetual flashing vacancy sign, beckoning mice from all over the town.

I know this is going to sound weird, but I’m torn about having them in my house. They carry diseases, get into our food, and leave disgusting mice poop in their wake. But like most moms, I read the children countless stories about adorable miniature mice families living peacefully with humans. And who could forget the movie about Fievel, the sweet mouse searching for his family, singing, “Somewhere out there”? Yet when they move in, I want them to move out - immediately.

Even after reading the stories about coexisting with tiny mice families, what is it about them that strikes fear into the hearts of women everywhere? I’ve found myself standing on stools and countertops, quivering as one scurries across my floor. What am I thinking; that they’ll morph into giant rat gladiators like something out of the Nutcracker Ballet?

Last year, as the weather turned cooler, I vowed that I wouldn’t leap onto the nearest chair, stool or countertop, quaking in fear at the first mouse sighting. I steeled my resolve that an itty bitty mouse wouldn’t turn me into a shivering mound of Jell-O. A loud, shrieking bowl of Jell-O.

Then, while alone in the kitchen, I saw the first mouse of the season skitter across my floor. Keeping in mind my vow to be fearless, I bravely screamed as I courageously ran from the room.

I knew that Mickey Mouse and I couldn’t share the same kitchen; and I wasn’t going anywhere.

Still remembering the stories of cute mice families, and not wanting to hurt the poor guy, I made Matt buy a humane trap; we placed peanut butter crackers inside. Unfortunately, our little Mickey thought we’d erected a four-star restaurant, which he frequented regularly. He came and went at his leisure because apparently, no one had told him that he wasn’t supposed to waltz in and out whenever the mood struck. When he didn’t like what was on the menu, he quickly found my pantry.

Finally, after a few weeks of me screaming (no matter how bravely), Matt finally made me make a choice – poison or a traditional trap. Since I couldn’t bear to think about the slow death poison would cause, I opted for the trap. Because life is funny that way, I was alone in the kitchen when I heard the loud thwack that signaled Mickey’s demise. I actually felt really bad for the little guy.

I couldn’t bring myself to go look. Instead, I went in search of a shoe box which I put on the counter with a note for Matt. I asked him to put our small vermin visitor, whose life I had ended, in the shoe box. Then I announced that the funeral was at 5 p.m.

Later that day, I made my family stand in the cold, rainy drizzle of twilight as we laid to rest the mouse that had invaded our house. I ignored their murmurs of being the only kids with a crazy mother, burying a pest in the back yard. I even said a few words. I figured I owed Mickey that much after being the one to hasten his departure from the earth.

For several weeks, all was quiet. I had just begun to relax while alone in the kitchen. Until a few days ago, when another mouse scampered across my floor.

And the dance begins again.

If you like Lucy, like her Facebook page, The Brunette Lucy!

