Revolutionizing the mouse trap

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 16, 2002

My faith in the old mouse trap has been restored.

Saturday, March 16, 2002

My faith in the old mouse trap has been restored.

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Just as plans for a new mouse trap were being contemplated, the old mouse trap, along with a little ingenuity, worked. So for the time being plans for building a new mouse trap have been shelved.

The mouse saga started two months ago and finally ended at noon on Friday. Those that live out in the country understand the tranquility and open space comes with a price – the price being the occasional visit from unwanted varmint.

Two Labradors keep the rabbit population well in check and the squirrels scamper carefully across the acreage. Even the field mice aren’t safe as the youngest lab sits for hours during the summer watching for slightest ground movement and then pounces.

Even the best security system has an occasional glitch, however, and apparently our Labs, plus cat mouse catching system took a little hiatus in January, allowing one of the unwanted varmints to find its way into the house.

So roughly two months ago, the critter made its presence known by chewing holes into every chip bag, noodle bag and any other paper product inside the pantry. He left those pleasant droppings as his calling card.

Out came the old-fashioned mouse traps, and much like the U.S. Army’s mission of rooting out Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden, so began our "shelf-to-shelf" search.

The first week produced zero results and it was clear the conventional old-fashioned mouse traps weren’t going to work. The old traps needed to be modified for this new type of enemy.

Out came the peanut butter and more strategically placed traps throughout the pantry.

Strike two.

We now knew we were facing a "deadender," a mouse smart and tough enough to push his luck to the limits.

Now with all bagged food placed in plastic, "mouse-proof" containers, the war escalated. The cat showed up and he was sent on a mission to explore the downstairs rafters. The labs were brought into to sniff the pantry and placed on a seek-and-destroy mission in the crawl space.

When Monday came and a macaroni bag, an oatmeal pouch and a taco sauce mix were found raided, it was clear the "special forces" had been unsuccessful at rooting out the enemy.

Nearing wits end, and with all visible escape and entry routes sealed off, the battle for pantry supremacy was reaching a critical juncture.

Entering day 25 of the battle, it was time to use weapons of mass destruction. The pantry was cleared of all innocents and the traps were set ­ macaroni noodles, imbedded in peanut butter on a good old-fashioned mouse trap.

Days 26 and 27 produced frustrating results. The enemy had entered our trap area, cleaned the bait and left without a trace.

The morning of day 28, just as the previous 27, began with disappointment – raided traps, but alas no enemy.

A special meeting of the joint chiefs fostered a last ditch plan. Instead of spreading the mouse traps and fighting a multi-faceted front, we would bring our traps together and hope the enemy would get careless.

At high noon the news came. The plan had worked to perfection. Two mouse traps placed in a "T" formation had delivered the crushing and fatal blow. No need for DNA testing on the remains, we had the culprit.

Thanks to a little ingenuity and the old-fashioned mouse trap, the pantry is again safe. As for the "special forces" they’ve already begun vigorous re-training.

Neal Ronquist’s column appears on Sundays.