Last time I talked about fair time here in Burton. Fair time is also a sign that Fall is just around the corner. You can go by the weather forecast or the calender, but at the Old Hardware Store, the surest sign of the change of the season is the increasing sales of mousetraps. You see, all Summer long the mice have been living out in the fields and woods, getting fat and creating more mice off the bounty of nature. Now that the cold weather is coming they all want to find a nice warm place to spend the winter. Unfortunately, they know the best place is in with us!
Over the years most people around here have developed their own preferred method of dealing with this. A very few use the “Live and let live” philosophy. They figure a few mice come with the territory when you live in the country. Most folks, though, want to get them out and keep them out. The most basic way is with mousetraps. The old reliable snap trap has been around for years, and it still works pretty good and is my weapon of choice. Once you learn to set one the only real challenge is what to bait it with. Just about anything will work. Cheese is an obvious choice, but peanut butter is probably the favorite. The only problem with soft baits such as these is that the mouse can sometimes lick them completely off without setting off the trap. I like something harder myself. I use stale beef sticks. You can wedge them under the bait hook and the mouse really has to pull on them to get them out – Snap!
The old saying goes “Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door,” and there are many other traps available. The most basic improvement is a snap trap with a fake piece of plastic cheese on it to avoid the hassle of baiting. Easy-set plastic traps are made for people who are too nervous to set snap traps. Glue traps use a super sticky glue to hold the mice until they die, but I don’t think that they are too sporting. Mouse bait is also make to poison them, but you have to be careful with it around children and pets.
One other item that deserves mention is old fashioned mothballs. Mice can’t seem to abide the smell of them and many people use them in stored vehicles, campers and boats to discourage mice from moving in. Mice love to chew on things and they can make a mess out of the wiring in a vehicle in short order. So there you have it, you pays your money and ya’ takes your choice. Unless you have a cat better than the one at the Old Hardware Store. He’s made of wood, and he doesn’t seem to catch too many mice…