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Mice in apartment


We've been in our apt for 10 years. Several months ago, the tenants next door to us were evicted because their place was a disgusting, filthy mess. They had pets and didn't let them out to do their business, just for starters. The apt went through major renovation to get it ready for new tenants, and there have been new people in there for a while now.

I noticed mouse poop under the sink. We don't keep any food there, but the trash is in there. We moved the trash out and got a trash container with a lid, and I cleaned everything out with bleach but they are still coming in. The apt complex put steel wool around the openings, but that's done nothing. They put down glue strips, and the next day we found one covered with mouse hair and poop where one had obviously pulled himself off the strip. I have things pretty well sealed and don't see any signs of them chewing or being anywhere but ground floor level (we live in a ground floor apartment), but it bothers me they are there. I complained about the glue strips' ineffectiveness and they are going to get some kind of box traps, but they refuse to do anything to the rest of the building (11 other units in my building) because according to them, if the other tenants don't complain, they're "only in my suite." I think that's ridiculous. If you don't exterminate the whole building, they will still be there. No?

I'm wondering what the danger to my food is, if any others have had experience with getting landlords in apartment units to treat this problem, any other feedback/suggestions you have.

  1. R & R, "pretty well sealed" isn't good enough as mice can squeeze through very small spaces in your walls. Having had the problem too, here's what I did.
    1. Got a cat, a mouser, nothing too pure bred. Leave the area under the sink open for the cat. The cat's scent might be enough to persuade the rodents to set up housekeeping elsewhere.
    2. Sealed around all wires and pipes with foam insulation. Mice can tear and chew through steel wool.
    3. Get better glue boards. Good ones hold forever. Put them right flat against a wall where you have signs of mice intrusion. Mice are almost blind and travel by feel along walls.
    3. Store your bread, flour, cereals, etc., in your oven or some other sealed vessel.
    4. Ground level apartments are vulnerable. What's under you? Check around your waste/drain pipes and electrical wiring entry points. That's where my mice got in.

    The cat eventually got the upper hand and we have been rodent free for years.

    7 Replies
    1. re: iamafoodie

      I disagree on a couple of points.

      Mice can chew through foam much more easily than steel wool -- they really don't like metal on their teeth!

      Glue traps are cruel. The mouse will struggle for minutes or even hours before it dies. Even if you don't care about the suffering of the mouse, do you really want to deal with the live stuck mouse or wait for it to die, listening to the sound of a dying mouse? Use a snap trap.

      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        Agree with Ruth. The previous owners of our house filled every crack with foam, and seven years later the mice are still chewing through them.

        And mice on glue traps scream. For a long time. They scream and scream.

        1. re: NonnieMuss

          I used steel wool covered with foam. They eventually chew but it works until they do.

          1. re: NonnieMuss

            I had the old-fashioned snap-wire on wood traps in my garage. On more than one occasion, the mouse was trapped but not killed, leaving me having to drown or freeze it. I prefer humane traps and releasing them(hopefully) far enough away that they don't return.

            A friend swears by mothballs tossed in vulnerable spots.
            If there are kids or pets, the mothballs should be tied up in window screen mesh. I used to hear rustling at the bottom of the stairs at night. I threw some mothballs down and that very night, there was frantic squeaking from this spot, as though a mouse was cussing me out.
            Never heard it again, though I think there are still some mice in the garage.

            Some people think mint oils repel mice, others say it's an old wive's tale.

            1. re: greygarious

              I have had fantastic results with mint, lavender, and clove essential oils as I mentioned above.

              I have never had a mouse that survived a wire trap. I use a mix of peanut butter and flour as bait, molded around the bait platform.

          2. re: Ruth Lafler

            wool/foam etc are band-aid measures. a few years back, sewer work in my old hood got the rodent residents active and exploring. casually ask other tenants if they've noticed increased activity. w/o ID'ing my house I posted a question like that on my block's listserv and got corroboration from the other houses - I really was just verifying it wasn't my habits. my landlady's crew (thankfully she was great about all things pest) sealed the opening around the pipes with some sort of really foul smelling concrete mastic compound. THAT worked like a dream.

            glue traps suck - but if you do... keep a drowning bucket nearby to cut its suffering short or stock up on ear plugs. better to just snap the little bastard's neck fast and clean.

            ovens aren't mouse proof. not conventional ones anyway - the shits only need 1/4 of an inch to squeeze through and can jump as high as the cooktop. maybe a m/w or a cooler would work better, but it's still an intolerable situation for a tenant and in some cities vermin are grounds for withholding rent. and you are right, they're like cockroaches, once they're in, they can be anywhere in the building, often for no good reason (ie no food in that room).

            I hate that period of compulsively wiping and twice washing and general paranoia.

            food safety - unless you or guests are infants, elderly or immune-compromised I wouldn't freak out TOO much, unless it's an event like I had once as child pouring my cereal into the bowl and a mouse came with it. THAT went into the trash. but check the boxes/wrappings/bags carefully for gnaw marks before using.

            1. re: hill food

              "...better to just snap the little bastard's neck fast and clean..."
              - Likey

              I was going to reply to Nonnie about the length of screaming: not too long after squashing their head with your bootheel...
              But erred on the genteel side.

        2. Call the landlord and tell them you want a professional exterminator STAT and if they don't oblige then call whatever authorities you have to call in order to get the job done.
          Let the exterminator tell you what you need to do and then go rescue a cat whose pheromones don't allow rodents within a city block from your residence.
          It's amazing to me how many people are willing to put up with this problem for various reasons, one being the inability to comprehend how the 'poor mouse' dies.
          I had a friend who thought the same thing until she found one in her daughter's crib. Things changed quite rapidly after that.

          1 Reply
          1. re: latindancer

            I eventually started taking pictures in case I ever decided to call the authorities. It was getting awful. I now have a cat and they were still roaming around for a while. In fact, there was a very entertaining cat-mouse showdown one night that I witnessed but now I think perhaps his smell keeps them away but I never actually feel like they are gone completely.

          2. The cheep snap traps with peanut butter. If you see mouse droppings in the area, put out a couple. Freshen the peanut butter every other day. Throw out the whole trap when a "catch" is made and replace with a fresh trap (around here they are 50 cents each)

            Put all of your food in plastic containers at least. They can chew through rubbermaid, but they look for easier pickings first. And keep your kitchen spotless. During mouse season, I keep a spray bottle of clorox on hand to clean everything

            3 Replies
            1. re: autumm

              Agree about the snap traps and peanut butter. It's worked for me.

              1. re: Bob Martinez

                It's worked for me too. It worked great for a few weeks and then stopped working all of a sudden.

                1. re: fldhkybnva

                  they ain't stoopid. seriously, they are clever little critters.

            2. I don't live in an appartment, but in a house in a small town. Some years, we get mice, some we don't.

              Perhaps you can complain to the landlord and perhaps something will get done. In the meantime, take charge and get traps (a cat is a lifestyle change).

              I think glue traps aren't very effective (and I don't like cats), so I use old fashioned, Viceroy traps (dollar store traps tend to fail more that the Viceroy).
              Some people swear by peanut butter. Me? I romantically use sliced cheese.
              Buy about four or six (traps, not slices of cheese) and set in out-of-the-way places where you see their turds. Check them in the mornings and when you come home from being out. If you get one, un-snap the carcass in the garbage and re-set.

              Continue setting traps day and night until you stop catching them.

              12 Replies
              1. re: porker

                Porker -- my dad will reuse the traps. I ... can't. It all goes out -- the mouse and trap. I'll spend the extra dollar not to deal with it.

                1. re: porker

                  "I romantically use sliced cheese."

                  Why do I immediately draw a picture of you setting a tiny table, with a lit candelabra and perhaps some tiny sliced grapes to compliment the cheese?

                  1. re: jrvedivici

                    That is a good picture, maybe some Venetian opera as background music?

                    Everyone says to use peanut butter, that its the best bait. I'm not arguing the fact, just that +/- 40 years of Looney Tunes has SOME effect.
                    Every time I have to set traps, I kinda wish we had yellow swiss cheese with holes, but alas, I have to pilfer the mother-in-law's processed, individually wrapped, plastic cheese....

                    1. re: porker

                      While I've successfully used peanut butter, my original bait on my first mouse hunting expedition, was bacon.

                      Yes, bacon.

                      I'd cut off a tiny piece and put it on the metal trigger. Then I'd hold a lighted match under it until the bacon released its scent and fused on to the metal.

                      I caught a bunch of them.

                      1. re: Bob Martinez

                        You and porker really like to get my imagination going. So correct me if I'm wrong please. You took a very small uncooked piece of bacon, but it on the arm of the trap, then cooked it with a match, too allow the aroma flow to the mice?

                        No offense but it sounds to me like you and porker should join up and do some table side service for mice. He set's the table and ambiance then you come out and cook for them table side. It's really a hell of a way to serve them their last meal.

                        Memo in Mice New's Letter;
                        New Restaurant it's to Die For !!!

                        1. re: Bob Martinez

                          "...my first mouse hunting expedition..."

                          Mrs Porker is terrified by mice and she hates the fact that I get satisfaction out of catching them.

                          I explained that its a primal thing. I used to fish and hunt a lot, but with our life today, these are but rare occurrences. So whats left? I hunt down articles in the grocery store (big deal...), or the best parking spot (well there is some thrill in getting the spot next to the handicap parking), or once a year, mice.

                          1. re: Bob Martinez

                            I have had great success with pieces of bacon mixed into peanut butter.

                      2. re: porker

                        The advantage of peanut butter is that the mouse can't grab it and pull it off the trap.

                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                          But I like the challange of getting the cheese just right to snap the little bastard.
                          Sometimes the cheese is gone and the trap not triggered. Well, its mouse 1, porker 0 and I respect the mouse's cunning.

                          1. re: porker

                            If the mice are stealing cheese from the traps, bait as usual, then set the traps in the oven for a few minutes. The cheese will be melted onto the trap, and the mouse working to get it off is guaranteed to snap the trap.

                      3. Great advice so far.

                        Anything you have in a cardboard box, consider storing in glass. Draconian, I know, but it works. Or get a large, thick Rubbermaid tote that snaps shut (a big one, big enough for comforters) and put your boxed stuff in there. Stop gap, but better than exposed. Don't store anything that is merely wrapped or boxed on counters or in cabinets.

