Friday, July 18, 2008

Cruelty-free pest control

In my last post, I wrote about the nest of baby mice we found at the barn. I really hope it was their mother who came back and got them, because I don't like the idea of killing — or even inadvertently causing the deaths of — helpless animals like that.

There are a couple of natural ways to control a barn's mouse population without killing them. Probably the best cruelty-free method of pest control is fox urine, which you can buy at the hardward store in pellet form. You just sprinkle this around the outside of the barn (where the horses won't get at it, I'd suggest), and the mice stay away because they think it's fox territory. I've read rave reviews of this idea online.

Another method of controlling a mouse population is to use pure peppermint extract. Mice are either allergic to peppermint or hate the smell, and stay away — if you use the pure stuff. Just moisten cottonballs with the peppermint extract and leave them in the areas where the mice tend to frequent — in cupboards or on the kitchen counter, for example. I've also read about people mixing peppermint extract with water and spraying it on their baseboards. The good thing about using peppermint extract is that even though the mice hate the smell, you'll love it!

Of course, like any less harsh method of doing things, there is always the possibility that neither way will take care of your mouse problem to your satisfaction. However, I encourage you to try both before you start killing mice willy-nilly — and maybe, once you reduce the mouse population somewhat, learn to live with having a few around!

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