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my kitchen has been invaded

Ove the years, I've lived in some pretty sketchy (cabin-like vacation home) places in the country. I've lived in my current modern rural home for over 20 years. Never had mice. This week an uninvited summer guest moved in--and I don't have any tricks up my sleeve to get the rascal out! Calling all rodent savvy hounds!

I haven't been using my cooktop much lately, but have been doing baking etc. After using the rangetop I removed the burner trays to clean them and ARRRGGGGGHHH found "calling cards" from mice under the burners. Totally grossed me out. I cleaned up after them disinfected the area, then turned onthe self cleaning oven. I figured they might be living in insulation around the oven? I put a sticky trap under the burners, and one under the lower drawer, on the floor but out of reach of kitty cat.

Next morning, the trap was gone! I removed the drawer and pulled out the slide-in stove a bit, and NO evidence of mouse or trap. This confuses me as there is no opening anywhere in the cabinets or behind them for a mouse to pull a trap. Mouse had to have pulled the trap out from under the drawer front and gone...

The plot thickens--now I hear something scuttling behind/around the dishwasher, which is right near the stove. I have NO idea how a mouse could squeeze into a 3/8" gap around the front of the DW, but it appears the mouse has moved to the dishwasher cavity. Where the sticky tap is, I have no idea.

How do I get the DW out to check? Do I call a plumber? The thought of the mouse peeing (sorry) and pooping everywhere is soooo gross. I've had no experience with mice except in the garage, so I need the voices of experience here.

I'm going to put some Dcon under the stove in the hopes it lures them, but then, dead mouse smell??? Hubby used to put Dcon out all the time in the garage and attic crawl spce, something I've neglected. I will begin to do so, but how to get them out of the kitchen??

I haven't seen this problem discussed, hope it's not grossing you out like it is me. I checked all my base cabinets and there are no holes anyhwere, all connections under sink are escutcheoned or drywalled closed around pipes, etc. Cupboard doors are fully closed. No poop anyhwere else.

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  1. Mice haven't been a problem in my house in the suburbs, but have found "evidence" of them a few times over the years. One time one ran all the way across livingroom and disappeared SOMEWHERE... while my ANCIENT Dobie just watched and gave me a WTF look! Several months ago, found a "gift" my cat left for me in the middle of kitchen floor... a really small and really dead mouse.

    After finding mouse stuff in a few areas, EVERY food item is in glass or plastic containers... rice, pasta, flour/sugar, spices. My "pantry" is 2 sets of wire shelving in my attached garage. Nothing on those shelves that could be gnawed open... jars, cans or sturdy plastic container. A few month back discovered evidence that something was scrurrying around out there. Had some craft stuff on a work bench... cute purses made from wooden cigar boxes. ALL the fringe on tassels... GONE!?! I'm CHEAP but splurged on traps. Coulda bought the standard wooden things for very little, but didn't wanna deal with carcasses... EW!! Think it's Decon who makes these plastic, encosed traps. Kinda quarted circle shape. Little trap door in back for bait. Once there set, you know you caught something when little red lever is UP. Still a little gross to have to pick them up, but nothing to see.

    If you're out in boonies, have a feeling critters come with the territory!?! I'd start my mouse proofing anything they might be interested in eating. I'd AVOID putting out any poison if you have any pets. My sister was planning to leave D mouse bait behind at her place in the mountains. BUT her dog, friends dog, or BOTH got into it before they even got there. Luckily they discovered the scraps of the packaging. Cost them several hundred dollars at vets... stomach pumping and frequent blood tests to test clotting factor. If they hadn't noticed bits of cardboard under rarely used diningroom table... dog would probably have died. Vet said once they acted sick, woulda been as good as dead... and MILES from a vet.

    5 Replies
    1. re: kseiverd

      thanks I'll look for the dcon traps

      1. re: kseiverd

        We only had a mouse one time in my apartment - it's not exactly airtight as we get lots of bugs, but never a mouse. My then-elderly (now ashes), declawed cat discovered it and took great delight in batting it about and cornering it, but she had no kill instinct. In trying to get to it, I lifted up one edge a metal filing cabinet it had run behind and it ran underneath and well, I put the cabinet back down and that was the end of the mousey. Never another since then and kitty has been gone for over a year and mousey gone for 5 or 6.

