It's indoor hunting season

stacy_wisserOctober 30, 2007

It's getting colder here in the NE of PA now, and I have found the first traces of the field/house mice coming in. They have been burying dog food in the soil of my houseplants.

Anyone else have this problem, and if so, what do you do to keep the mice from digging in the houseplants, while waiting to get these little critters with the mousetraps?

Any ideas would be appreciated, since I do live in the middle of the woods and do have quite a few mice. It's the beginning of my hunting season...


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What about the sticky tape you can buy to keep cats out of plants? You just lay the sheets of it over the soil, or can put it around the outside pot so the mouse couldn't even climb in.

I have two cats and they don't allow any critters in "their" house.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2007 at 10:27AM
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I have a dog and a cat. These mice are crazy, though. I have started to get a sick fascination with hearing the mouse traps snap during the night. LOL Although, the hubby won't clean out the traps, he said it's the woman's job. hahahaha

I'll have to look into that (sticky tape), while I'm on my annual mouse hunt.

Thanx for your input and have a great day.


    Bookmark   October 30, 2007 at 10:41AM
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Is is possible to figure out where these critters are coming in? Where I live it is unheard of to have mice in a home that people live in, the way that you speak of it so casually (big fears of Hanta virus here). But we have a very cold climate, and much is done to weather proof openings, so maybe less spots for mice to squeeze through. I did know someone that had mice get in through some plumbing fixture on the mobile home she rented, and she stuffed the spot with steel wool, heard they don't like to burrow through that stuff. Or...get a cat.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2007 at 10:47AM
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toadlilly(z7/8 ETX)

This year, my sweet old cat killed two huge fat black rats BEFORE they made it in:) Love my kitty-however I know if theres a way there will be mice, rats, and other creatures. Hiding dog food in your plants is crazy! When organizing a storeroom, I kept finding piles of dog food, at first I thought it was just a spill, then more and more, higher and higher, even on the top shelf! I can imagine those little buggers with a huge piece of dog food, scaling the bookshelves! First, I cut out the food supply, then I set traps. Sticky traps sound like a safe (for you and your animals) way to go. Leave it to mice to be so creative. Good luck hunting! CJ

    Bookmark   October 30, 2007 at 7:20PM
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You live in the middle of the woods, probably with fields surrounding you huh?? I am way used to the mice coming in the house, ugh. The only way I found to fight them was get a cat that was a excellent hunter. I actually went through about 3 cats before I found the perfect cat, he weighed 28lbs. When we first got him after he checked the place out, the very first night he was there he just sat at the edge of the kitchen floor watching towards the cabinets. He got two that night:) He emptied the place of mice fairly quickly, and after that any time he was just sitting like a statue somewhere it wasn't too much longer he would get his prize. The only problem I had was trying to get him to go outside after he caught one (he REALLY liked to play with the mice before he did away with them) I didn't want him to think he was being punished for catching the mice but I am a little on the squeamish side.
I tried all kinds of things before I got him (did you know sometimes you have to make the traps more sensitive because the mice can figure out how to get the bait without springing the trap?) mouse poison works fairly well, unless they die in the walls somewhere, plus if you have kids or pets that can be worrisome putting poison out.
I loved living out in the country but I sure don't miss the mouse invasions!

    Bookmark   October 30, 2007 at 8:41PM
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I lived in an abandoned farm house for a year. Lots of mice and rats. Shot the rats with a .22 cal outside. Anyways, we started using the sticky glue traps. They're awesome. Just place them along walls where the mice run and you get 'em. If you have animals, place them under something as well, like the fridge. I bet they'll help a lot.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2007 at 11:04PM
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greenelbows1(z9--so LA)

I've had a lovely little calico with good intentions for quite a few years now. She and her big buddy, the Chow mix we lost acouple years ago, would work together to get the mice--Winnie could get in tight corners and chase 'em out, and Ginger made VERY quick work of them. But we had an awful problem outside with tree rats--native here, not the Norway rats--and mice in the attic. Winnie wasn't supposed to go outside, and Ginger couldn't climb trees no matter how hard she tried. I set traps by the score--burying rats under everything I planted was excellent fertilizer!--tried the kind of rat bait that isn't poison to other animals but keeps their blood from coagulating. Not much of a dent. Got an electric trap and got a bunch more. Russell sat in the window and plugged 'em with his air gun. OF course the fact that I feed the birds and squirrels added to the problem. Then a lovely lady cat moved in and went to work--my, but she's good! Never see either a rat or a mouse anymore. Finally managed to catch her and get her to the vet so she won't have any more kittens, and they've all been too--and I feel I owe it to her to take care of all of them. In fact, right now one of the durn kids is lying across my wrists as I type. Nobody needs six cats. But I didn't feel like I needed six hundred rats either. Not a hard choice! (Think I'd let a rat lie across my wrists? Yuuuck!) I recommend cats!

    Bookmark   October 30, 2007 at 11:21PM
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watergal(z6/7 Westminster, MD)

We usually get a mouse or two in the shed/garage/pantry/basement when the weather turns cold. We have a large field and a horse farm behind us, so the field mice are pretty inevitable. This summer, though, they found a bag of bird seed in the basement, and invited all their friends in to have a party before I realized what was going on (I don't go in the basement much).