Jim Bryan September 16, 2012 at 02:43 PM
Was a mouse funeral dirge being played at the service?
William F. Brenner September 16, 2012 at 03:29 PM
There are inexpensive electronic/sonic mice repellent devices available at most hardware stores which you just plug in to any duplex outlet. Mice won't enter your home if you use these devices, which are inaudible to humans.
denise September 16, 2012 at 04:30 PM
Do u need one these devices in the outlet in everyroom
B. Strong September 16, 2012 at 08:41 PM
What kind of world do we live in where (dare i say) aborting our own human babies in their mother's womb is supposed to be accepted and quickly dismissed as mere "tissue" yet people are having funerals for mice??? WTF! Where'd the discarded babies go?
Jesseka Kadylak (Editor) September 16, 2012 at 09:50 PM
I usually try and catch mice naturally before using traps. I've managed to catch a few with peanut butter on a dish and then cover them up with tupperware before setting them free in a park (I must have cat-like reflexes to be able to do this). Our dog actually caught a few recently, but just wanted to play with them so we were able to free set them free as well. But I'm currently trying the D-Con twist traps so when they are caught I don't have a messy clean up.
Paula McKinzie September 17, 2012 at 12:33 AM
B. I think you missed the point. She IS showing compassion. Why the left field question.....reeks of guilt......
Michele September 17, 2012 at 12:43 AM
Mice are cute little creatures, when they are outside or in Beatrix Potter stories. I stay out of their homes and I expect them to stay out of mine. Besides, who wants to risk hantavirus? Not sure how abortion fits into a humorous story, but I suppose that some people can twist anything to fit their own narratives. that is so far out in left field that the ball won't even reach that far.
Beth Lewis September 17, 2012 at 12:43 AM
Tam, Many moons ago when we were "in-between" cats, Mom started to find mice signs in the basement. She got one of those have a heart traps and set it up with some sun flower seeds. Every morning, she'd carry the little train car across the street (in her bathrobe and slippers) and set him free by the side of the creek. Every morning, she'd carry the little car......Every morning, she'd carry the little car......We started joking that it was the mousy underground rail road. Word on the street is: "Go in their basement and get in the little car. You get paid a sunflower seed and they give you a free ride back to this side of the road!" They all disappeared when we got a cat back in the house.
Rene Cantwell-Clyde September 17, 2012 at 01:11 AM
JackA$$ Alert. God bless the many befuddled bone heads that roam our planet. It appears more of them were dropped on their heads as babies than was previously believed. Sad. Just freaking STUPID! Wine. Wine! Where is my wine!?
Shaun Schan September 17, 2012 at 03:37 PM
i found that sonic repellents are a waste of money. after months of sleepless night listening to the rodents in my attic last winter and after the orkin man could not locate any entry point, i took matters into my own hands. I did lots of digging online for tips and tricks. although it is still getting cooler outside, I'm feeling semi-confident about my prevention tactics, see below: -extremely thorough inspections... i found pretty large holes which orkin missed in my garage by crawling on the floor with flash light. I then spray foamed all these holes and gaps. -mouse escalators... you know the corners of your home where the siding meets??? well those can be direct entry points to your attic. i stuffed those suckers with copper mesh at the bottom then injected "great stuff" pest repellent foam sealant. -spray foam is your friend... if my theory is correct that the mice first entered my home via the aforementioned mouse escalator to the attic, then through various attic holes (pipe \ wire runs, etc.) to get to the living floors, sealing these larger holes seemed obvious. additionally, it will save energy. first i stuffed larger holes with copper mesh, then armed with a "great stuff" pro spray foam gun and the required foam ammo, i went at it. not only did i get the pipe and wiring holes, i also went the extra mile by spray foaming the framing top plates (this was recommended as a sure energy saver in a recent home energy audit). hope this helps
Neuman September 17, 2012 at 06:27 PM
I keep Protecta bait traps outside the house all year long to keep the population of the little rodents down. For tiny creatures they sure can do some damage to wiring and hoses. Best to not let them get into the house.
Lavender Green September 17, 2012 at 06:45 PM
While I am sure every home has their fair share of mice I myself will not put any kind of poison around my home. So I do what nature intended, I got in door cats. It is a safe bet I only see one mouse per winter season. I see this as the natural way to maintain the balance. As for the cute little critters trying to get in, well last fall/winter people in the neighborhood left their cats out (even in the zero degree weather) so with my nature of harm none I decided to feed them all so like anyone who gets free food they kept coming back, I also put a dog house out there for their warmth. Its a win win situation!
Tamara Kells September 18, 2012 at 09:39 PM
Thanks so much to everyone who commented! I love the new ideas. BTW, you can go to my FB page & see a picture of my new kitten. Just last night, he was sitting at the pantry door making me think he's spotted the first mouse of the season. And, B. Strong, thank you so much for taking the time to read my column and to respond. Hopefully, you'll keep an eye out for more of my articles (always on Sunday). I'd like to change your mind about the silliness that I write - it's always light hearted. You made an excellent point, though, about abortion. Thank you for taking the time to post.
Wilma Fingerdoo September 18, 2012 at 10:02 PM
We have indoor/outdoor cats (they were feral when we rescued them and we couldn't keep them indoors) and they provide excellent rodent control for the neighborhood. They are great mousers and we've never had a mouse in the house since they've been our pets (5 years). But we get dead "presents" several days of the week on our doorstep. If you can, adopt a cat!
Rene Cantwell-Clyde September 18, 2012 at 10:11 PM
Hey!!! What about me?!? I out-ed B.Strong by using his/her real name! I should at least get kudos for my superb lack of diplomacy. Diplomacy schmo-macy. Overrated and sorely unappreciated anyway.
Michele September 18, 2012 at 10:45 PM
I agree with Shaun - spray foam really IS your friend in keeping the mice out. My husband spray-foamed every tiny hole that he found while examining the outside of our house, and not just at ground level, up to a 3 foot height. We haven't had any unexpected "guests" since he's done it.
Tamara Kells September 22, 2012 at 12:28 AM
This week's article is going to be about taking the kids apple picking and how I managed to "Lucy it up" when I brought the apples home. Let's just say I should never be allowed in the kitchen with bushels of apples without supervision. I'm looking forward to your comments after this one!
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