                        The mice are reproducing (not to be dramatic). Get your landlord on this now. INSIST on it. This is a health concern. If s/he doesn't follow up by the end of the day with a professional exterminator visit appt time for you, tell him you're snapping photos of the poop to email to the Board of Health/whatever the appropriate body is in your city or town. That email will go out tomorrow without a firm date.

                        Meantime, yes, snap traps. Peanut butter and spray cheese work wonders.

                        And seriously consider a cat.

                        1. We live in an old house and get field mice virtually every fall when the weather gets cold. I absolutely agree that the snap traps are the best resort. We line them up 2 or 3 together because sometimes the mice are smart enough that they can get the bait out of a single trap without getting caught but generally have problems with such maneuvers when there are multiple traps placed together. Place the traps at the places that seem to be their point of entry to your kitchen, often along a baseboard of a cabinet or under the sink. We bait the traps with cheddar cheese, replacing with fresh cheese every night.

                          1. Snap traps for sure! We just eliminated a mouse problem (the previous owners were filthy) and used enclosed snap traps with peanut butter. The ones that don't kill the mice immediately are cruel. We also have 2 cats. They're house cats and I doubt they'd successfully catch a mouse but the mice didn't know that! That and clean, clean, clean.

                            1. Mice are pretty smart - they learn to avoid traps so you have camouflage them or put them in places where there's no way around them and move them around frequently.

                              The electric traps that are just rectangular plastic boxes about 3"x8"x2" with a door in one end work really well (the mouse goes to the bait in the back of the trap with no idea of the two metal plates on the floor, no idea of the circut he'll complete by touching them at the same time and no idea there's a 9v battery connected to that circut. zzzzzzz)

                              1. This is more of a question than a response. Yah, the traps will catch them, or a cat can catch them, but these are only getting rid of the symptoms, the real question is how do you seal your property so they don't come in in the first place. We're on a slab, I don't really see a way they get in, but every now and then in the cold months, one pops up.

                                And for me a cat is not a solution but an additional problem.

                                10 Replies
                                1. re: mikie

                                  It's almost impossible to completely seal your home. They can come in through roof vents etc. there are a million ways into a home when your as small as a mouse.

                                  I have a similar problem, I live adjacent to 20+ acres of open space/woods, every winter when we go into our basement to get out the Christmas decorations we find evidence of mice. They have yet to venture upstairs into the living area, and I'll leave traps in the basement from time to time.......I just consider it part of living near wooded area's.

                                  For the OP there isn't much you can do besides use the snap traps...then maybe you will curb the amount that know the way into your place. After you catch one....take some thread and hang him from the elbow of your sink for a week, for the others to see you mean business!! (use to work in the wild west with bad guys)

                                  1. re: jrvedivici

                                    I did that with squirrels (hung the carcass from a tree). Didn't phase they others in the least.

                                    1. re: jrvedivici

                                      <It's almost impossible to completely seal your home>

                                      No it's not.
                                      My home was built in 1927 and every square inch was professionally sealed. I also pay, monthly, to have the bait boxes around the outside perimeter of my home cared for. They eat from it and they die.
                                      Never, ever again will I deal with a rodent, of any kind, in my home.
                                      It's disgusting.

                                      1. re: jrvedivici

                                        Well I couldn't tell you how many acres are across the road from our house, it's many, I'll leave it at theat. And yes, it's the early part of winter that seems to be an issue.

                                        I don't know where they come in, but they end up under the sink. Our cabinets have plywood backs so there is space between the cabinet and the wall, there is also space under the cabinet and there is certianly space around the pipes where the cabinets had to slide in over the pipes or where the line from the dishwasher comes into the drain under the sink. Sealing off the hole around the pipe and the cabinet isn't going to accomplish anything. I set traps, but I'd rather they just stayed outside. We're on a slab, so I don't know how they get in. I have traps in the garage, because I know how easy it is for them to get into the garage. But I haven't gotten a mouse in the garage in a very long time.

                                        I wasn't a big fan of glue traps, until one year I just couldn't catch the mouse in a snap trap, so I put a couple of glue traps out where I'd seen them run. The next moring all the snap traps were empty but the two glue traps each had a mouse.

                                        1. re: jrvedivici

                                          I had several exterminators tell me that they would not take my money because it'd just be a waste and there's no way they could seal all of the holes.

                                          1. re: jrvedivici

                                            Shortly after we moved here and found rats visiting under our bird feeder, we completely sealed our home. It took a weekend, but every gas/electric/service line coming into the house got copper wire mesh and mortar, every gap under a window sill where it didn't meet the stucco, a grid surround for our dryer vent, hardware cloth (it's heavy duty wire grid) staple gunned over attic vents, backed by wire window screening, and wire mesh with expanding foam or mortar in every single crack or gap in the basement block foundation, mortar around basement window edges. We got mice years later when the metal collar fell off an attic fan, so staple gunned hardware cloth and screen over that whole opening from the inside. A few traps and they were gone. I heard them in my bathroom and closet walls, but never saw any sign of their intrusion into food storage areas, but I got in the habit of keeping everything in hard (lexan) plastic bins in the kitchen and pantry, anything they might eat after seeing rats on the hill. Plus, we have rat bait boxes around the perimeter of our property, refilled monthly. This year, we'd failed to note some rot on two door sills and something got in one wall and drove a cat crazy, but no sounds since blocking it off with wire wool and foam. Another right under my front door saddle that never got into the house and may be dead in there since I blocked it off. Had a rat guy here the other day for 45 minutes, super thorough. Found some ancient petrified mouse turds in insulation in the door sill crawl space, but no cracks or entries and zero signs of intrusion. Could not believe how tight we had this house from rodents. It takes some time, then just keeping an eye on maintenance.

                                            1. re: mcf

                                              Exactly. Well done. We have rat baits around our perimeter too.

                                          2. re: mikie

                                            We may think there are no ways into the house, but the buggers can climb, swing, sneak, skate, and dance if they have to.

                                            There can be small gaps in the eaves, siding, sill caps, ventilation grills, dryer ducts, foundation (slab) cracks, electrical entrance, etc etc etc.

                                            You can also bring them in (although rare) with groceries or other goods.

                                            In my case its field mice (like masha), and some always get in during the cold months. Killing them solves the problem for another year.

                                            1. re: porker

                                              Yeah -- I live in 1700s farmhouse and there's no way to completely seal this thing, though foam over steel wool works OK enough.

                                              The ones who do get in the early winter then die. Traps, poison, I'm pretty indiscriminate as to how they're dispatched, except for glue traps. Hate those things.

                                              1. re: porker

                                                It's a great idea to go into the attic, basement in the dark and see if you can see daylight from any sill plate area, or eave. And keep trees away from your roof, that was the only recco I got from the rodent expert who visited. A tall spruce out front needs the branches elevated once more.

                                            2. Since we're on the subject, my two mouse stories.

                                              'bout 30 years back a friend of my mother had mice (well, most people I know had mice, but thats a different story). Anyway, she got up one morning and made toast. She thought she smelled something burning just about the time the toast popped. Lo and behold, a mouse was in the toaster (likely nibbling crumbs), was electrocuted when she pushed the lever down and fused to the bread. It was still stuck to the toast when it popped.
                                              Scared the bejesus outta her.

                                              'bout 20 years ago, I had a shop outside the house which had a tiny watercloset (read toilet). Bleary eyed, I went in at 6:00 when it was still dark.
                                              After almost finishing my business, I noticed there was a dead mouse in the water. For one and a half horrifying seconds, I wondered how I actually shit a mouse....
                                              of course it had fallen in during the night and drowned, but for a second there....

                                              82 Replies
                                              1. re: porker

                                                oh don't open the gates for more of those libelous Richard Gere smears... just don't.

                                                1. re: porker

                                                  Best story (the 2nd one) I've heard in weeks.

                                                  1. re: porker

                                                    30+ years ago, I worked in a print shop in NYC (1st floor) but the bathroom was in the basement. So this day, I go to the bathroom which was pretty much small as a closet so I just backed in and sat down without looking in. I heard a splashing going on and I jumped up to find a mouse trying to grasp onto the inside of the toilet so he can make his way out.

                                                    I thought to myself that no one would believe me if I told them about this so I slammed the top down and went to find the manager so I could show him. He flushed the thing down the toilet. To this day, I always look in the toilet before sitting down.

                                                    Fast forward 5 years ago; now I live in rural NC. One night, I'm sitting in my living room facing the front door, which was open but I had a storm door that I had locked. I was watching tv but out of the corner of my eye, I watched in amazement a mouse squeeze himself through a crack under the storm door that wasn't completely level to the door frame. My dog who was sitting on the couch with me, jumped up and chased it to the kitchen cabinet under the sink. I set a trap and 10 minutes later, he was caught.

                                                    After that, I rigged my house with snap traps and some nights I caught 2-3 mice. I am surrounded by farm land and they live in the fields. At the end of August or early Sept, the fields are cut down and the weather starts changing so they're looking for someplace to keep warm and to hide. My point is, they can get in your house in many many ways. For the past two years, we've been putting rat poison pellets under our house (that's how they've been getting in now) and I keep a container of poison in every room of the house, under the couch, under the bed, under the kitchen sink, behind the stove. I have not seen one mouse this winter.

                                                    1. re: Cherylptw

                                                      <found a mouse trying to grasp onto the side of the toilet>

                                                      I have a friend who this happened to, except it was a rat the size of a small cat.
                                                      Like you, he never sits down without looking.

                                                      1. re: Cherylptw

                                                        It is not uncommon in my parent's house (in a wooded area next to a river) to find a frog in the toilet - I definitely always check there.

                                                        1. re: jw615

                                                          My neighbor told me a snake was found in her toilet once. In fact, a snake got into her bathroom another time through a outside vent. She said she was in another room and heard things falling to the floor in her bathroom so she went in and a snake had crawled onto a shelf on her wall. She ran to get another neighbor who took it outside and shot it. That scares me more than anything.

                                                          1. re: Cherylptw

                                                            One of our neighbors had an animal inside her attached garage behind the workbench. She asked me to come take a look. Her husband was gone for a couple of days. Does this sound like the beginning of a Penthouse Letters Forum? Anyway, I went over there, and with permission, shot the offending ground hog and buried it in our backyard. There were no letters in this instance. (Dammit!)

