Sunday, November 14, 2004

Mice Also

   pest control vignette

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Mice

Mice also are big pests in this world, not just the big rats I've mentioned lately. Mice can infest almost any location, but some places that stand out for me are the outdoor sports areas where a certain amount of human carelessness always seemed to be build into the system. Coaches were busy "building athletes" or whatever the phraseology of the day happened to be. Thus, the automatic re-purchases of grass seed, granular fertilizer, and such, in combination with poor housekeeping, would sometimes create an overloaded and overlooked storage area where mice could eat—hell, gorge!—in undisturbed happiness for weeks.

When mice have been feeding for weeks like that, they have also been breeding. Raising families. Teaching the baby mice how to prosper, feeding off the excesses of mankind! Maybe yammering to one another about "family values", with the red side and the blue side each telling the other they don't know squat about family values!

The baseball field was always an attractive location. Once, the bagged granules of fertilizer in one storage building got so overloaded that no one noticed how bad the rodent problem was for a while. By the time I got there, I didn't immediately see the mice, but I could see that all the mouse droppings were the same greenish-blue color of the fertilizer. Gack! The mice were apparently finding the "food" delicious enough. And when I laid the bait down in the building, I wasn't sure if they'd eat any bait with all that other "food" available. I wondered if I'd have to relocate the fertilizer, and then bait the area. But the mice were not clever and just ate it. Apparently they thought it was nice to have a change of diet! So nice they ate themselves to death within a week. Or maybe the fertilizer finally kicked in and burnt up their little stomachs! Probably not, though because before it was all over, the mouse droppings had changed to the single green coloring of the anti-coagulant bait. Uh, for those of you who never thought about it, droppings from a normal rat are supposed to be black, period.

In a small building near the baseball field, yet not so far from food concession areas, mice had also gotten into the overstock of bags of grass seed. The first time I opened the door to the building and gave it a good shaking and kicking, about 50 mice scattered in all directions, across the floor, up and down the walls! I stepped back alertly, not wanting one to run up my pants leg. After we raked and swept up the spilled grass seeds another worker and I put everything we had in there-snap traps, glue boards, poison, gypsy curses. For a few days, even a small glue board harvested two or three mice. We then began to put larger rat boards there instead, and those would harvest five or more mice each overnight. God, mice can be stupid. Would YOU join a friend on a glue board when you can see the unhappy effect it's having on him? Not likely. I have on occasion encountered a smart mouse, but not very often.

It was hard to keep track of how many mice were snuffed-more than a hundred, certainly-as we whittled away at them with our devices and cleaned up the storage area increasingly. When certain it was cleaned out, we located some tougher containers, with lids, and left behind a clean orderly area.

Those are just examples, of course. It seems to me I can recall a mouse or rat infestation (one location at a time, of course) for every place in the baseball compound, whether in, under, overhead, or behind. I remember performing multiple baiting of the outfield fence over the years because the line of trees and small bushes in combination with a ditch and storm drain that ran the length of that fence made such an attractive home for them. I mostly baited beneath the gratings of the storm drain, so that I wouldn't exterminate every loose dog on the south side of town. I had to have reasonable self-control about baiting too much-baseball compounds are selling Tickets and are built to keep people out, not small animals, dog, rat or cat.

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