Found a mouse, and I live above a restaurant. My obligation?

So yesterday morning my girlfriend and I found droppings on the floor and this morning I was woken up by screams after she found a little black mouse hanging out on our stove. We’ve stocked up on traps and we’re all set to due battle - but I have a question for the masses.

We live above a restaurant. The whole first floor of this building is a large diner-type place, and there are two levels of apartments above it. We’ve heard from another neighbor that she has a mice problem as well, so I can only imagine the entire building is suffering.

I’m wondering what my obligation is to the health department. I live in Chicago, and I know they’re pretty strict about mice. Should I call and tip them off that there could be a problem downstairs, or is it worth complaining about if I never actually saw a mouse in their exact premises.

What would you do?

(As far as disposing of the mouse, I have several traps that I’ll be baiting w/ peanut butter tonight, as well as a beer in a bucket homemade trap I heard good things about.)

Why don’t you try calling the landlord first? Good landlords are experts at rodent warfare.

I would use the traps for a few days first, before notifying anyone – because your trapping will actually physically remove some mice from the building, whereas the landlord or restauranteurs may be content with simply laying down poison, in which case you could have dozens or even hundreds of mice dying and decomposing in the walls, etc. The basic infestation won’t go away without getting the restaurant involved, but you might not be able to persuade them to use traps. (Of course, there’s poisoned traps that kill with poison and supposedly keep the mouse inside them, but I don’t know if they usually work that way.)

Do the building tenants have any young children or pets that might eat the poison? That would be a great argument for traps.

Speaking sadly from experience, I’ve a couple of mice-trapping tips for you. I’ve had good results using bits of marshmallow in traps, after discovering I had mice after they’d gnawed at a bag of marshmallows I’d been storing in a kitchen cabinet. Since they’d already eaten a few of those, they showed no hesitation in going for them as trap bait (rats, at least, are known to only cautiously nibble at unfamiliar foods, and sometimes learn to avoid poisoned bait altogether). I bought a pair of the plastic clip traps – er, they have the standard trap mechanism, but it’s housed in what looks kind of like a large bag clip. The psychological, but substantial advantage with this type is that you just grab the handle end of the trap and squeeze over the trash to dispose of the mouse.

When I first used these traps, I made the mistake of pressing the marshmallow halves onto the roof of the trap near the edge… a much more effective method is to use marshmallow quarters pressed firmly into the narrow spaces on the top side next to the trap mechanism. The mouse has to work extra hard to reach the food this way, sticking his nose all the way up into it, and can’t help but trip off the trap.

Good luck with the mice and the people downstairs!

Catch the mouse. Train the mouse to return to your home. Take the mouse to the restaurant with you. Release the mouse just after you finish your meal. Exclaim “eek a mouse! There’s no way I’m paying for this food!” Go home and retrieve the mouse.

I would suggest you start by talking to the owner of the restaurant. A restaurant will almost for sure have a pest control company that stops by at least once a month. If you mention to the restaurant owner that you’ve got mice just upstairs from the restaurant, the owner might be willing to have the pest control guy take a look up there and set up some traps, probably won’t even cost them anything (the restaurant that is). Or, you can watch for the pest control person and when you see him, try to bump into him (and maybe even acting like you’re an employee) say “Hey, we’ve got mice upstairs, can you take a look up there while you’re here.” If it’s a nice guy, it probably won’t be a problem.

I’d like to chime in and say that I’ve learned the same thing about this kind of trap, and the reason it’s a mistake to put the bait anywhere but deep inside the trap is that it ends up catching only the little feller’s arm and shoulder, and he will scream and scream and scream until you put him out of his misery.

My condolences to the building, I hope it recovers.

Notify the landlord and the Chicago. Board of Health. The CBOH will get the restaurant cleaned up pronto, the landlord the rest of the building when and if he gets a round to it.

:eek: Yikes! Actually, what happened in my case was that the traps got picked clean the first time, and one got stripped twice. I think it was really two errors at play – the bait being attached too far from the mechanism to necessarily trip it off, and the marshmallow bait being too large and not sticking securely enough to the trap’s roof.