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Mice/rodents in cabin

 
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Hey,

Recently acquired an off-grid cabin and the rodents have been really rough. Thus far have only seen mice but there may be something bigger in the walls. The cabin was "fixed up" by the previous owner: in terms of what now constitutes the walls (approximately) there's old wood siding outside, some kind of foam board insulation, some kind of thin water shield, and then paneling inside. There are clearly plenty of gaps as we can hear the rodents moving around, scratching, chewing, etc. In fact, I was up on the roof today and spotted a mouse in between a gap on the outdoor siding, in what looked like 1/4" or even more of space between that and the water shield.

There isn't much of a foundation, the cabin is pretty worn at the bottom and basically sitting on field stones.

Thus far, I've slowly sealed up some gaps with very narrow hardware cloth, put a whole bunch of essential oils on the inner and outer walls, set traps (mostly outside) the cabin, and done some sealing with caulk and spray foam (I am aware that rodents can sometimes chew through spray foam, and obviously it's nasty stuff, but trying to make this manageable). We've actually seen very little rodent activity on the interior of the cabin, aside from a few mice poops on the bathroom floor. But they are in the walls, and there are clearly a decent number. I've caught two in snap traps, but that's it so far.

Anybody have any creative suggestions here? A cat would be great but isn't really an option for us. I'm continuing to seal gaps but the list of entry points is virtually infinite. Like I said, I've caught a couple in snap traps but it has made little dent in the population.

I'm obviously trying to be as non-toxic as possible, but it's getting really difficult constantly hearing the scratching. And it's obviously not super healthy having all these rodents in the building.

 
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just this week there was another thread about similar problem including the non feline option. anyway 5 gallon bucket mouse and rat traps are very effective and easy to put together. there are a bunch of videos on youtube with a few variations but here is one video so you can get the idea of it.


 
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Location: Tip of the Mitt, Michigan
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Hi,  I like the the barrel bucket mouse catcher. I would also use live traps for squirrels and larger animals. But for those pesky chipmunks, they can jump out of the bucket. I had to get inventive. I needed to put a metal screen (window screen) around the live trap because small animals can easily squeeze through the openings.

I don't know how people feel about disposing the bodies, but I thought about letting them decompose in my compost pile, but a couple of springs ago the winter lagged on and I tossed out the mice on the frozen snowy beach.  The eagles watched me and after I walked away they had a nice meal. They usually fly overhead a lot because of the fish in the water that they like to go after. Not to mention all the smaller animals and snakes.

Hoping you enjoy your new home.
 
Will Solol
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Thanks for all the suggestions. The biggest problem is frankly that they are in *the walls* of the cabin. I've actually seen very few inside. But there are clearly a lot in the walls, and between the roof and ceiling: the scratching is intense. I'm not sure if that provokes any other suggestions, but all ears!
 
bruce Fine
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once they smell that peanut b utter they will come running
 
pollinator
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Location: Dry mountains Eastern WA
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Just be sure when you bait the only food available is the peanut butter.  Put everything else where they can’t get to it.

If you bait it….they will come…..
 
pollinator
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Location: MD, USA. zone 7
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How do you and yours feel about snakes? Relocate a harmless to humans garter snake from a nearby garden, make sure there's water somewhere easy for it, and go away for a week. Come back to a rodent free building and a fat snake!
 
Arthur Angaran
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Location: Tip of the Mitt, Michigan
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Hi, Don't know if this will work for you. If you have an electric source of some kind, even a small generator, There are electric rodent chasers. Just plug em in and watch em run.  Put a bunch of bucket traps outside. You could also use home made poisons out of things like potato flakes, if in a dry area. Of course that kind of death is painful as it bursts the stomach and intestines, and I refrain from using it myself.
 
gardener
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Location: 5,000' 35.24N zone 7b Albuquerque, NM
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I hope Will's cabin is now free of the mice/rodents that set up house a year ago. In case anyone is looking for some remarkable ideas for keeping out rodents, check out these  ingenious grain barns built in the Swiss Alps hundreds of years ago. Some of these "stadels" are becoming upscale cabins now. The luxury lodgings probably don't have a mice/rodent problem due to the continued use of stilts and round "mushroom" disc barrier system. So many possibilities with this awesome design!
 
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Arthur Angaran wrote:Hi, Don't know if this will work for you. If you have an electric source of some kind, even a small generator, There are electric rodent chasers. Just plug em in and watch em run.



We use these electric things in our 120 yo building and they seem pretty effective (and non-violent) at discouraging mice from hanging around and setting up house.
 
Will Solol
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Hey!

Gonna bump this again while I'm here on Permies. It's been a constant struggle with these mice, but situation has typically been manageable. I was able to rid the cabin of them last winter and things were quiet until spring/summer, when the struggle started again but it was tolerable.

But this winter things have gotten rough. They didn't clear out and in the last week things have just gotten out of hand. I've heard what sound like wood rats or possibly even small squirrels (?) in the walls, and it's been a nightmare at night.

The big problem here is that the previous owner of this cabin did a shoddy job renovating this old structure. The cabin interior is wood-paneled, with insulation behind it, but there appears to be pretty substantial space in the wall cavity, which allows rodents to pretty easily move about. The cabin frame, as I mention, is quite old and doesn't have a proper foundation, and there are simply too many gaps around it to realistically seal the whole thing up.

We're living here temporarily while we work on a proper house, but this rodent thing is so irritating. Note that we have virtually never seen them *in* the cabin, just hear them in the walls. At other times of year, traps outside (on the roof, under eaves, on storage racks attached to the back of the cabin) plus a mint spray inside/outside are pretty effective at flushing the rodents out and catching them. But now that it's cold, they are pretty stubborn to leave. I really don't want to use any kind of poison but am getting awfully worn out by this.

Any brilliant ideas?
 
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