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Mice and the dish drying rack?

I have an annoying history of mice in my 19th century townhouse. It seems that they were eradicated with a few snap traps and foam around all of the pipes behind the stove. However, since Thanksgiving they have returned. They have usually been in the kitchen, however tonight I arrived home to find a little mouse curled up in a ball on a tshirt on the arm of the couch right near the front door taking a little cat nap (bad joke). I was able to trap him and release outside, but now that I've officially seen them outside of the kitchen they need to go! Most days I wash and dry dishes on the drying rack, and usually only use the dishwasher on the weekends when we tend to cook more and load it up. Of course all the dishes placed on to the drying rack are presumably clean but I imagine the little buggers can smell even a minimal food-related scent. I have yet to see any droppings under the rack, but last time I had to deal with the rodents most of the droppings seemed to accumulate underneath the rack. I have a dishwasher but as there is only two of us I don't and don't really want to run it everyday. I thought perhaps I should get rid of it in case the water run off is helping to attract the critters, but then I would have to hand dry all of the dishes which while we don't usually have enough in a day for a full load of the dishwasher, the number of dishes at a single meal is many more than I'd like to hand dry. Has anyone found that the drying rack was an attractant? If not, I'll stick with my arsenal of traps and see if that gets them.

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  1. When my son was in 4th grade they had to do a diorama about something having to do with native America. So we put together a GREAT one, including little dried anchovies over a phantom fire and it was quite the beautiful diorama. But when we picked it up to take it to school, a mouse or mice had gobbled up all the carefully placed fish over the faux fire. The little buggers had even chewed up the string they hung on. Well, the bag of dried fish had more, but it was weird having to re-hang them. I figured the mice would be equal to some other animal in real life- raccoons? beavers? Foxes? anyway, he got a good grade, but jeez.

    1. Why not let the clean dishes dry in the dishwasher instead?

      1 Reply
      1. re: holypeaches

        Ooh, never thought of that, good idea!

      2. Why wouldn't you call in a pro to both get rid of the critters and find where they might be getting inside????? Chosing between the dish rack and the dishwasher isn't really the issue.

        7 Replies
        1. re: zippypinhead

          Well, I contacted my landlord and I think that they should deal with it and coordinate with an exterminator as I'm renting so technically they should help me out. They have always been very responsive and helpful in the past. If not, I imagine I'll have to get an exterminator myself but would rather avoid the personal cost.

          1. re: fldhkybnva

            I'd say if you get no response from the landlord, call in an exterminator to take care of the rodent situation, and then deduct the cost from your rent. To me this home sounds un-inhabitable and an unhealthy living environment and I would not hesitate to take immediate action if the lardlord doesn't respond.

            Next course of action would be to contact a city health inspector or a city official to get this taken care of. Your landlord won't be making any money on rent if the home is condemned. You have renter's rights and must stand your ground.

            1. re: Novelli

              But if it's a townhouse, the mice may be invading more houses than yours.

              1. re: Novelli

                I have yet to hear from them which is highly unusual so I assume they must be out of town or something but the mice have to go so an exterminator it is.

                1. re: Novelli

                  "To me this home sounds un-inhabitable"

                  Because of mice? I have lived in 10 homes in my life. I am sure that three never had any mice and I'm probably wrong about those three.

                  1. re: FrankJBN

                    Well, this isn't the first time mice have popped up in fldhkbnva's home. Already stated the manager "fixed it" once before.

                    You forgot the rest of the quote.
                    "To me this home sounds un-inhabitable and an unhealthy living environment and I would not hesitate to take immediate action if the lardlord doesn't respond."

                    Not just because of the multiple issues with mice, but also because of a landlord that rather do half-assed, mickey mouse (pun intended) fix ups than actually have it handled by a professional. Who knows what other half-assed repairs have been done. It's an unsanitary situation that continues to be a burden on the renter and has the potential to become a bigger issue for the other tenants in near by homes.

                    But, I guess that's just my opinion on the matter. Personally, I wouldn't tolerate it.

