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CRITTERS!!!

SOO, I venture into garage to check out what I have in "pantry" in anticipation of upcoming cookie baking. I collect LARGE T-ware storage containers... cannisters, cake holders, etc... to store stuff in. Have 2-3 bags each of dark brown sugar and semi-sweet chocolate chips... stuff that never really can go "bad". See one of those clear "shoe box" containers with a 5 lb bag of AP flour inside. It had been CHEWED INTO and about half the flour was GONE!?! EW!! Thought container would be sufficient to deter mice, but obviously WRONG!!

Garage is NOT INFESTED with vermin, but NOT a pleasant experience! I'm CHEAP but will be out getting some mouse traps that I don't need to SEE that they worked!!

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  1. I found out the hard way that only airtight glass and metal containers are reliable against vermin and insects. Plastic of any type seems to be no deterrent at all!

    2 Replies
      1. re: jmnewel

        Yup.

        I found out we had a rat in the house when I found a plastic air-tight container that had held crackers that was now empty. The lid was still on and the crackers were all behind the fridge.

      2. We had a squirrel take up residence in our warehouse area off the office, he chewed through the lid of the plastic garbage can. The heavy, industrial plastic type. When they want to get in, they are gonna get in.

        1. Rodents (mice, rats, chipmunks, squirrels) chew thru most anything except for metal and glass.
          I have had good luck with the bait that they eat and then die later. Get enough of it to put around the whole area. You do not have to buy the kits with the containers since larger rodents can't get into them. Just keep checking the bait to see what's been eaten and put more in that area.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Motosport

            a) poison bait is a cruel way to kill rodents
            and
            b) the poisoned dead or dying creatures get eaten by other creatures (some of them pets, some of them predators) which then, in turn, get sick and die from the poison.
            if you have any concern for wildlife, poisoning rodents is a very environmentally destructive course of action

            1. re: westsidegal

              So sad, poor mice. I just went on an excursion under the stove with steel wool. The mice here don't die from the poison but if they did...

              1. re: westsidegal

                Completely agree. This is how one of my dogs died (got hold of a dead squirrel who'd gotten into open rodent bait). That experience was one of the two most agonizing of my adult life. (Btw, should something like this happen to an animal you love, if you think they have even gotten close to it: Vitamin K is the antidote to rat poisoning. Get some from your vet immediately.)

                Sealing a building properly prevents rodents from entering. That is the solution, pure and simple.

                Prior to this experience, I used rodent bait on my property in proper traps. I am completely convinced it served only to increase traffic. Unless a rodent gorges on the bait, it can serve as a snack & the rodent will survive. If you keep it replenished, you will have a steady stream of visitors. You are their new drive-through.

                Additionally, if one dies in your walls or under your house, you will suffer as well ... trust me on this.

            2. " It had been CHEWED INTO and about half the flour was GONE!?! EW!! Thought container would be sufficient to deter mice, but obviously WRONG!!

              Garage is NOT INFESTED with vermin, but "

              A female mouse can have up to 10 litters a year with six or more babies per litter..

              14 Replies
              1. re: Scoutmaster

                "A female mouse can have up to 10 litters a year with six or more babies per litter.."

                Yep. My exterminator told me for every 1 you see/kill, there are at least 10 more you can't see.

                We had one particularly bad infestation at our cottage where I keep NO food. They were surviving on toilet paper, cardboard and soap. And maybe dead bugs for all I know.

                Once they find a cozy spot, it is hard to get rid of them. We did a combo of professional services, traps (and traps and traps and more traps) and the "board and bucket" method. Knock wood, no sign of them this year.

                The board and bucket method is to lean a small piece of board/yard stick against a partially full bucket of water. The poison dehydrated them, they seek water, run up the stick and fall into the bucket. I thought my friend was joking when she told me this. We caught two the first time I set it up. We would get several a week.

                1. re: cleobeach

                  I did the accidental version of that when I was soaking the insert from my rice cooker. The next day I went to wash it and was surprised I left a spoon in there.

                  It wasn't a spoon. Just my first batch of "mouse soup"

                  1. re: autumm

                    I seriously thought my friend was pulling my leg but then I learned they set up these traps at their hunting lodge as a precaution each time they leave. My son decorated the board with drawings of cheese and crackers. In his then 4 yo mind, it made a difference.

                    I was used to field mice growing up in the country. I freaked when I saw the size of the PA deer mice, those I cannot tolerate. Didn't like the field mice either but they didn't drive me to take up arms (boots, brooms, boards, or fire wood) like the deer mice do. They are disturbingly large.

                    1. re: cleobeach

                      eeewwww.. I am picturing the scene in Anne of Green Gables when the mouse fell into the pitcher of butter milk...

                      what is that story two little mice fell into a bucket of cream one fell in and drown the other kept paddling and paddling until he churned the cream into butther and crawled out.

