Mouse in the house

Does anyone else have mice in their house?

It is starting to get chilly, therefore, all those little critters are deciding that my home is their winter hideaway. As much as I want to “Have a Heart” about the whole situation, when I catch and release, I know those creatures are high-fiving each other with their tiny paws while planning their next meal from my cupboard. Over the years, we have perfected our system, sealed holes, and discouraged the pests from making our house their winter retreat.

I don’t use poison since other animals eat the mice. Snap traps work, but I have nightmares from previous mouse-related incidents. Years ago, we rented a seasonal house in Paul Smiths. We made do with shrink-wrapping windows and trying to make it as warm as possible. Our landlords had made off-handed comments about keeping food in sealed containers. We knew the house would be cold, so we were prepared. I didn’t realize the abundance of mice that had made this uninsulated “summer” house their winter home. When the mice ate the birthday cupcakes my son brought to school, we had to go to extreme pest control. I can still hear the sound of multiple snap traps going off at night. My husband and I, mostly him, would clear up the carnage each morning so our dog wouldn’t get involved with the mess. The owls were well-fed that winter. We eventually got ahead of the battle.

“Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door” is a phrase credited to philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson. The concept is simple. If people try to find a slightly better solution to an issue, it could lead to a valuable discovery. There are flaws to the philosophy. Just because something is invented, doesn’t mean people will use it.

William C. Hooker of Illinois received the first US patent in 1894 for a spring-loaded mousetrap. Then, in 1898, Britain’s James Henry Atkinson patented a similar design called the “Little Nipper.” Since that time, over 4,000 variations of the mousetraps have been patented. Hooker’s design is still the best-selling version.

We use the electronic version of the 4,000 patented mousetrap designs, making it less messy. Snap traps are still part of our repertoire. I’ve declined people’s generous offers to borrow their cats. I wish the changing leaves were the first sign of autumn, not putting up my mice defenses. I hope you have a mouse-free fall!


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