                    1. re: Novelli

                      Yup, still waiting to hear from the landlord though they did cash my most recent rent check so I guess they are still on the planet somewhere close to the mailbox. Exterminator will be called. I know this is not a good situation but hate taking on this expense since I do feel it is their responsibility but oh well

            2. I had a mouse problem a few years ago and found a gadget at the hardware store called the Rat Zapper. You bait it with dry cat food. It's battery operated, the minute the mouse steps on the metal plate inside it's history. Caught about five the first week and haven't seen a sign of one since. (Had cats at the time, not a danger unless you have small kittens who could get through the opening.) Your question is interesting... do you live in a dry climate? I've lived in a NJ farmhouse, apartment over a bakery in Boston's North End, and my current location in Cambridge... all with the occasional mouse, but never any sign of droppings near the drain board.

              6 Replies
              1. re: pasuga

                Ooh, very nice! I am planning a trip to Home Depot this week to see if they have any other options. The last time I visited the lovely salesperson told me "oh, there's nothing you can do." Others have been more helpful so perhaps I'll be lucky enough to run into one of them. The last time the snap traps worked like a charm, now it seems they are walking right past them. Also, last time they seemed to be isolated to either side of the kitchen counter and always seemed to emerge from the stove, but now that they have expanded horizons I am not sure where to place the traps.

                1. re: fldhkybnva

                  Just googled rat zapper and Home Depot was the first listing that came up. Hope it works for you!

                  1. re: pasuga

                    I can also attest for the electronic ones. They are more expensive, but much more effective and less messy.

                  2. re: fldhkybnva

                    You might to try going to an Ace Hardware or the likes (Orchard Supply if you live on the west coast) instead of Home Depot. I've found the folks at Aces are much more helpful, many of them are retired contractors.

                    1. re: juliejulez

                      Thanks for the tip, my father actually loves Ace Hardware and has had the same experience with them. Luckily, a new store just opened in my neighborhood last monght.

                      1. re: juliejulez

                        I try to do all my hardware shopping at Ace. The level of knowledge at the big box places has dropped considerably. Ace always has someone who knows the answer to my problem.

                        Their housewares department usually has hard to find gaskets and out of season canning supplies too.

                  3. Our household is also just 2. We run the dishwasher every 2 or 3 days.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: KarenDW

                      Yea, the problem is the dishes in the dishwasher for 2 or 3 days will attract the mice.

                      1. re: KarenDW

                        we do the same. I have not seen or suspected mice in our dishwasher, but we generally close the door pretty firmly.

                        1. re: jujuthomas

                          Only a 2-person household, also, but we at least run the "rinse" cycle to get rid of the food particles and food smells. Probably run the full cycle just every 2-3 days.

                      2. fldhkybnva....

                        A few days ago you ground up a mouse in the garbage disposal. I'm having trouble trying to figure out why you're putting up with this problem. Have you looked at your contract to see what your landlord's responsible for, legally? You seem to have a serious mouse infestation. It's not healthy. You're attempting to treat the symptoms and not taking care of the problem.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: latindancer

                          Yes, indeed that was me. I had a problem a few months ago and the landlord fixed it and so I hope that they will come back this time. However, from others I have talked to in the neighborhood, it's not just me so at least I feel better knowing I'm not some dirty scoundrel but still I'm finding it difficult to live like this. Last night, I was frightened to sleep for fear that a critter would crawl on me.

                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                            <landlord fixed it and so I hope that they will come back this time.>

                            Obviously, your landlord didn't 'fix' it.

                        2. Let's say the mice are poisonous snakes. Think of them that way. I'm sure you'll find a way to keep them out of your house. One word: 'Hantavirus'. Hope any kids visiting don't breath any fumes from the mice crap.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Puffin3

                            Well if you could provide advice that'd be helpful if you have any. Clearly, I don't enjoy living with rodents.

                            1. re: fldhkybnva

                              You are trying to get out cheap by asking for advice on the Internet. I understand that. BUT if it is as bad as you say it is(afraid to go to sleep for fear of a mouse crawling on yor face) and you are not exaggerating. Well then you have a serious problem on your hands. I suggest you hire a pro and resolve it with your landlord later?

                              1. re: miss_belle

                                Yes I agree but I thought I'd try with them first as they have generally been very responsive in the past and would eliminate the need to have to deal with the exchange of funds between me and the landlord. An exterminator is on the way this weekend.

                          2. I noticed this post because years ago we returned from a weekend away with a friend. When we entered the kitchen this friend started laughing at the "fake mouse on the dish rack." (We had all kinds of strange plastic toys all over the place at the time.) I informed him it wasn't fake and threw out the dish rack.