The spring traps worked some, but some mice were too smart for them. The sticky traps work better, although they do seem kind of cruel, but I was tired of sharing my home with the darn mice. I made sure to stop putting ANYTHING edible in the basement unless it was in a secure, chew-proof container.

We are allergic to cats, otherwise I think that would be the best solution. Although a lot of people complain about their cats digging in the houseplants or chewing on them, so that could create a new problem!

    Bookmark   October 31, 2007 at 7:03AM
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Thank you all for your help. I currently have 2 MISSING sticky traps. We do have a cat in the house, but that just moved the mice into the ceiling. She did get 4 in one week in the spring. I am also missing one of the old fashioned snap kind of traps that I set.

These mice are crazy!!

I've had an exterminator (friend of mine) come over and do an assessment, and he told me to just keep using the traps. I even left the snakes right outside of the house this year, to help catch the mice before they came in. It was a great learning experience for my 5 year old son to watch the snake eat a mouse.

I have been putting all food (including dog food) in sealed containers, but they grab up the food that the dog drops before I get to sweep it up, then they hide it in the soil of the plants.

Like I said, it's Mama's Hunting Season now. I'll be picking up more of the snap-traps. Those sticky ones haven't caught any, but have just disappeared from where I put them.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2007 at 7:06AM
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watergal(z6/7 Westminster, MD)

I had a mouse drag a sticky trap underneath a bookcase with him. I assume he died there - I couldn't get to him easily, but at least I can't smell anything either. I've also had them drag sticky traps a foot or two away from where I put them when they get stuck - I'd love to see how they move them.

A snap trap is gone too? Did it get tripped and fly through the air? I've had them go several feet when I accidentally tripped them.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2007 at 10:45PM
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I don't know where the snap trap went. I had it located in the drop ceiling and it's gone. I can move the tiles, and shine a light up there for the whole room, but it's no where to be found.

I lost 2 sticky traps, one was under the fridge, and the other was under the oven. Both of them were completely gone. This was last spring when these went missing. Since it's gotten colder, the mice have come back in the house.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2007 at 8:53AM
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sweetcicely(S7 USDA9 No.CA)

We once had two mice sneak in under an unblocked door base. They successfully evaded the cat and turned out to be Houdinis at stealing the bait from our traps.

To foil the little grab-and-run bait snatchers, I smeared peanut butter on the bait platforms, so they'd have to stop and lick it off.

Snap, Whap! Peanut butter got both critters in less than 24 hours.


    Bookmark   November 2, 2007 at 9:13PM
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watergal(z6/7 Westminster, MD)

My mice are so sneaky that they can lick off every bit of peanut butter without springing the trap!! I think I've caught them all, FINALLY. No new critters in the sticky traps for days now. Hooray!

    Bookmark   November 3, 2007 at 8:34AM
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greenhouser(Middle TN Zone 6)


We use the poison rodent bait under the house and in both outbuildings. Works every time.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2007 at 10:14PM
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watergal(z6/7 Westminster, MD)

I'm scared to use the poison. I have a dog who likes to get into stuff.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2007 at 7:01AM
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greenhouser(Middle TN Zone 6)

We have other animals to consider as well so place them where dogs and cats can't reach... like under a low storage shelf, behind a large cabinet etc.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2007 at 7:39PM
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Well, I've been a hunting and so far have caught 3 mice, 2 the first night I set up the traps and 1 the second night. I'm on a roll now. They have stolen 2 of my baby varigated spider plants (I have no idea where they went) and killed my pinapple plant with burying dog food in the soil and causing a nasty knat infestation. But, I think I'm on the mark now. Snap traps are all over the place. My son got a long lecture about staying away from them, and he keeps an eye on the dog. So far no more plant thefts or dog food sucking up the moisture in the soil. I think they have moved on to filling my vases with dog food. (Yes my dog food is in a sealed container, so don't ask). This has been an interesting hunting season so far. I can't wait to see what these little devils come up with next.


    Bookmark   November 13, 2007 at 11:50PM
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I had this problem with one mouse who was a sneaky one and got past the critters.
We live in a farming town, when winter (or burning season) comes we get the mice trying to come in.
This one mouse got into my arrow head plant and made such a mess with huge tunnels that I was frustrated (choice words coming out of the mouth, you no how it is). It was killing my plant!!
What I did is took black plastic, heavy duty. I cut it and laid it on top with several layers, putting soil on top and tucking it into the sides of the soil. I watered and repaired the damage the mouse did before hand.
I notice this made that little bugger go, I am sure it was a mouse we caught in one of the traps.
This year so far so good, no mice....and that plant gosh well here it is so it survived...

Hope this helps....

    Bookmark   November 14, 2007 at 1:54AM
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That is a beautiful plant. Thank you for your insight on what you have done to get these pests out of the plants. At this time, I have set up the traps all over, and with the help of the forced air heat, have let the pots get a bit dried out. I have gotten into the habit of spraying them each day with a mister. I am hoping that it will keep the mice out of the soil, and also keep from getting any other flying critters around. I have been watering lightly each week, but not as much as I was. I do my mouse damage assessment each morning. It's becoming routine, and I think the plants like the extra attention.

I have chopped back my arrowhead plant quite a bit, and now have 5 separate ones growing from it. I was thinking of trying to train the sections to climb up something, myself. Thank you for the beautiful image you attached.


    Bookmark   November 14, 2007 at 7:24AM
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