Thursday, September 03, 2015

Well, Hector has been spotted.

"Who is Hector?" you may ask.

Hector is the garter snake that comes into our house every fall, evidently looking for tasty treats to stock up for the winter. Last year he ate my youngest daughter's Zebra Finches :-(

That's really something they should cover in Parenting 101; how to tell you 6 year old that her pet birds, including the new baby, were eaten by a snake.

Anyway, we are sealing up what we can and working hard to desperately reduce the mouse population in order to discourage Hector (well, and get rid of the mice themselves, of course).

Yes, we have mice.
  • We live in the country. 
  • Neighbors are building, disturbing nesting places. 
  • We have had chickens (chickens= mice since they eat the same food and there is no way to let the chickens eat but not the mice. We only fed them in the daytime and only what they could clean up within a few minutes, and away from the coop, but there were still many many mice in the coop. This is one reason I sold the chickens last spring). 
  • Our house is a cheap, 25 year old mobile. Which means it has settled. Which means access points for things like mice that can make themselves ridiculously small. You would be surprised at how tiny of an opening a mouse can get through. And evidently a snake. 
So, mice are just a part of life here. A nasty, disgusting part of life, but a part of life none the less.
  • We have a cat that is a mouser. Her favorite thing to do is catch them at 2am and bring them to my 14 year old to play with. For some reason Jessie doesn't appreciate this. 
  • We have a dog that is a mouser. Now, since he is 85lbs, when he hunts he tends to destroy anything in his path. I have seen him shred plywood to get at a mouse. So we don't let him do a lot of hunting inside. But he patrols the yard all day long and catches a lot of them out there, before they have a chance to get in the house. He also protects us from Jack Rabbits, quail, and sparrows.
  • We use the old-fashioned type of mouse trap. They just, flat work better than anything else we have tried.  My absolutely wonderful sons who are taller than me empty them (we don't let the 3yo, my only son shorter than me, empty them:-).
  • We try to keep all crumbs and anything else they could eat picked up. 
  • We store everything in thick plastic or glass with lids.

Using these methods, we catch 3-15 mice a week, with the higher number coming when the weather changes (obviously, they are taking refuge from the weather in the house). We usually just get them all caught when the weather changes again and a new batch move in.

I have had the suggestion that we put mothballs all around the house. We may just try that. Certainly nothing else has kept them out.

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