The NEW! Victor® Multi-Kill™ Electronic Mouse Trap

My family & I live in a very old house. And like many old houses, we have mice. When we first moved in, we would occasionally hear them in the walls. Chewing, scurrying, doing their mousey business. For the most part we ignored them. They kept inside the walls, we kept outside, and never our worlds would meet.

Several months ago, I received an email out of the blue. It was from a gentleman who works for Victor Pest. Victor Pest is the manufacturer of the mousetraps you see everywhere, the ones emblazoned w/ the big V logo w/ the mouse head.

Snap traps, glue traps, they make them all. Anyway, “Mr. Victor” said he’d been reading & enjoying my blog, and as I have a decidedly ‘country living’ angle – along with a love of products, was wondering whether I’d be interested in reviewing the NEW! Victor® Multi-Kill™ Electronic Mouse Trap. As it just so happened, a night or two before receiving this email I’d been awakened by some especially loud gnawing coming from the corner of our bedroom ceiling. So w/out hesitation, I said YES.

Within a couple weeks, my mousetrap arrived. Unfortunately, instead of sending it to my PO Box, Mr. Victor sent the package directly to my house. Where it was signed for by my older daughter, who brought the box in and immediately opened it, because that is what 10 year olds do. The next thing I know, my daughter is in hysterics, demanding to know why I am trying to electrocute rodents. I had to promise her I would never EVER use the trap. I emailed Mr. Victor the next day to explain. He very graciously said he understood. I stuck the box in the closet and promptly forgot about it.

Until two weeks ago. My husband & I were watching a movie. It was late. I was half-asleep on the couch when suddenly John LEAPED UP and dashed to the corner. He grabbed the small hatchet we keep to make kindling. I thought he’d lost his mind until he shouted in a half-whisper. “I just saw a mouse.” Mickey never saw it coming.

We thought it was a fluke, this mouse. We do have a parrot – not the tidiest eater, as well as hamsters and guinea pigs. And our house isn’t exactly spotless. My hatred of cleaning in combination with all the work we’ve been doing has pretty much ensured a layer of debris everywhere. But this was the first actual mouse we had seen (apart from a dead one in the toilet) and we figured it’d be the last. HAH!

The next day I noticed a mouse turd on the counter. I was aghast. I may not be a clean freak, but the kitchen? That’s different. I am a mother, I am a licensed commercial baker; I do have STANDARDS. I called my husband over immediately. We assessed the area, discovering more droppings in the back corner. I fetched that box from the closet faster than you can say U R TOAST.

The Victor Electronic Mousetrap looks like a plastic lunchbox, the kind you see in black & white photographs of men perched 40 stories above New York.

But instead of sandwiches, it houses metal plating and electronics.  A small dual staircase in the back leads rodents to the upper chamber. You bait the end with something – we used peanut butter – and the mouse enters to get a free snack. But at what cost! As soon as it reaches the end, the metal plate beneath its feet fires, zapping Mickey to kingdom come. The floor then drops, dumping the body into a collection chamber below. The plate flips back up, ready to work again. Its ingenious design is essentially foolproof. As long as it’s baited and has working batteries, the Victor Electronic Mousetrap is a killing machine.

Within two weeks, we caught 11 mice. Typically 2 at a time, and always in the same combination: one large brown mouse, about the size of a gerbil, and a tiny gray one. Were they working the kitchen as teamed pairs? Who knows? But after catching 5 sets like this – they sure seemed to be. The only odd man, another small gray, was odd in more than one respect. Most remarkably, he was still alive! I heard the telltale zap and came running into the kitchen. The day was rainy and before I trekked out to the yard, I wanted to make sure I hadn’t been hearing things. I peeked into the chamber and two bright eyes peered back at me. YIKES! I closed the box quickly and grabbed my shoes. Instead of tossing the little lifeless body into the pile of yard waste with the others, I hiked further back into the woods. When I was a decent distance from the house, I stooped down in the tall grass and let him go. He was alive, but obviously stunned. I had to tap the container to get him out. He walked awkwardly and when he looked up at me, his black eyes shone w/ hatred.

That was the last mouse we caught. The turds have magically disappeared. No more scurrying noises from the walls. In my heart I know I’m not a bad person, but I still see those two eyes looking up from the grass, and I feel bad. Perhaps the survivor has warned his comrades. Maybe they fled before they too fell. I’d like to think so, at least. But just to make certain, the trap’s still on.

Smellingsworth part II: funk-no-more.

Last week I posted about a little problem. To recap: mouse invasion, lazy cats, sloppy kids, crappy traps, POISON = dead mouse in inner sanctum of fridge.

Try googling “dead mouse smell” and you’ll find many anecdotes about coping with the unholy hand grenade that is an un-locatable decaying rodent in one’s home. Nothing can quite prepare you for such a situation, but it is comforting to know that others have endured and taken the time to share their own stock of knowledge. Across the board, I found a pretty consistent projection of 3-4 days of intense smell. Unfortunately, by Saturday afternoon (Day 5) the stench had reached astronomical proportions, permeating all three floors of the house and out into the yard. We had had enough.