        The solution to your cat is to go by a baby gate for the kitchen until all the mice are gone, and then trap the shit out of your kitchen. Cheap baby gates can be had from a place like Wal-mart or K-mart for around $10, and it will be worth it to set as many traps as you can so that you can expedite the critters' departure, one way or another.

          1. re: rockandroller1

            Baby gates will not stop cats. Dogs, yes - but cats jump right over them.

            1. re: GreenDragon

              Depends on the cat - depends on the placement. I've had success with them with some cats.

          1. Having had a massive mouse invasion many years ago, the only thing that worked was lots and lots of traps. That and what kseiverd said about sealing up all the food so there are no crumbs about.

            We just used the cheap wooden traps. I couldn't stand to remove the mouse from the trap either, so I just put my hand in a plastic bag, picked up dead mouse and trap together and threw both away. One time we had a trap go off and get replaced three times in under 10 minutes!

            There are a lot of kitties in the shelters needing homes. Why not adopt a good mouser? Everybody wins but the mice!

            2 Replies
            1. re: shiny

              got a cat...but she probably brought it in to play with!! this is fairly recent maybe a week. Never had any feces anywhere or the pee smell before then. Still no poop anywhere, but all my food other than fruit is tusked away safely. I store in mason jars and heavy duty plastic.

              1. re: shiny

                We once had a mouse in our 1st apartment. Bought the spring-type mouse traps, but when I heard it go off in the night, decided we'd move instead. Luckily, the mouse had evaded the trap and didn't hop into our moving boxes.

              2. If you don't want to use poisons the simplest way to get rid of mice is with a Victor electronic mouse (or the bigger rat) trap. Uses low voltage batteries with a voltage stepper to electrocute the pest. You just put some peanut butter in the trap and the trap does the rest of the work. You do have to dispose of the critter but that doesn't involve touching it - and you most likely want to clean the trap periodically. Works like a charm. Now as far as pulling your dishwasher out to see what gross stuff is back there - that is usually pretty easy - there are just a couple of thumbscrews lifting the dishwasher off the floor and maybe a couple of other screws holding it from the top. You may have to pull off the painted front panel - BTW EVERY dishwasher has gross stuff back there.

                1. Hi, toodyjane:

                  My beach place is a mouse hostel every spring. I use cats, springtraps and poison, all without backfire. Re: poison: (a) it makes them crave water, so most will leave before expiring; (b) dead mice tend to dessicate/mummify, and rarely make a stink; but (c) do put the poison where dogs and cats can't get to it.

                  LOL, I'm visualizing Ratzilla using your stickytrap like a snowshoe.

                  Finally, never *ever* forget the first rule of mousetrapping: "The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese."

                  Aloha,
                  Kaleo

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: kaleokahu

                    "second mouse gets the cheese"--so check traps often??

                    I have only the area under the stove to place traps, my brother advised a tiny shmear of pnut butter on the trap. Also he advised tying the trap to something with string so supermouse can't haul it off.

                    I have since discovered that the front panel of the DW is fake at the bottom, and is insulated with a thick cotton felt. Mousey ran up behind it, and from there to the space btwn the outside of the DW box and the adjoining cabinet. Plenty of room for a mouse condo to get started. I can't place taps anywhere else or kitty cat can get to them.

                    If I can get the door off (do they lift off like oven doors??) then I could get some dcon or traps in that side space. My big fear is the pee and feces soaking the insulation an I'll never get the smell out. My new 1K Bosch!! Dead mouse smell would be preferrable to that!!

                    thanks for making me laugh at the snowshoe image!! I needed that... ;-(

                    1. re: kaleokahu

                      I disagree wholeheartedly about mice leaving and also not smelling when killed with poison. We had a mouse problem and foolishly used the bait. Mice took in back to their nest, which was located in the drywall. The smell is what lead us to find the problem. We had to cut out holes in the drywall to remove about 50 decomposing bodies. Still working on getting the smell out of the area. Strongly recommend NOT using the poison. Old fashioned and cheap wooden traps work the best, and are more humane than the sticky pads.

