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TL;DR: When commercial products have been ineffective or proven dog-unfriendly, what are some other mouse-catching strategies when the mice hide in baseboard heaters and have learned to avoid most traps?

Context:

I bought an old home in an old neighborhood. It soon became apparent that there are mice and they get everywhere*.

Steps taken:

  • I called 2 big name pest control companies. They both charged a lump fee of $350-500 then came out and put snap traps, then suggested I have a $3000-ish service come out to seal up the house.
  • snap traps (my own, all over the house)
  • glue traps (caught far more mice than the pros did)
  • many completely ineffective repellents
  • electronic sound-repllents
  • sprays
  • pellets

I never got them 100% gone and they keep breeding (or possibly entering from outside, but I sealed everything up as best as I could on my budget). I've probably caught 20 mice over the course of the year. Maybe more.

I had almost elminiated them for a while with well placed glue traps, but then

  1. They learned to avoid them (I caught all the dumb mice; the surviving generation of mice are brilliant)
  2. My dog got her paws stuck in the glue traps 2x despite preventative measures, and I can't let that happen again

So now their activity / numbers seems way up because I can't use almost any traps. The places where I know they go are also often places where my dog could get to and there's really no safe trap I know of for a dog.

What's a good strategy or tool for catching, killing, and/or driving out mice that's very dog-safe?

Any ideas, strategies, or recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

*I hate mice more than I describe to you. I've been cleaning their droppings and sterilizing everything in the house everyday for over a year.

  • Do your dogs get along with a cat, or a free-range snake for that matter? – ThreePhaseEel Dec 10 '17 at 15:25
  • @ThreePhaseEel Haha ;) Yes my co-workers also suggested that and apparently there's a Chinese saying about it. Realistically though, a cat wouldn't work for me (or any other pet). – Hack-R Dec 10 '17 at 15:26
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    Don't use glue traps. I don't know if you know how stiff and painful it is to be immobilized for a few minutes... imagine being that way long enough to die of thirst. It's Voldemort level evil. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Dec 10 '17 at 16:26
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    Seal up the entrances and remove (seal up) food and water sources. – Tyson Dec 10 '17 at 16:34
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    Face up to killing them - when you release them across the street, they will be back inside in a matter of hours. – Ecnerwal Dec 10 '17 at 17:02
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There is a "home brew" and a commercial form of "bucket-trap" which basically lures them out to a freely rotating element baited with peanut butter and drops them into water to drown. If you build it with a hole in the side and use a lid (as the commercial version I recall is built) it's fairly dog-safe as there's just the hole in the side (typically with a ramp) for the mice to crawl in. The illustrated version would be not dog-safe at all, as it's open and appears to be using antifreeze (suggested when using them in the winter in unheated buildings.)

bucket trap

There are also the enclosed repeating traps which are dog-safe, since again, the mice have to crawl into them.

repeating trap

How well either works depends on your mice.

  • Thanks +1 the first one is a partial solution potentially (and I think it could be made nonlethal, if so inclined). There are a lot of areas where I wouldn't be able to do it, but I can make it work in the basement, garage and maybe the sunroom. I tried the other one but the dog actually did get her paw stuck in it. Also it didn't catch any mice anyway. – Hack-R Dec 10 '17 at 18:22
  • Mice / rats can Cary very nasty things like valley feaver or , a form of black plague big news story last year about a man that tried to save a mouse from a cat, cat died and he lost some fingers and almost died. Letting rodents free to reproduce you will never eliminate them. The bucket works well but we just use water and dump it out once a week at our farm. – Ed Beal Dec 10 '17 at 18:58
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I live in an older home and I had a pretty significant mouse issue for a while. I could hear them in the ceilings at night. The first thing I tried was putting snap traps. These are somewhat effective but there are issues:

  1. One mouse at a time. If you have a lot of mice, you will need a lot of traps
  2. Don't forget to check the traps. The odor of weeks old dead mouse is unpleasant, to say the least.
  3. Some times the traps go flying into weird spots when trapped. Cannibal mice might also drag the bodies into unreachable areas. See #2.

What I finally did that seems to have mostly worked is to put out a lot (I mean a lot) of the poison blocks. The key with these is that they need to be up high. When redid the ceiling the room where I was hearing them, 5 decades of mouse droppings came down. It was disgusting and cemented my murderous rage towards mice in my house (mice outside: we're cool.) So when I put up the new ceiling I put dozens of the rodent poison blocks up in it. The late night mice parties have ceased.

Some people worry about having dead mice in the walls or whatever. As I understand it, the active ingredient acts like desiccant. The mice immediately need water. In theory this means they will leave and die outside assuming there isn't water readily available inside. I've never had any smells or anything.

The snap traps are good for monitoring for mice but you will probably forget about them after while (see #2 above.)

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Similar to the other bucket idea, I just recently saw this "Walk-the-plank" type mouse trap and thought it sounded efficient and safe, although I've never used one.

Basically, you fill the bucket with a small amount of water (or not), prop up a board against the bucket so that they have access to the plank, and then dab some peanut butter or some type of bait on the end of the plank. The plank falls out below them whenever they go out for the bait, and they land in the bucket - trapped.

Only condition here is you'd have to probably put something over or around the bucket to keep the dog away, but still let the mice through. My two would definitely clean the bait off themselves.

Bucket plank trap

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