Mice can be cute, but they aren’t harmless. A mouse left indoors can mean chewed-up furniture, walls, and electrical wiring (which creates a fire hazard). And mice often carry diseases that they spread throughout your house. If that’s not enough to convince you that mice are a problem, consider that they leave a significant number of droppings each day that they’re sharing your space!
Mice are especially problematic because they’re smart. They know how to hide, keeping themselves from being discovered. Many people realize they have a mouse problem only when they see telltale droppings. And mice are quite resourceful. They’re good at survival, which is how they make it into homes in the first place. Getting rid of a mouse problem requires a two-fold approach: preventing more mice from entering, and removing existing mice from your home.
Prevent Mice From Entering Your Home
Your first priority will be to close up the cracks or openings where mice could be entering. And these opening don’t have to be large. As burrowing animals, mice are built to squeeze into tight spaces — as small as the width of a pencil! The fur on a mouse makes the animal appear larger than it really is. Because mice have no collarbones, the size of a mouse’s skull is the only limitation it has when entering through a crack.
- Seal any cracks in your foundation.
- Seal any cracks in your walls, including locations of utility pipes and vents.
- Use steel wool and caulking for sealant, rather than something that mice can easily chew through (like plastic or rubber).
- Replace weather stripping to close up gaps in door and window frames.
- If your door sweep is missing, replace it.
- Try rodent repellents like peppermint oil and ultrasonic mouse repellents. While the effectiveness of these methods is debated, some people do report success using them.
Remove Mice From Your Home
Getting rid of mice who’ve already made their home in yours can be challenging, and you may need to bring in a professional who can evaluate how mice are entering and where they’re hiding before crafting a plan to eliminate them. But DIYers have had success when following the steps we’ll share below.
1. Clean Up Droppings
First, you’ll want to clean up droppings, since these often contain diseases that can harm your family’s health. Be sure to take appropriate safety precautions: wear gloves and a mask, disinfect the area afterward, and throw away food that could be contaminated.
2. Place Traps
You may be dealing with more mice than you realize, and they could be hiding in a variety of locations, so you’ll want to place several traps throughout your home. Mice try to stay out of sight, so place traps in dark, out-of-the-way places.
Don’t want to hurt these cute creatures? Havahart traps allow you to trap the mice in secure metal cages and then safely release them outdoors. Check the traps twice a day, so you don’t end up with a mess to clean if the mouse defecates.
How you place the traps can impact your success. Mice tend to run along walls, so if you place the open ends of the trap in the mouse’s natural path, you’ll be more likely to catch it. It’s a good idea to move the traps every couple of days, to spread a wider “net.”
3. Select Your Bait
You may need to experiment with bait, since different animals will be tempted more strongly by different items — don’t stop at the cheese! Popular choices are chocolate, dried fruit, peanut butter, and bacon. If food doesn’t work, you may do better with nesting material like cotton balls or feathers.
4. Don’t Provide Other Food Sources
Mice only need 3-5 grams of food per day. If they find dropped food or crumbs, they’ll fill up on these food sources and they won’t need your trap bait. Also be sure all food is stored in airtight containers so mice can’t access pantry items. And don’t forget to seal garbage cans. Mice have extremely sharp teeth that can chew through plastic bags.
5. Remove Debris Outside
Mice don’t often stray far from their nests and food sources, so if you can eliminate these from areas near your house, you’ll greatly reduce the chances that mice will migrate into your home. Clean up yard waste and other debris around your home, and keep flower beds clear. It’s a good idea to line your foundation with heavy gravel, which will prevent burrowing.
If you’re still seeing droppings, hearing scratching noises, or encountering other signs of rodents after you’ve following these steps, you’re not alone. Mice are crafty and extremely difficult to remove. If you’d like help, give us a call at (864) 292-1919 and we’ll bring our experienced techs to evaluate and manage the problem.