                    2. The dishwasher won't be too complicated to pull out. There is a fair amount of "flex" to the hoses, etc. - they were attached before the machine was pushed into place.

                      My friends cat seems to bring "gifts" whenever I visit, so she and I have become fairly good at catching field mice and moles who have run behind the fridge. Easier with two, but we both have done it solo.

                      Have at the ready a sturdy straw broom (straws are taller & stiffer than plastic brooms), a fair sized plastic bowl (tupperware salad size) and something thin and flexible to slide under the upside-down bowl (I favor the flexible cutting sheets you place over cutting boards).

                      If the dishwasher requires screws and such to be removed do so, then wait a bit for the mouse to relax. Remove anything the mouse can hide behind from the area - chairs, carts, stuff towels into the space under the fridge, barricade the exits from the kitchen. Then quickly pull out the dishwasher. You can use the broom to push him to a spot where you can trap him with the plastic bowl. Once trapped under the bowl you slide the flexible sheet under it. Now you can lift the bowl/plastic. Turn the bowl over so the little fellow can't get traction and walk to your release/disposal spot. Remove the plastic and toss him into the abyss!

                      1 Reply
                      1. Skip the poisons - you don't want a dead, stinking mouse somewhere in your house you can't find.

                        Skip the fancy traps and save your money.

                        Instead, get the old fashioned, 50 cents per trap, wooden traps. Get plenty - they're super cheap. Bait them with peanut butter (and for a super special guaranteed-to-work bait, coat the peanut butter with fescue grass seed if you have any) and place them along the paths you think the mice travel.

                        Then wait.

                        You'll get every last one of them.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: 1POINT21GW

                          1POINT is exactly right, about the old fashioned spring traps and the peanut butter. And you won't have to wait long. I once set a trap just before turning in for the night. As I was setting into bed I heard from downstairs SNNNNAPP!!!!

                          I slept the sleep of the victorious and disposed of Mickey the following morning.

                          1. re: 1POINT21GW

                            We do the spring traps with peanut butter and shredded coconut. It always works like a charm.

                          2. Yet another vote for the traditional spring traps. Don't use sticky boards, tho. Not only are they cruel - I've seen little mousy parts left on the board where the former owner chewed his/her own leg off to get away - but they can be incredibly messy, too. The trapped critter will thrash around, flapping the board against the wall/floor/dishwasher/dog, getting glue everywhere. That glue is tenacious, too...just ask the mouse. While the mouse thrashes, it'll also be peeing and pooping and thrashing, adding to the mess.

                            Remember that mice are very loosely constructed, and can squeeze through a hole 1/4" in diameter. And a general rule of thumb is that if you see one mouse, you've probably got 10.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: ricepad

                              "Remember that mice are very loosely constructed, and can squeeze through a hole 1/4" in diameter. And a general rule of thumb is that if you see one mouse, you've probably got 10."

                              Which brings up my contribution: SEAL the house AND the food up. That means checking outside for any gaps where gas/electric/water/utility lines of any kind come in. Fill the spaces around them with copper mesh and expanding caulk over that. Same with any gaps in your foundation and sill plate, door sills, anything you can find that might offer them an entry. If you have attic vents, make sure that wire window screening is staple gunned over them on the inside (I used to hear squirrels chewing on the ones in my old house all the time). Check your chimney cap, etc. I had mice only once after all these precautions (taken because there are rats outside in the woods that came too close for comfort) due to the screen having fallen off of an attic ventilation fan. Exterminator put up sticky boards (if I'd been here and not on vacation, I'd have insisted on quick killing snap traps) and we sealed up the ceiling under the attic fan with wire window screening and a LOT of staples. Oh, yeah, your clothes dryer vent should have louvers that shut when it's not running. Mine also has a plastic cage around it on the outside of the house.

                              1. re: mcf

                                "Remember that mice are very loosely constructed, and can squeeze through a hole 1/4" in diameter. And a general rule of thumb is that if you see one mouse, you've probably got 10."

                                Oh yes. We lived through one terrible mouse invasion. I grew up in the country where mice were a part of life so I thought I could handle it when, after 10 years, they should up en mass at our house.

