Mice in parents' house

publickmanDecember 12, 2011

I talked with my mother yesterday (as I do every Sunday), and I happened to ask her how many mice there were at her house, since she told me that coyotes had killed/eaten all of the cats that she had. She lives in the country more than half a mile from the nearest neighbor, which is now my nephew. The house was built in 1932 or 1934 by my grandfather, without a drawn plan, and so it is a bit eccentric but also full of holes so that it is easy for mice to get it. All of the windows leak as well.

Anyway, she told me that she has been putting out traps for the mice and sometimes catches six in one day. I told her she needs to get an indoor cat (even though my sister, brother, and I are all allergic), and she agreed to that, but then I also called my sister and asked her if she could arrange for an exterminator to go to the house to get rid of the mice once and for all. I told her that I would pay for it, but my sister said SHE wanted to pay for it, and so I did not argue, since she is in a much better position to afford it than I am.

Today I emailed my sister for an update, and she told me that DM refuses to allow an exterminator to go to the house. She thinks the mouse population is under control because of the traps, but I know better. Her health is not great at this point, as she needs open heart surgery to replace a valve (or something), and DF has Parkinsons and is getting progressively worse. DM thinks the surgery would disable her too long and that she would not be able to take care of DF during her recovery, which I am sure is true. She also told my sister that she did not want to live to be 97 anyway, and so she may have lost some of her will to live. That is not the case with DF, as he wants to live to be 100 so that he can torture people that much longer.

Are there any suggestions for controlling the mouse population that would not involve an exterminator? I am thinking that I might take a plug-in device to keep mice away, but there is already one of those in the kitchen, and it seems to make no difference.


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Assuming there are no other pets, I would use rodent bait blocks in the basement and in the attic and under the sinks. Without plugging the entry points, this will be a recurring problem.

Bait blocks can be purchased at any hardware store. I would also put a bait container that is enclosed so other animals can't get into it outside the house along the foundation. Maybe a couple of those. And remove any ivy or vines around the house that give them places to hide.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bait blocks

    Bookmark   December 12, 2011 at 5:59PM
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They only permit a rat or rodent to enter.

Here is a link that might be useful: Holder.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2011 at 6:03PM
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I swear by De-con.
tonight I heard " something" scratching around in the soffit area of the family room....EWWW!

    Bookmark   December 12, 2011 at 10:16PM
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Holes can be plugged up with steel wool. The little critters cannot eat their way through that. Of course, it also traps any mice already in the house inside.

Let her watch one episode of Hoarders and she will want to be sure all the mice are gone for good! She really needs to let that exterminator do his job.

Sounds like you've got a feisty set of parents. My mom is 94 and just like that. Can't tell her a thing.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2011 at 8:15AM
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I'm curious about your mother's objection to an exterminator. Does she not want another person in the house or does she not want the poisons? An exterminator will do pretty much what I recommended as far as I know. They will bait inside and out. The rodents will eat the bait and leave the house (usually) in search of water. They die outside.

I had a rodent problem a few years ago. I had an exterminator come the first time but when it occurred again I baited myself. I haven't had a problem since.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2011 at 10:21AM
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I doubt I could find all the holes in their house to plug up with steel wool, but I did find one in my house that I filled with expandable foam, which is also supposed to work. The hole was in my kitchen floor, right by where the outside door opens. We've only had two mice in the past two years, but I suspect that that may be where they got in. I know that mice used to come into my parents house through the attic, and I do not feel competent to seal that up myself. My sister and I agree that we need a professional to do the job, and my sister is willing to pay for it.

I do not know what my mother's objection to an exterminator is. I think part of is that she thinks she has the situation under control, but I know that she doesn't. I don't know what De-con is, but I will look into that as well. My mother does not like for money to be spent unnecessarily - by anyone - but I see problems with living with mice - they can be very destructive. My mother keeps her food in safe containers, but she does not keep that much food in the house anyway. Unlike me, she will buy food in cans, and they eat lunch at Wendy's every day because they have a senior citizen special, and that is as much as they can eat.

I talked with my sister last night, and she said that I might want to consider staying in a motel while visiting, but I would do that only as a last resort; i.e., if my allergies to the new cat are unbearable. I think I have time to get used to the idea of having mice, although at first my reaction was one of horror.

I don't think my mother is averse to having strange people in the house to do work - she just does not want to be disturbed and does not want to admit that there is a problem.

