When my old kitchen was being demolished I noticed that there were signs of mouse droppings in my sink cabinet, but no signs of mice. I also noticed that there were a bunch of gaps in the drywall behind the sink, and because of the… odd construction of this historical building it seemed likely that mice were able to occasionally get in, but didn’t stick around since they had nowhere to go.

Well, last night while working at the computer I felt something furry brush against my foot, and I looked down and it wasn’t Fiona. Then a few minutes later I saw something move out of the corner of my eye, and a little mouse peeked out from under my equipment shelving system and then scurried back underneath. (Fiona was, of course, asleep nearby and didn’t seem interested in me gesticulating at said shelving system.)

This morning I bought some mouse traps (both traditional spring-loaded ones and a couple of fancy no-touch/no-see traps that claim to kill them instantly)1.

I also read online about mice deterrents. There were a lot of things about ultrasonic repellants (which have been repeatedly proven not to work) but also a bunch of stuff about peppermint and cinnamon extract being a deterrent to them. So, I soaked some cotton balls with peppermint extract and tossed them into the gap behind the cabinets (and into various spots in my studio room) and hoped that’d at least flush them out.

So far I haven’t seen any mice again but I expect that I’ll hear a trap go off at any moment. Which is also rather stressful for me but, whatever.

Anyway, looking forward I need to figure out how to prevent the mice from coming in now that they have an easy path. My old cabinets were installed flush against the wall and had enclosed toe kicks, but unfortunately my new cabinets are European-style and they “float” out a bit, both from the wall and from the floor. The toe kicks are pretty much just decorative. So the mice can easily get in through the gap in the wall, then wouldn’t have anywhere else to go except hanging out under my cabinets and occasionally venturing out through the gap between the dishwasher and the cabinet toe kick. Or at least that’s my theory.

I could probably do something to seal in that gap a bit better, although this just leaves a different problem, in that the space under the cabinets will become a mass mouse grave which has its own set of problems (like, they’ll die in there and stink my kitchen up with rotting flesh). But I’m thinking a combination approach of doing that as well as hanging up some mouse repellant diffusers will keep them from coming in in the first place.

Thankfully there are several cost-effective solutions on the market, and I could just have a regular home maintenance item of replacing an oil diffuser every 60 days, and/or a much cheaper kind every 30 days. If they don’t feel welcome entering in through the wall then there won’t be anything to clean up, right?

Anyway, so far I only have evidence of a single mouse entering, on a particularly warm day, so hopefully this won’t become a new twist on the “I remodeled my kitchen and had to move soon after” curse.

Just to be on the safe side, I also checked for any signs of mice eating my food, and they don’t seem to have managed to get onto my lazy susan shelf or anything. Out of an abundance of caution I used this as an excuse to spend a bunch of money to get more food storage bins to keep my specialty flours in, since I’d been relying on their various resealable bags (which mice could certainly chew through very easily if they had the opportunity to).

There’s also a little more work to be done in the kitchen (the over-fridge shelves still need to be installed) so hopefully the builder will have some ideas too. Unfortunately I don’t think there’s a lot that can be done; the gaps aren’t accessible at this point and the air space is pretty far back and won’t be easy to seal off. It won’t be as simple as how it was in New York when I could just stuff steel wool around the various ingress points. So it’ll probably just need vigilance and mint oil.

Now if only I could get Fiona to actually prowl for mice. Come on, kitty, this is literally why your species self-domesticated.

  1. Normally I’d be more interested in no-kill traps, but the reality is that mice will either starve to death while I forget to check them, or I’d release them in a nearby park and they’d end up becoming crow food and/or someone else’s problem, so a fast, sudden death seems to be way more humane. Even if it’s more stressful for me to think about. 


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