                                Things I have I learned -

                                The exterminator told me a mouse can fit through a hole as small as your pinky is round (and rats through a hole the size of a quarter)

                                Get an exterminator, I drove myself crazy with the traps. Traps are ok when there is just a few but like ricepad said, it is the numbers that you don't see.

                                The poison is basically blood thinner and not really that toxic to animals larger than a rat. The bait stations our exterminator used could only be openned with a special key. This was a huge concern of ours (kids and cats in our family) and I could not get them open so I felt ok having them in the house.

                                Mice wil eat almost anything so securing your food doesn't have much impact on them.

                                Not all cats will kill mice. Some like to treat them as toys and bring them into bed, ask me how I know.........

                            2. two spring traps under the stove about 18 hours now --no dice, err...mice. I'm not physically able to do the checking for entry holes in weird places. My stucco house is about 20 yrs old. I'm sending my handyman up in the attic/crawlspace on Friday to check the vents and holes. I did have new eyebrow ridge vents put in last fall--I wonder if they get in through there. Yikes, this is giving me a headache.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: toodie jane

                                My house is stucco, too, though more like 90 y.o. Ridge vent is a good thing to check, you can leave it in place and staple gun wire window screening to the attic ceiling below it. Make sure he checks anywhere a service, cable/pipe is entering your house. Also, we found some caulkable gaps between the stucco and some exterior window and door sills, so ask him to check those, too. If you have an exterior basement Bilco type door, that could be an entry point. Don't worry, we got rid of them easily a few years ago, no returns.

                                1. re: toodie jane

                                  I told you - you need a modern electronic trap that electrocutes the mice. Worked beautifully for me when regular spring traps failed.

                                  1. re: toodie jane

                                    I bought some traps by D-Con at Home Depot. They're round & have a green, yellow & red tab. you put the bait in through the bottom, turn the trap till it gets to I believe the yellow tab. That opens the trap. Once the mouse gets in, the trap closes up & turns to the red tab that says "caught". Then you just pick it up & throw it out. No muss, no fuss, no parts laying around. I think it's the green for open, the yellow for baited & the red for caught, but I don't have one in front of me to confirm. They're printed right on the top of the trap.

                                  2. One thing I've learned about traps is that you need to tie them down. The string tied to a good anchor point will keep the entire trap from disappearing under the fridge or stove.

                                    Points of entry could be vents from the furnace or from a family in the roof insulation.

                                    For the mouse in the house, use a trap. Also, pay attention to your animals to see if they're fixated on something.

                                    I think baits are best for outside. As mentioned above, baits tend to increase thirst, by baiting outside you encourage the mice to stay outside and they'll run off looking for water away from the house.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: dave_c

                                      Anchoring the trap is excellent advice, especially if you have rats. I've never seen a mouse wander off in a trap, but I once found a rat - still alive and in a spring trap - wedged among some garden tools as it tried to escape.

                                      One word of caution about setting bait outside, tho. If you have a pool, expect to retrieve drowned mice and rats from your filtration system. Ask me how I know.

                                      1. re: ricepad

                                        On the safety side of putting bait outside (i.e., keeping out cats & dogs), we've had luck in putting the bait down inside an empty cereal box, or even better, cut the bottom off a 1/2 gallon plastic milk jug, put the bait in the handle end. Then we use a bit of re-bar outside the jug, through the handle end, to anchor it to the ground. We've never had other critters partake of the bait, thank heavens.

                                        1. re: pine time

                                          I was thinking of those thick walled black boxes for the outside. The opening is large enough for mice or rats, but not dogs or cats. Also the thick walled construction will take time for a dog or varmit to chew through.

                                          Those boxes need to be anchored down too, to prevent animals from taking them away.

                                      2. We have the occasional mouse here - using a Havahart trap with peanuts /peanut butter and chocolate, works every time. We relocate the mice....
                                        Our summer place out in the country is another story, mice are simply part of life out there. When we bought the place we trapped a few dozen mice with above method. ( Some very funny stories along with that. ) Everything edible is in tight containers, metal cabinets, no paper towels or soap ever out in the open. We still need to set up the trap every so often, but it has gotten a lot better with nothing around for them to chew/eat.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. No one has mentioned sound boxes.
                                          One example:
                                          http://www.victorpest.com/advice/all-...

