Saturday, December 10, 2016

Of Mice and

Those of you who live in a vermin free house, count your blessings, for those of us living in old farm houses, it is a constant battle. Not only can they flatten themselves and slide through the smallest crack, I saw this for myself one night in the upstairs bathroom, we have Naughty Zoe who thinks it's great sport to bring a mouse in from either outside or the garage and dash to the basement or upstairs to play hockey with said mouse in the upstairs bathroom. They slide so nicely on the linoleum floor. (One got away and scooted under the tiny crack between the closet door and the floor, it was like Houdini, one minute it was there, the next it was gone. So at 10:30 at night I was tearing Bruce's closet apart to find the little devil, by that time Zoe has lost interest and it was up to me to whack him with my Croc and flush him down the stool.)

We hear mice in the walls and ceiling of the living room, Bruce said to put poison out but then you have to contend with the dead mouse smell. So after much thought, I bought sticky traps and installed them behind the door that leads to the plumbing in the upstairs bathroom. That worked pretty good, I was able to catch and dispatch 5 or 6 and the scrabblings are few but the war was far from over as we discovered when the dishwasher quit working.

We determined it was a faulty water intake valve, thanks to You Tube, so ordered a new one from our local guy. When Bruce pulled it out to work on it, there was evidence of a mouse party to end all parties. I knew Zoe had been very interested in the cracks around the dishwasher, I should have paid more attention to her. We set traps and caught 3 in about 5 days. They made a mess, there was evidence that they probably raised a family under there and that counted for the small mice that Zoe kept finding and taking upstairs to her playroom.

I was trying to clean out the mess from under the dishwasher and was concerned that there was water, Bruce replaced the water intake valve, started it up, shut it off and as the water ran out, we could hear drips. The darned mice had chewed on an outlet hose!!! When we called back to Ebert's, Mike said that he has only seen that trouble on Bosch washers, they must really like their brand of plastic. So I spent another couple of days, doing dishes by hand before the new part came in. We both held our breath when all the new parts were on and started the washer, water coming in, water going out and no drips, YEAH! We've heard that dryer sheets deter mice so tucked some around the plastic hoses and on both sides of the crack, just to be on the safe side, we still have the baited trap waiting.

Whew, I thought, I think we have a handle on things - au contraire, Murphy's Law interceded. I had not been to the bee hives for a long time, Bruce put the hay bales around when it got cold and I thought it was time to see how the sugar bricks were holding out. The first hive had finished their pan so I pulled it out. The second hive had a nasty surprise, a mouse popped out when I opened it, I tried whacking him with a top bar but he got away into the woods. That is not what I wanted to see. They still had a little sugar brick left that I pulled out and up popped another mouse head but he quickly retreated back into the hive. AAUUGGHHHH!!!! To make things worse, the bees started coming out and they don't do well in cold weather, I wasn't dressed to deal with them so we shut up the hive and went home.

I had to make sugar bricks, find where they got in and figure out what to do with the one or more, still in there and try to protect the bees from coming out. I messed up the sugar bricks, the sugar caramelized and that is not good so jettisoned both batches. I took the old car, with all my bee supplies in the trunk over later armed with mouse bait and a trap, hoping I could convince the bees to stay in with smoke while I ousted the mouse(s). The bees were not cooperative, they wanted to do battle with me so I left the poison in one end and the mouse trap on top and shut it up as tightly as I could. I thought the stiff piece of Styrofoam had left enough of a crack for the little buggers to get in.

I didn't sleep well last night, trying to formulate a plan and woke up to the snow that was predicted. Bruce found some rolled insulation to replace the blue, I took a flashlight, newspaper and the rest of the bag of sugar. Some bee keepers just lay newspaper down and put granulated sugar over it instead of making fondant or sugar bricks and they say it works well. I didn't want the hives open long so quickly stocked the first hive, when I put me ear to the top bars I could hear buzzing down deep so that made me happy. I had the smoker ready when I opened the second hive and was happy to find a fat mouse in the trap. I decided against moving any of the other top bars because again the bees were wanting to come out, I slapped down their newspaper, covered it with the last of the sugar, tucked it full of insulation, re-set the mouse trap, and made sure all the edges met with no cracks. As I was looking at the front, I saw a bee start to come out, one board had warped just enough to leave a crack that I'm sure a mouse could get in. I had run out of energy so called Bruce to the rescue, he brought a lathe and Makita and screwed it over the crack and called it good. 

I'm afraid that I would have lost a lot of bees, had I messed around more, now I can go over and quickly check the trap. Obviously the mice really like the mini marshmallow I tape to the trap. It wasn't what I wanted to find over there but in the grand scheme of things, it's also not the end of the world. Just another one of those potholes that seem to line my path.


  1. what a lot of work, those darn mice are just plain trouble!! Our friends Tom and Pat winterize their RV and also mouseproof it!! Tom puts a few drops of peppermint essential oil on a few cotton balls, puts them in a zip lock baggie and then pokes a few holes in the bag. Put these wherever you need to; replace ~ 3-4 months and he said they'd never had mice again once he started doing this! He also places them around the basement's foundation inside and said it works!! I have yet to try it myself...old fashioned traps work for the few we get every early winter. Tom sets them - I dispose.

  2. Oh and I agree with Becky - nice to read your entries again!!