The Annual Mouse Hunt

With the winter season comes mice, and with mice, mouse hunting, as I like to call it. It is not a sport, but rather a necessity, because if not done, we’d find ourselves overrun with them.

While serving in the U.S. Air Force, I learned all I ever wanted about ‘vector control,’ which was as little as possible.

The best-made mouse trap is the original design still manufactured by Victor, simple, elegant, and effective. I will not use the sticky bait traps because it is cruel to starve anything, nor do I like the idea of causing a rodent to bleed out its butt because of poison, and live trapping allows the mouse to find another home to infest.

Each class member received a white lab mouse, a ziplock baggy, and a single cotton ball one afternoon. Instructors told us to place the mouse in the bag, hold out our cotton, to which they applied a dose of Chloroform and dropped it in the bag with the mouse.

Seconds later, the mouse was dead, and our assignment could begin. That was to comb or groom the mouse searching for fleas, lice, or other bugs hidden in the animal’s fur coat.

Problem is these were clean lab mice, not wild, and therefore no one found a thing. Such is the training up of an Environmental Health Specialist.

Later, when it came to practical application and an inability to procure Chloroform, I devised a way of collecting the needed data. I laid Victor bait traps and waited the few minutes for them to be sprung.

From there, I dropped the dead mouse and trap into a single ziplock baggy and waited for the ‘bugs’ to leave the chilling body. Then, without opening the bag, I slipped it under a microscope or a magnifying glass if still in the field and completed my count.

Since the first of the year, I’ve slain five meeses, and the patrols continue.


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