By Nanci Dixon
Those who have been reading my battles with mice know that just when I think I have won, the little buggers fool me and return to haunt the cabinets and kitchen. We had already sealed the holes around wires with foam and steel wool. Steel wool under the gas pedal, electronic rodent deterrents, rope lights, Irish Spring soap, Bounce fabric sheets scattered everywhere and mint oil on cotton balls.
I had cut toilet plungers and stuck them around the sewer hose opening in the water bay. After several months in Minnesota and no mice, I was satisfied they were defeated.
Then we moved and settled in our new Arizona winter spot in the mountainous desert and they found us again! The first sign was an acorn on the bathroom floor. There are no oak trees or acorns anywhere around us. It had to have come with us from Minnesota or Wisconsin in our storage bays. “Honey, look. It is an acorn. We have a mouse.” “No, we don’t have mice,” says my husband. He is in constant denial about mice so it is my battle to take up. I do draw the line at emptying the traps though. My husband can empty the “we don’t have any mice” traps.
In the meantime, our neighbors were dealing with mice. I gently, at least I hoped it was gently, let them know that feeding the birds attracts the mice and the mice attract the RATTLESNAKES! I related this story to them: My friend was on a plane and just before takeoff her husband called to say there was a snake in their shower and another in the house. He was speaking rather excitedly and loudly. The passenger next to her could hear every word. He was an environmental scientist and could not resist asking if they fed birds. She said yes, they had bird feeders all over their yard. He told her that birdseed attracts mice and mice attract snakes. Get rid of the bird feeders and they would get rid of the snakes. They did and the snakes left for a better feeding ground.
Our neighbor’s bird feeder came down instantly and a hummingbird feeder went up. While they had a couple more mice it seemed that we were more hospitable. I had to find where they were getting in.
Seeing they came in under the kitchen sink, I went to the water bay. These are some aggressive mice! The toilet plungers had been pushed out of the hole around the sewer hose and they left their deposits all the way to the water lines.
I tried a new tactic to better seal the area around the sewer hose. I cut a hole the size of the sewer hose in an old flexible plastic cutting board and a slit to get it around the hose. I then added Velcro on the sides of the slit to secure it.
I added more foam filler around the water lines and rocks to hold it down even tighter. No pushing this one up with their little noses. I even added a mousetrap to see if their persistence or mine would pay off. Yup, got one. I added more rocks and tightened the Velcro.
By now I had eight baited mouse traps in the motorhome. #%*!! But alas, there was another darned mouse! This time by the gas pedal, again. Where were those holes? I used my favorite new tool, the Digital Inspection Endoscope and spotted a tiny hole where the wires go to the dashboard. I filled it with foam gap filler and added more steel wool inside around the gas pedal.
A lot of our neighbors are also getting mice. There seems to be an abundance of them. The theory is that it is so dry this year that the rattlesnakes are staying underground and not doing their mouse-eating duty. I never, ever thought I would wish a few more rattlesnakes would surface…
I, unfortunately, now have way too much knowledge of mouse traps and have found that these are my favorite. I like that I can easily see that when the yellow bar is up there is no mouse. Eight are strategically placed inside the motorhome and my daily morning routine is to check the traps and make sure I don’t step on one with bare feet. I have found that popcorn is a mouse’s gourmet treat, so I have a couple of pieces of popcorn also strategically placed. Now we are two weeks mouse-free – fingers crossed and traps set.