I had an email from a Florida reader, asking for a follow up to my run in with mice I had last year (click to read).
The unnerving truth to the matter revealed that we did indeed have more than one or two more mice. We had about a dozen on Flinstones factory rotation.
That was not welcome news. There was another factor to the problem I had not really given much thought. It was mid-Winter, and instead of using the fireplace, we used gas heaters to warm the house, which was a very attractive attribute to student mice, and their realtor cashed in.
The house warmed up rapidly, rather than gradually like a fireplace would do.
Mice are deathly afraid of fire, but not smoke. Essentially, we offered them a sauna. This partly explains why we'd never had the problem before - we previously used the fireplace to warm the house, but when we used gas heaters, they sometimes hid IN THE FIREPLACE! (it was cozy, and unused), and explains why we found one of their access holes in a cupboard next to the hot water cylinder.
I believe something like the shake away product would work on summer evenings better than the bite of winter. The mice 'came in' to the warm (where the traps were) and we managed to kill them off with a peanut butter laced minefield. We did okay there. You're right, they would become desensitized if traps hung around their cold corridors.
I would try sprinkling shake away throughout the basement or attic in the middle of summer, and have traps near vulnerable food sources. Keep it fresh though, as yes - they are smart little shits. I watched one (the last one of the litter it seemed) eat the peanut butter off the end without snapping the trap. Just keep refreshing it, coz the bugger is bound to slip up and cop it.
If you have no luck within 3-5 days, maybe another Jonothan could have tips (he's in Florida), or just infest your house with lizards. They love their protein!
[Dangermouse Opening wmv/700kb] 1981 (edit from 1986)
*get it before Dec 13