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Got a Rat/Mice Problem...

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Bster13, Jan 14, 2013.

  1. jdp1152

    jdp1152 Minister of Fire

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    Bottom line from someone who had a major mouse problem in the house I bought a year ago. We have 1.5 acre wooded lot that borders on a big field. The house was neglected for years and empty for a year. I have taken a systematic approach to remedying the situation. First, stop poisoning outside. That's not good for the Eco system regardless of what anyone claims. Mice are fine if they're outdoors. Second, put bait stations throughout your house to get rid of the Immediate problem. Basement, garage, house sill, attic, knee walls, under your stove, behind fridge.....Every 10-20 feet in non living spaces. Usual mouse jaunts in living space..There are many more in there if you see one. They only forage thirty or so feet from their nest. Third, remove any ground cover from around your foundation. No vines, no juniper, no anything you can't prune off the ground. Give their predators a chance to do the job for you. Last, google exclusion methods. I went around my sill with hardwire mesh. Seal the inside of your sill at the basement or crawlspace with mesh with a caulk that dries hard. Make sure your garage doors and all other doors form a tight seal. Bastards are contortion artists and will exploit any opening they can. Seal around wire and pipe entry points. Make sure your sealant isn't easily removed.

    I disagree that your wood pile isn't an attractant for mice. Insects are only part of the reason it's recommended to stack wood more than twenty feet away from your structure. Mice don't have huge foraging ranges and giving them cover close to your house allows them safer passage while foraging. I haven't seen a sign of live mouse since taking these measures. I could go on and on, but the only thing you can do is work on exclusion to win this battle.
    tickbitty likes this.

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  2. jdp1152

    jdp1152 Minister of Fire

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    Also, renting a thermal camera and scanning your external wall will show you where they are getting in at. We had a free energy assessment so I didn't have to rent it, but it showed me what I needed to know. Gutting my basement and seeing the nests they make and damage they do with batt insulation was absolutely appalling.
  3. HDRock

    HDRock Minister of Fire

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    I agree you should keep the wood away from house if U can , mine is about 65ft away, cuz termites are a possibly also
  4. StihlHead

    StihlHead Guest

    I moved here over 2 years ago and this place was overrun by mice, voles, and moles. At dusk I would see things darting around all over, and there were many mice in the house. After 3 months my ex brought my 20 pound tom cat up from her farm. He is 1/4 Siamese, but otherwise looks and behaves like an American Shorthair red tabby. The first day outside he bagged 2 western red back voles, his favorite food. He caught at least 3 mice in the master bedroom that week. I had a running tally of his hunting but stopped after a few months, as he bagged so many rodents I could not keep track. He has wiped out all the surface red back voles and all the house mice. They are gone. The moles and deeper running grey Oregon voles keep moving onto the property and starting condo developments, and he hunts them out. I used to run over 50 mole hills mowing the lawns here, now it is one or two. He does a great job exterminating rodents. Cats can be effective if they are the right breed. This one hunts big game as well, catching small rabbits. I let them go though. He eats 90% of what he kills. Mice he leaves the haunches for some reason. He eats voles entirely, tail and all, usually starting with the head. I had a giant Himalayan Blue in California and that cat took on giant gophers, rabbits, and squirrels. They and Siamese are the best hunters I have had.
    Shane N likes this.
  5. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    Mice will nest in a covered woodpile if you live on a woodlot, for sure. They make nice nests with leaves and pine needles. But you really never see the mice...just their nests and some poop.which is easy to flick off when you pick up a split. Snakes for sure like woodpiles. See garters all the time. They'll take care of a lot of mice.

    Skip the poison. Outdoors, you'll just attract mice...and possibly rats. You can't possibly kill all of them, or even make a dent in their population. My aunt traps about a dozen every day in her crawl space. Has all kinds of ingenious traps. If you put poison out, you not only attract rodents, you'll kill birds of prey such as owls and hawks, snakes, and anything else that eats rodents, or eats the things that eat the rodents. Self defeating in the long run. Carry the firewood in yourself and your fiancee will never see a mouse. For the house, get one of the traps on line that is battery operated, zaps the mouse, you just dump the mouse in the trash and put the trap back. They are great.
    Thistle likes this.
  6. Tuneighty

    Tuneighty Member

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    I have often wondered if cats could be "bred" specific for mousing? They can do it with dogs? Our part siamese is a great mouser as well!
  7. Standingdead

    Standingdead Burning Hunk

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    Living on a farm with grain bins, I am familiar with rats. Big nasty rats. Over the years the only thing that seems to keep them at bay is a good sized cat population. We usually look for Maine coon mixed cats with a large frame. Last year in one barn we lost 3 of the 5 cats that lived there including our best hunter. When I began to prep this barn this past fall I noticed a lot of rat holes, digging, etc. In November the rats chewed through a wooden grain door and spilled a ton or more pellets on the barn floor!

