There's a product called "Tomcat" that's a solid bar of coumarin poisoned feed. It's less messy and more convenient than D-Con and can be placed outside with little or no risk to non-rodent wildlife. (BTW, coumarin is effectively the same as "Coumadin" - that is, warfarin anticoagulant. The way it works is diabolically clever. The mice eat it and it slowly anticoagulates them until they hemorrhage internally. This induces thirst and they often leave the area in search of water before they die. As another aside, I remember hearing about a rancher in Ely, Nevada who was too cheap to buy generic warfarin to
prophylax his atrial fibrillation. He used D-con with good results! Certainly not a recommended regimen, but it worked.)
Any area infested with mice should be treated as contaminated with hantavirus. No one should enter the area without a P-100 or N-100 mask. Droppings should be sprayed or wet-mopped with a 1:10 bleach/water solution and allowed to soak for thirty minutes or more. (Recall that contact time, not concentration is the essential element of disinfection.) Sweeping and vacuuming should be avoided as they aerosolize dust bound to viral particles. Disposable latex gloves are essential. "Snap traps" baited with peanut butter seem to be very effective in attracting and killing deer mice, a major vector of hantavirus. In disposing of trapped mice, first spray the trap and surrounding area with bleach/water, allow a half hour or more and dispose of both mouse and trap via double-bagging into the trash, burying or burning. Here's a source for hantavirus information: http://www.doh.wa.gov/topics/hanta.htm
The best solution for mouse infestation is mouseproofing, as Rourke points out. Keep food and potential nesting materials sealed in mouse-resistant containers and inspect them frequently. Cats, ferrets and even [de-scented] skunks (vaccinated against rabies) are valuable allies against mice. Of note, they are apparently not susceptible to hantavirus, do not become carriers and cannot spread it to humans. See: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/hanta/hps/noframes/transmit.htm
It may be worthwhile to create perches and nesting boxes for hawks and owls. In addition to being fun to watch, it's worth considering that a single family of barn owls may consume up to 3000 mice a year.
See: http://members.tripod.com/Tommy51/aboutbarnowls.html and http://www.sarep.ucdavis.edu/pubs/barn_owl.html
A very Merry Christmas and a Joyous New Year! - "Moriarty"
We are surrounded by sugar cane fields here in southern
Louisiana, after they harvest the cane, a few days later they burn
the fields. (Much to our displeasure). When they do that all the field
mice go looking for some place else to stay.
My work shop gets over run. You put out a bunch of traps and you may catch some but then they stop working until you empty them and reset them .. until now ..I found this some where on the web. You take a five gallon bucket drill a hole in both sides about a inch down from the top. Get a metal rod that will pass through both holes and reach all the way across the bucket. Get a quart metal paint can with the top on it and punch a whole in the top and the bottom big enough to have the rod pass through it, get it in the center of the bucket, run the rod through it [acting as a spindle], then put some electrical tape on both sides to keep it in the middle. Put four globs of peanut butter on the paint can about 45 degrees apart.Fill the bottom quarter of the bucket with water. Now take a piece of wood and make a ramp leading up to the paint can. Mouse jumps on paint can, paint can spins dumps mice in to water, ready for the next mouse, come out the next day pour out the dead mice and refill with water
if you can see one mouse, count on the fact that there are a lot more your not seeing.
JWR Replies: I 've used the same method, but simply used a straightened coat hangar wire as the spindle for the can.
The Memsahib recently showed me an even more simple method: Again, use a bucket partly filled with water. Cover it with a piece of newspaper that is taped in place. Put a glob of peanut butter in the middle of the paper. After a couple of days of getting the mice accustomed to visiting this "feeding station", simply cut an "X" in the newspaper, about 5 inches across. It works like a charm.