Need a long lasting mouse deterant under my refrigerator

ccoombs1September 16, 2010

My house (kitchen) had this funky smell off and on for over a month. Finally, after searching for weeks, I have discovered the source. Mice have been stealing dog food and hiding it behind/under the refrigerator in the condensation drip pan. The food was wet and stinking. This pan is inaccessable from the front and it's very difficult to pull the refrig out (the refrig has leveling feet and the floors are hardwood). And the pan is nearly impossible to clean because of the regrig motor and all the other mechanicals that are mounted there. It took me an hour to clean the pan out.

I am dealing with the mice, but while the war wages on, is there something I can put in that pan to keep the mice away? I don't want to have to replace it often, just because this refrig is so hard to get out. How about castor oil? I know it's supposed to deter voles in the garden. Will it deter mice? I could easily put a shallow tray of castor oil in that drip pan if it would keep the mice away. I also thought about sliding a tray of moth balls under there from the front of the fridge.

Any suggestions? Thanks so much!

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Whoa! No! No!

Castor oil may not deter the mice, and will probably oxidize into a sludge that's difficult or impossible to remove.

Moth balls are highly toxic. Do you REALLY want to SMELL moth balls in your kitchen, let alone suffer any toxic effects?

No no no.

The obvious solution is very very simple. First, do not attract mice to the area with the dog food. Set out your dog's food at regular times each day, give the dog 10 minutes max to eat it, then put any uneaten food away in a sealed container. Pick up/clean up any stray food if your dog makes a mess eating and doesn't get it all.

Second, look for the holes in your living spaces that allow mice to enter. They should all be sealed for energy efficiency purposes anyway.

Third, use an effective mouse trap to get rid of the population. My husband has a ton of them and has used them very effectively, and he says the best is the Kness Tip-Trap Live Capture mousetrap. Yes, it is live capture so you will have to kill or release the mouse elsewhere. If you release it, go pretty far from your home.

That reminds me of a neighbor who caught a rat in a Hav-a-hart live capture trap. She's an animal lover who didn't want to kill the rat, so she took it to a large parking lot nearby to release it. Within seconds after she released it, a hawk swooped down and grabbed it. LOL.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 4:50PM
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Just to add, in my house growing up, we had a huge problem of squirrels in the attic. My parents tried all sorts of things to "repel" the squirrels. Even ultrasonic devices that were supposed to drive them away. Poisons. All kinds of stuff. DID NOT WORK. Here in my current home, we had a similar problem but with rats. Nothing really helped until my husband started trapping them. THAT WORKS.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 2:04AM
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I agree with andersons. First, stop free-feeding the dog. It's not healthy for the dog. Put the bag of dog food in a container the mice can't get into and feed the dog twice a day.

While you are dealing with the mice, I would put the refrigerator on appliance rollers. I've used these and they work great:

Here is a link that might be useful: Appliance rollers

    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 7:36PM
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Unfortunately I have to free-feed the dogs. One is a 3 pound chihuahua who is prone to bouts of hypoglycemia if she can't get food when she wants it. She has no excess body fat at all and can't be without food for too long. She and my other chihuahua never overeat. The older dog is 10 and would never adjust to scheduled feedings. the dog food is in a sealed container.

The appliance rollers look good, but the are not recommended for hardwood floors. Plus the refrig is in a cabinet....there is not enough space above it to raise it up on rollers.

I will look into live traps. The conventional mouse traps don't seem to work to well and I can't stand glue traps.

Thanks for the advise.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2010 at 7:01AM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

I have always heard that peppermint oil will chase them away from an area, so you might try 100% peppermint oil on some cotton balls behind the fridge.

Be careful when plugging any holes. It 'might' be the only way of the mice getting in and out. Some time ago BF waged war on a mouse/mice at his house. He discovered they were coming in behind the TV stand and he blocked the hole (probably with steel wool). Well, he evidently trapped one inside and he wasn't aware of it until much later, after it had invaded a lot of areas of the house, causing a lot of cleaning and extra laundry. I'd suggest to avoid this happening, that you put a trap next to any newly sealed area for a while, or maybe a food source to verify that you haven't trapped any of them inside your home.