This is our old flashlight.

It’s what we were using last week in our unsuccessful attempt to locate the decaying carcass. As mentioned previously, it only pretends to be a flashlight and should be sold strictly as an accessory to Star Trek costumes.

Now armed with new blinding Workforce (read WORKHORSE) flashlight

we were ready. My husband again unscrewed the back of the fridge and began the quest anew. The smell was unbelievable, pouring forth as he poked around, until lo and behold – he found it!

The body was a mess, lodged right next to the fan (which would explain the powerful circulation), in a stage of mid-decay, covered in writhing maggots. I of course knew you’d want to see for yourselves:

Ah, what a birthday present! We disinfected the entire region and even poured a little cleaning solution into the well in the back of the fridge before reassembling everything. I can’t tell you how lovely the smell of Simple Green is wafting though the kitchen. Hooray!

Smellingsworth

Tuesday morning we go downstairs to the kitchen and my husband starts sniffing around near the fridge. “UGH, do you SMELL THAT??!” I stop what I’m doing and go sniff with him, and *gag* YES I do smell it. What the hell is that?? It’s disgusting. It smells dead.

Two hours later, cabinet unscrewed from the wall, back of the refrigerator disassembled and shop vac in hand, we realize that the mouse who’d deigned to die inside our beautiful stainless steel appliance was not coming out. Why? Because we couldn’t find the little sucker. Rather than pass away conveniently near the back or at least somewhere a human hand could fit, Mickey wanted extra privacy. It didn’t help that our only flashlight is a crank-wind wonder with barely enough power to light the inside of one’s mouth, let alone the deepest recesses of the underfridge. So, unfortunately we are now coping with the stench of putrefying mouse and I in particular am wondering how long it is going to be until it goes away and I can joyfully return to my beloved kitchen.

I don’t mean to sound so cold-hearted about the little guy’s death, after all, I used to keep mice as pets and do appreciate their sweet furry charm, but my husband and I have HAD IT with the freeloading field mice that have taken up residence in our otherwise happy home. It’s one thing to adopt a pet and commit to providing it with food, water and shelter, but it’s another thing entirely when a bunch of thieving vermin decide that your pad is the best one around and invite the whole stinkin crew to move in. All of the houses around here have mice – they’re old with lots of convenient entry sites, plenty of space in the walls, etc. – and all of the neighbors see them once it gets cold. But our mice moved in last winter and never left.

We have tried everything. We encourage our lazy cats to take an interest in defending their home – no luck. We lecture our kids not to eat outside the kitchen and dining room, never to bring food upstairs, and we sweep up crumbs with an almost religious fervor. We keep all food sealed in cabinets, all dishes out of reach, we even got rid of our third-hand macaw (another story altogether), who besides being incredibly vicious was so slovenly with her food, she single-wingedly provided enough vittles to satiate a whole village of mice. Then we hit the hardware store. First, I bought those humane traps, which leave you feeling happy initially thinking you are doing a karmic service to these poor misunderstood creatures, but then leave you angrier because oh by the way they don’t work for crap and you’re now out 5 times what you would have paid for the cruel snap traps. So then we bought the aforementioned kill traps, which only caught the one dumb mouse of the bunch. So then we succumbed and bought the horrific glue traps, which killed the slightly stupid cousin, and then were avoided completely by the rest of the brilliant mouse family who’d run right past them, leaving their droppings as calling cards to our frustration. Finally, we bought poison. I am ashamed to write it, but I actually welcomed the poison and with gusto asked my husband to hide it all around the house. We sat our daughters down, showed them the boxes of green pellets and warned them they would drop dead if they ate it. They – fortunately smarter than the mice – don’t touch it. The mice, left with few food prospects due to our “lock down,” have not fared so well.

It makes me sad and guilty, but I have to be realistic. It’s unhealthy to have a mouse infestation in one’s home. Our cats have killed three mice – but only outside(!) leaving them as presents for me on our front steps. We tried reasoning with the mice, to no avail. And now another one bites the dust.

It was fine having all our windows open the past couple days because of the warm weather, but this morning it’s cold and rainy and I’m getting even more salty about the whole thing because I can’t close them. Perhaps it’s divine retribution that I now have to live with the reeking remains..

On a much happier note, I am getting very excited because the countdown to birthday is on. Just TWO DAYS!! Don’t know what’s planned, but I looooves my birthday!!! and can’t wait to see what fun and goodies await. Not to mention CAKE. Woohoo!

Also, our dear neighbors across the street are retiring and in preparation for their move have begun weeding through furniture. I scored BIG TIME the past two days, nabbing not only some great garden gating and a small vintage plant stand, but this absolutely gorgeous oak dresser. What a bday present. Almost makes up for the stench.