Thanks for your suggestions!


    Bookmark   December 13, 2011 at 11:49AM
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I might want to consider staying in a motel while visiting

Don't leave home without checking these sites:



    Bookmark   December 13, 2011 at 12:45PM
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Mice and rats pee and poop everywhere they walk creating a health concern. They chew wiring. They will also chew through protective food containers as well.

Here is a link that might be useful: ISEC Home Pest Management - Texas Cooperative Extension

    Bookmark   December 13, 2011 at 1:20PM
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If you go to the Texas page and click on Hilton Hotel, Austin (which was the first link I clicked), you will get a startling result - not recommended - don't go there! The first link seems better. I couldn't take the second one seriously, and it had no listings for Temple, while the first site did.

It will be difficult to check these sites from my parents' house, since they do not have internet connection, but perhaps I can go to my other brother's house for that.

Mice have already chewed through wiring at my parents' house, and that was not enough to disturb them. There was a huge plague of rats and mice in central Texas in 1957-1958, and it kept the barn owls very busy. It was a very scary time for me. We also had an explosion of cottonmouth snakes at that time.


    Bookmark   December 13, 2011 at 2:06PM
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Is there any way, if this is the problem, to argue that paying for medical bills is far more costly than "wasting" money on an exterminator? That the mice may be adversely affecting her AND your father's health? Maybe? I know you said you didn't know, but if you found out that was the objection, maybe that idea can help her understand that she'd be paying for the mice with HIS health and their dollars or just paying for an exterminator?

Sort of a financial trade off, with health benefits to boot! Yea! Right?

I really wish I could help. Knowing me, I'd just go do it whether it made her mad or not. You're being a kind son.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2011 at 3:22PM
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I don't want an exterminator in my house spraying poison all over and tossong bait where-ever.
My neighbor next door had a "standing order" with the exterminator every 2 months. While they were being snow birds I let him in and locked up after he had finished. I watched him with his tank, spraying all around the base of the kitchen cabinets and all around every window, and who knows what all in the basement. I said....wow that's a lot of poision! He said" it's very mild.....not really toxic at all"....yeah right....so how does it kill any bug that walks on it?
And every time I would go into the house for up to 2 weeks later I could smell it and taste it on my tongue!
Nope!! I'd rather have mice...Snap traps when I have someone to empty them....but I prefer De-con ( same thing as a mega dose of coumadin).....they just die.....sometimes in a closet....mut mostly outside.
But now it seems I have bats living in the attic over the family room.....which is closed to the rest of the house.....I hope!

    Bookmark   December 13, 2011 at 4:58PM
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The exterminators that I had chosen do not spray poison for mice, but they do guarantee to close up any holes where the mice are getting in and use traps only to get rid of the mice - no bait and no poison whatsoever. The discussion is not over, and my sister and I will talk to DM when we see her - it's a bit difficult over the phone.


    Bookmark   December 13, 2011 at 5:19PM
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I have two electronic rat zappers, battery operated. Clean kills. Just empty them into the garbage. No poison.

I have eradicated mouse, and chipmunks inside and outside of the house.


    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 12:13AM
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Like LindaC, I use D-Con.

I have na old house, built in 1940, and the farm house is older than that. At the farm the barn cats take care of the mice (plus pigeons, double bonus) but here in town I have a problem in the fall. The Dead Cat would never kill mice, she only caught them and played with them, the WonderWeiner was the mouse killer. Now they are both gone and the mice try to find a warm place in the fall. So, D-con in the basement and the garage and I don't see any mice. You do have to be careful that other animals cannot get to it, however.

Good luck, Lars, between the mice and the bedbugs, you seem to have really bad choices!

Now, as for th eheart valve replacement, my stepmother had both of hers replaced and a pacemaker installed. She was in the hospital for 3 days, and it took about 2 weeks for her to heal up and get around pretty well but she feels far better now. The doctor said she was so tired because she wasn't getting sufficient oxygen for her body to function correctly, so if your mother will have it done she's going to feel much better in a month or so.

when people get to your parents' age, it's sometimes hard to convince them of anything, so best of luck with that too. Sigh. I do hope you and Kevin have a nice holiday with the family in spite of the challenges.


    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 10:27AM
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I can hardly wait to live long enough to be a worry to my children. :)

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 12:42PM
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