Sunday, August 10, 2014

The ethics of mouse extermination

We have mice. It’s not really a shock since the back yard has lush vegetation from the previous owners – the planting beds make for great hiding places for bunnies, mice and chipmunks. So far, though, only mice have ventured inside.

How can I miss you
if you don't go away?
We think they are mostly in the basement and garage. We’ve seen just one in the house (which I wrote about here), and we haven’t seen mouse droppings or any nibbles on human or cat food inside. We’d put steel wool pads in some holes at the bottom of the garage door that leads outside, and I noticed that a couple have been shoved aside. I’m sure the mice did that. I’ve also seen droppings in the garage, and I’ve spotted several mice in the basement. It’s no coincident that I moved my workout equipment back upstairs – I’m looking for my heart to race from workouts, not mice sightings.

Kent set out a couple of traps in the basement and finally caught two after about two weeks. What I didn’t know was that they are glue traps. He said the exterminators who treated the house for ants and who found the first mouse used glue traps.

So here’s my dilemma. I want the mice gone, completely and totally gone. Catching and releasing isn’t an option because they will come back in. We tried the steel wool in the holes (which we know need to be plugged) but the mice basically laughed. So that means we must use some sort of trap that kills. And that’s where I get queasy.

Years ago, my parents were friends with Paul and Marty. Paul was not really a vegetarian but if he thought about where his meat came from or people talked about butchering and so on, he’d get nauseous. I am much the same way. I know that’s ignoring reality but there it is. And it’s the same sort of thing for me with the mice. I want them gone and logically I know that means they are going to die.

That leaves us with three options: poison, glue traps and spring traps. Poison is flat out: I think that’s a dreadful way to die plus I really don’t want a poisoned mouse to climb up into our walls and then die. That would be both horrible and stinky. I think the glue traps are really awful too. The mouse is stuck, it can’t move so basically it dies of thirst and starvation. And spring traps are no joke either, although one would hope that it would at least be a quick death.

We have very reluctantly opted to use the spring traps. Kent has been tremendous and taken on this awful chore, for which I am grateful. I just wish we didn’t have mice at all.

1 comment:

readersguide said...

From what I understand, the spring traps are better because the mouse dies instantly. Still not pleasant, though.