Because you must leave food out for your dog, could you maybe for the time being, move the feeding area to another place in the house, like maybe a bathroom? Once the war is won against the pesky critters you could then go back to feeding them in their usual place.


Here is a link that might be useful: Peppermint oil and mice.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2010 at 9:39AM
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My apologies - I assume everyone has a 90 pound eating machine like I do. Would it be possible to put a piece of metal screen over the drip pan?

When I had mice problems, I used glue traps. When I caught one, I very carefully picked up the trap on the opposite corner from the mouse's mouth and then held it in the toilet so the mouse's head was in the water. They would die in a few seconds. Gross, but a fast death.

Have you considered changing the location of where you feed the dogs? Feed the dogs in a bathroom or even a bedroom far from the kitchen until you get the mice out of the house.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2010 at 9:42AM
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no apology needed. I have a 70 pound eating machine (pit bull) that gets fed only twice a day. I have a milk crate with a door cut into it over the little dog's food and believe it or not, my pit bull leaves it alone because she knows she is not allowed to up-end the milk crate and steal the food. I am going to move the food though. that's a good idea. I'll move the bowl as far away from the refrig as I can get it. that should help. I wish I could cover the drip pan, but it's impossible. There are all sorts of wires and copper tubing and refrig mechanicals mounted in the pan which makes it impossible to cover and darn near impossible to clean. Really stupid design! I will check into that peppermint oil. My daughter makes soap and I know she has some. That would smell nice too! Thanks again for all the advise and suggestions.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2010 at 11:22AM
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I also have free fed a tiny I get it.
And I also have had mice....reminding myself to check known "mouse holes" before fall.
I recommend decon...people say the mouse may die inside and stink....but really a mouse is so small if that does happen it won't last long.
BUT...I have never heard nor seen mice stash food....they eat right there. Perhaps something a rat? or a chipmunk?
Linda C

    Bookmark   September 18, 2010 at 12:19PM
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It's mice for sure...I have seen there dropping in the laundry room. They are bad about stashing food. I have found food in rarely worn shoes before. they stash WAY more than they can ever possibly eat so I am not sure why they do it. Years ago I used to use Decon. I learned my lesson! You would not think that a dead mouse could smell that bad, but trust's bad. REAL bad. I had one die under my living room sofa one day and had the worst time tracking down that rotting little thing. My nose lead me to it. But what broke me was the mouse that decided to get his ultimate last revenge on me before he died. that thing crawled up into my silverware drawer, curled up in a spoon and DIED. I opened the drawer in the morning to get a spoon for my cereal and lost my appetite REAL fast. I had to run the contents of that drawer in the dishwasher on sterilize twice before I felt comfortable using them again. I may use some Decon under the house though. It doesn't seem to me that a dying mouse would go to all the trouble to sneak back inside before he dies.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2010 at 12:34PM
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I'm curious: what brand of refrigerator do you have that you can't access the drip pan from the front?

    Bookmark   September 18, 2010 at 12:39PM
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It's a GE profile. One thing I may do is see if I can attach a longer piece of hose to the condensate drainage hose. If I can do that, I can stick a different pan under there , closer to the front so that I can easily pull it out for cleaning. I never even though to look at the pan's location when I purchased the refrig. I will be sure to look at this on future purchases!

    Bookmark   September 18, 2010 at 12:47PM
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That's interesting, we had to clean out a clogged drain in our GE Profile. It seems like it was DESIGNED to clog! However, I otherwise love the fridge.

When I redo the kitchen, including a new floor, I am planning to put those slick silicone slider things under the feet. I have them under some other heavy furniture, and they work great. I can't think of anything better to minimize the damage of moving furniture around.

