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AGRICULTURE REPORT - Simple Mousetrap - 2004-12-21

Broadcast: December 21, 2004

This is Gwen Outen with the VOA Special English Agriculture Report.

Today we tell about a way to kill mice without spending a lot of money. It is a simple but effective kind of mousetrap.

An agriculture expert in West Africa once wrote about a method used by some local farmers. This expert in Mali said his gardener set four traps with this method -- and caught one hundred fifty mice in just one night. The report appeared in a newsletter from Educational Concerns for Hunger Development, or ECHO, an organization in the United States.

The trap is easy to make. You need a twenty liter container that is empty and uncovered. You can use a plastic or metal bucket. Dig a hole in the ground and place the container inside. The top should be level with the surface of the ground.

Fill the container with water to within eight centimeters of the top. Add small pieces of grain wastes. These should float on the water. Also put some wastes on the ground near the trap.

During the night, mice will come out to eat the grain wastes. They will fall into the trap.

If you do not have a container, dig a hole about forty centimeters wide and thirty centimeters deep. Spread hard clay or concrete on the walls of the hole. This will prevent the water from leaking away.

If you do not have enough grain to float on the water, you can try another way. Stretch two pieces of cloth over the top of the container or the hole in the ground. Leave a small opening where the pieces of cloth meet.

Put a little grain on the cloth. When mice walk onto the cloth to eat, they will slide through the opening and drown in the water.

At one time or another, most farmers have problems with mice. This is especially true of grain farmers. Mice eat a lot of grain. They also carry diseases. People can get sick from eating or touching grain that mice have gotten into.

There are other ways that farmers can deal with these problems. One way is to use grain storage buildings specially designed to keep mice out. Another way is to use poisons to kill the mice. However, both of these methods can be costly.

Farmers must buy the materials to build the grain storage buildings. Or they must buy the chemical poisons to kill the mice. But these poisons can also be dangerous to other living things -- including the farmers who use them.

This VOA Special English Agriculture Report was written by Bob Bowen. This is Gwen Outen.