                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                              Not quite as surreptitious...
                                                              A few years ago a sound in the house woke us up in the morning. It sounded like someone sliding a chair on a wooden floor back from a table.
                                                              "didja hear something?" Instantly awake, I asked a groggy mrs. porker.
                                                              "I maybe heard something."
                                                              "There it is again!" I jumped up, grabbing a bat outta the closet.
                                                              I walked throughout the house, room by room, then heard it again - it was coming from the basement.
                                                              Heart pounding, I went into the semi-finished basement and promptly screamed like a school girl when a small groundhog scurried under some pallets.
                                                              He got through a screen window and was trapped in the basement. The sound was the rodent yelping.
                                                              Took me a coupla hours, but I caught him in a small animal trap and released him in a vacant lot kitty corner to our house.
                                                              It ran right back to our property....

                                                              1. re: porker

                                                                Grabbed a bat?? Where you positive it wasn't a human intruder?? If I heard something like that, a bat certainly wouldn't have been my choice of weapon.....

                                                                And of course it ran right back to your house! Lol, hope you fixed the screen window....you have to rodent proof your house from the outside.

                                                                We had tree rats in our attic, and they woke me up with the sound of them gnawing on wood in the middle of the night....nasty creatures. Had the house rodent proofed, have not seen or heard any since, in the 12+ years we've lived here. Most pest control companies do this service.

                                                                1. re: porker

                                                                  I'd grab a bat if my husband called me Mrs Porker

                                                                2. re: Cherylptw

                                                                  The idea of someone shooting things in a bathroom scares me.

                                                                  Was the snake venomous? Wasn't there an animal control agency they could have called to get rid of it? Gunfire seems a bit extreme.

                                                                  1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                    <shooting things in a bathroom scares me>

                                                                    If you read closely 'took it outside and shot it' was the statement, not shooting it in a bathroom.
                                                                    I admit things can get a little crazy when someone finds something in their house that catches them by surprise.
                                                                    Another words…rational thinking goes out the window.

                                                                    1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                      I believe the snake was brought outdoors for the actual shooting

                                                                      1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                        They took the snake outside to shoot it, I don't think anything was shot in the bathroom based on the OP's story.

                                                                        I can tell you shooting snakes is fairly common in the south. My grandmother use to "routinely" shoot random snakes around her home/property in Virginia.

                                                                        1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                          "I don't think anything was shot in the bathroom"

                                                                          Perhaps the OP's sanity?

                                                                          1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                            <I can tell you shooting snakes is fairly common in the south>

                                                                            Fairly common and IMO very civilized.
                                                                            I remember a time when there was a bounty on rodents in the SFV…people could shoot them dead. It helped the out of hand population. Now there's a uncontrolled population and no bounty.
                                                                            I couldn't see that happening again…for those who feel sorry/have empathy for the rats/mice.

                                                                            1. re: latindancer

                                                                              In most rural counties in Minnesota, and probably the surrounding states, there is still a bounty on pocket gophers and 13-lined ground squirrels, commonly called a striped gopher.

                                                                              My dad has a cat and she caught two voles in the basement. She brought one upstairs to his bedroom, still alive, lost interest, and let it go. The other one she let go on the sun porch. She is not interested in killing and eating them apparently.

                                                                              Years ago we had a cat that caught a flying squirrel. I had never seen one before. They are completely nocturnal in thick oak forests.

                                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                                Yup, we had a flying squirrel get caught in our house (not sure how) and our cat, Wo Fat (named after the original Hawaii Five-O villain) caught him. My sister and I were screaming, my brother was laughing and my mother was trying to shoo the cat out of the house with the squirrel in his mouth. My brother finally clamped down on the cat, opened his jaws and set the squirrel free.

                                                                                Let's just say Wo Fat gave *THE* most villainous look at my brother when the squirrel got away.

                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                  When I was a kid our cat brought in a baby rabbit. The cat darted into the 1/2 bath near the back door where his food dish was. My dad took the bunny away from the cat and released it in the backyard. My grandmother scoled her son for doing that. She said it was his (the cat's) rabbit.

                                                                                  A different cat brought a chipmunk into my parent's house. My dad picked up the cat and put him out the back door. The cat dropped the chipmunk and it ran across the patio and into his hole in the ground.

                                                                              2. re: latindancer

                                                                                You can't even shoot pellet guns or airsoft at ANYTHING in LA County......

                                                                                1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                  Don't get me started :).
                                                                                  The rats in parts of LA County are the size of cats…
                                                                                  It's like they're protected.

                                                                                  1. re: latindancer

                                                                                    Oh I know, they are HUGE....that's why I would not send my cat up into the attic to catch them, knew I needed professionals to deal with it. My cat is quite the bird catcher, tho. He's great at catching hummingbirds, but has even brought home some much larger ones.....

                                                                                    1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                      That is so sad...did you know that it is a big problem with loose house cats killing PROTECTED songbirds? Please keep you cat inside!

                                                                                      1. re: Raffles

                                                                                        What is sad, that a cat is following it's natural instincts to hunt????

                                                                                        I find it much more sad that humans try to deny these natural predatory instincts in their pets, and treat them like children.....

                                                                                        No I will not keep my cat inside to please people like you..... There are trillions of birds..... Apparently you don't comprehend the natural cycle of life in nature. Just because a cat is domesticated, doesn't mean it shouldn't be "allowed" to hunt.

                                                                                        Next you're going to tell me not to buy crickets to feed my gecko...... Unbelievably ridiculous.....

                                                                                        1. re: Raffles

                                                                                          <That is so sad>

                                                                                          What's so sad about it? I've had cats all my life…they've all been outdoor cats who've lived long, healthy lives. All of them were amazing hunters. In fact, all my neighbors would send me gifts year round for the amount of work my cats did in keeping everyone's rodent population to a minimum….

                                                                                          <Please keep your cat inside>

                                                                                          Nope. No way. They've loved being indoor/outdoor cats…they're really in their element being outside. Plus, I'd never be able to stand the horrid smell and the constant changing of those ghastly litter boxes.
                                                                                          I love birds too. Interestingly, it's the rats/mice they were loving to kill…very few birds.

                                                                                          1. re: Raffles

                                                                                            Yes, it IS sad that people are so careless about their pets' impact on nature. Studies, including those in which critter-cams have been attached to cats, show how much killing they do. Feral and wild cats consume their kills but domestic cats who are fed by their owners still kill instinctively. Human impact - including pet ownership - has long since ruined nature's way of balancing itself. In that respect, we are responsible for what our pets do. Not to mention the diseases, poisons, and vehicles imperiling free-roaming pets. The average lifespan of free-roaming pets is a fraction of that of those who live indoors. Ask ANY veterinarian. Many if not most owners regard their pets as members of the family. Would you let your toddler or senile grandparent wander around your neighborhood?

                                                                                            1. re: greygarious

                                                                                              Wow. Just wow. I don't even know where to begin.....

                                                                                              Yes, most animals kept indoors live longer, but you are denying that cat the ability to live to it's true potential. Cooping it up in a house is unnatural. And for the record, my Mom had a cat that was indoor/outdoor and lived until she was 21; so not sure how, if my mom kept her cooped up, how she was supposed to elongate her life.

                                                                                              You seem to conveniently forget this is wildlife (birds, lizards, whatever) that the cats kill. If the birds or lizards aren't killed by a neighborhood cat, they are eaten by any number of wild predators out there anyway......

                                                                                              If you're so concerned about humans impact on nature's way of balancing itself, perhaps you should dedicate your efforts in helping reduce the population of overbred dogs & cats for "show", and encouraging people to get neutered or spayed pets from the pound.......

                                                                                              And lastly, and this particularly gets me, pets ARE NOT HUMANS LIKE A TODDLER OR SENILE GRANDPARENT. They are animals that mature to adulthood by age two, and are meant to experience nature and their full animal potential, which includes going outside & hunting! I had a dachshund that used to hunt and kill the snapper turtles that came out of the river we had behind my house..... So what??? That's what they were bred for....so we were supposed to follow him around outside and discipline him when he caught something?!

                                                                                              And how do you explain farms? They have cats and dogs around, usually to help keep the rodent population at bay....now they should keep them indoors and instead poison the rodents?! What if some poison gets into their livestock? Honestly, that is so twisted I can't even wrap my head around it.

                                                                                              1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                So you would have no problem with my hunting dog killing your cat? I would, but you wouldn't? Talk about twisted!

                                                                                                1. re: Raffles

                                                                                                  Frankly, I'd be upset and saddened...... But I wouldn't tell you you should keep your dog cooped up in a pen the rest of it's life.....unless it was a menace to people and you ignored public safety laws by allowing it off leash in public areas. Then I'd sue you to have your animal put down.

                                                                                                  But we're not even comparing apples to oranges here. You're example is about domesticated pets. Not pets v wildlife.......

                                                                                                  1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                    Rest assured, I cannot fathom your attitude, either. I'm out.

                                                                                                    1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                      Please do not give up, as cats are domesticated ...

                                                                                                      Please...you are so much better at this....

                                                                                                      Speak the truth...whatever..

                                                                                              2. re: greygarious

                                                                                                I tend to agree with you. We had a cat once who got in a fight with another cat and apparently lost. The right side of his face was swollen. We had to bring him to the vet who cleaned up the wound and gave us Amoxicillan. The first squirt went into his mouth. The rest had to be mixed in with canned cat food.

                                                                                                When I was a kid we had a cat without either front or rear claws. He lived to 20 years 6 months as an indoor/outdoor cat. He mostly caught striped gophers and not birds. (He also ate them. One of the window wells had a lot of tails and feet in it.)

                                                                                            2. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                              <but has even brought home some much larger ones>

                                                                                              I've always been amazed at what great hunters cats are. Their skill is beyond amazing.
                                                                                              I also think the 'please don't let your cats outside to kill birds' people/complainers should really go outside and look at what is really the big threat to the songbirds and hummingbirds.
                                                                                              I had a hummingbird nest (I hear it's good luck, hope so) outside my back door. The ugly, loud, obnoxious crows would spend every waking hour trying to get at that nest. It wasn't my cat trying to get at them, it was the predatory crow.
                                                                                              I think there should be a bounty on crows but then there'd be a public outcry to try and protect (they're highly protected in CA) one of the biggest threats to birds.

