A cheeky mouse
Very cute but not nice to live with

Since we moved in seven years ago we have always lived with mice. I seem to remember our first night here, sleeping on the sofas as we hadn’t got around to putting the beds together, seeing a mouse lurking in the shadows which meant I couldn’t drop off for fear of it running over me whilst I slept.

At first we tried humane methods to get rid of them, catching them alive in traps and then driving to some remote spot and letting them loose. This backfired horribly and led to the ‘seatbelt incident’, when on a very windy day, Himself was trying to hold the car door open and release the mice at the same time.  Suddenly one little monster leapt back into the safety of the car.

We never managed to find it but it certainly got its own back on us for evicting it when it chewed through the two rear seat belts. They cost us a fortune when we had to replace them at the next MOT.

In the warmer months the problem diminishes somewhat as they all disappear outside on their summer holidays but as soon as it starts getting colder, they are back with a vengeance.

We gave up on the rehoming and invested in an electronic trap which kills them outright as soon as they walk into the tunnel which resembles a large mousehole. This is very effective but can only deal with one mouse at a time. We have had the snap traps but I don’t like them as they tend to leave blood and gore in their wake by chopping off heads and I’m worried that the dogs might set one off with a nose or paw. We had some in the polytunnel for a time and they caught 5 rats in one day but then a baby rabbit got caught and as the trap didn’t kill it we had to.

I long ago learnt not to leave food out overnight and almost everything in my larder is protected by plastic containers. Even so there is often evidence of chewing on the rims. No sooner do we block their holes than another appears so its an ongoing battle.

Living in a place like this I accept that there will always be rodents around but when they start to take over your house completely, it’s time to take action. This autumn has been particularly bad. We can hear them partying in the walls, they chewed through some packets in the larder, seeming to prefer custard powder, and there is one mouse who runs around the kitchen counter every day at around 3.30pm. Sometimes it sits under the dresser and watches me work. This one is particularly irritating as it refuses point blank to enter the black mousehole of death.

It has been driving me crazy and I can’t even risk leaving a cake or loaf on the side to cool down for fear that it will pop out for a nibble!

In desperation we bought some Eradimouse which consists of non toxic pellets. I would never use poison in case the dogs picked up a dead mouse and ate it but this stuff is based on ground maize combined with wheat and a sweet molasses attractant and harmless to dogs. It seems it was also harmless to the mice as it had no effect that we could see. Himself could still hear them dancing under the bath. We discussed getting a cat, now if we could just persuade the dogs that it’s a good idea, but even a cat couldn’t get into our walls to deal with the problem.

We were stumped until I read a recommendation in the comments of a post about An Invasion of Mice on the Cottage Smallholder blog and began to investigate plug-in devices. This is not the first time we’ve used them, we bought a few ultrasonic ones when we lived at our previous house as there were rats in the garage. These proved quite effective and the rats soon disappeared. However we have had them plugged in here since day one without any success.

The device recommended was not only ultrasonic but it affected the electromagnetic field on the cables in the walls, making it a very unpleasant place for the mice to live.  We searched around online and found the PestBye Advanced Whole House Rat and Mouse Repeller.

The drawback was that it was expensive and some reviews we read said it was useless. We chose to pay a bit more for one which had a 45 day moneyback guarantee so we could return it if it didn’t work.

It arrived last week and we plugged it in and waited. We couldn’t hear anything and it didn’t seem to have any effect on the dogs so we were keen to see some results. It does however have quite a nice disco type light display which must be for our benefit to show that it is actually functioning.

Mouse weapons
My weapons in the ongoing fight against mice

At first it wasn’t encouraging as twice I saw the resident kitchen mouse running along underneath it without batting an eyelid. However, now its been going a while I’m sure there is less mouse activity in the walls and I haven’t seen any evidence in the way of droppings from the kitchen mouse for a day or two. It’s far too early to tell if it really is doing its job so we shall just have to wait and see and it may be that although it’s supposed to do the whole house, since we have thick stone walls, we would need another one to cover upstairs.

One peculiar thing that happened this morning made me think that it is indeed having some effect. I was out milking the goats and I am well used to mice running around whilst I’m at work but today there was a sea of mice scampering around on the floor in amongst the straw bedding. I’m wondering if they have all moved out of the house and into the shed.

Perhaps we should buy another one and plug it in out there.