Got Mice??

Have you noticed mice in or around your house lately? If so, you are not alone. Local pest control companies are getting more and more calls to get rid of mice. This has been going on since at least 2013 when the mice problem became significantly more noticeable around Amarillo. So how do you know you have mice? Here are a few signs—mice droppings, seeing the little critters scamper across the floor out of the corner of your eye, picking up a box of cereal or pancake mix and finding out that the box is empty and all that is left is a chewed through hole in the bottom.

You can have a white-glove clean house and still have mice. Mice inside your home are seeking food and shelter—and a place to raise a family. Mice make their nests in secretive places using almost anything, plastic, newspaper, broom straw, old rags, you name it—they will tear it to shreds and make a nest. Mice come out mostly at night but they will also come out during the day if they suspect no one is around.

Lately folks I know here in Amarillo, including myself, have noticed very small mice inside the house. I opened my back door recently and one jumped across my foot and ran inside. I have been finding evidence of mice every since. You do not want mice in your house. Mice carry diseases including Hantavirus. Two major outbreaks of the bubonic plague wiped out one-third of the human population all because of fleas on mice. Rodent droppings can carry diseases. You should never wipe up rodent droppings with a dish rag. It is recommended that you wear a mask when removing rodent droppings.

So how do you get rid of mice? We’ve all heard that rats love cheese, but mice will eat just about anything you put on a trap. The best way to catch a mouse is with chocolate cake, especially chocolate icing. I regularly buy bird seed but recently noticed bird seed on the floor in the storage building. Mice had chewed a hole in the bottom and started to feast on the seeds. So I know mice will eat something other than cheese. Some people recommend peanut butter. The key to catching mice is the type trap you use. The old spring loaded traps are not a good idea. These things can trip and snap your own finger. There are newer designs that look like a V but are spring loaded. The key is to push chocolate or whatever you use far inside the trap so the mouse has to put its head far inside and not snatch the food and run. Another way to catch mice is with glue boards. These boards have an extremely sticky surface that grips as soon as a mouse touches it with any part of its body. Just put a small bit of food in the middle of the board and put in where you suspect mice activity. There are also some “humane” traps where mice can go inside and you can transport the mice and release them at someone else’s house. Ha Ha. I don’t think cats bother with catching mice anymore—too pampered on expensive canned cat food.

The increase mice activity might have something to do with all the household trash and filth in Amarillo alleys that is not being removed for months on end. A mouse can get inside your house through an opening only one-fourth inches wide. Once they get under the house they will find any small opening to get inside. When people haul old food stuffs and other nasty household items into the alley and it remains there for months we can expect increased mouse activity in our homes–another reason why Amarillo Solid Waste needs to remove bulk trash from alleys more often.

Copyright 2017 – L. Arthalia Cravin. All rights Reserved. No part of this commentary may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.

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Wednesday Wisdom