                                                                                              1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                Right?!? The songbirds may be "protected" but only from humans, not other predators, please......! I mean, what we're supposed to expect animal control to hand out tickets to the wildlife that prey on them???

                                                                                                And to deny a cat the innate instinct they have to hunt is not right, IMHO. Next I suppose I should declaw him..... I mean, I love all animals on earth, I am the biggest sap crying at nature shows when the zebra or gazelle gets taken down by the lion, or even the killer whales getting a dolphin or otter, but for goodness sake, it's nature....there's a food chain people. And don't give me the argument that my cat is well fed so he doesn't need to hunt. That's like telling people, well, you have children already and are past child bearing years so you don't need sex. It's nature people, get over it.

                                                                                    2. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                                      Perhaps you didn't read my post: I said it was taken outside AND I said I live out in the country surrounded by fields. The nearest any kind of agency is 20-30 minutes from where I live; I don't think anyone would want to wait to see what a snake, poisonous or not, is going to do while waiting to see IF someone from an agency can make it out here. Even if it isn't poisonous, it has fangs.

                                                                                      This is North Carolina, everyone hunts and most people keep some kind of weapon. I have two shot guns behind my front door and a hand gun in my bedroom; I ain't playing around.

                                                                                      1. re: Cherylptw

                                                                                        Wrong ,wrong ,wrong, non poisonous snake do not have fangs...just release it...

                                                                                    3. re: Cherylptw

                                                                                      Why would you kill a snake? They eat rodents and help keep them away.

                                                                                      1. re: JMF

                                                                                        Yeah, I was a little confused about why you would shoot the poor snake, since unlike a mouse, it's unlikely that it would come back.

                                                                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                          I agree. I understand there are people who hate snakes, but I don't understand why a poisonous snake would be killed.

                                                                                        2. re: JMF

                                                                                          <Why would you kill a snake?>

                                                                                          If they rattle and they're near my leg when I'm hiking?
                                                                                          You bet they're going to get killed.

                                                                                          1. re: latindancer

                                                                                            Sorry, but that's nonsense. Snakes, poisonous or not, only attack when threatened. The rattle is to let you know they are there and to warn you off. I've worked with tons of reptiles, snakes, and poisonous snakes. I'm licensed to work with endangered and poisonous snakes and reptiles. And when I hear / read stuff like that, it let's me know that the person has a phobia, or doesn't know a damn thing about snakes. Trying to kill a poisonous snake is the quickest way to get bitten. Not too smart.

                                                                                            1. re: JMF

                                                                                              <I've worked with tons of reptiles, snakes and poisonous snakes>

                                                                                              If you've 'worked' with them then you'd realize, that the correct term when referring to snakes is 'venomous' not 'poisonous'. Saying they're poisonous is completely inaccurate and a misuse of the term.
                                                                                              I'll take your word for it when you say you 'work' with them.

                                                                                              My line of work takes me to the desert where I do field work. I've encountered venomous snakes that are extremely dangerous, depending on the time of year.
                                                                                              I have no phobias, no fear or otherwise of just about anything I've encountered, mountain lions included. I'm extremely respectful of snakes, have a very good working knowledge of them and have worked with several authorities, who work in the field as I do, that will not hesitate to kill them.

                                                                                              1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                It's been around 15-20 years, so I'm sorry if I used an inaccurate term. But I still see no reason why one would have to kill snakes. That's what little boys do who are trying to prove how "brave" they are.

                                                                                                When I was much younger I spent more than a decade living off and on in the wilderness as a licensed wilderness guide. I never found a need to kill a snake. Remove them when they want to get too cozy, sure.

                                                                                                1. re: JMF

                                                                                                  So, you're okay with killing mice, but not snakes? Hmmmm, last I looked, there aren't species of venomous mice..... A mice can't kill or maim you with it's bite..... Doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. You should start a business then, you can be the snake whisperer.

                                                                                                  1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                    Well, if it's a venomous snake, then yes, kill it. But unlike mice, a snake it not likely to bother you again, and it won't multiply rapidly inside your house, chewing your wiring and causing a sanitation problem.

                                                                                                    Take the snake outside and let it go. End of snake problem.

                                                                                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                      Um, I'm no reptile expert. I've been taught to assume all snakes I come upon are venomous.....as I cannot tell the difference and won't try to pick one up to examine it..... If a snake were slithering around in a room in my house, I'd close up the room, if I could and call animal control, my husband, or a pest management company. But I'm not going to be the one to pick it up and take it outside.....

                                                                                                      Look I have no problem killing vermin. I just found it strange that JMF thinks everyone should trap mice, but not snakes if they are in your house.... When it's your property, you should be able to dispose of it how you please.

                                                                                                      1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                        You are trying to put words in my mouth that I didn't say. Or write. I never at any time wrote anything even near "everyone should trap mice, but not snakes if they are in your house."

                                                                                                        First, I never said everyone should trap or kill mice. In the past i have used snap traps, but I have found that using essential oils to repel them is better on several levels.

                                                                                                        Second, I never said everyone shouldn't trap snakes. I just said there is no reason to kill them.

                                                                                                        What can I say, I like snakes and reptiles. I've bred mice to be snake and reptile food, but I've also had them as pets. If they can be repelled or live trapped, great.

                                                                                                        1. re: JMF

                                                                                                          Not trying to put words in your mouth, just interpreted your quote below as saying that you trap mice.

                                                                                                          "I have never had a mouse that survived a wire trap. I use a mix of peanut butter and flour as bait, molded around the bait platform."

                                                                                                          I apologize for my misinterpretation. Hey you're entitled to keep mice and snakes in your place if you want, and I'm entitled to get rid of them in my place how I want. That's the beautiful thing about America.....for the most part, if I want to kill an animal that's intruded into my personal space, I can. If the pest control or animal control guy I call decides to catch it live and release it elsewhere, that it their prerogative too. I just don't want it in my home. Pretty basic.

                                                                                                        2. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                          Most snakes are not venomous. Most snakes eat rodents, which is why you want them around if you have a mouse problem.

                                                                                                          Of course you can dispose of it as you please. My opinion is just that -- an opinion to consider or discard.

                                                                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                            I realize this. But I'm not about to find out the hard way which are and which aren't. But knock yourself out.

                                                                                                            1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                              But it is the cycle of life , isn't it?

                                                                                                              1. re: Raffles

                                                                                                                What is, getting bit by a snake?

                                                                                                            2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                              I think one would need a great number of snakes to eradicate the rodents. Don't snakes eat just once a week or so?

                                                                                                              In my neck of the woods, snakes around the house fall into the vermin category. We keep the grass cut and vegetation away from the buildings. So far, so good. We have neighbors with wooded lots that kill a couple of rattlesnakes a year in their yards.

                                                                                                              1. re: cleobeach

                                                                                                                Raccoons eat rodents. There's harborage uphill in back due to a sloppy, crumbling rock wall a neighbor has up there, and a raccoon just moved in. They eat rodents and their babies

                                                                                                                Now we just have to keep the raccoon out when they tear off this room to remodel next month.

                                                                                                                1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                  Really? That's interesting.... I wonder if they do that here. The tree rats here are the size of cats. The raccoons here are the size of medium sized dogs...... We have to cover our garbage cans with cinder blocks, since they open them up and go to town. And they are not afraid of us, in the least.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                                    I'm pretty sure they're delighted to dine on all sorts of rodents, from rats to squirrels to groundhogs, etc... no matter the geography.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                                      you just reminded of a friend in LA years ago (Silverlake before it was hip and still only one step up from trailer park) griping about needing to get her palm trees clipped due to the tree rats. I didn't 'get' it at the time.

                                                                                                                      they also had skunks and coyotes.

                                                                                                                      1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                        I live in the Santa Monica Mountains..... We know all about the skunks and coyotes too. Yea, those tree rats are huge and are well fed....as are the raccoons, they are massive compared to the ones I used to see growing up in the woods of New England. And we are no threat to them at all. In fact, since we are intruding on their habitats, they are adapting by feeding on our garbage, and getting enormous as a result.

                                                                                                                2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                  black (rat) snakes are more than welcome to be around my place, a neighbor had one in her cellar and her only caution was to look carefully when getting a jar of her preserves.

                                                                                                            3. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                              Mice cause many more problems than snakes do. I don't like to kill mice either, but they carry disease, mites, etc. and can be very destructive, both chewing/eating, and their feces and urine.

                                                                                                              1. re: JMF

                                                                                                                Yes you're correct. But those of us who aren't experts in distinguishing venomous & non venomous reptiles are going to be inclined to getting rid of them however they feel comfortable, and for many, that includes killing them.

                                                                                                                Same can be said for spiders. Spiders are generally good creatures to keep around your house, they eat insects. When I find small brown or black spiders or a daddy long legs in my house, I leave it alone. I can tell the difference between those and the poisonous ones like black widows and the brown recluse, mainly by where you find them.... But most people I know will kill any spider they see in their house. Presumably because they don't like them. They are entitled to do so.

                                                                                                                Like I said, you should start a business and become the snake whisperer.

                                                                                                              2. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                                But snakes usually stay outside and don't have fleas that carry the PLAGUE!!!

                                                                                                                1. re: Raffles

                                                                                                                  This used to be sunch a genteel thread....

                                                                                                              3. re: JMF

                                                                                                                <That's what little boys do who are trying to prove how "brave" they are>

                                                                                                                What are men trying to prove when they'd allow a deadly, venomous snake to live around people?
                                                                                                                Here's the thing…

                                                                                                                I live in a tent when I work. Where there's a campsite there're going to be mice or any number of different species of animals that are looking for food or water.
                                                                                                                Rattlesnakes are part of the food chain out there. When I'm living in that tent I'm really not willing to sit and guess how venomous that rattlesnake is. It comes near me? It's dead.

                                                                                                          2. re: JMF

                                                                                                            Seriously?? There are moccasins and other poisonous snakes in my area as we are surrounded by water. I wouldn't care if they did eat rodents. They bite and will probably kill you before you got to the hospital.