                                          The ones I used are so old they're no longer on the market; current ones look much nicer and seem to have more polished technology.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                            These are excellent, and what we use at home. Absolutely in our kitchen.

                                            They were recommended by our local hardware store, run by a great family I love. The said "trust me.... they'll work.... or we'll refund your money".

                                            http://www.amazon.com/Victor-M753-Pes...

                                            Often there are negative reviews of these, but it is because people do not use them properly. In general, you should only use one per room, they don't work well around corners, and you can't block them (at the outlet, or put them behind furniture in the outlet). They have to be open to the room. Read the instructions carefully.

                                            We also blocked up holes going into the kitchen around plumbing, baseboards.

                                            We love the sonic mouse things.

                                            1. re: violin

                                              In Beijing we had to do sonic anti-roach because the apt above us was remodeled twice a year, which summarily prompted a down-wall and through-pipe invasion in our place twice a year.
                                              NOTHING worked better than the electronic deterrent, but you have to think of coverage area just like the first cordless TV remotes.

                                          2. Had a mouse move in last summer. I would be sitting in the dining room and I'd see something dart across the kitchen floor out of the corner of my eye. I 'fenced in' all entrances to the kitchen and lightly dusted the floor with flour (a big mess, but I was absolutely determined to find this little bastard) to find out where their tracks lead to. Sure enough, behind the stove and fridge. A couple simple traps baited with peanut butter, and it was done within 24 hours.

                                            I remember waking up in the middle of the night to a loud *SNAP* in the kitchen. I laid my head back down on the pillow with a BIG grin on my face that night!

                                            1. I haven't read the entire thread, but I would beg you to please use traps that kill quickly, and not use glue traps. They're inhumane and cause death slkowly and horribly. I'm not a big fan of poison, either, but I will say that if you bait your snap traps with peanut butter you'll find that mice love peanut butter. We get little mice occasionally, we use snap traps, and one Christmas a few years ago when we came home from MIL's house on Christmas morning, there was a tiny little mousie in the sink- it couldn't scale the walls of the mighty kitchen sink so I put it in a jar and took it to the nearest arroyo and let it free. It was a teeny little cute thing and it was Christmas, for heaven's sake. At my last house I opened the oven door once and a mouse popped up (probably a lot like I did upon seeing it) on the top rack. Oh lord, that made us go through and end up throwing out most of the stuff in the pantry closet AND cauterizing the oven before scrubbing the hell out of it. And the cabinet. I don't know what happened to the mouse but we never had any trouble with them at that house again.

                                              They don't scare me, they don't freak me out, but I don't want them in my house.

                                              1. I have a grain warehouse which means constant warfare with mice. We use all the methods mentioned including exterminators, as no one attack is foolproof. For instance, some mice like peanut butter, some like cheese, some like mayonnaise, etc. We use several types of dry poison and water poison. The most effective method is the JT Eaton Windup Multi-Catch Mouse Trap. It has a paddlewheel that captures them live, so you could release them elsewhere if you chose.
                                                http://www.jteaton.com/retail_product...
                                                http://www.farmtek.com/farm/supplies/...

                                                1. update:

                                                  with handman's help, pulled out the DW (he'd climbed up the inner side of the lower false front of the the door and into the space beside the DW.) and out shot a huge rat. It moved so fast, we were like Keystone Kops shouting, waving our hands, trying to keep it from leaving the room. It ran behind a bookcase. we blocked all other exits but the front door, poked it with a broom and it was a blur ! Out the front door, across the lawn, straight up and over a huge mulch pile, across the street and straight up the neighbor's driveway.

                                                  How it got in, not sure, probably I left the slider open a bit on a nice day...but now I'm much more watchful and assiduous about not leaving food out. The caution about soap and paper towels, though...

                                                  Am investing in some snap traps and will keep an eye open for them as a precaution against mice.

                                                  Thank you for all your suggestions, rodent wisdom and help. I needed it!

                                                  15 Replies
                                                  1. re: toodie jane

                                                    You may have an entry point somewhere else in your house, like where utilities come in, between sill plate and foundation, etc. If you have a rat, it's unlikely you have mice, too, I've read. The rats scare them off. How big were those droppings? If you had a rat and mice, odds are it's not just from a sliding door open for a while.

