Thursday, February 13, 2014

Operation rodent vanquish

House mouse needs to die.
Photo by Ryan Somma

Horrified fiancé, determined father, indifferent dog



Let me cut right to the chase - we’ve got a mouse in the house.

I saw the little bugger when I was letting the dog out Saturday night before bed. A little brown blur that moved silently along the baseboard right in front of my feet before vanishing into a thimble sized hole in the wall. The weirdest part about the whole thing is how fast it all happened. One minute I’m yawing in a half daze at the end of a long day, waiting for the dog to come back inside from doing her business, and the next thing I know I’ve got that creepy crawly feeling.

That’s the worst - the sensation your house is suddenly very much not in order.

“How can I go to bed like this,” you start to think to yourself. I wanted immediately to start scrubbing every square inch of the house. Instead I just stood there in shock repeating “You’ve gotta be kidding me,” over and over out loud while the dog clawed at the door to come back inside.

She snapped me out of it, my dog Bean. It was well below zero so she was eager to get back inside. And no, PETA, no animals were harmed in the making of this haunting incident.

No, the dog only suffered my ridicule upon reentering the house, upon which I began shouting (in a hushed voice) things like “Where are your killer instincts?! Sniff that thing out and dig it outa the wall! You mutt!” along with a multitude of nastier choice words.

I started to look along the baseboard in both adjoining rooms, on a mad frantic search for any other breaches of security. Bean just sort of huffed and puffed in the doorway, waiting for her bedtime treat...

All I could think to do at the time was put duct tape over thimble hole so the little menace would at least be denied re entry to the house in that one particular spot. Not a real finesse fix to the problem, but come on, I was in shock. After a nod to myself in a satisfied handyman fashion I managed to make it to bed and sleep somehow, carrying the full burden of the incident solely on my own shoulders.

Sunday morning I’d had time to digest the incident and was cool and relaxed when I broke the news to my fiancé. Good gravy, the horrified look on her face mortified not only me but the dog all over again.

Suffice to say, she was not impressed. We spent the rest of the morning cleaning cabinets in the kitchen and sweeping the floors.

Dad came over to help with a Sunday man project that afternoon. When I showed him the spot and filled him in he suggested setting the mousetraps in the crawlspace below the ground floor, guaranteeing me that’s how it (or they, is what he actually said) got in.

“Set the traps within view of the floor hatch to the crawlspace so all you’ve gotta do is shine a flashlight down there to check them,” he directed me. Dad's never been shy with advice on how to kill things.

Promptly I got a story and a half about what to use for bait and how he has rid many a household with his own colony trap design. Actually, this is a neat idea: he recommends using peanut butter mixed with a couple sunflower seeds for bait on a mousetrap. The logic here is a mouse can lick at peanut butter and not set off the trap, while the seeds will requiring some tugging and biting, which will hopefully be enough to trip the trigger.

The colony trap, well, that’s a whole other story. I’ve actually used his design effectively in another house before and it’s impressive. Message me if you’ve got an infestation or are curious how to build a simple colony trap to rid a place of mice (woodsmanenough@gmail.com or @WoodsmanEnough).

Operation rodent vanquish is still ongoing as of this publishing, but who knows, an extra dab of peanut butter or another sunflower seed on the tip of the trap triggers might do the trick. More than likely, though, I’ve got to play the waiting game.

See you out there,
A woodsman in training.


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