                                                                                                            1. re: JMF

                                                                                                              Why wouldn't you? I'm an animal lover and we even have a pet gecko..... But unless I had a snake wrangler or expert nearby...if I had a way to escort the creature out of my house, that's one thing. But if I was alone in my house, I'd be terrified and most likely paralyzed to do anything. If I wasn't a scaredy-cat, I'd beat it with a shovel, as I don't want bullet holes in my house :)

                                                                                                              But where we live in LA, we hike in the mountains frequently. I respect the animals and their environment, but I do take a weapon to protect myself and my family. If we come across a rattler,we give it a wide berth.....but if something, like a snake or mountain lion decides to lunge at us, it will be dealt with appropriately. Running away is not an option, especially with a cougar.

                                                                                                              1. re: JMF

                                                                                                                I killed a copperhead a few years ago, it was hanging out in the woodpile right by the back door and coiled ready to strike at me a few times. yes I looked into getting a mongoose or a hawk, but it wasn't practical. one night I walked out and it was sedate and gorging on a golden finch on the porch floor so I grabbed a hatchet. if it had been non-poisonous I'd have let it live.

                                                                                                                I pickled them.

                                                                                                                  1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                    Whadja pickle them in?

                                                                                                                    This IS chowhound afterall...

                                                                                                                    1. re: porker

                                                                                                                      I'll just say rubbing alcohol and now it's back to the rodent challenge as requested.

                                                                                                                      anybody familiar with those industrial rat traps a city puts out in trouble areas - they look like big roach motels. I've always wondered what the capacity is and do they smell (seen never touched)?

                                                                                                                      1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                        Are you talking about a black box that measures around 10X10 inches and has a whole in the front, sort of low to the ground?
                                                                                                                        If so, I have them around the outdoor perimeter of my home, in key areas, where the rodent comes in it to eat. It doesn't trap it…the animal just eats and goes away and dies...
                                                                                                                        there's no smell, they're fairly innocuous.
                                                                                                                        Mine are checked monthly and the company who checks it keeps tabs on what's eaten.
                                                                                                                        Luckily, lately things have been pretty quiet.

                                                                                                                        1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                          ahh I always wondered how those worked. that makes sense, the openings big enough for vermin yet too small for (almost all) dogs.

                                                                                                                          1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                            They work great, but new rats do move in as old ones die. Nothing works better for home protection than exclusion measures sealing up all potential entries to critters. I have them all around, too, some look like fake rocks. You don't see rats enter them even at night, they tunnel under them if on earth and crawl in that way. Mine get refilled monthly.

                                                                                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                              <They work great, but new rats do move in as old ones die>

                                                                                                                              That's what I thought too…

                                                                                                                              It's not happened that way with me though. Where there were apparently a few munching consistently, the last few months it came to a complete halt.
                                                                                                                              My home's sealed and maybe they've just crossed my home off their list :).

                                                                                                                              1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                Well, by placing the bait stations away from the residence, you kind of intercept them to dine at remote locations, 50-100 ft from their nests.

                                                                                                                                But in icy cold weather places, or where there are strong food smells (like a grill outside), they are attracted to a house for shelter from cold and a possible gourmet meat meal.

                                                                                                                                So, yeah, until this year, we had not seen any activity near the house, and the only prints were near our gas grill, which we'd neglected to remove the grease drip pan from. We did so, and fired it up to burn off all we could, but the rat guy says they still smell it.

                                                                                                                  2. re: JMF

                                                                                                                    This snake digression is getting pretty testy and unfriendly and is really, really far afield for Chowhound. Can we let it go, please?

                                                                                                                1. re: jw615


                                                                                                                  That's awesome.
                                                                                                                  Somehow better than a rat, to me anyway.

                                                                                                                  1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                    That's why I'm still holding on to the wood burning fireplace tools even though we only have gas fireplaces now.

                                                                                                                2. re: Cherylptw

                                                                                                                  Door sweeps, wonderful things. We did that, too. All a mouse needs is about a 1/4".

                                                                                                              2. We use a "easy set" snap trap that is made of plastic baited with peanut butter. We swear by this product!!! Get a few!


                                                                                                                It is more expensive than the wooden Victors but much easier to use. Keep it baited even if you think you have won, they travel on the scent trails from their deceased cousins.
                                                                                                                It is almost impossible to keep them out, we use metal screening stapled over possible entry points, it is an 120 year old house...
                                                                                                                The mouse turds are a pain, but beware of the mouse urine getting on utensils,flatware, plates , etc... that carries nice things such as Hanta Virus!!
                                                                                                                That said, having homes in the country with mice most of our lives, it isn't that big a deal!

                                                                                                                Poison is another option, but the lil guys wind up dying in the wall and smell pretty bad until they desiccate.

                                                                                                                16 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: Raffles

                                                                                                                  "120 year old house" yeah the peripheral joy of living in an antique (I've always loved the ones I have)

                                                                                                                  "the lil guys wind up dying in the wall " I was talking to the pest guy once and the poison strategy is they get so thirsty they find their way out looking for water and die somewhere else, but did say at one house he worked the mouse collapsed in a crawl space under the concrete porch stairs and even neighbors were calling it in as a potential crime scene. coupla $K later the stairs were gone and just a dead rat remained.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Raffles

                                                                                                                    I had to have a house cleared of rats by a professional exterminator using bait boxes. I never noticed a residual smell. I think they do leave in search of water.

                                                                                                                    1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                      My exterminator puts the bait boxes outside near where the critters are getting into the house. He refuses to put them in the attic (where the rats were getting in until I had it rat-proofed).

                                                                                                                      1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                        <I never noticed a residual smell>

                                                                                                                        If they die in the walls you will.

                                                                                                                          1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                            And it's really embarrassing if unexpected visitors stop by..

                                                                                                                            1. re: miss_belle

                                                                                                                              nah just blame it on an in-law's shoes.

                                                                                                                      2. re: Raffles

                                                                                                                        And....mice are incontinent , they are always peeing, they have no control and it leaks out.....

                                                                                                                        1. re: Raffles

                                                                                                                          *******DING DING DING DING DING DING*********************
                                                                                                                          Winner! Winner! Winner! Winner! Winner! Winner! Winner!


                                                                                                                          Congratulations on providing the one piece of information I NEVER expected to learn on Chowhound. Mice incontinence!

                                                                                                                          I cannot wait till Jeopardy question reads; What do 80+ year old men and mice have most in common?

                                                                                                                          1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                                            Yeah, that incontinence problem is the worst part about mice. I had them mostly in the ceiling, and in one room have flush mounted fluorescent lights that have frosted plastic covers. The mice would run through the lamps and pee and poop non stop. The lights would make this very visible. You can see EVERYTHING! Gross. They had to be removed and cleaned every year after I did my Annual Autumn Slaughter. I'm so glad that the problem is fixed using essential oils as I mentioned below.

                                                                                                                            1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                                              Thank you very much, I must not take all credit however, I must say that I was informed of that tidbit of useless information from another who also battles the mouse.

                                                                                                                              1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                                                I don't know if the correct description is incontinence, but mice are continuous dribblers. That is their scent trail so they know how to get around.

                                                                                                                                We don't have a mouse problem at our house but we do at our cabin in the woods. I just assume every flat surface has had a mouse hiking across it in our absence.

                                                                                                                                1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                  They also poop more than any animal I've seen

                                                                                                                                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                    At least that is the evidence needed to know there is a problem. A few years ago I was at my father's place in Arizona. My dad had some cookies with jimmies on them in a paper sack on the counter. The cookies were real, but the 'jimmies' on the counter were not. He saw the mouse run across the stovetop and under the electric coils. I got the mouse that night with a sticky trap. I heard him squeak and dropped him into a bucket of water. I cleaned up the kitchen and stove as well. The next night, two couples from my hometown came over for a previously planned dinner. We did not tell them about the 'jimmies'.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                      Do you have any Canada Geese in your area? They crap a kilo a day. (2.2 lbs.)

                                                                                                                              2. re: Raffles

                                                                                                                                Mice don't, they dry out so quickly. But rats do, for a LONG time, especially in warm weather. I'm told.

                                                                                                                              3. I used to have a house on a wooded lot & mice were a daily problem. I finally started using the poison pellets that come in little round tins (forget what they're called) & was happiest with that. The mice eat the poison then leave the home to die. For me, not as bad as finding dead mice in traps every day :(

                                                                                                                                8 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: thymeoz

                                                                                                                                  My landlord used those and I found a dying mouse on the couch arm...less than pleasant.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                    but if you had a cat, an eviscerated mouse may have been been found on your pillow as a 'gift' - cute or what?!!!

                                                                                                                                    1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                      I have a cat and found a random mouse in the middle of the floor one morning. I'm glad he didn't bring it to me to show off his prize.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                        Speaking of cats.....

                                                                                                                                        My mother had another friend 30 years ago who didn't keep a very clean house (to say it politely). They even had bare, plywood floors.
                                                                                                                                        They had mice, lots of 'em. They also had a cat, a fat one, but a good mouser. That cat could not eat all his bounty and would pile the mice carcasses in a corner. The family never did anything about it either - just let that pile grow and shrink according to the cat's appetite.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: porker

                                                                                                                                          Wow, I have a high threshold for disgust but that approaches it.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                            yeah really, if David Lynch and Clive Barker had written children's bed time stories instead.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                              Kind of off-topic, but as a ten year old, I used to hate accompanying my mother there.
                                                                                                                                              They had a boy about my age and I'd try to play outside 'cause the house smelled so bad. When stuck indoors one of our pastimes was to see who could trap the most live flies against the ceiling with a glass while standing on chairs....
                                                                                                                                              I was handicapped as I had one hand over my mouth and nose all the time...

                                                                                                                                          2. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                            aww fldh it's a gesture returned for all you've done.

                                                                                                                                    2. head is swimming and I'm only halfway through. Thanks for all the replies. Some follow-up:

                                                                                                                                      I've asked TWICE for an exterminator. They've said unless other people complain, they can't do anything about it. We do not speak to our neighbors. Almost all of them are immigrants directly from country and speak little to no English and do not associate with us at all. NOBODY is active in calling about anything. Washers will sit broken for weeks if we do not call. Trash will sit in hallways for weeks if I don't call. I am constantly calling the landlord about other tenants who violate building rules like leaving full garbage bags on their patio bc too lazy to take them out, etc.

                                                                                                                                      A cat is not just a major lifestyle change, it's a $300 a year increase to my rent, and never mind the food, acoutrements, shots, etc. I do not want to commit to a cat again at this point in my life.

                                                                                                                                      I have a little boy. He's not an infant, but I worry about the screaming, etc. comments. I don't want to traumatize him about this. But I do have concerns about any health hazards.

