Yikes! Mice jumped out of the mattress

From our April 2012 issue

By Michael Bartolf – Oxbow, Sask.

Living in the southeast part of Saskatchewan, we have lots of problems with mice. Cats help a lot in keeping them in control. I’ve had some dogs who didn’t like cats. They just played with the mice and didn’t help keep their numbers down.

I’ve been living on this farm, one mile east of Oxbow, for close to 78 years and have several mouse stories to relate. It was in the fall that the pests moved into a warmer location, where there is also a good supply of food nearby.

Some time in the 1940s, our mother had her first scary encounter with a pair of mice in the house. On a Saturday afternoon she stripped her bed for washday on Monday.

She had accused us kids of cutting a hole in the mattress and dropping some of the mattress filling on the floor. She picked it up and in the process of pushing it back into the hole, a pair of mice jumped out.

She let out a bloodcurdling scream, as only she could, as the pair of mice took off under the door and into the northern part of the house. She got her traps out and in a short while had dispatched the pests.

In the late 1960s, my new wife and I took over the farm when winter was on the way. One evening as we were on our way to bed, we turned the light on and saw several mice running on the top edge of a 3⁄4-inch baseboard. They ran around the room, then disappeared into the northern part of the house again. Again the mousetraps came out and dispatched them.

Over the years I’ve bought used cars and pickup trucks at reasonable prices. To my surprise, each of these vehicles had a resident mouse or mice.

Again, the mousetraps with a different method kept them in control. One mouse carried dog food (the round kibbles) into the cigarette lighter opening if it was left open.

Bait that worked real well was putting a raisin in the trap, instead of cheese, until I got a ‘smart’ mouse who must have laughed when it was able to spring the trap and steal the bait.

I unhooked the spring, reset the trap, left it unhooked for four days, and as the bait was consumed I re-baited it. I then rehooked the spring, rebaited it and in 20 minutes I had caught the critter.

This method of teasing the mouse with the unhooked spring and keeping the trap baited for four days has worked real well.

Another method I’ve used, I discovered by accident. I was doing something and needed to go into the shop to get a tool from the big toolbox. As I pulled open the drawer, out jumped a mouse. I jumped too!

I took the tool that I had in my hand and pulled out part of the nest as well as two newborn mice. I dropped into onto the floor and went on with my work. A day or two later, I went back into the shop and carefully pulled the drawer open, expecting the pest to jump out again.

To my surprise there no mouse in the drawer. The nest, little ones, and mess on the floor were all gone. No mice have made their home in it again.