Saturday, October 15, 2016
Mouse problem solved (slowly)
On and off I've had problems with mice in the garden and floor of the chicken pen. I've tried several types of traps but most end up being useless. So far the most effective means of killing the moochers is my backyard predator and that sometimes leads to far more destruction than the mice could ever have achieved. But she's also very sweet and loving so I can't stay mad at her...
As cute as the dog is, she is also not as effective as I'd like. A kill rate higher than one a week would be nice.
I've tried several DIY traps as well as a few of the "off the shelf" traps and most end up being ant feeding stations. The bucket of water and roller with peanut butter bait looked especially promising but after a week of cleaning off ants and dabbing peanut butter on the roller I called that one a flop.
Other multi-mouse traps (trap door types) proved to be as effective as happy thoughts. Getting mice to go into a little box with a door that closes behind them just did not work for me. My ex-mother-in-law had several of these in her garage and they worked for her. For my garden mice though, not so much as a scratch on the door.
What has worked was a bit more than I wanted to spend for but I finally bit the bullet and gave it a try:
A little chicken feed, two C batteries and an hour later I had a dead mouse! There were three dead mice the first night. All I had to do was dump out the body, pour in a little more chicken feed and put it back in the same place. The Victor electronic rat trap has racked up more than a dozen mouse bodies since I picked it up from the local Ace hardware store three weeks ago! There is a warning label about indoor use only but my mice are not indoors (Thank GOD!) and the device is placed where the dog cannot get to it.
On the DIY front, sure I could have made something to trigger and zap mice myself. I have neon transformers in the garage with an output of 12,000 volts @ 3A that throw a spark more than 4 inches so crispy mice is not a hard point to get to. Building a battery powered unit is not hard and a nice flyback coil or even ignition coil would deliver a killing strike. Maybe in the future.
All these ideas are great but as I get older, I find that the time to execute these great ideas being very short and for the hours I would put into killing a few mice, the $40 for the electronic trap was worth the result. That time was better spend with family, friends, Faith and making a living.
Sure, I'm working on another computer based watering system for the garden so I have not abandoned the DIY for everything. I'm just trying to pick my battles more wisely.