                                                                                                                                      Everything is already sealed up very tight as we had a weevil problem years ago that I addressed and no problems since. Glass/mason jars, etc. Nothing sits out in cardboard. Have seen no evidence of chewing, mice, poop anywhere where food is stored on upper shelves.

                                                                                                                                      We are a ground floor unit. The only place I have seen evidence of them is the kitchen. The landlords refuse to call an exterminator.

                                                                                                                                      Who should I report this to in order to make them exterminate? I honestly have no idea.

                                                                                                                                      23 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                                                                        <Who should I report this to in order to make them exterminate?>

                                                                                                                                        I'd start with the health department and get recommendations from them. I'd just start working the system and see what your options are.
                                                                                                                                        Years ago, I spoke to a young woman who had just dropped her dog off at the vet.
                                                                                                                                        Her dog had eaten poison, in the home of a friend, that was left out to kill the mice/rats that were roaming the friend's apartment. This was an upper class family who'd immigrated from another country that, apparently, had no problem with rodents in the house.
                                                                                                                                        It's amazing what people put up with and leave unknowing guests to be exposed to.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                          Same thing happened to me. I got a frantic call from my tenant who had taken my dog to visit some friends nearby. He said they were chatting in the kitchen when looked down and said "what's that she's eating?" "Oh, it's rat poison." He scooped up my dog, and thankfully also brought the poison container, I jumped into my car and picked him and we headed for the emergency vet (because things like this never happen during regular office hours). But NO WAY would I just DROP her OFF! We stayed until she'd had her stomach pumped and been given activated charcoal and was cleared to go home. My tenant was so freaked he couldn't sit still and went out to the parking lot and cleaned my car.

                                                                                                                                          Anyway, I don't think poison is very effective. During one round of mouse infestation (they'd bulldozed a lot two doors down and sent a huge colony of mice looking for new homes), the poison kept disappearing but the mice did not. I finally asked my roommate if she was sure she was putting out mouse poison and not mouse vitamins.

                                                                                                                                          You really need a combined approach of prevention (sealing up holes, cutting back plants that can provide shelter and roadways to windows or attics) and extermination (bait stations and traps).

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                            I have had the fun task of getting a dog to drink peroxide to induce vomiting and get rid of rat poison before.

                                                                                                                                            I never use poison because of the secondary kill aspect - if the mouse goes outside to die and another animal eats it, the poison can bioaccumulate and kill that animal as well.

                                                                                                                                            I've always used snap traps and had pretty good success with them. I did catch one mouse just by one leg, and listened to it scream and drag the trap around for awhile. I didn't want to thwack it, so I let it go outside. Yup, 2 days later there was a dead 3-legged mouse in my snap trap.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: jw615

                                                                                                                                              I always have to get my tenant to finish them off.

                                                                                                                                              The rats were getting in through my dining room (I eventually figured out they were crawling down the air gap around the chimney from the attic and into the dining room through a missing tile), so we had traps set in the doorway between the dining room and kitchen. I opened the door to check the traps and a rat ran under the bookcase. So I called my dog and we staked out the bookcase. The rat tried to make a run for it and my dog pounced on it -- much squeaking and flying fur -- but although she mauled it she didn't kill it. So I had to get my tenant to come and whack it with a golf club.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: jw615

                                                                                                                                                I talked to a MD friend about dogs eating mouse poison...

                                                                                                                                                Because of the size of the dog, in our case 60 pounds, as opposed to the size of a mouse, 2 ounces maybe, a dog would have to eat a very large amount of mouse poison, far more than would be in a few "packet/blocks" that are used my consumers, to be lethal.

                                                                                                                                                That said we have gone the peroxide route also,,, it is scary.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Raffles

                                                                                                                                                  Well, of course everything has to do with the size of the dog, the breed and their overall health as any veterinarian will tell you.

                                                                                                                                                  60 pound dogs, from my experience and the type of breed, don't have the same problem, when it comes to anything poison, as a 4# yorkshire terrier.
                                                                                                                                                  The point is…don't let your dog near the rat poison.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                    We have an exterminator that makes quarterly visits. The bait he uses is contained in super hard and dense plastic houses (for lack of a better term) that are opened with a tool.

                                                                                                                                                    My husband was worried about our cats and our young son getting into them so he tried opening one and couldn't even break it open with a hammer. The houses are placed in out of the way areas like under the sink, in the cellar, in the corners of closets.

                                                                                                                                                    Until we had an infestation, I thought bait was overkill. Mice in your bed changes one's mind very quickly.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: cleobeach

                                                                                                                                                      <We have an exterminator that makes quarterly visits>

                                                                                                                                                      Mine comes monthly. One of the reasons he comes so often, other than to do other little 'chores' to make sure other pests don't appear and if they do they're eradicated promptly, is because I have neighbors who apparently don't have a problem with cockroaches, rats, mice and anything else that moves.
                                                                                                                                                      When a neighbor doesn't care it makes the problem larger than life. When that neighbor decides to sell their house or update their property all those little 'pests' move elsewhere and spread their population everywhere else in the neighborhood.
                                                                                                                                                      They come to my home? They're DEAD.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: cleobeach

                                                                                                                                                        Ditto - had a century old haunted (another story) house in a wooded neighbourhood. Was used to having mice and quite successful with snap traps but then put the house up for sale which coincided with a large infestation. Not wanting potential buyers to concern themselves with critters, I had a pest control company come and for $300 a year they set the back box traps. Couple weeks later, no more mice. In addition they sprayed for other pests inside and out and voila - no more spiders, silver fish, ants or anything creepy crawly again. Made me wonder why I didn't sign up 10 years earlier!

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: juliewong

                                                                                                                                                          Do you know what poisons they sprayed around and in your house? I wonder if it is worth it to have all those toxins around instead of a few critters...

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Raffles

                                                                                                                                                      I wouldn't veterinary advice from an MD! They aren't experts on dogs!

                                                                                                                                                      Rodent poison contains warfarin, which is an anticoagulent. While it might take a lot to kill a dog outright, smaller amounts could still cause some internal bleeding. Plus, a dog can eat more in one gulp than ten mice can nibble. The pellet size is not determined so much by how much it takes to kill a mouse as how much it takes to attract a mouse.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                        My grandfather had a unique way to control the rats in the barn when my dad was a kid during the depession. He would mix some sugar with dry plaster. The rats would eat it and then it would solidify inside. It does not sound partucularly humane, but it was apparently effective.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                          I think my dad ate that during the depression as part of a fried turnip, boiled turnip, broiled turnip rotation.

                                                                                                                                                2. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                  Poison really is unacceptable in many cases. In my area we just started having hawks and falcons move back in after being gone for 50+ years. Last year several died from eating rats/mice that had been poisoned.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: JMF

                                                                                                                                                    It's pretty simple, actually.
                                                                                                                                                    If I don't want rodents in my home I'll, like I've already done, make sure every single square inch is boarded up so they can't get in, which they haven't. They can live outside, to their heart's content.
                                                                                                                                                    The rats/mice can fend for themselves OUTSIDE and the hawks and falcons can hunt them, swoop down and kill them and eat them.
                                                                                                                                                    Without all the damn poison they'll all live together outside like they're supposed to.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: JMF

                                                                                                                                                      Birds of prey are the big reason that I don't use poison - I used to care for rehab owls and hawks.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: jw615

                                                                                                                                                        So did I. As a teen I worked in an animal hospital as a the overnight tech. My first was a young barn owl hit by a car and it's legs didn't work. Spent every spare minute with it and it got back the use of its legs after a few weeks of gentle massage and manipulation.

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                                                                                    If you live in a major city (or not so major city), there may be a Landlord-Tenant Ordinance with some teeth that provides for some sort of penalties payable to you as tenant if there are health code violations that are not corrected. Does your city government have a website? If so, follow the links relating to tenant's rights.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: masha

                                                                                                                                                      some cities have a rent board, but after a glance at the OP's profile, I'm guessing not. which turns it all into a 'put up or shut up' dynamic. sorry your neighbors don't have the confidence to rock the boat. (yeesh the long reliable tenants paying the price for trashy weirdos)

                                                                                                                                                      even though the lease usually says nothing can be done w/o approval, that really means just don't tear down a wall. after 10 years and they are intransigent you may want to consider putting in notice 'unless' - all my landlords even in rent-controlled places wanted to hold on to that sure, reliable, thing. or you can (on the sly) bring in someone to seal up around the pipes with the stuff I mentioned - it'll stink for a day, so send the kiddo off to Gran or a friend for a night.

                                                                                                                                                      I'm sorry to say it doesn't sound like a 'keeper' place. I honestly would say given the neighbors trash in the halls and the owners disinterest therewith - go on beans and rice for as long as it takes to save money to just move. too much inertia to change that situation.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                                                                                      It needn't be fifteen people complaining. Document dates of seeing signs of mice, and take photos of the poop.
                                                                                                                                                      Do you have a rental/lease agreement? Does it address extermination of pests?

                                                                                                                                                      In our part of the world (Massachusetts), we would call our city's Code office. There should be a similar office in your area.

                                                                                                                                                      But, as others have said, it's probably not the best place to stay long-term.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                                                                                        I would suggest finding out what the landlord/tenant laws are where you reside. It is possible that the city or county where you live covers this issue in landlord/tenant laws.

                                                                                                                                                        I would also suggest being persistent t the point of being a pain in their ass and have documentation. Not suggesting being unreasonable or rude, but know and push your rights to the limit. Even if the landlord doesn't want to do anything about the problem, they may roll over just to get the issue to go away.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                                                                                          in hindsight, surely the health department doesn't need to be petitioned by every tenant. I'd say the landlord is blowing smoke up someone's you-know-what.

                                                                                                                                                          and while doing that research may as well check if the property taxes are paid up and if there even is a valid occupancy permit. nuclear tools, but good to know.

                                                                                                                                                          loose trash in the halls can also be a red flag to the fire inspector.

                                                                                                                                                      2. Since they are only on the ground floor, you can probably solve this by having the landlord call an exterminator to put "Rock Cafes" around the outside of your building (and maybe in the basement). These are plastic domes that contain a poison that the mice eat and carry back to the nest with them, where it kills the whole family. We never had a mouse again after these things were installed.

