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Help! I Have Mice in the House!

By Ann Richardson December 08, 2023 Lifestyle

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse…

Except, er… something was stirring.

It began as a sort of shadow at the corner of my eye, while I was watching the television. Something seemed to have moved, but I couldn’t work out what.

Perhaps it was just a figment of my imagination.

But the second time, there was no mistaking it. It was clearly a small mouse with a long tail. Making itself comfortable in our house with ne’er so much as a by-your-leave.

I wondered what to do. The last time this happened, over 40 years ago, we had adopted a kitten, who did what kittens do and grew up to be a cat.

She never caught any mice, but as I had been advised, she deterred them, and we never saw any mice again.

Problem solved.

Mouse Traps

But we didn’t want a kitten just now. And our ‘shower’ cat has not been seen for weeks.

Now I am truly a gentle soul and don’t want to kill anything if I can avoid it. But I also don’t want mice getting into my house. You hear stories of them getting into the walls and then dying. The smell evidently lasts for months.

So, what to do? I studied what was available and eventually bought some plastic mousetraps. Nothing fancy. The kind you put cheese in and hope it catches something.

I put two traps out, complete with cheddar cheese, in the corner where the mouse had made its appearance. That should sort it out, I thought. For some reason, I was convinced we had only one mouse, but the second trap was ‘just in case’.

Then nothing for some days.

About a week later, I saw the mouse again, this time carefully making its way around the two mousetraps as if it knew they were booby trapped.

Damn. I will have to get something better. This is war.

So, I dismantled the two mousetraps, wondering how mouldy the cheese might be, given that it had been left for over a week.

There was no cheese to be found.

What kind of super-mice do they breed here in London? An animal that knows how to get the cheese out but not get the guillotine? And then knows how to sashay around the traps, showing me what might be considered a figurative two fingers?

How is such knowledge passed on from one generation to another without language and perhaps other accoutrements of civilisation?

Going to War

My son said peanut butter was what they liked.

I went out to buy peanut butter. Not something we eat, so I had to buy it specially. Super-crunchy? Smooth? I almost wanted to ask the mouse what was its preference du jour.

And I re-baited the traps with generous lashings of peanut butter, yet this time without a great deal of hope.

The next morning, I got up late and my husband was already eating breakfast. He told me we had caught two mice and he had disposed of them.

I was bowled over. First, that we had caught two just like that and second, if truth be told, that he had taken the initiative to get rid of them.

I baited the traps again with more peanut butter.

Nothing on the first day. Nor the second. Nor the third.

Perhaps the word had got round. Our house was not the place to be.

Thinking About Mice

Mice don’t enter my thoughts most of the time. I never had a pet mouse, although my sister did briefly as a child. Those were the care-free days when we were encouraged to take home small animals from the classroom.

Why had they come now? New neighbours are undertaking major works and friends tell me that such activity often disturbs long established mouse nests. I looked this up on Google and found the following:

“If the nest is well established and in a prime location, a mouse will simply come back once you are gone. However, if this is a new nest, they may decide it is safer to find a new location. If the nest currently has babies, the female mouse is very likely to return in order to rescue her young.”

Ahh. How sweet. Almost made me feel guilty.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Have you ever had mice where you live? What did you do about them? Did it work?

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Lynne Stevens

I don’t see anything good about killing them. Live trap them with some of their favorite foods (peanut butter, bacon, chocolate…give them a good last meal at your house). Get a live trap with a clear top so you can see if you caught anything. They’re dumb and easily caught. Then you can take them a couple miles away to a field or woods and let them go. They won’t find their way back, and the neighbors won’t inherit them. Then hire somebody to find and plug wherever they are getting in. Those mice are just trying to survive like everything else.


Hah! “Dumb and easily caught “ was not our experience. Sure, the first one or two were easily caught but future generations or cousins or whatever did seem to learn. We were constantly having to switch trap types, poison, the plug in things. Anything we used they eventually avoided. Finally, cats. No issues since. But I’ve been wondering what we’ll do when they’re not around anymore.

Susan Goodman

I live in a major city in a condo on the seventh floor. And I have mice. I also have an exterminator, and I have now hired a second exterminator, as well as the maintenance men have come and put something behind the dishwasher, the refrigerator and the stove. I have been using peanut butter in the old-fashioned traps but instead they ate the acorn squash on the counter. The squash was not cooked. Maybe I’ll put a little peanut butter in the sticky traps. I caught one mouse, but I know there are more and I don’t want a cat, allergies. I just ordered some plastic boxes to hold the counter things. Let’s see if this new man can make them go away.

Lynne Stevens

Sticky traps are the most inhumane way to do it. If you must kill them, make it quick with a snap trap.

C Bedford

a mouse will chew off its own foot to try to get off a sticky trap,,, now thats gross


Sticky traps (glue traps) spread with peanut butter always worked for me, it’s humane. I throw the mice stuck to the plastic trap into the woods and they eventually free themselves. Also, a box of DICOM kept in an attic crawl space works as well.


I hate mice! I swore I would move if I ever saw them and I did (which was actually not the main reason)! However, in my mind, why do such creatures scare me when we have so many loveable “mice” characters such as Mickey Mouse, Tom and Jerry and many more! I resolved to not let such a creature frighten me any more and I am more smarter as well not to leave my doors open which is how they normally get in. No more mice problem as I live in an apartment now but mice are here to stay but hopefully, far from my home!


Well, I have had the same issue and the peanut butter use worked best. I even have a cat. LOL. The other thing I use in my basement-peppermint essential oils. I have purchased products with this as the main ingredient and so, I just keep a bottle down there and douse the area every once in a while. My basement smells like a candy cane! Good luck

The Author

Ann Richardson’s most popular book, The Granny Who Stands on Her Head, offers a series of reflections on growing older. Subscribe to her free Substack newsletter, where she writes fortnightly on any subject that captures her imagination. Ann lives in London, England with her husband of sixty years. Please visit her website for information on all her books:

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