We schedule-feed our 2 dogs right by the fridge also, and what can I say but it's a bad idea. When we moved the fridge to clear out the clogged drain, there were stray kibbles and kibble dust everywhere. Yuck! I hate when dirt gets into a place that I cannot clean.

I say no to the Decon, just from seeing so much bad that can happen while not even solving the problem. In addition to dying inside a wall, critters can also carry the stuff outside where somebody's dog could eat it and get sick. Soon after my husband set out rat poison, our neighbor's dog got very sick and eventually died, and he always wonders if it got hold of some of the poison. Why set out poison when you have no control over where the critter will take it, leave it, or die eating it? Just set out a trap there instead. The worst that can happen is that you forget to check the trap until you sniff the smell of success.

Here is a link that might be useful: Magic Slider thingies

    Bookmark   September 18, 2010 at 3:53PM
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We use cola soda pop when we can't use the green block type bait. Works wonderfully!
Place some in a lid of some sort, enough to cover the bottom.
Rodents can't burp and they then die. If the dogs get to them then you don't have to worry about them having toxic bait in them in case they are eaten!
Hope this helps.
Good luck.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 12:01AM
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Thanks for the suggestion Bookert, but that's an old wives tale. First of all, any soda pop left out for more than an hour or so goes flat and wouldn't hurt a mouse. Secondly, mice drink almost no liquid, as they don't need it. They rely mostly on the moisture that's in their food.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 6:39AM
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I wasn't suggesting a method out of the sky, "I" use this method and it WORKS for us!
Maybe the mice that frequent my house/property are a different species. =)

    Bookmark   September 21, 2010 at 8:26PM
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I don't know about traps. I once had a major infestation in an old house and traps were always going off and more mice caught every day. I got rid of them all with Decon mouse pruf.
That is a poisoned bait. You must put it where only the mice can get to it. And more than one box. It comes in an 8 pack if I recall. I hide one in my garage and behind a refrigerator at all times in case a mouse gets in the house.
As an agent to discourage mice, you might try Cayenne pepper spread all over the drain pan. Don't know if it works but it is sure cheap enough to use a lot. Also I had a catalog of gardening remedies for animal pests like gophers, squirrels, and deer. Some of them involved the scent of human hair or wolf urine. Don't recall what works for small rodents though.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 3:01AM
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One problem with mice traps is that once the trap has sprung, if you aren't right there to clean it out, it is no longer effective for other mice in the area. My father had a cabin in the woods that would be vacant for long periods of time. A friend of his suggested this home-made trap that keeps on working.

Fill a 5 gallon pail with several inches of water. Take an empty soda or beer can and poke a hole in the bottom. String a wire through the can and suspend it over the water by tying it to the handles of the pail. Smear peanut butter on the can and rest a piece of wood against the side of the pail so the mice can climb to the rim. They will jump onto the can to eat the PB, and spin the can and drop into the water. You may end up with a mess in the pail, but it will keep working until you get a chance to empty it.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 7:27AM
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You should sell these on esty... you could make some money!

    Bookmark   October 2, 2010 at 10:00PM
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Ccoombs1 - how is the mouse situation? As a pet owner I do have to say I hope its going well without the use of poison.

Sewhappy2 - what a great idea! Necessity is the mother of invention, isn't it?

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 10:30PM
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Thanks for asking! I moved the dog bowl into the living room, as far from the refrig as I can get it. I am not even picking the bowl up at night anymore, and have seen no mouse droppings in the area. So no more mouse stock-piling food under the refrig. I trapped two mice in the laundry room but have not gotten anymore since then. I also blocked the suspected entrance so the problem might be under control? I sure hope so anyway. I may put some poison under my crawl space just as precaution (no pets can get under there), but I won't use it in the house.

thanks for all the good advise! Oh...and I am going to make one of those bucket mouse traps for the garage. I know I get mice in there pretty often. I'll use peanut butter and also bacon grease for bait. My brother has great sucess with bacon grease to attract mice.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 9:04AM
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Bumping for Jardinista

    Bookmark   March 6, 2011 at 10:52PM
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