                                                                                                                                                        1. Every structure I have lived in or owned has had mice get in. Some how, some way.

                                                                                                                                                          Right now I have a mice family living inside the firewall of my Volkswage GTI that refuse to leave.
                                                                                                                                                          The mice piss smell is awful. But they hate Bounce fabric softener sheets so I rock them big time in the car.

                                                                                                                                                          As for structures, it depends upon you situation.
                                                                                                                                                          Kids or pets can often mean no inside poisons.

                                                                                                                                                          Interior I use snap or glue traps. Both baited with both peanut butter and small peanut fragments.

                                                                                                                                                          For my detached garage I use decon pellets, and snap traps. In the spring I use the bucket of water with the plank up to a rotating can with peanut butter smeared in it. They jump on the can, rotate into the water and drown.

                                                                                                                                                          Heck, I;ve even gotten mice in my drier vent hose and when they die that way they are major stinky. LOLZ.

                                                                                                                                                          Especially with teh cold weatehr in north america, they are jonesing for anywhere warm.

                                                                                                                                                          The idea is to trap and remove so that they do not semll up your living environment or become food for the insects. As for method, they are rodents. I have no care as to how I dispatch them. Since they have a new litter so often, they need to dealt with rapidly and by all means necessary.

                                                                                                                                                          I still laugh at when years ago I had a bunch of necataries sitting in a wooden basket on my kitchen counter and one summer i'd turn the kitchen light out and come back to find a small bite out of one of them. I had a yellow lab retreiver at the time and thought the dog was jumping on the counter to steal a bite. Toss the necatarine, scold the dog and went about my business and turned lights off.

                                                                                                                                                          Came back an hour later and another nectarine had bites out of it. I was WTF! Scolded poor dog a second time.

                                                                                                                                                          Took dog outside to visit a neighbor and then had to run back in to get a package, and upon turning on the lights, there was that pesky mouse on the kitchen counter. f%^&!!!! But the "clue phone" did ring inside my head.

                                                                                                                                                          Caught two mice that nite with snap traps and two more over the course of two days.

                                                                                                                                                          Insects tends to love the sloppy messes I have found.
                                                                                                                                                          Mice just want the warmth. Inside food source = double bonus.

                                                                                                                                                          Good luck. It's all easily remedied.

                                                                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jjjrfoodie

                                                                                                                                                            Interesting, I wonder if they find VWs particularly attractive? The first time I took my used-but-new-to-me Beetle for service, they pulled this ginormous mouse nest out that was attached to the air filter. Gross.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: tcamp

                                                                                                                                                              They like my toyota also...air filter, cabin filter....

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Raffles

                                                                                                                                                                Hmmm, guess you need a car cat.

                                                                                                                                                                Or an air freshener that smells like cat! Hey, maybe I'm onto something!!!

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: tcamp


                                                                                                                                                                Nah. Mice just love the warmth and VW's have lots of nooks and crannies.

                                                                                                                                                                For my stored show cars I do put the single leg of a pair of cut pantyhose over the tailpipes duing winter storage and ziptie to keep critters out of there as they love that.

                                                                                                                                                                Years ago I lived in Detroit and had a co-woeker who had a show quality Jaguare e-type stored in his detached garage. Come spring he goes to start the car up and it struggles. It was a V12 engine so he cranks again and suddenly, "powiee", something comes flying out of the tailpie.
                                                                                                                                                                Seems a chipmunk found it's way into the garage and thought a Jag tailpipe and muffler a new nice winter home.


                                                                                                                                                                If attached garage, I see racoons come in if the door is left open to feed on stored dog or cat food at my sisters. Even if food is stored in tubs.

                                                                                                                                                                The critters want a home too. I just hate that they don't pay me rent and don't clean up after themselves.

                                                                                                                                                                I love me some domesticated animals, but rodents are rodents, and are a constant nuisence to most stand alone residential structures.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: jjjrfoodie

                                                                                                                                                                  My brother had a groundhog living under his shed. My brother-in-law told him to just leave it be. Not listening to this sage advice, my brother trapped the animal and dropped him off at the town limits.

                                                                                                                                                                  3 days later, a skunk set up shop under his shed.
                                                                                                                                                                  Brother-in-law: "I told you so..."

                                                                                                                                                            2. My landlords have never really addressed the problem. I live in a 19th century rowhome and the mice just run through all of the holes. They are sneaky little creatures and have evaded nearly all traps I've ever used. I finally cornered them into a single entrance and exit near the stove so focused on that area. I used steel wool to seal up any cracks, even as thin as a piece of paper they can squeeze through and then sealed it with expanding foam.

                                                                                                                                                              1. These plastic traps work great for me


                                                                                                                                                                Bait with peanut butter. The peanut butter simply cannot be removed without the trap springing down on the critters head. They will get mice and rats due to being very sensitive. Baiting these is much less messy than with the old style ones. Peanut butter can be smelled by them from far away.

                                                                                                                                                                1. This is the one I used. Mouse gets inside, but can't get out. There's an indicator that a mouse has been caught, so you don't have to deal with looking at a dead mouse.


                                                                                                                                                                  1. This is a brick Victorian, probably 130 years old, I cannot imagine how difficult it would be to plug ALL the holes/cracks/gaps in this house, and I have seen a mouse run straight up the drainpipe to the third floor of a neighbor's house, so you'd have to do every bit of it. Every time a house on the block is rehabbed we get mice, and we have had as many as three cats at a time, all good mousers. Also, no one likes to find the dead mice the cat hides in our shoes. With a background in animal welfare, I was loath to use glue traps, with small children & pets I was reluctant to poison. We tried sound-wave barriers, humane traps, snap traps, and finally (ugh) glue traps and NOTHING worked. I talked to my vet and my pediatrician about the possible dangers, and finally went with poison. I use the dehydrating stuff that (hopefully ) sends them out of the house to die, and I am careful to put it out of reach of kids and critters, but I've used it for 10+ years and it is the only thing that works. If we see evidence of new ones, we buy new poison, and pretty soon we don't see them anymore. And we're all still alive. Damn things are disgusting. I try to find the poison that comes in little sawdust 'blocks' instead of the pellets, because I can see if it has been nibbled on, and target areas where they seem to be eating it the most. As a landlord, I think your landlord is a little misguided, but they are probably not eager to say, "Mice!" to any other tenants, for fear they will start a panic...I'd do my best to clean up the vermin in my own environs, and hope the box traps do the rest.

                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: tonifi

                                                                                                                                                                      "the dehydrating stuff" AKA arfsenic (stet) and I like that typo.

                                                                                                                                                                      things (vermin) are going to get in a bit, but a renter is due a certain level of service assuming they're not complete raging idiots. (OK it happens)

                                                                                                                                                                    2. And hillfood is dead on, the stove is NOT sealed. Let me tell you about the sister-in-law who found the mouse nest in the bottom broiler drawer of her stove...AFTER Thanksgiving dinner, thank you very much. (Ex sister-in-law now, although that dinner had nothing to do with the divorce).

                                                                                                                                                                      1. To reiterate some of the above:

                                                                                                                                                                        Call your Health Department. Where I am, they seem to have a bigger hammer than just about any other city department, and are extremely tenacious.

                                                                                                                                                                        Check your lease or rental agreement; failing that, check with your Housing Department. Pest control is pretty standard in determining habitability.

                                                                                                                                                                        Beyond that, good luck, because they are hard to eradicate and going to war with your landlord can be a whole different and unpleasant can of mice.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. I can tell you what we did in a similar situation some years ago. In a highrise condo, a family from another culture refused to kill any living thing, including all bugs, and they stored large amounts of rice etc so their place was crawling and after they moved their whole tier in the building had to be exterminated. Whereupon the cockroaches migrated and appeared in new venues, including our kitchen. Professional extermination did not remove them from our apartment so here is what we did. 1) We observed them to see where they were getting in from the other side of the walls. It was through small holes that wires go through. 2) We put borax through the holes and then 3) We squirted some stuff from the hardware store that looks like Redi-Whip but hardens to cement, so that it filled up the holes. This blocked their means of entrance and we never saw them again.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. Question: I see a lot of posts saying "Get a cat" but some graphically unpleasant thoughts occur to me and I am wondering how people cope with this problem. If the cat eats the mice, or even takes just a bite or two, then its innards will be full of wild mouse germs. The cat will then walk around on your child's bed and sit with his germy little behind on your kitchen counter, that being the lifestyle of cats. Do you have the cat de-wormed regularly or what? When I lived in a house and the cat ate mice and chipmunks and snakes, she feasted outdoors but then she lived outdoors. How do you manage this problem in an apartment?

                                                                                                                                                                            10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Querencia

                                                                                                                                                                              I have 2 house cats that I've had since they were kittens. They were born in the shelter and appear to have no actual predatory skills. Unless snoring is a way to ward off prey. Anyway, we had a mouse presence in the house we bought. We've lived here about 6 weeks and haven't seen/killed any in about 3 week. The cats haven't killed any but were helpful in the sense that when they seemed overly interested in a spot (under the stove ugh), we placed a trap there. I think just having cats runs the mice off to easier places to live. Little do they know, my cats are incompetent.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Hobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                I read it was the scent in addition to some cats catching the mice. I have a shelter cat who spent 8 weeks in the big bad streets of Baltimore and he takes down cricket spiders like none other...don't let him near the stuffed mice toys, they get quickly disemboweled. I'm not sure he's much for the real thing though :) My cat also would sit and stare under the stove for hours even if I wasn't in there and I think they hear them immediately when they come in.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                  Those cricket spiders are disgusting! Mine murder the stink bugs but then look at me like "well? Aren't you going to clean that up?" Bums. Occasionally they deign to sit on the deck but refuse to put their paws on the grass. They're good enough to run off the mice but basically useless otherwise.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Hobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                    I was shocked the first time I witnessed the kitten eat the half alive cricket spider, now I just let him go at it. I figure he's doing me a favor though he often leaves a stray leg behind. I'm sure they make pretty good company, that's useful in my book :)

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                      Oh yeah! Nothing better than a couple furry little cat faces looking out the window when I get home from work. It makes me smile.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                      I have a rescue cat, Cookie, who thinks she's a tiger. She practices her hunting skills daily--on me! She runs toward me from behind, jumps up and grabs my legs in an effort to take me down. I have no doubt about her predatory ability.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Kate is always hungry

                                                                                                                                                                                        Oh yea, I like cower and hide as if I can't see him and then the pounce as I walk by. Or the shortcut he takes under the couch to win the race to the kitchen. I hope any mice take the long way around.