                            We lived in a row house and after about six years, we started seeing them after an adjacent house that had a mouse problem underwent massive renovation (they should have put the poison out before renovating but didn't).

                            You definitely need a professional exterminator because for every mouse you see, there may be dozens in the walls. The glue traps are a nightmare (unless you enjoy being the Lord High Executioner... after waking up to find that the screeching sound you hear is a mouse that just gnawed its foot off to escape). The store bought poisons are bad too because they just croak all over your living room floor. Doncha just love it when the dog (all excited) drops a dead mouse at your feet? Regular mouse traps do not take care of the unseen others in your walls.

                            There is this one type of poison that causes the mice to become so thirsty they drink themselves to death (down in the sewer). On the way to die in the sewer they feed the nasty stuff to others and they die too. This stuff really appears to work as on the first day the mice all stampede for the exit (reminiscent of that 1970's Chuckwagon commercial).

                            They would have stayed away if everyone in the entire block did this. However, we had no control over the neigbors. All we could do was to constantly keep re-applying the poison, which kept the sightings down to an occasional one.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: jcmods

                              OK, so the stuff that makes them thirsty is either a first or second generation anticoagulant (first = stuff like Warfarin, second = stuff like Brodifacoum). Licensed exterminators only, for about 2 years now, though as usual, EPA didn't require the manufacturers to take existing stocks off the retail shelves so you may still be able to find it. However, it is a myth that they all go underground to die. You may in fact have them dying in your walls, leaving a lovely odor. Or even out in the open. If you have pets, this is a real issue. If they eat a mouse that is full of anti-coagulant that has not yet been metabolized, guess what can happen to your pet?

                              You are wrong that all mice would be gone if everyone on the street kept applying poison. Mice would come in from other, nearby blocks. They multiple VERY rapidly and will fill every available space.

                              The OP needs someone who can figure out where they are coming in and seal every possible point of entry (holes as small as a dime). We used steel wool, held in place with a spray-in caulking that hardens as it dries. That plus the snap-traps (the kind they have to enter to get the bait) did the trick.

                            2. I've never seen a mouse in my house. But then, I have 4 cats.

                              1. Well now, I wouldn't be too quick to demand the landlord do SOMETHING about it.

                                Who knows what the "professionals" are going to use to kill the mice? At the very least, talk to them yourself and make sure you are OK with the treatment that they will apply to your living quarters.

                                If you want to go "old school" just hunt around your neighborhood and ask some of the older residents if they have any "mouse poison" laying around in their garage. Chances are you will find something that works really well and has been banned by the EPA since the 70s. <g>

                                1. Perhaps if you told the landlord that your next note would go to the Health Commissioner/Board of Health, and that you'd post the next napping mouse that you see on YouTube, that would spur a better "fix"?

                                  I'd be at the end of my rope, were I you.

                                  The whole building needs to be assessed and treated, from how and where garbage is stored to insulation. Not to sound all Stephen King, but they're multiplying as we type.

                                    1. Curious to know what the outcome is...

                                      Is your sealed up and they're all gone?

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: latindancer


                                        1. No response from landlord yet!
                                        2. (knock on a big piece of multiple ply wood) I have not seen any creatures or evidence (love lovely black 'seeds') since this last encounter so that leaves the current and hopefully final count at 2
                                        3. The exterminator came and did not find any holes in particular to patch or evidence of where they might be entering from. He advised me to continue to use the snap traps since they have worked before and to immediately call back if I see anything else.

                                        I am sincerely hoping that this problem was all related to a piece of pie left in the sink and that the mice have had their fill for the holidays and aren't scheduling the same full-on holiday indulgence that I am in a few weeks.

                                        Thank you for all of your advice, comments, opinions, etc.

                                      2. A trap will get rid of a mouse, but it will not get rid of mice. And there's never just one mouse. Regardless of who [you or your landlord] is responsible for doing so, professional help is called for.

                                        1. I called a local exterminator and he refused to "waste my money." I live in Baltimore in a 19th century row house it's impossible to find all the holes and no matter wgat you do the neighbors cleanliness impacts you. It's not just food on the counter, the beasts climb and chew through everything. I know keep everything in glass but my beloved kitten has pretty much solved the problem. The mice visit occasionally but much improved!

                                          9 Replies
                                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                                            I'm glad that you have found a solution. Guess your cat is not scared of mice like mine :) When I had an infestation, she was hiding under my bed and didn't try to catch even one tiny mouse.

