It’s been months since the electricity worked and your survival stash is running low. You head into the pantry to grab a cup of rice to make dinner and you see a hole in the bag and tiny brown mouse turds. Looks like you aren’t the only person eating rice tonight.
A mouse in your pantry today can be annoying, but a family of rodents competing with you for your survival supplies in a TEOTWAWKI situation is much more serious. Not only do they consume the food you were saving for yourself and your family, they can contaminate it with their feces and they can spread germs. In fact, the World Health Organization estimates that 20 percent of food is destroyed annually by rodents. Mice, rats and other rodents can spread disease such as hantavirus and salmonella, while their parasites can spread the Lyme disease, the plague, pox, and typhus:
Mice and other pests not only eat your food, they can destroy furniture, bedding, and insulation. In a survival situation, where you cannot run out and replace things because the stores are all closed, the destruction cause by mice and rats could spell the difference between life and death.
This is not a time to be humane; it’s time to kill the mice. Dave recommends that you stock the old fashioned “snap traps” like those made by Victor. Their metal petal trap is often available in big box stores and can be purchased in bulk online. These are proven mice killers and can be either disposed of or re-used after a kill. (While you are at it, stock up on some larger traps, too.)
If possible, wear rubber gloves when you handle dead rodents and wash thoroughly afterwards. In areas where the hantavirus has been prevalent, you may want to wear an N95 face mask to help protect you from inhaling the virus while you clean an area frequented by rodents. Clean and sanitize the area after you have removed the infestation and consider spraying an insecticide to eliminate fleas and other parasites that may have tagged along with the mice.
Dave recommends the following tips:
- If your preps include storing food for emergency use (and they should), plastic containers are rodent resistant, but not as secure as metal and glass.
- Inspect your food storage area regularly for signs of infestation, especially as the weather turns cooler and mice look for a warm, secure place to nest.
- Leave a small “fun size” candy bar out in plain sight near the wall. This acts like a mouse magnet and will attract them well before they hit your grains and other stored foods. If the candy bar has been nibbled on, you know it’s time to set and bait the traps.
- You can help rodent-proof your house, barn or shed by stapling hardware cloth over any openings you find. This metal mesh will keep squirrels out of your attic and mice out of your basement.