I do not like mice. I mean, I am obviously aware that they can be kind of cute and even smart, but you know what? There are a lot of animals that are even cuter and smarter, and they don’t try to hang out in my apartment uninvited. It’s like, do you pay rent here? Do you do the dishes? You absolutely do not, mouse. All you do is make me feel unsafe in my own home.
My wife and I have been living in the same apartment for three years and, up until recently, we had been blessed by the Mouse Powers That Be. Never once had we seen or heard any sign of pests whatsoever. I think you probably know where I’m heading with this, but I’ll tell you the facts anyway.
The beautiful sanctity of our apartment was cruelly dashed a few weeks ago when Steph, my wife, woke up to a grisly murder scene in our dining room. The perpetrators, aka our cats, did a real number on the “victim” (though I use that term loosely). And even though our cats are obviously heroes (and so is my wife because she did not wake me up before disposing of the body), the damage is done. The illusion of safety has been shattered and now I’m a paranoid mess who runs their robot vacuum maid (Rosie the Roomba) for protection almost every day.
So, what can you do to protect yourself from the same nightmare that has befallen me?
Preventative care around your home
Keep it clean. Here’s the thing: mice are going to be around, especially if you live in a city. As much as I wish it were not the case, there’s just no getting around that. My whole thing is just to hope that someone else’s apartment is more appealing to a mouse than mine is. To that end, I recommend cleaning regularly and storing food in airtight, unchewable containers whenever possible.
Figure out where mice could get in. If you have have any holes in your walls, take a look at last month’s This Queer House and fix them. If there are gaps in other places (like near pipes or under your cabinets or appliances), you can seal them with caulk or stuff them with steel wool, which mice cannot chew through. Make sure you look really hard for gaps! Those little fuckers can get through tiny spaces, like even one the size of a dime.
Get a cat!
Natural mouse remedies
Peppermint oil. I have read that mice do not like the strong smell of concentrated peppermint, so one thing you could try is to soak cotton balls in peppermint oil and leave them in susceptible areas of your home. I honestly do not know if this actually works, but even if it doesn’t it’ll leave your house smelling minty fresh so there’s really no downside.
Used kitty litter. I guess this is a thing people do. Not sure if there’s a black market for cat piss or anything, so you’re on your own there.
Less natural, but not murder-y
Ultrasonic Pest Repellents. These are things that plug into the wall and emit high frequency ultrasonic waves, which allegedly keep rodents (and other pests) away. However, Steph told me that she once watched a mouse casually amble across her dorm room floor, with no fucks to give, TOWARD one of these things, so I make no guarantees about their effectiveness.
Non-kill traps. I have heard that these traps work great as long as you bait them well (peanut butter seems to work best), but I’m not a huge fan for a few reasons. One, you have to deal with a live mouse at some point. Hard pass from me on that front. Also, like, where are you going to release that thing? How far do you need to go so that it doesn’t just immediately come back inside? Seems like A Lot™ in my opinion.
Burn them all with fire
Bait traps. These were recommended to me after my recent scare, but I haven’t tried them out yet. The premise is that the mouse comes into the trap and takes the bait (poison) and then they go die somewhere else. This could either be a very good or very bad thing depending on where that somewhere else is.
The “Rolling Log” bucket trap. I watched a youtube video about this and honestly I’m pretty scarred, so I don’t want to talk about it. The video is called “11 Mice In One Night. The Rolling Log Mouse Trap In Action. Best Mouse Trap Ever,” and you can check it out here (cued up to where the action starts), if you’re into that sort of thing.
Classic snap traps.
Ah yes, the Tom and Jerry Gold Standard. If you didn’t know already, I’m a total wimp about mice (and most things tbh) so I have never actually used one of these. It’s probably gross to clean up, but if you are planning to kill your rodent intruders this kind of seems like the best way to do it.
Sticky traps. Listen, I know there is a section of this column called “Burn them all with fire,” but sticky traps seem inhumane even to me. Let me tell you a little story about one of the worst nights of my life. When Steph and I were just wee little scamps in college sharing a twin-sized bed, all of the mice in my neighborhood decided to mount a calculated attack on my apartment.
I won’t go into all the details, but there were at least five mice spotted in a span of like maybe twenty minutes one night. I ended up crouched on top of my toilet wearing nothing but underwear and galoshes. Steph ended up throwing a mouse on a sticky trap (that was trying to chew its own arm off) out my second story window into the dumpster below. We all do things we’re not proud of in the heat of battle, okay? Anyway, the point is just don’t get sticky traps.
Welp, fucking good luck out there. Do you have any other tips? Share them in the comments, please, for my sanity.