                                            1. re: beatris7

                                              He killed one and I witnessed a mouse-cat showdown for 20 minutes one night (the mouse won). He doesn't kill them I think perhaps the scent keeps them away. I should add that I also put steel wool in nearly every crack behind the stove and sealed it with spray foam so that likely helped as well. There were several seams between the floor and cabinets as thin as a sheet of paper that I'm sure they were squeezing through so I sealed them up and check periodically since in the past they have chewed through the foam.

                                              1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                The steel wool and spray foam are very smart decisions. This is exactly what the exterminator used when he came to my home last year. And for now it's been an efficient solution. I haven't spotted any mouse since the treatment. I hope it will work for you as well.
                                                Next time when there is a mouse-cat showdown you can make some bets ;)

                                                1. re: beatris7

                                                  The showdown was hilarious! A literal Tom and Jerry situation.

                                                2. re: fldhkybnva

                                                  We had a similar Tom and Jerry showdown in our house one night. The little mouse stood up to the cat on its hind legs, waving its little fists in the air. I wouldn't believe it if I didn't see it. The mouse won. But later I found a small hole chewed into a patio screen door so I know he made it outside safely.

                                                  Mice will go where there's food and water. Make sure you repair any dripping faucets or leaking drains. Put food away, clean the counters, sweep the floors and take out the garbage every night. You can't keep them out but you can be an inhospitable host.

                                                  1. re: elegraph

                                                    Hilarious!! At night I sometimes see the cat tracking on the floor so I think I are still running in the floors and walls. As long as they stay there?

                                                  2. re: fldhkybnva

                                                    Yep my three cats are all Zen like and uber liberal peace loving *old hippie* types who would (thanks to my indoctrinating them) always prefer to initiate dialogue and discourse with any rodent instead of violence of any type:)

                                                3. re: fldhkybnva

                                                  LOL I live in a 19th century row house too - I feel your pain - we are currently mouse free but every time new construction starts around me - they come back - my cat has declared inside mice not worth her time so its up to me. In old row house it is a battle that never ends no matter how careful you are.

                                                  as for holes, my house is primarily made of holes LOL. 1860s factory workers cottage.

                                                  1. re: JTPhilly

                                                    in a 19th c. house, eternal vigilance is required.

                                                    in DC we had full-on sewer rats once during street construction and during the anthrax scare of 2001, worried family elsewhere demanded to know if I was going to seal the house with plastic wrap - me: "are you kidding? I live in a sieve, a colander! there ain't no sealing this antique!"

                                                    we were able to seal up the gas and plumbing pipe openings with a really noxious cement based solvent/mastic and that kept the big ones out.

                                                4. I get mice every couple of years. Usually when the weather is especially bad in the fall. i just put out traps, religiously, baited with peanut butter. I catch a number, and the problem is taken care of. There are occasionally upsetting episodes with mortally wounded, but not dead, mice. Which need to be finished off, I always hate that part. But it's not right to let them suffer. I don't use glue traps, those are cruel.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: Teague

                                                    The mice evolve, they learn to avoid or steak from traps :)

                                                  2. So, I haven't read the whole thread and every reply, so forgive me if this was already suggested and you responded....but can you get a cat? Do you want mine? Kidding, of course. But the smell of a cat in the house may deter them and they may go elsewhere.....

                                                    1. Oh never mind! I just got to your post that says you got a beloved kitten! Yay! Glad you found a solution.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                        I think the smell does deter them, my dog is an expert mouser (outside) but since I had him inside at night this winter I have found zero evidence to report.

                                                      2. Fldhkybnva, I know you are a very nice person and not one to be confrontational, but sometimes the best way to resolve an issue is through a very direct and matter of fact conversation. If it were me, that conversation would go something like this..."Shiitake, you know I love you and give you free room and board, never charge you a penny for any of the bills, never ask you to help out with the cooking, cleaning or laundry and allow you to sleep the day away while I am off at work. But would you PLEASE do just one thing and take care of the mice?"

                                                        And if Shiitake just yawns and gives you a look of indifference maybe tell him you are thinking about giving him away in exchange for a cute little puppy.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: Fowler

                                                          Haha!! Let's add, and buys you random presents just because which I happened to do yesterday. I'm pretty sure he hears me, not sure the listening skills are well developed :)

                                                          Eta: all direct conversations inevitably end with a butt in my face.