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When you live in the country, Mouse Patrol is serious business.  "Mouse Patrol" is the never-ending, ongoing battle against mice you will be required to fight. You will have to be vigilant and relentless.

If you have a barn, mice get into every closet, drawer, box and piece of equipment you have.  They get into your tool box and make nests out of the insulation they ripped out of the walls. They get into your truck engine, chew on the wires and make nests out of the insulation they ripped off the inside of the hood. They get into any storage container that has an opening as small as a dime.  They chew up anything made out of paper or plastic and they crap everywhere.  They get in your car's vents, die, and smell for months (if not forever).

If they get into your house, they live in the walls and chew through your wires. They skitter about in your ceiling all night long and have babies by the dozens. They get in your clothes, chew holes, urinate and leave droppings. The mouse in the movie, The Green Mile was cute.  In real life, they're not.  If you see one, you've probably got dozens.  Oh yeah, they come in a multitude of varieties, in different sizes with different feeding habits and preferences. We have Field Mice, House Mice, Meadow Jumping Mice, Pocket Mice and Deer Mice. And don't forget the rats. We have Roof Rats, Kangaroo Rats but mostly Wood Rats (Pack Rats) that chew up your plants and steel shiny objects out of your tool box.  They get in your cars air filter and pack your carburetor with acorns and grain.

Take-em alive? Not if you're over run and serious about winning the battle.

Catherine, cat & mouse - Journal Entry


You've probably heard the term Barn Cat or in our area, Ranch Cat.  In my opinion, having a cat is the best form of rodent control you can have.  No poison or traps and they're great companions when you're working in the barn.  Unfortunately for me, the cat solution won't work.  We have coyotes and no matter how vigilant the cat, the coyotes eventually win.  We lost Clancy that way and I won't go through that again.  Another reason is that we are Bird Watchers and cats can decimate the bird population in short order.


You could create a whole website on this subject.  Live traps, snap traps and now even, electronic traps.  Not a bad solution though don't expect to ever be done.  If you live in a rural area you will always be setting traps and you will need to keep them set even when you think you've won. When Catherine goes out for her morning exercise she refers to it as checking her "trap line".  She has them set up in the other buildings and even has them in her car.

For live traps I use a small Havahart cage or the smaller Victor tipping trap.  The Havahart seems to work best especially if you have larger Wood Rats. The live traps aren't a bad solution for the soft hearted especially if you aren't "over-run" with rodents.  "Over-run" is the condition we've reached several times when we haven't been vigilant and the mouse population reaches critical.  I described those conditions in the first two paragraphs of this article. When that happens we have to resort to poison.


The reason professional exterminators use poison is because it works the best.  As far as I'm concerned it's the only solution when you are over-run by rodents.  Centuries ago I had to train to become a certified pesticide applicator for the state and I'm well aware of all the complications that go along with this remedy.

For me, causing any form of life to suffer is abhorrent and some of the poisons, especially strychnine, are out  of the question.  I talked to a doctor about anticoagulants and though it sounds gruesome he said that it is mostly a painless way to die.  For now, I'm using it as a last resort.

Oh yeah.  For anyone going this route, the mantra is always, READ THE LABEL!!!!