Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sharing Your Home with Mice?

I know mice and other rodents can be a real pain.  They can be kind of cute until you find their droppings in your cutlery drawer--now that's disgusting.

So, let's think about the options for getting rid of rodents.  Maybe you'd like to send them to rodent heaven, but there might be a better and safer alternative.

Why Not Poison Rodents?

Well, you could poison them and they might die literally in your woodwork so you get to smell their rotting carcasses for quite some time.  Not really pleasant for either you or the rodent.

If you poison the rodent, and a wild animal eats the poisoned rodent, you could have poisoned the predatory bird or mammal--maybe even your pet, or your neighbor's pet.  And potentially, a child could access the poison although the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is working on this.

If you use a poison containing bromethalin, it has no antidote for pets who ingest toxic amounts.  It affects the nervous system and any pet that has significant symptoms has a very low probability of recovery.  I didn't make this up, I heard it from two veterinarians.  My vet said that pets that eat other rodent bait intended to affect the clotting ability of animals might be saved with Vitamin K.

She further requested that people not keep bromethalin baits in their homes, barns or property.  Read for the active ingredient if you're set on poison.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has banned several poisons, but unfortunately, this left a loophole for the bromethalin mentioned above.

Alternatives to Rodent Poison

See Beyond Pesticide's Minimizing Mouse Madness and check out information from the Daily Green below.
  • Seal cracks and holes in the house that can allow mice to enter. (You'll also save energy.)
  • Remove food sources that may attract them, such as trash, pet food or fallen fruit from trees. And store your food properly.
  • Housecats are nature's mouse predator. Never use mouse poison because your cat could easily ingest it along with the mouse.
  • Capture mice with live traps such as Havahart and move them far from the home.
  • Use snap traps with sensitive triggers that are more likely to kill quickly. Use as many as 10 traps near any known mouse hole, and position them about two feet apart along walls, with the bait-end against the wall. Use gloves or else your scent on the traps may make them ineffective.
  • Glue traps are unlikely to kill mice quickly, but can be effective. Keep them in place for at least five days so mice become accustomed to them.  But do you really want mice stuck to the glue and suffering until you find them to kill them?  or they starve to death?  Really not nice.
  • Repellent sound devices may or may not work, but are designed to annoy mice with a high-frequency sound that humans can't hear.  Hmm...wonder what pets will think of this?
  • Poison bait boxes can be used as a last resort. Look for tamper- and weather-proof boxes that use first-generation (multiple-dose) anticoagulants. Place them only in areas that are inaccessible to pets and children.  Remember these are dangerous and can cause unanticipated consequences.
If you do an internet search for "natural mouse repellent," you'll get more recipes for non-toxic alternatives to rodent poison.  A co-worker swears by peppermint oil on  cotton balls scattered about her house.

At the moment, I don't have any mice, but I do have a kitty.  Meow!

Photo Credit from Flickr