                      1. re: cleobeach

                        We have a cabin in the woods and use the bucket method too. However we go a step further. We drill a couple holes into the bucket about an inch below the rim on opposite sides. A metal rod (straightened wire coat hanger goes through an empty water bottle. A bit of peanut butter is smeared on the bottle. If the mouse gets to the water bottle, it spins and the mouse drops into the bucket with a couple inches of anti-freeze. We found out the hard way that if the water freezes, the mouse has a much slower death. This way, they ingest the anti-freeze and die quickly.

                        1. re: John E.

                          We did the exact same at my dad's hunting shack. The anti-freeze trick is key in our climate, as cold months seem to be vermin months. The whole thing is half comic, half grisly, but it's pretty effective, no?

                          1. re: cayjohan

                            We haven't use this technique in a couple of years. The last time we did, my dad put way too much peanut butter on the bottle and I don't think it would move.

                            Speaking of my dad...he's almost 82 and he shot the only deer out of a group of ten of us on opening weekend. He shot a doe and then called me to tell me he had a deer down. He said "I gotta go, another deer just came out of the woods" and he shot that one too, he shot two deer in 4 minutes.The old man can still shoot.

                            We don't know why for sure, but there just weren't that many deer this year. We didn't even see much deer sign. We've been told there is a new wolf pack in the area.

                            My brother took most of the venison to make sausage. I got the backstraps and a couple of loins.

                            In October, we installed kitchen cupboards in our new kitchen at what used to be just a tarpaper shack. And on opening day, we installed a new gas range. We still need to cut the sink in. We'd been cooking on a propane camp stove (not a little green Coleman stove) for many years since our little 20" gas stove quite working. We even had a pre-Thanksgiving dinner of turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, and stuffing. It was real high class for deer camp.

                            1. re: John E.

                              We have no deer this year either. As recent as three years ago we had deer right outside the back door in the middle of the day. We alway put feed out. We are in the middle of a state Forrest but we don't hunt. I am amazed by the lack of deer.

                              1. re: cleobeach

                                Where do you live? We still have more than a million deer in Minnesota, they just were not showing up during hunting hours on our land in northern Minnesota. Some of he days were quite windy, which stops deer movement.

                                1. re: John E.

                                  Pennsylvania. I am not a hunter but many in my family are and the game commission made some changes a few years back that have decreased the population in our area. We are friends with a DCNR ranger and he said he can see a noticeable change in the vegetation in the state forests. Also, the nephew of a friend traps and he is getting a lot of coyotes.

                                  No doubt the population in the suburban areas of the state where there is little hunting is booming!

                              2. re: John E.

                                John E., my dad was ruthless with his judicial use of peanut butter, as in: that can (we used dad's fave, Seven-Up, from his preference for 7-Up and Captain Morgan's) SPUN. The mouse catch was usually spectacular.

                                Sorry to hear the deer take was down so low; I saw...what a 7% reduction overall in MN, with the NW of the state taking a serious hit in take. My dad didn't hunt last year due to injury, and died before this hunt, but man, was that guy a dead-eye marksman. He probably could have just dedicated his marksmanship to hunting-shack mice! But we liked the venison more.

                                Here's a more on-topic question: whattya do with all the antifreeze from vermin-trapping of this nature? I grew up rural, but I'm a city girl now, and now that we're decommissioning the shack, I'm not sure how to dispose of the mouse-trap. We kept it going for our neighbor's hunt and use of the cabin, and my dad just flung the anti-freezed mice into the swamp, but it seems...a bit wrong to me, with chemicals. What did you do with, um, the leftovers of this type of mousetrapping?

                                1. re: cayjohan

                                  Ethylene glycol is what most anti-freeze uses as the agent to prevent freezing. While it is deadly to ingest for animals, it is an organic substance. I would not dump it into a wet area, but I would dump it in the woods on high ground. I really don't know what happened to the the bucket or the contents. We only had that contraption around for a few weekes while my father was playing around with it. I guess one of my brothers got rid of it.

                                  Without too many specifics, where is the cabin and what kind of shape is it in? Are you sure you need to 'decommission' it? When we first got our now cabin, it was a 20' X 24' tarpaper shack. We put a steel roof on, put an addition on to double the size, put tonge and groove paneling in the addition (all of the pine and fir was off our land) and just added a new kitchen. With the siding, screen porch, two wood stoves, and the new propane range, it's actually a cabin now, albeit without running water or electricity.

                                  1. re: John E.

                                    We'll have to think about what our legacy mousetrap's demise will be. I'll likely be more cognizant of environmental issues than my dad was. Still, it was and is A Really Great Mousetrap.

                                    We're decommissioning in that we've sold the property to long time neighbors, and need to clear out personal property. I'll miss that shack: 12x16, log construction (three sides cut), from wood yours truly logged and hauled and sawmilled with the Old Man. Given the rural-living that dad's neighbors understand, I might just leave the mousetrap, but, y'know...a bucket full of dead mice is not so nice. We'll see and I'll research further on what to do.

