Thursday, August 14, 2008

Pests in the home: Mice

You have to read this heading carefully or it looks a bit like 'pets'... but nope, I'm writing about those unwanted critters that enter the home. We all have to deal with some pests in the home at one or another time... and sure, there are lots of poisons and chemicals you can buy to deter pests, but if a bottle states 'keep away from children' or 'consult a doctor if consumed' you really should be worried about putting that on any of your home surfaces and exposing you and your family to it. It really isn't worth the health risk to use nasty chemicals in your home. Luckily there are natural ways to deter pests, and I'm going to be writing a post about it once a month. We'll start off with MICE!

Mice get into our homes via the smallest of spaces - it is true that if you can fit a pencil into a space, a mouse can get through it... I've even seen it with my own eyes.

How do you know if you have mice? For a start you might here them running about at night... eek! But check inside food cupboards, and especially under the sink - if you see small black rod shaped droppings, I'm afraid you have a mouse problem. Even if you're not frightened by them, there is a very good reason why you don't want mice in your house... Mice can damage your property gnawing away at wires, and by sharing the food you leave in cupboards they can spread contagious diseases to you, your family and your pets. They also carry fleas into your home (I'll be posting about fleas for the next post on pests), and contaminate surfaces with their droppings.

I once saw a mouse cheekily run straight past me, into the kitchen and proceeded to climb onto the work surface via a tea towel hanging on a hook, I couldn't believe my eyes.
But as you know, I'm not going to recommend you poison them, so what can you do?

1- Cleanliness
First off, sweeping up food spills off the floor and keeping the cupboards and surfaces clean is a good start. Store opened food items in seal-able containers, pet food is particularly appealing to mice and they will gnaw right through the bags, so solid containers really are the best (I store our dog's food in a fermentation bucket as used by home brewers - they are cheap and come with an airtight lid).

2- Mouse traps
Mouse traps can work, but most people, including myself, feel uncomfortable with the thought of killing a mouse, but of course that's up to you. You can get humane traps such as the one below. Peanut butter and bacon fat work well in a mouse trap - you need something with a strong smell. Don't forget that once you've caught the mouse you need to release it quite some distance away from your house, or the little critters will just come straight back.

Multi-catch humane trap available from the Natural Collection.

3- Close up holes
Try to determine where the mice might be entering your home or cupboards. Usually you can see which areas the mice are living in by where the most droppings are, so start there to see if there are any holes in the wall nearby or perhaps a gap in the wall where pipes enter your house. These gaps can be stuffed with bits of copper dish scrubbers or steelwool - mice can't chew through these but they still allow for ventilation!

4- Deter them with smell
Use peppermint oil! Mice don't like the smell of it, so putting a few drops of the peppermint oil on some cotton wool balls, and leaving them where you find the mouse droppings will keep them away. Remember to replace these when the smell starts fading.
Hopefully that should sort out your mice problems if you ever have the misfortune of having to deal with them.

Watch out for my next post about easy ways to neatly fold t-shirts.
See you soon!


Debbies-English-Treasures said...

Hello sweetie...
I have done the chandelier post.
Hope you like it...
By the way, don`t forget to email me your home address!
Kisses Kisses
Debbie Moss

P.S- Oh poor little Mice! Not!!
The start of your post was really funny, I had to share it with Alan and got us both in stitches...
You see, he is dyslexic, and he actually read it PETS...
He can`t read and most of the times I can`t spell, so, we are a match made in heaven.

I hope you have a lovely weekend!

Ivy said...

Yesss! I can't wait until your next post. :)
I love learning all the right ways to manage a household. :)

Mice? No problems here in California. I think it's because it never gets that cold here.

Lesley said...

Oh we so had this problem when we first moved here! we live in an old farmhouse that was renovated and the first few months could hear them a night in the walls !!!!! we did find some holes that we blocked up and other than one cheeky one that actually came in from outside to be chased back out we havent seen one since :-) Will your t shirt folding included the anthea turner version? I can do that !!!! Its my party trick that baffles everyone ha ha!!! like the peppermint idea thanks for that L x

LaundryBasketCase said...

Ha ha, Lesley, I had such a good giggle just now... I'm so glad someone else knows the Anthea Turner fold! I also use that as a party trick - my mum was fascinated when I first showed her. So yes, I am definitely showing that as one of the ways to fold a t shirt... I just hope I can explain it properly, but I might put a video clip on. x

Debbies-English-Treasures said...

Hello Sweetie...
Thanks for your lovely comment, it really cheer me up!
I`m glad that you like my new banner... "Happy" has really done a wonderful job!
I will come and see you, for the new post... I`m curious about the Anthea Turner fold...
I`m still a little sleepy... my 3 "munchkins" have waken me up too early...
Don`t they know, that they are in school holidays... and, wakeing up to early, its a BIG NO!NO!
I`m off now, to have a strong black coffee!
Have a lovely weekend!!!
Kisses Kisses
Debbie Moss

A note on perfection

Many of the posts featured on this blog are about doing household chores the correct, or so to say perfect way. My intention is not to make readers feel that the way they are running their households are wrong. So if making the bed, or ironing shirts in a certain way doesn't fit your lifestyle, do not feel guilty about it. But by learning the correct way of doing things it might just come in handy for those times when special guests are staying, or when you need to iron that shirt perfectly for a job interview. So enjoy the learning, but skip the guilt and LOVE your homes. x

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