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It all started last week with a scratching sound behind the TV stand. It was 6 am and I was, ironically, blogging on the couch while my two Jack Russell terriers (yes, the dogs bred for catching rodents) slept comfortably next to me. “Scratch scratch. Scratch scratch”. Moments later, the sound of little feet tearing across the floor awoke the dogs, and all hell broke loose.

Well, actually, the dogs just kind of sat there, looking at the mouse then looking at me then looking at the mouse, then looking at me. I screeched: “Mouse in the house! Mouse in the house!”, which of course was helpful.

And so it seemed, Project Mickey, an annual ritual in our house, had arrived a few months early this year.

Unfortunately, old Toronto houses are ideal for little critters – they hide in the walls, nesting in our insulation and playing hide ‘n seek in our unfinished basements.  Any extermination company in Toronto will tell you that 70% of us are sharing our homes with mice (or worse, rats), whether we admit it or not.

So…if you’re still reading this, you probably suspect you have mice. Sorry about that.  Here are the telltale signs:

  • Scratching/gnawing sounds in the walls
  • Mouse droppings
  • Damaged food packages
  • Tiny foot tracks left on dusty surfaces (if you suspect mice, you can try leaving a mound of flour or sugar out)

Unfortunately, where there is one mouse, there are more – they breed every 21 days! And they can enter your house through a hole the size of a quarter. Immediate remedial action is necessary:

Rodent-proof your house. Seal all the doors and windows, patch cracks in the foundation and any holes in the walls and cover dryer and attic vents with mesh metal screening. Eliminate any food and water source (yes, that means doing your dishes before bed and putting all food away). Mice also seem to enjoy the irony of eating your dog or cat’s food so make sure all pet food is stored in metal containers with tight fitting lids. A good de-cluttering of the house can also help in reducing hiding spots.

The Hunger Games. When you have rodents in the house, it’s kill or be killed – or at least it feels that way. There are a variety of traps and poisons out there (some humane, some less-so). Avoid poison if you’re dealing with rats (it takes them weeks to decompose in your walls – I wish I didn’t know that).

Call in the pros. You’ll likely realize that setting traps is the easy part-it gets exponentially more disgusting when you actually catch something. There are some great extermination companies in Toronto – and don’t worry, most of them arrive to your house in logo-free vans.

As I re-read this blog, I can’t believe that I’ve become THAT person – the one who knows too much about mice. Wish me luck – Project Mickey has begun.

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