When I bought my house, I wondered why the cat food bowls were on the second floor. Later, I'd occasionally hear a faint "plink!" from the kitchen that sounded like a piece of kibble shifting in the dog food bowl, but when I went to look, nothing was there.
Finally I discovered a box of oatmeal in the back of a cabinet that had been gnawed open and realized I had a problem. The mouse war was on.
I scrubbed the cabinets with bleach, put all food in rodent-proof containers and blocked every hole I could find with steel wool. I caught a few mice in live traps and released them at the park, but it wasn't until I put poison in the basement that the last of them disappeared. Since then I have not seen evidence of mice in the house. Until this year.
As I've mentioned before, it's been a banner year for the little bastards. A long, wet spring produced lots of food for them, and it has not been uncommon to see them scurrying through the garden, across the patio and around the compost bin. I knew they'd try to come in as soon as it got cold out.
Sure enough, I saw a mouse run across the kitchen floor a couple of weeks ago. Argh. I double-checked the cabinets, put in more steel wool and set out live traps. No luck. Finally I decided what the hell, I'll try a couple new snap-traps I spotted at Home Depot. They looked like they might be more effective and less messy than the traditional wire ones.
It took a few days, but a morsel of parmesan proved too tempting for the little ratonito. If you want to see how effective the trap is, click on the photo above. (Warning: graphic content! It's not gory, but it does feature a dead body.)
I don't feel too ashamed to talk about having mice, as I know it's not a reflection on my housekeeping. If you have an old house with holes in the foundation, you're going to get mice as soon as the weather turns cold.
If you do, go find yourself one of these better mousetraps.