Dear Uncle Joe -
The cold weather has brought a wildlife problem indoors
for me and my family. Somewhere, somehow, mice have been getting
into my house and making their presence known throughout the house.
My husband wants to buy glue traps but I will not allow it. I don't
want to hurt the critters, but I don't want them to continue living
with me without paying rent. What can I do?
Standing on top of a chair,
Maryland Heights, MO.
Dear Lucy -
You've touched upon an issue that Uncle Joe knows very
well. Last winter I had the very same problem that you describe and
fortunately, I was able to find a simple non-violent solution.
The first thing you need to do is buy two humane mouse
traps - the kind where the mice can be caught and released unharmed.
They can be found in hardware stores and home centers such as Lowe’s
and Home Depot.
Next, thoroughly inspect each room in your house and
determine where the mice are getting in, making sure to also check
the foundation and garage if it is attached to the house. In my case,
the mice were crawling under the garage door and getting into the
house through cracks in the walls near the chimney. Remember, mice
can squeeze through an opening the size of a dime, so make sure you
note every hole you find that is at least that size. Seal up every
hole except for two inside your home, as you want to leave a couple
of exit holes for the mice who are living inside your walls. What
works well is plain steel wool pushed into the holes and cracks because
the mice will not chew through it.
Bait the humane traps with peanut butter and place
them immediately in front of the holes that you have left open. Be
sure to check the traps several times a day because with most traps,
only one mouse can be caught at a time.
Once you have caught Mickey or Minnie make sure you
relocate them to a suitable area such as a patch of woods, preferably
one that is about one-mile away (mice can return to their homes if
it is within 1/2 mile). If you catch mice at a time when it is inconvenient
to relocate them, they can be safely kept in a glass terrarium or
fish tank with wood shavings for bedding. Remember, these are wild
mice and are not suited to life in captivity, so they should be set
free as soon as possible.
After catching and releasing a mouse (preferably to
the same location as the formerly released mouse), be sure to clean
out the trap, re-bait it, and place it back in front of the hole.
Continue this process until you have not caught any mice for two
weeks. At this time, it is safe to seal up the last remaining holes.
Thank you for seeking a peaceful solution to the problem.