Mice in the Cabin

18 September 2011 In The Cottage

Getting rid of mice in the cottage can be a stressful event. Keeping them from entering in the first place is another battle altogether.

How to keep mice out of the cabin or cottage during the winter

Once we close the cottage for the winter we like to think it is going to stay unoccupied until the spring. Unfortunately, that is rarely the case. Mice always seem to find a way to make the cottage their winter home.

The first step in the fight against mice at the cottage is acceptance. Unless you hire a cat to stand guard on mouse patrol 24/7, mice are going to get into the cottage.

Now for the good news! Keeping our little guests to a minimum is possible.

Steel wool or copper mesh
Crawl under the cottage and use steel wool to seal all entry points the size of a dime or larger, especially near the support posts where they meet the cottage floor. Copper mesh can be used for larger openings.

This roll is also useful for keeping out bats.

When you close the cottage for the winter, spread mothballs liberally around the exterior support posts and underneath the cabin, or place mothballs in nylon stockings and hang them from the support posts, and anywhere else you think the mice might consider entering the cabin.

Mouse Bait
The use of poison baits is generally not recommended because there is no guarantee the mice will actually eat the poison over the winter.

In the event you decide to go this route, place mouse bait around the inside of the cottage when you close up. If the mice get into the cabin they will take the poison back to their nests or to their food stash. This assumes the mice are nesting outside.

If the mice have decided to live inside the cabin you may find the poison hidden away in various places around the inside of the cottage when you arrive in the spring. Shoes are one of their favourite storage spots.

Sometimes mice will nest in the insulation in the walls and ceiling. If you suspect this is the case, using poison baits might not be a good idea. Dead mice tend to smell bad as they decompose, although some of the poison manufacturers claim that their products somehow prevent the foul odours.

Kid Safety: If you have young kids at the cottage, DON’T use poison baits to get rid of the mice.

How to keep mice out of the cabin beds, blankets, cushions, sofas and dressers

Seeing mouse poop on the cabin floor is frustrating, but finding it on the beds and in the cottage dressers is just too much for some cottagers to handle. This is especially true for renters and guests.

Fabric Softener
Place strips of fabric softener on mattresses, pillows, blankets etc. and then cover them with thick plastic sheets when closing the cabin for the winter.

Set strips of fabric softener in the drawers of all dressers.

How to get rid of mice in the cottage or cabin

During the cottage season the mice can be very active at the cottage. They are often heard at night as they run up and down the walls or in the ceiling. Sometimes we even hear them gnawing away at a floor board. If the mice are nesting in the cottage, it isn’t long before the cottage becomes the playground for all the young ones.

Mouse Traps
Traditional wooden snap-traps baited with peanut butter do an efficient job of catching and killing mice that are in the cottage. You just have to get used to the “SNAP!” and a bit of thrashing around when one of the little rodents gets caught in the middle of the night. These old-style traps can also be messy.

Be sure to check the traps daily.

There are dozens of new systems for dealing with mice. Try a few and see what works best in your particular situation. Here are two of the more popular choices.

If you don’t like the idea of killing mice, you can use an ultrasonic device to drive them crazy. Some models apparently work for bugs too!

During the summer you can also place traps under the cabin at the base of the support posts. Only set them in the evening and be sure to remove them during the day so that chipmunks and small squirrels won’t also get caught.

Special Note:
Do not leave traps set and baited while you are away from the cabin or cottage. A dead mouse begins to decompose quickly and will fill the cabin with an awful stench that is difficult to remove.

Read the Mouse Poop on My Plate story about our editor’s own entertaining battle with mice at his cabin.

Go to the Insects and Bugs page to get all the information you need about dealing with mosquitoes, ticks, biting flies etc. at the cottage.