Saturday, March 10, 2007

Best Bait For Mousetraps

It's peanut butter. Mice can't resist the stuff. Forget cheese. Mice only like cheese in Warner Brothers cartoons. Peanut butter is the best bait. I know that some will swear that chocolate is a pretty good mousetrap bait, but I've never had a bit of chocolate that I've been willing to sacrifice to mice.

I was cleaning the kitchen this morning as I do most Saturday mornings and discovered that under the kitchen sink smelled bad. Once I started moving things around I discovered there were mouse dropping everywhere! It looked like there had been an infestation of mice for some time. Really, I hadn't noticed anything until today.

We usually get some mice in the house in the autumn. The can always be found under the sink. There is a hole under the cupboard where the rising water main enters the house. It's warm under there and our cats couldn't get to them. On top of that, under the sink is the traditional place for the kitchen garbage bin. That equals a food source. Not much food, but some will be in there. It all adds up to mousy paradise.

I set traps for the mice when I notice signs of mice. This autumn, I thought we had escaped the annual invasion. I thought perhaps all the routes the mice take when looking for an overwintering spot had been blocked by our construction. Maybe we just didn't have mice this year. It has happened before. We did get mice, only they were the extra sneaky variety.

After cleaning up under the sink and spraying lots of disinfectant around, I dusted off the two mouse traps, baited them with peanut butter and set them by the hole for the water pipe under the sink. I pushed them into place with a pencil. The snappiness of mouse traps makes me flinchy so I use a pencil.

In less than ten minutes, I heard a snap. The first mouse had been caught. Throughout the day, I've checked the traps to see if they've been sprung. Most of the time, they had been sprung and had to be emptied and reset. At the time of writing nine mice have been killed. That is nine mice in one day!!!! I am aghast! We have a proper infestation going on here. I know it is one of the drawbacks to country life, the occasional mouse in the house, but really!

18 comments:

J-Funk said...

Whoa! I grew up on a farm and that seems like a lot even to me.

The worst part about mice is when they die and you can't find them and it stinks like crazy. When we moved our piano we found a mouse skeleton under there that explained the strange stink that had haunted us during the summer of '95. It may have helped if we had set a few traps with peanut butter nearby in '94.

UKBob said...

Hi Peggy, I usually use chocolate in my traps, I’ve had a lot of trouble with mice in the greenhouse this winter, they love sweet pea seed, I will try the peanut butter bait sometime.

Peggy said...

j-funk - It seems to be a lot to me too. I was just speaking to our plumber and asked him if he had seen any signs of mice while working on our house. He was as shocked as I was when I told him how many mice I had trapped yesterday.

UKBob - I haven't even STARTED on the greenhouse. I tackle that once the chicken feed is out of there.

Anonymous said...

nine in one day!! that's a great haul! congratulations, and i agree with the effectiveness of peanut butter. they can't stay away.

don't forget you've been doing a LOT of construction, and you've probably destroyed years of mouse housing in the process. generations of mice have lived in whitelees since long before you were born. maybe the new crop under the sink were congratulating themselves on moving closer to the food.

we had a similar problem here in stuffy old georgetown when we were in our renovation phase a few years back. hysterical young folks began screaming "MICE (plural) IN OUR CONDO!!" well, yes....

xo, ma

Joy Des Jardins said...

Yep, peanut butter works wonders...I've used it for years when I see signs of a mouse. I haven't seen any so far this winter, but last year I had a batch...like you. I set traps in a kitchen cabinet by the sink too. I can't rest until I know they're gone Peggy.

Peggy said...

Ma, How horrid that a beautiful Georgetown condominium would have not only one mouse, but MICE! Aren't mice only for the proletariat? I remember being impressed that you could smell mice in our house in Iowa before we saw them. I smelled these on Saturday. Today the smell is gone.

Joy - None caught today. I may have got them all in one day. Fingers crossed.

Joe said...

And the cats were just letting this happen? For shame! Feline freeloaders...

Betty said...

Peggy, I have always heard that if you fill the hole around the pipes and any other holes with steel wool, it will keep the mice out because they can't chew it.

Peggy said...

Joe - We're fresh out of cats at the moment. They wouldn't have been any good at getting these particular mice. Under the sink is a no-cat area.

Betty - I will try that. We've got some steel wool in the shed somewhere. An ounce of prevention and all that . . .


No mice were caught today - I may have got them all in one day.

Jay said...

Wow! Nice mice! Do they scream when the trap snaps on their tiny little necks?

NurseWhoLvdMe said...

Have you ever fed peanut butter to a cat? It's a riot.

sally said...

Congratulations! You must have had quite a percussion session going on under the sink.

When we tore down our basement ceiling, we uncovered a few mice habitats. We has since made all repairs and stuffed steel wool where ever there was a crack or hole. No droppings since. And no poison needed!

susan said...

Wow..that's a pretty impressive amount in one day. I agree with you about not wasting the chocolate on the little critters.

Ex-Shammickite said...

I have never tried to catch a mouse with peanut butter, but whenever I have an empty plastic peanut butter jar, I wedge it in the fork of our pear tree, and watch the squirrels antics to get at the treat. Pretty funny to watch a squirrel with his head stuck in the peanut butter jar! (That sounds cruel, but rest assured, he escaped pretty fast).

mrsnesbitt said...

When we kept chickens we often got the odd rat passing through as we are between a few farms...hubbie would lace the grain with whisky then pop the rats with his gun! Quick and we hoped they died happy!

Tink said...

Eeeeew. NINE mice in one day? Were they having a reunion under there?

Peggy said...

Jay - No, they don't scream. Their death is too quick.

Nursewholvedme - Our cats never liked peanut butter. Tuna, yes. Peanutbutter, no.

Sally - Lots of muffled snaps on Saturday. I'm glad you no longer have mice either.

Susan - I'd say the number was more horrifying than impressive. Who'd sacrifice chocolate to vermin? Not me!

Ex- LOL You are one twisted woman!

Mrs Nesbitt - No guns here, just mousetraps. Thankfully I've never seen a rat.

Tink - I think it was a mousy convention. Nine was a lot, huh?

Anonymous said...

Stuff holes with steel wool and hold in place with spray insulation (like good stuff) - mice don't like chewing threw the metal