                                                                                                                                                                                        The cat-mouse showdown I witnessed involved the cat and mouse standing face to face about 5 inches apart staring for minutes. The mouse won that battle for 2 hours the cat cried and searched. They surely are meant to hunt.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Querencia

                                                                                                                                                                                    This is anecdotal, but at least some breeds of dogs might also be a scent-deterrent to mice. We would have the occasional field mice seasonally in the house until we got our little girl Mishka, a little orange staffordshire terrier (pit bull) crossed with who knows what (she was smallish). She never actually caught a mouse but apparently, her presence/scent was enough of a warning.

                                                                                                                                                                                    As to the mint idea upthread big thumbs up. I planted spearmint around the foundation of the house with great success...rodents hate it, and it grows like weeds...super easy perennial.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Querencia

                                                                                                                                                                                      Growing up, we always had outdoor cats and they would chow down on their kills by the back door. Daily, I would find little piles of whatever they deemed inedible.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Until recently, we had two indoor cats. On a couple occasions, we had dead mice at the bedroom door. Once the female played with a live one that ran smack into the male's foot and he had the nerve to act annoyed.

                                                                                                                                                                                      I was used to mice and setting traps for the occasional fall visitor was no big deal.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Then we got hit with an absolute infestation of deer mice, which are much larger than little field mice. After the one cat brought a live one into bed during the middle of the night, the gloves came off.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. I've had severe mice problems in one of my apartments for many years. It's a basement apartment that I got so cheap that I renovated it myself 10 years ago and use as my NYC 'burbs base when I m in town. The past three years I have been living here 60-70% of the time. During the fall as the temps drop, in come the mice. I put wood snap traps with peanut butter / flour mix in the ceiling and can usually catch 15-20 mice in 3-4 days and then I've killed off that years invasion.

                                                                                                                                                                                      This year the temps were pretty mild until January, so the mice were in and out. The traps killed a 1/2 dozen a week for all of Sept.-Oct.

                                                                                                                                                                                      I did lots of research and found out about using essential oils. 100% pure essential oils. (NOW brand) Peppermint, Lavender, and Clove. I got them in 1 & 2 oz bottles at the local natural food place. I mixed the oils 1:4 with a light vegetable oil, or used straight. I used a syringe to squirt very small amounts in areas the mice hid such as behind walls, in the ceiling, etc. Also along baseboards, under sinks, in laundry room.

                                                                                                                                                                                      The peppermint seems to drive the mice away the best. But some aren't as offended by the aroma, but the lavender as well took care of 99% of them. Adding the clove oil and they are gone. Peppermint oil and lavender oil are not only non-toxic to humans and pets, but food safe and usable in food and drinks. The clove oil is very concentrated and a bit toxic. It can actually kill a mouse, I saw it happen. I have used a total of 2 oz. of peppermint oil, and 1 oz each of the lavender and clove oil over a three month period since November.

                                                                                                                                                                                      I also took 1/2 oz. of lavender oil, 1/2 oz of neutral alcohol (190 proof, but vodka would be ok) and 3 oz of water in a 4 oz spray bottle. I shake it and then spray as a room freshener. I also did this with the peppermint oil. The oil mostly floats to the top and every month I just add more alcohol and water to replenish it. Haven't had to add any more lavender oil. The aroma of the lavender oil is very relaxing, if you don't use too much. Go overboard and it is too much. The peppermint oil aroma is very stimulating, again, not too much.

                                                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: JMF

                                                                                                                                                                                        I guess massage parlours don't have to worry about rodents

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: JMF

                                                                                                                                                                                          JMF, you are "spot-on" re: the essential oils as a repellant.
                                                                                                                                                                                          I forgot about them.
                                                                                                                                                                                          That's why I. in the same way, use Bounce dryer sheets inside of unused cars.

                                                                                                                                                                                          It would be the same as you or I living next door to a ammonia or bleach factory. Or having to sleep in the same bed as the crazy old aunt that wears waaaaaaay to much Avon perfume 24/7. LOLZ.

                                                                                                                                                                                          For mice, the overpowering scent repells them by overwheming thier olfactory senses, which in turn limits thier ability to smell a food source. Prolonged exposure means it attatches to their fur (think spending a night drinking in a smoke filled bar and smoke residue on your clothes the next day) which means outside activity of the mice makes them easy prey for predators with any kind of good scent.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Mice are smart. I still think humans are smarter and have a large cache of mice contolling weapons at their disposal.

                                                                                                                                                                                          It's always an ongoing battle though. LOLOLZZZZZZZ.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jjjrfoodie

                                                                                                                                                                                            Mice are smart, I had a mouse return a little knob from my stove that had fallen off and bounced behind the stove. It placed it very neatly in my small cast iron skillet in the stove drawer. Sadly, no good deed goes unpunished.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. So the judge says "You are seeking a divorce because you claim she's insane?"
                                                                                                                                                                                          Mickey replies "No, I said she's fucking Goofy."

                                                                                                                                                                                          My one (juvenile) mouse joke...

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                                                                                                                                                                                          1. A cat is the best at ridding your home of mice consistently. However, the cat I had would catch 'em and then present them to us with great fanfare -- not the nicest thing to have happen during dinner, romantic moments, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                            The landlord in the O.P.'s question is responsible for having this done, in my opinion.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. My "pantry" consists of wire shelving in attached garage. NOTHIN in boxes or bags... just canned/jarred/bottled stuff. Went out before holiday baking to see what I had already... sugar, flour, brown sugar, chocolate chips, etc. Always looking for good T-ware cannisters for sugar... so it doesn't get hard. I see one of thoe plastic "shoe box" containers with a bag of flour in it. The lid had been chewed thru and about half of the 5lb bag was gone! I move what I thought would be too tough to chew thru T-ware INSIDE house, just in case.

                                                                                                                                                                                              I do have a cat... totally indoor... but she has caught/killed 2 mice over the 4-5 years I've had her. Thiinking since she'd well fed, not interested in EATING them. She left one right at bottom of stairs and other right next to where I usually sit to watch TV.

                                                                                                                                                                                              I use glass jars to store things like rice, beans, and little pastas.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Sister has place in woods/mountains of WV... critters are unavoidable. She was having work done inside when she wasn't there. She went there one weekend and all the Hershey kisses from candy dish were gone?? Her first thought was... guys, if ya eat them ALL, maybe you should replenish supply? Then she started finding little foil balls all over the place... on shelves, in shoes/boots!

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                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: kseiverd


                                                                                                                                                                                                I just spit my coffee onto my computer screen LMAO dammit!!!


                                                                                                                                                                                                They are a sly and pesky rodent.

                                                                                                                                                                                                See my nectarine rant below.

                                                                                                                                                                                                You don't know you have them until, well, you suddenly know you have them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                To quote Yosemite Sam... "Pesky varmints!"

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. I had mice coming into my garage coming from a neighbors garage.As I have apartment garage.The problem was I had my 66 chevy nova in mine and the mice knawed thru into mine and were getting into my car.I put an immediate stop to it placing traps at the holes in the wall and all over my garage.Set all the traps you can and if after a couple weeks you still see them call the manager and if they don't do anything call an exterminator and send the bill to the managers.If they don't pay for that cost you can sue in civil court.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. If you can, get a cat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. I use peanut butter on snap traps, and have a couple of electronic traps I love. I live on a farm and in the fallwinter it is a fact of life. As already stated, putting them along the walls is important, rather than out in the middle of a space. I have a young cat who came from a farm cat life. I actually surprised a mouse in the kitchen, grabbed the cat and brought her in... she looked at me like I was cray cray... walked off, mouse took off into the counter and wherever it went. Disgusted, I went outside with the dog.... came back in a few minutes later and the cat was happily tossing the now dead mouse in the air and having a field (mouse) day with it.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Apparently she is an artiste and does not want an audience to watch her work.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. I love chowhound. Not only did I get a lot of great suggestions, this is one of the most entertaining threads EVER!


                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. I'd also like to thank all of you. We have so many divergent opinions and personalities here and not ONE PERSON said something like oh, you must be a dirty housekeeper or something. I assure you I'm not, and it's a bit mortifying and I didn't know what to do because I was too embarrassed to turn to my usual social circles (FB or an online mom's group) because I was afraid what people would think.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        11 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                                                                                                                                          LOL< But why do we have to clean our homes before company comes? Are we that comfortable in our own messes?

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I, for one, am still deciding what to do with a mummified corpse (mouse) found in a bucket a few years ago. It can't be left in such a squalid fate. poetry ain't ALWAYS pretty!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            maybe some embroidering of the hide or gilding the claws.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                                                                                              We have this decorative wall behind the wet bar in our rec room, and we always knew something was behind it but couldn't figure out how to open it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Turned my engineer father loose at it one day, and found 2 corpses. Never smelled them so they had been there awhile. Also found a second sump pump and the plumbing stack for the master bathroom. My dad was so excited to go to work the next day to tell everyone he found to bodies in the hidden compartment in the prohibition room (nick name for our rec room)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I think they were mouse corpses in the decorative wall.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I think.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: autumm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Can we just clarify that we are still talking about mice or other such vermin. If not I might have to place a call to the Feds.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                As is clear from this discussion, having mice has nothing to do with how good a housekeeper you are. It's more related to whether there are mice endemic to the environment around you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    So true, I wish more understood this.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yep, I live in the country on a farm in winter. Mice are gonna come. My cat is sitting in the kitchen staring at the place she saw the last mouse. Good kitty.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Pretty much everyone is going to have mice or other varmints in the house at some point or another. For us it was a soap eating rat that came in when we were between dogs. Now with another dog in the house we shouldn't have any more problems.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. I'm wondering which of these responses might be from a cat sitting at the keyboard, "CaT are good geT a CaT"

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Niblet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      but spay/neuter! there's always too many more good cats to be found out there than have good homes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Take bucket and fill with water and coat top of water with veggy oil. You will need a stick for a ramp so the mice can take a dive. Throw mice in trash and repeat as needed

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Folks, this thread really doesn't have much to do with the original topic or anything food related anymore and it's getting unfriendly in a number of different conversations so we're going to lock it now.