Getting rid of mice can be a 'snap'

| Friday, Oct. 5, 2012, 2:34 a.m.

My staff and I are always amused when someone enters our store and informs us that they have a mouse in their house.

The fact is that having a mouse in all likelihood means having mice — the very plural form of the word.

I know how unpleasant that thought is. A single mouse seems manageable, perhaps acceptable. But let's not kid ourselves, mice are prolific.

A female mouse can give birth to 10 offspring multiple times per year. Mice are able to squeeze their little bodies through a hole the size of a dime, and they are quite fond of moving into your warm home during the cold weather.

They may be cute to look at but their feces can be dangerous and they may carry and transmit nasty bad stuff into your home.

Mouse control should be done aggressively and always under the assumption that there is more than one.

Spring loaded “snap” traps remain the device of choice for most folks getting rid of mice. They are quite effective and inexpensive.

The best news here is that manufacturers have quite literally built a better mousetrap.

Getting your fingers caught in the wicked grasp of a traditional wooden trap is no longer an unavoidable risk. With modern traps you simply squeeze the spring like a clothespin and, just like that, the trap is set. Baiting is best done with peanut butter or a commercially manufactured mouse attractant.

Growing in popularity is live trapping, which is simple but slightly more expensive. Cage traps are about $25.

Using a live trap means baiting, setting, catching and releasing, which is fine, but remember to release the critters in an area that is far from your home and hospitable to them.

This will both ensure survival and prevent their uninvited return to your living quarters.

Rodenticides A.K.A. poisons come in many forms and can be quite effective. Caution must be taken though when using them.

They must be kept away from pets and children. The dead rodents need to be sought out and disposed of properly. Reading the specific instructions and following them precisely is an absolute must.

If repelling mice is an alternative you would like to explore, I encourage you to do that.

But, please, remember that repelling mice from one area will displace them to another. Repellents, typically made of all natural ingredients, act as a major irritant to mice, keeping them at bay.

They are most successful when the goal is to keep mice out of a confined area.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember when it comes to mice is to keep them away by not inviting them. Keep birdseed and pet food contained and plug holes in the foundation. Don't let potential nesting materials like old newspapers, straw or insulation lay unattended in mousy areas and clean the pantry regularly.

Above all, remember that mice are not loners. Go to work now to prevent and get rid of them so that the risk of a full- blown infestation is eliminated.

Do not be passive, choose a plan of attack and execute it. October's chill triggers some of natures' most awesome spectacles. The migration of mice into your home is one that I am positive you could do without.

Ed Pfeifer is the owner of Pfeifer Hardware Inc., 300 Marshall Way, Mars. If you have questions, call the store at 724-625-9090.

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