    Fortunately the barn is divided into three sections. Pissed and desperate I moved my 2 hunting dogs (short haired pointers) into the section housing the bin. Within a month they caught and killed 70-75 full sized rats. They are having a blast this winter and kill the rats with brutal effeicency. In the meantime my wife went to the pound and adopted 5 Maine/mixed kittens. By this summer they can take over and the dogs return to their pens. I should add we keep three cats in the house/garage. My wife lives in fear that someday a rat might try to get into the house....so far.....just little bitty feild mice :). Being a dog guy I don't like cats much at all, but I will admit I like having a bunch of them around to keep the vermin pop down.
    pen likes this.
  8. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck Minister of Fire

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    There are wild mice like Deer Mice, White Footed Mice, and voles of many kinds, and then there are House Mice. The wild, native mice have hairy tails, while the House Mouse has little or no hair on the tail. i think the one in your picture has hair on the tail (note the hairy tip of the tail) and so it is a wild mouse. The wild mice don't generally get into homes or stay there when they do get in. Sometimes they will live under a cabin or shed, but they usually stay outdoors. I think wild mice are the mice that sometimes nest in my wood stacks. The House Mouse is the pest that lives full time indoors and also in barns, basements, etc. They usually don't live outdoors in the US (they do live outdoors in their native Europe). Point is that you don't have to worry about wild mice - that is unless you are the kind of person who worries about chipmunks and rabbits in the yard.

    I live on a couple of acres of fields and woods, lots of chicken feed and birdseed around, and in general a perfect place for mice. We do get a few mouse nests in the woodpile, but these are wild mice (I can't tell Deer Mouse from White footed Mouse so I don't know which species we have, or maybe both) However, I don't think the wood piles attract mice or increase the muber of mice, just provide a place to nest for the mice that are here anyway.

    I use standard mouse traps to control House Mice. Every week or two a set some traps in the usual places and sometimes catch a couple of mice. This is all done without my wife knowing too much about it and it keeps the house mice under control. I don't worry about the wild mice.

    So, my advice is not to let your fiance control what you do. That will not improve after you get married. If she wants to marry a wood burning type of guy she should start embracing chainsaws, dirty boots, and mice or she should be shown the door.
    Thistle and osagebow like this.
  9. clemsonfor

    clemsonfor Minister of Fire

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    i have mice in my pile but its say 50 yds from house. Be carful with poisen dogs/cats can eat it and or the infected animals and have effects themselves
  10. osagebow

    osagebow Minister of Fire

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    We don't have a MOUSE problem....and i'm 30-1 with these guys. Hand pic taken after 3 days of swelling went down. Yard was landscaped with railroad ties in 1970.as they rotted, it turned into a den site! copper.jpg bite2.JPG
    copper.jpg
    Hearth Mistress likes this.
  11. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    I can point to one thing that would be dead within seconds. I'll let you guess what that is.:mad:
    firefighterjake likes this.
  12. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Haven't had a mouse problem since the Woodpile Panther showed up five years ago.

    woodpile panther.jpg
    firefighterjake and StihlHead like this.
  13. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    OMG! I know what that felt like. I'll pass on the nasty snakes....garter, ribbon, milk, a few others are OK with me. They eat bugs and vermin.

    Rhodesian Ridgeback, Wheaten and other terriers, Whippet...great ratters.
  14. jdp1152

    jdp1152 Minister of Fire

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    Same here, though not with snakes. Mice and mosquitoes. When I dug them up I was like a steady stream of both pouring out of them. Probably a mouse next every 8 ft or so.
  15. Standingdead

    Standingdead Burning Hunk

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    Any idea how these breeds are with free range chickens? What about with barn cats? I always liked those little whippets. Real athletic looking.
  16. weatherguy

    weatherguy Minister of Fire

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    I had much more of a mouse problem before I ever burned wood, sure I find tons of nests in the wood stacks. If I hear one scurrying around I set traps like the ones showed earlier in the thread, I used to catch one or two a night for a few days and then that seems to be it.
    Now we have 3 tabbys that parole the wood piles, its funny I see them laying on top of the stacks just waiting, and my little terrier/ridgeback contributes also, havent seen a mouse for a long time. My stacks are 100 feet from the house, I did that because thats where I have some level space and its a good drying spot and I didnt want insects anywhere near the house.
  17. Applesister

    Applesister Minister of Fire

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    You guys are gonna scare the poor guy who started this thread!!

