MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s a sure sign that winter’s upon us – and we’re not talking about the flakes in the air. Rather, it’s the mice in the basement.
“We have two cats who aren’t doing their job,” Katrina Birkelo said.
Birkelo has seen more than her share of mice finding shelter in her basement. Her neighborhood in St. Louis Park seems overrun with mice.
“I saw some dead on the sidewalk. The dog even caught one too. We have a lot of chipmunks as well,” she said.
But her problem pales in comparison to her neighbor Jack Parr. In just the last six weeks alone, Parr has trapped an unbelievable 213 mice along the exterior of his home’s cement foundation.
“Thirteen of those mice was just last night,” Parr said. “I had one in the house and 12 outside.”
Recently, he has seen them in the late afternoon scampering about in the yard, along the sidewalks as well as the street. A number of dead mice could be seen out on the road apparently run over by vehicles.
But the worst image is when they are seen running along his home’s foundation, trying to sneak in.
“I’ve caught a lot of mice,” Parr said. “I have one trick — it’s called a bucket trap, and I can fill it up in a night.”
“As soon as the cold weather hits, we see an uptick in mice activity,” Plunkett’s field technician Eric Grant said.
Pest control experts say mice prefer neighborhoods close to grassy fields and wooded areas, where there is adequate habitat and cover. But Grant says the problem becomes apparent to homeowners when they slip in through the tiniest of holes.
“You can spend all kinds of time and money trapping and baiting, but unless you seal up the house they will continue to find ways in,” Grant said.
Parr plugged his foundation holes but relies on his deadly invention. It’s nothing more than a five gallon plastic pail with about 6 inches of water. Near the top of the bucket is a wire stretching from side to side and going through the ends of a soda can. A wood stick acts like a long ramp leading up to the top of the bucket.
The mice walk up the ramp, lured to the peanut butter coating the can. When they walk out onto the suspended can (imagine a lumberjack’s log roll), the mice attempt their own log roll while trying to eat the peanut butter, lose their balance and fall into the water and drown.
“It’s a definite problem in the neighborhood now,” Parr said.
Residents also hear a lot of hooting owls at night, drawn to a meal of mice. The city and county both explain that it’s the homeowners responsibility to deal with their mice problems.
Only if a particular garbage strewn home is attracting the rodents and causing a public health concern would they step in.