                                    Critters. They have a way of affecting our lives.

                                    Your hunting cabin sounds wonderful.

                                    1. re: cayjohan

                                      We have one extremely rustic side with all the bunks made with fir poles and the rafters are all fir off the land. The addition is the showy side with the new kitchen. I am actually almost excited about cooking up there. Until now it's been mostly everything cooked on the grill. I'm outfitting an actual kitchen and the required cooking equipment.

                                      I like the idea of selling to the neighbors. We've only owned ours since 1999. I think we bought at the right time.

                  2. My parents lived rural, and dealt often with critters. My mother, a thrift store maven, thwarted rodent-type vermin by buying metal tins at Goodwill and such - you know, those big three-flavor popcorn tins popular around the holidays? - and was pretty happy with results in safeguarding her baking goods. Cheap, cheap, cheap, too. I do the same with my pet foods and with holiday baking that I want to keep in "the big outdoor fridge." It took just one instance of squirrels marauding amongst the cookies to shift to metal containers for me.

                    1. Our mice prefer peanut butter. They don't like ez cheese. You might want to try rat traps if it's something bigger than a mouse.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: autumm

                        The winner bait for me was a layer of peanut butter, a sunflower seed and topped with a scant layer of peanut butter.

                        1. re: cleobeach

                          I seem to do well here with a small piece of bacon smeared with peanut butter.

                          Of course, you do need to have leftover bacon to do this. And even though I don't eat it, the other members of the house usually take care of the bacon.

                          1. re: jw615

                            Try mixing the bacon fat with the peanut butter. I do that to make suet balls for the squirrels and they love it. If its too gloppy, add some cornmeal, flour, or sugar.

                            Of course, I'm not trying to kill my squirrels, but I bet the mice like it just as much.

                        2. re: autumm

                          Peanut butter works well, except when your mice become genius creatures and steal it.

                        3. Mice like peanut butter and our cat seems to love peanut butter flavored mice. ;-)

                          1. We used a pest control service to get rid of a mouse problem and they set baits around the outside of the garage as well as baited traps on the inside. Seemed pretty effective.

                            1. Mice can eat through nearly anything. I've discovered foil bags and cardboard boxes which have been chewed through. They can't tackle glass or metal or even the cylindrical cardboard/metal canisters. I'm not sure where you live, but vermin are everywhere.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: fldhkybnva

                                I kept a heavy duty plastic trash can out back for my bird feeder seeds. Rodents ate right thru it.

                                1. re: Motosport

                                  Well, you would too if you were a mouse and you found a very large pile of food that somebody had carelessly neglected to leave open for you.

                                  If you mix the birdseed with generous amounts of cayenne or, better yet, bird pepper, the rodents won't be able to eat it. Birds don't mind that stuff, but it really burns the mouths of mammals. Only humans are masochistic enough to enjoy the feeling!

                              2. They really like Ivory Soap also....metal,glass ,and lots of poison outside the house...
                                We try to grab "5 gallon potato chip" cans to store grains etc...at garage sales etc.

                                1. My dad likes to tell the tale of how his father kept the rat population down during The Depression. They had a barn with animal feed that attracted vermin. Of course ratgrandfather could have purchased some rat poisin (Wafarin) but that cost money. Instead he mixed some dry plaster with some sugar and put bowls of it where he knew the rat runs were.The rats would eat the plaster/sugar and the plaster would harden in their gut. My dad says he remembers using sticks to launch those dead rats into the swamp behind their house.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: John E.

                                    I made one of these. Got rid of them in a couple of weeks. First night it caught six. I put about four inches of water in the bucket.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MV9wox...

                                  2. This weekend I went on a mission, moved the stove and found tiny slits although big enough for a mouse, stuffed them with steel wool and used a product Great Stuff pest control in a green can to seal. Fingers crossed, I've heard it works. If not, call me beat by rodents

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                                      I haven't heard of a specific pest control Great Stuff, I will need to check that out.

                                      Our pest guy gave me some sort of copper meshing to use. Something about the copper makes it more effective then steel wool. The little buggers can get through heavy duty aluminum foil.

                                      1. re: cleobeach

                                        They chew threw everything. I think I might just congratulate them on their evolutionary prowess and let them run amock :) Here's the link to the Great Stuff http://www.homedepot.com/p/GREAT-STUF...

                                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                                          I am getting a can of that for my husband's stocking. He will be thrilled as he leads the war on household pests.

                                          Prior to extensive renovations, we had snakes in the house. (wild, not pets)

                                          There is nothing like snakes in the house to turn one into a ruthless mouse-killing machine. No food for snakes, no more snakes in the house. Sealing all the cracks helps to keep both out.

                                          1. re: cleobeach

                                            Oh my, snakes! I'd be out of there the next day. Just the thought of that makes my skin crawl. If you do try it, my dad recommended to not use the plastic stick included but to wear gloves and push with your thumb or index finger because the stick often clogs.