    Those snake photos were horrid!!!!
  18. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    My sister has a Whippet and a cat..Nipo is fine with the cat, and the Ridegeback (Laka) leaves the cat alone, but makes short work of any feral cats. Most dogs seem fine with cats they are brought up with. My Wheaten ignores song birds, and they ignore him...walk on the ground next to him. Ravens drive him crazy...he trees them! Ha! And he tried to herd the damn wild turkeys. He herds deer. He was interested in porcupines...tentative and sniffed, so only got 5 quills from a tail, thank god. He chases wandering cats. Probably wants to play. Ignores pileated woodpeckers and owls and hawks. Barks at the loons...I push him off the dock when he does, and that shuts him up re them for about a year. Seems to be a needed once a year lesson, though. I suspect he'd leave chickens alone if brought up with them. Actually, I'm sure Wheatens would. They are the poor man's farm dog in Ireland...the best ratters in the world. would probably keep the chickens safe from Fox, if they are an issue. Makes short order of mink and weasels too. The Ridgeback kills mongoose so fast it isn't funny. They are all smart dogs. Did you know Ridgebacks can and do talk? So I suspect they'd all make great farm dogs with some training. But all three relly like to be around people, so I'd hope they'd have a place in the house. Probably would lean toward a Wheaten or Ridgeback. Ridgeback is a bigger dog, short hair, easier re grooming, doesn't really enjoy cold weather. Wheaten loves the cold, but I wouldn't recommend one for a really hot zone...like deep South, SW except higher elevations, or HI. Wheatens are fast and love to run. Ridgebacks take down deer. The Whippet runs for hours, and slithers under the fences, will wander if she can. Isolates the mongoose for the Ridgeback, barks, and the Ridgeback runs in like lightning right down on his belly, grabs the thing, shakes it once and its toast. Never knows what hits it. The Whippet has only killed one herself...one that was in the garage. It was hard work for her. I think her neck isn't powerful like the Wheaten and Ridgeback neck. My sister's female Wheaten you couldn't keep home...she went in the lake to evade fences, and felt at home at any household in the neighborhood. Everyone welcomed her, so it was a big problem. Ridgebacks are very protective, and while gentle and wonderful pets, but I am sure would make just about the best dog you could have for a combination of pet, working dog and protector. I am sure they would quickly take care of anyone who truely went after their owners. Wheaten a marvelous pet and working dog, not so much protector re people. Loves all people. My male Wheaten flies through the woods, but is never gone more than ten minutes. From my experience I would expect a mistreated Wheaten or Ridgeback to be potentially a dangerous dog, not so a Whippet. Dangerous in that it would defend itself, would bite in self defense. Both the Wheaten and Ridgebacks we have instinctively react aggressively to threats, while the Whippet is more submissive. They all make wonderful pets. All three dogs are really good about barking to alert you about any wild animals or strange presences. Stop when the bark is acknowledged. And: the only thing I've seen my Wheaten run AWAY from as fast as he could was a Black Bear. He also saved my woods from burning by spotting a fire from in the house and barking incessantly until I saw the fire and reacted. There alone he paid for himself many times over. Sorry..long response.
    milleo likes this.
  19. Danno77

    Danno77 Minister of Fire

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    You just said a lot. You lost me at Whippets. I don't know what drugs have to do with this.
  20. Mitch Newton

    Mitch Newton Member

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    Here's my mouse killer and other things. mousekiller.jpg
  21. clemsonfor

    clemsonfor Minister of Fire

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    Yea 70 is easy even with a window open in a stove room!

    You really do good when they start taking their shirts off!
  22. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

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    Great points all around.I see either White Footed Mice and/or Deer Mice outside occasionally here & at parents property in the woods & around the stacks.I let them be,the outside is their home same for chipmunks,squirrels,raccoons,deer,opossums & everything else.

    But when they come in the house or garage,like the gray House Mouse,my opinion changes.I keep 3-4 traps in the garage/shop most of the year,especially starting in the Fall.
  23. StihlHead

    StihlHead Guest

    Breeding cats to hunt has already been done. Some say they need to be trained, but this cat did not. I trained him young not to hunt birds (I let them go and did not reward him). I do not reward him hunting bats, bunnies or birds. He figured out how to hunt voles himself. He bags voles, moles, shrews, and mice and tortures them by batting them around before he eats them. He brings some of them to me and I praise him and throw them out on the patio and play with them and him for a while, and he usually will eat them after that. Voles are a real problem here, as are moles. I keep him well fed, it is a myth to starve a cat to get them to hunt more.
  24. jdp1152

    jdp1152 Minister of Fire

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    You folks with mole problems should look into grub control products. Not a huge fan of poisons, so I use milkyspore. Takes a few years to effectively control your grub population, but it certainly works wonders and you won't have to reapply. Get rid of grubs, you're looking at a healthier lawn and a lot fewer beetles eating your plants/trees as well.
  25. Elle

    Elle Member

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    I would welcome mice if they eat the bugs!

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