Mice may have big eyes and cute whiskers, but that doesn’t mean you want them in your house. Mice chew things, are unsanitary, and can spread disease. You should act to remove them at the first sign of their presence. Better yet, prevent them from ever invading your home.
What attracts mice to human spaces?
A mouse’s natural habitat is outdoors, mainly in wooded areas. But they will enter your home in search of certain benefits, such as:
- Food. Mice have a keen sense of smell, and food in your house is an irresistible attraction.
- Water. Mice are attracted to water; they’ll enter your home to find it during drought. Irrigating vegetation against your house draws mice right to your threshold, and home invasion is the next step.
- Warmth. Winter is prime time for mice to enter and nest in your home, seeking escape from the chill.
How do you know if you have mice?
Rarely will you see a mouse unless you have a bad infestation. Instead, you usually see evidence of their presence: elongated mouse poop droppings smaller than a grain of rice, bags of food with holes chewed into them and the resulting shredded paper, or the upholstery stuffing they use for nesting material tucked away in an obscure place.
Mice live up to 18 months and breed prolifically. If you see evidence, you don’t have one mouse: You likely have many.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
The best solution for a mouse infestation is to prevent one from occurring in the first place. To keep mice out of your house, take the following steps.
- Don’t leave out a welcome mat. Mice can squeeze through an opening the size of a dime. They can also sense warmer air flowing from tiny openings into your home. Survey your home’s entire exterior for openings through which a mouse can infiltrate. Look around windows and doors, the foundation, the roofline and the chimney. Cut sheet metal or metal wire grid to fit, then nail it in place. Spray foam sealer is an easy fix but can be easily chewed through.
- Remove the attraction of food. In the kitchen, always seal food. Transfer grains and crackers from packages into snap-lid canisters that mice cannot chew through. Sweep the kitchen floor every day and wipe the counters. Put pet, bird and livestock feed in rigid, sealed containers in the garage or storage shed. Sweep up any spilled grain or feed.
- Cut back vegetation around the outside perimeter of your home. Clean up any unruly vegetation around your foundation. Cultivated flower beds are fine, but uncontrolled grass or thick ground cover-up against your foundation provides a haven for rodent activity. Don’t allow standing water near your foundation.
Eliminating mice from your home
You may be able to alleviate a mouse invasion with traps.
- Spring traps, which snap shut on the mouse, are the longtime method you’ve probably seen. You may be squeamish about the mouse’s violent demise, but actually, this method is the fastest and most humane.
- Glue traps are like flypaper for mice. The mouse gets stuck on the paper when it steps on it and cannot get away. One strip of glue paper can catch several mice.
- Poison traps lure the mouse to poisonous bait that smells like food. These traps pose two risks. One is that the poison trap may be attractive to children and pets and thus must be placed where they cannot reach it. The second is that mice may eat the poison, wander into a wall space, die and cause a terrible odor.
- Homemade bucket traps use a five-gallon pail with a board ramp to the top. The pail is filled with several inches of water, and a dowel rod inserted in a cardboard paper towel roller spans the top. Bait is smeared on the cardboard roll. When the mouse climbs the ramp and ventures onto the roll, it spins and the mouse drops into the water, where it drowns.
When to call a pro
Mice breed far faster than you can control with small-scale traps. When you see droppings and chewed food packages in several places, you probably have a bad infestation, and it’s time to call in a pest control professional.
Related – Removing Wild Animals from Your Home