Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Of Mice and Women: How I got rid of a mouse with peppermint

"Would you kill a mouse with a Teddy Bear?
This winter was cold, and some mice found their way into our house. My husband and I put down a live trap with cheese and peanut butter. We caught six. One time there were two together in the trap. They were so adorable, we considered keeping them as pets all winter, but we thought they might like being free, so we let them go. My husband drove them far away and dropped them off in the woods with a bit of seed near the drop spot. Unfortunately, one mouse seemed far too smart for the trap. He left poop on my counter top and in my sink. That is when we started talking about killing him. He was too smart to live.

"I would never poop in your house."

Still, I do not like killing things because they are hungry and can't find food except in my kitchen. It makes me feel like the giant from "Jack and the Beanstalk. "Fee. Fie. Foe. Fum. I smell the blood of a.. uh.. mousy-one?" So, I started googling mice. Of course, I came up with all kinds of pictures of people's pets and rats with teddy bears. I read that mice and rats were very smart. I told my husband, and then suggested we have funeral for the mouse once we had dispatched him. My husband suggested we donate our mouse's body to the raccoons, coyotes, and others scavengers outside our house. Then I saw an article that said that mice were allergic to peppermint. One very fastidious person suggested that I should pour peppermint on cotton balls and leave them in places mice frequent. Some people said this worked for them. Others said it did not. As I have stated, mice are smart.  I could easily see them over leaping my cotton balls, playing soccer with them or tossing them into the faces of the mice they hated most.
"We love everybody."

I had read somewhere that mice navigate through smell, and that they have a favorite path around your house delineated by their urine. I had mopped the house and cleaned the surfaces to discourage the mouse, but it kept coming back. It must also have a great memory. Soon my husband purchased a bottle of peppermint essence meant for candy-making or cakes. He had seen the mouse running along the baseboard in our kitchen before it disappeared. So, I sprinkled some peppermint on the floor and rubbed it along the path or anywhere I had found poop. Then I put a few drops on my sponge and wiped the counters.

Probably not peppermint tea

Ms. or Mr. mouse has not returned. I do not know if peppermint would have worked if we had a hoard of starving mice rampaging through our house to stave off death, but it worked with our mouse who was looking for a little snack or was just curious (its poop was very healthy looking. I was sure it was not starving.) I have since purchased pure peppermint oil and have applied a drop to trouble areas with a wet paper towel. I am also going to seal all the cracks in the kitchen to stop all access. Another plus with this situation is that the kitchen smells really good in the morning. I will be including a drop of peppermint oil in my homemade kitchen cleaner and mop bucket from now on.

Photo by Jill Robidoux

Candice Raquel Lee
Author of  The Innocent: A  Love Story 

and Effed Up: An Abnormal Romance