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Mouse Control and You 🐭


“When the mouse laughs at the cat, there’s a hole nearby”

-Nigerian proverb

Mice are adorable in theory, but it is a known fact that they are a prevalent and persistent pest everywhere, and especially in major cities. That’s already bad enough news for homeowners; you make dinner smell a little too good, and they’re already catapulting themselves at any hole in your house they can find, so you start setting up traps and barricading doors. But, what are you expected to do to defend from the little intruders in an open space like an urban farm or outdoor garden? All of your crops are exposed and it seems like there’s nothing there to stop them. Or is there?

There are a plethora of different homegrown ways of dealing with a mouse-related rodent problem, both natural and chemical.

According to How To Get Rid of Mice (2018), an entire website dedicated to helping people rid themselves of mice by their own means, there are many natural methods that landowners could use to their advantage. Natural Remedies are preferred because they have been around a long time, are often easy and affordable to implement, and usually work effectively. While the site offers a plethora of different natural solutions, some of the ones that I found to be the most interesting are:

Peppermint oil

The strong scent of peppermint oil is a huge deterrent for mice. This is a win for humans because most of us love the scent of peppermint. You can dab some of this oil on fabrics like cotton balls and hide them in places mice love to sneak in. Another option is planting mint herbs around your property.

Instant mashed potatoes

This tasty treat acts as a sort of double-edged sword for mice. If you sprinkle some around the perimeter of your property the mice will find them tasty and eat them right up, but as the dried potato flakes are digesting, they will swell up in the mice’s stomach and kill them instantly.

Used kitty litter

Mice know that cats are an enemy they really don’t stand much of a chance against. The scent from the used kitty litter will trick the mice into thinking your cat is on patrol, even when he’s taking his break.

Natural predators

The best way to control any animal population within an ecosystem (ie, your garden) is by introducing their natural predators. Cats are the best mice hunters, and owls come behind as a close second.

Onions

While appetizing to us, mice cannot stand the strong odorous fumes that usually emit from onions. If they can make a human cry, imagine what it does to a creature as small as a mouse! Growing onions in your farm or garden space, having them hang around in the kitchen, or just cooking an onion based recipe, should be enough to make mice pack their luggage and beat it. However, pet owners should be cautious about where they place onions, as the vegetable is toxic to certain animals and especially cats and dogs.

My findings for chemical pest control came from Scarafaggio's Pest Control Site which is a straightforward and informative website that aims to cover pest control overall and is written by a certified pest control specialist and maintained by other pest control professionals for accuracy, However, even the professionals warn against the use of chemical warfare against mice because it is often unnecessary and has a number of disadvantages (like secondary toxicity). They should only be used when absolutely necessary.

Rodenticides

The recommended rodenticide bait trap for mice is a type called a paraffinized anticoagulant. The ones that contain bromadiolone as an active ingredient are best as they are used in many commercial and professional rodent control products

Bait Stations

Rodenticides should be kept inside of tamper-resistant bait stations to help keep children and animals that you don't want dead away from the poison and to keep the bait fresh. They are also useful due to mice being curious animals, and the openings that are designed into bait stations are naturally tempting. On that note, I think it's safe to assume that curiosity has killed many more mice than cats.

Even though it's easy to make a list of suggestions of what to do, it can sometimes be much harder to conceptualize how to use the given methods efficiently. I'm going to try my best to create a visualization to compare other gardens to using the Common Good Cooperatives urban farm.

The farm has two lots, small and large, with a community house situated in the back of the large lot and a small lot with a white picket fence located to the left of the house. There is also a patio on both floors and a concrete walkway with growing space directly in front of the house, as well as a small outside communal space that doubles as a flower and herb garden to the right of the house. The house also has an attic space.

Natural method

There should be a cat allotted to the space that has access to a cat door. Barn owls should be kept in the attic and it should be a consideration to get a window in the front and side of the attic so that they can get in an out. The attic door should be kept shut. Kitty litter should be sprinkled around the perimeter of both lots away from the crops so that the cat will use it in time and repel the mouse even further. Instant mashed potato flakes should be sprinkled in cracks and crevices of the kitchens (cabinets, behind the stove, against walls, etc) and should be an indoor method of killing mice so that the flakes will not get wet. They should be considered a backup measure in case the outside repellents do not work. Mint leaves should be planted in corners of the farm lots and in the herb garden communal space and also in the growing space in front of the concrete walkway. As a final measure, an onion-heavy recipe should be cooked in the home every one to two weeks.

Chemical Method

This would be incredibly irresponsible considering we are running an urban farm in the city of Boston which has enough issues with hazardous soil as is, but if you will use rodenticides, all of them should be placed inside of bait stations. Bait traps should be placed under fences and in corners as far away from crops as possible while still being effective. The last thing you need is a toxic mouse running into your farm, garden, or shared food space and dying or decomposing. Bait stations help to prevent this. Bait traps can also be placed in the attic and in between hard to get to places in the kitchen space. They should be out of view to children that visit the space.

All in all, there are probably many different ways that a person could set up an anti-mice plan on their property. It all depends on what kind of space you are working with and what you feel comfortable with. Despite the way you decide to handle your rodent business, the major takeaway here is that no one should be forced to live with invader mice in their farm, garden space, or home. Though, a cute, clean, store-bought pet mouse is always a fun option.

#Rodent #control #mice #natural #methods #kill #repel #chemical

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