Eight mice that no longer live here

Mouse under glassAs mentioned last month, John caught a little mouse in the sink by putting a glass over him. Later we released him outside. When you can actually catch a mouse with a glass, that is probably a sign that you are over-run with them.

At the following house meeting we decided to get some live traps. I was down at the Green Living Show a couple of weeks later and Green Leaf pest control was there selling the Ketch-All trap for $20. We gave it a shot, and its a magnet for mice! Caught 8 altogether over a period of about three days with no bait.

 I thought it was some new technology, but I googled it, and the trap has been around since 1924. What makes it so effective is that it takes advantage of a mouse’s natural curiosity to explore. The trap has a tunnel through it. When a mouse enters, a spring-loaded baffle side swipes them into a spacious side chamber. Then we release them outside. I found a good spot by some railway tracks.

Side view of the trap showing the tunnel.As more mice get caught and released, they leave behind their scent inviting more mice to explore (or perhaps they are looking for their friends). It is suggested that you place the trap against the wall. The trap’s tunnel then seems like a shortcut to mice running along the wall. While no bait is necessary, I placed a piece of apple inside so that the mouse wouldn’t get too thirsty once caught. It was pretty obvious, though, when a mouse was inside as they chew on the metal, making a loud sound.

I think we caught them all. The trap has been silent for over a week and there is no sign of mice.

For more information, see Veg.ca’s excellent article called Dealing with mice and rats: A humane approach to pest control. The ultimate solution is to seal up all your cracks. Our kitchen is full of holes which will eventually be filled when we get to the pending renovation. Until then, we will have to rely on humane mouse trapping.

Update: Since this post, two mice have been seriously injured in this trap and two others died. We contacted the manufacturer and this is a known problem with the Ketch-All trap. He recommended a more humane (and apparently equally effective) trap called the Pro-Ketch. Also, I was able to modify our trap and appear to have fixed the problems. Keep reading for more on this.

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Signs of Spring – crocuses, the first garden edibles, and mice

Spring has sprung here in Toronto. Along with the first crocus flowers, there are tender edibles in the backyard and burdock and Jerusalem Artichokes to dig up. There are also more mice scurrying about our kitchen, and a few black ants.

Horseradish sprouts are one of the first harvestable plants in the Spring. They are spicy but quite delicious especially in a sandwich or with corn chips. They don’t last long, in a few days they will be too spicy and tough to eat. But by then the stinging nettle will be ready.

Stinging Nettle shoots. These are another early edible green. You have to cut them with scissors as the pricks will sting your skin, but once you boil the young leaves for a few minutes they go limp and are quite delicious in soup or by themselves. A friend of mine transplanted some for me several years ago. We keep them in a separate shady part of the garden as they grow like a weed and spread.

In the backyard we also have burdock roots and Jerusalem Artichokes (kind of like a potato) to dig up, and there is always dandelion greens and roots.

This year, once again, I forgot to trim the grape vines during the winter. Once Spring starts, any cuts will result in sap pouring out. A solution is to break several of the buds off with your thumb nail. Pruning a grape vine makes for larger grapes, and one advantage of pruning just the buds, is that you will end up with a thick network of grape vine branches that will help block raiding raccoons from reaching the finished grapes that hang down from the vines.

John caught this little mouse in the sink by putting a glass over him. Later we released him outside. We also trapped a little guy that had gotten himself locked in one of our cabinets. I also found one dead in the shower. I suspect that the neighbours maybe poisoning them. We share a party wall. Veg.ca has a good article called Dealing with mice and rats: A humane approach to pest control.

Creativity in the kitchen

de-basil-cracker-dish.jpgRecently, Basil created this unique dish consisting of a layer of rice and lentils on top of a large Swedish cracker. It is topped with slightly burnt fried onions and nuts. Basil got distracted half way through cooking by seeing (and trying to catch with a bucket) a mouse, hence the burnt food. But it was very delicious anyway.

We believe in being as humane as possible when dealing with our mouse residents. Veg.ca has a good article called Dealing with mice and rats: A humane approach to pest control. I will post more about mice later.