                                                    1. re: mcf

                                                      droppings were the size of mice, no mice in the house as far as I know. I'm on a slab, so very little chance of getting in there.

                                                      I had the roof repaired last fall--there were roof and wall openings during construction, so perhaps it gained entry then, and worked it's way down from the attic crawl space. I can see no wall holes anywhere, no utility openings to the crawl space from the house. Could it have come down the chimney??

                                                      1. re: toodie jane

                                                        Was it truly a rat or a deer mouse? I was shocked at the size of the deer mice I was catching, they are rather large.

                                                        1. re: toodie jane

                                                          You may be on a slab, but do you have gutters and rain spouts?
                                                          Rats can use the rain spout to climb up to the gutters along your roof line. Once there they can find away in or gnaw through something.

                                                          1. re: toodie jane

                                                            It could definitely come in through the chimney if you have no cap, a loose cap or a gap around the cap. Could also have come in during roof repair, especially if left open or just tarp covered overnight.

                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                              yes, they had to open the side of the stucco chimney and it was a week before it got closed up again. And the chimney cap was rusted so they had to fab a new one, another week. It was *sigh* a rather expensive re-roof.

                                                            2. re: toodie jane

                                                              Remember that mice and rats have nothing else to do all day but to try and figure out a way to get into your house. They're quite crafty little buggers.

                                                              1. re: ricepad

                                                                gee, thanks for the image ricepad, but good advice...

                                                                1. re: toodie jane

                                                                  You found Ben! Willard will be so happy. :-)

                                                              2. re: toodie jane

                                                                Like beavers, rats continually gnaw at hard surfaces like wood knots, brick, concrete, etc. to keep their teeth trimmed back. Their teeth grow continually, consequently they can get so long it hampers the rat’s ability to eat. I once had an employee sit in the dark and shoot 13 rats - one at a time - from a hole they had chewed in the concrete warehouse floor.

                                                                Rat traps are somewhat large and are placed in the path by the entrance hole rather than being baited. Rats are not deterred by a dead one in their path but just climb over the body. Rats are cannibals and will eat the dead that are not removed.

                                                                I have a friend who suffered a rat loose in his guest bedroom. Loud shrieks from his wife alerted him to the fact that a rat was stowed away in the bag of walnuts brought into the room. After immediately grabbing his trusty 12 ga. shotgun, the rat was soon dispatched with only a couple of holes in the drywall. I believe this is the “surefire” method. Good Luck.

                                                                1. re: BN1

                                                                  Wow! A 12 ga in the house! I imagine the difficult part was cleaning up the little bits of walnuts.

                                                                  1. re: dave_c

                                                                    I'm guessing the toughest part was cleaning the clumps of wife poop out of the carpet!

                                                            3. re: toodie jane

                                                              One thing to keep far away from the house is your mulch pile or compost pile. Those piles can attract rodents, especially if you replenish with kitchen peelings.

                                                              1. re: dave_c

                                                                sealed worm box only...oh,yes, I've stopped feeding the birds, as well.
                                                                i still see the occaisional rat poop on the concrete patio.

                                                                1. re: toodie jane

                                                                  I have rat bait boxes on the property around my house that are replenished monthly due to having seen a rat or rats under the bird feeder I hung up when we moved in. Since then, I've been able to feed birds without any problem due to not only the bait stations (just saw one turd in 8 years) but because I got a selective songbird feeder (with a metal grid around it to allow small birds in) tha has a solid dish base and top, and I only ever put sunflower hearts, no shells or other stuff in there. It either stays in the dish bottom or gets eaten; birds on the ground get any rare fallen pieces before rats ever do. They toss millet, shells, etc. but they do NOT leave behind sunflower hearts. Also, rats don't go for nyjer left in finch feeders, even when a ton of it is on the ground. This is the type of feeder I've got, except my metal grid is steel/silver colored. http://www.amazon.com/Duncraft-18202-...

                                                            4. If you can put a pencil through a gap, a mouse can go through it. The wide dimension can be as narrow as a dime.