How to get rid of mice in your house
Whether you want to learn how to catch mice or how to kill a mouse, it all begins with one simple choice: do you want to do things the easy way or the hard way? Getting rid of mice can be as simple as making one phone call to a pest management professional, or else it can seem like you’re chasing invisible mice in walls. For those brave souls who want to face these disease-carrying rodents on your own, here’s what you need to know about how to get rid of mice.
The best way to get rid of mice in the long run is to build them out.
Building mice out, or rodent-proofing your home, is an effective way to stop mice infestations from expanding or ever occurring in the first place. Defend your home from mice by eliminating points of entry and easy access. This can be difficult due to a mouse’s ability to squeeze itself into even the smallest of openings (one-quarter of an inch and up). A good rule of thumb is if you can fit a pencil into a crack, hole or opening, a mouse can get through it.
Seal cracks in the foundation as well as openings in the walls, including where utility pipes and vents occur. Steel wool and caulking works great here. Avoid using plastic, rubber, wood or anything else mice can easily gnaw through as sealants. Get weather stripping for door and window gaps and make sure the sweep on your door creates a seal against the threshold when it’s closed.
Learn how to kill a mouse with mouse traps.
The best way to get rid of mice in an ongoing infestation is with mouse traps. Not only are they non-toxic, they kill the mouse instantly instead of poisoning it and letting it go into your walls to die, rot and smell. The classic wooden snap traps will do the trick for light to moderate mouse populations, but keep in mind that most people underestimate mice infestations. It’s not uncommon to lay one dozen traps for just one mouse – or what you think is just one mouse. Use plenty. It’s also a good idea to lay many different types of traps. Use bait traps, multiple-capture live traps and glue traps in conjunction with the wooden traps. This gives you a better chance at killing all of the mice, since some might be keen to certain types of traps and know to avoid them.
Choose the best bait for mouse traps.
You can use whatever food the mice have been eating in your home for bait, or mouse-approved favorites such as chocolate, peanut butter, bacon, oatmeal, dried fruit or hazelnut spread. When you’re ready to set the baited trap, tie the bait to the trigger with fishing line or dental floss. This will make sure the mice get what’s coming to them without ‟making off with the cheese.” You can also secure the bait with a hot glue gun. Replace with fresh bait every two days. If the food isn’t working, you can try using nesting material such as cotton balls or feathers.
Proper placement of mouse traps is critical.
Place the traps perpendicular to the walls, with the trigger section facing the baseboard. This causes the mouse to run directly into the bait as it naturally scurries along the walls, instead of running over the trap from the wrong direction, triggering it prematurely. Mice don’t travel more than 10 or 20 feet from food sources and nesting areas (i.e., their territory), so place the traps anywhere you see mice or signs of mice, such as rodent droppings or ‟rubbings” on baseboards and walls. Change trap locations every two days or so. Mice are naturally curious so they won’t avoid traps like rats will.
How to kill mice with bait stations.
Bait stations (or bait packages) are sealed packets containing meal or pellets. They typically come in plastic, paper or cellophane wrapping, allowing the mice to easily gnaw through and get at the preserved, fresh bait. The mice feed on this bait and die. While helpful in getting rid of mice, these products are best handled by trained pest management professionals to ensure the safety of you, your children and your pets.
Good sanitation won’t get rid of mice, but poor sanitation will attract them.
Mice can survive on just 3 to 4 grams of food per day, so a few crumbs here and there are all they really need. Vacuum your floors and be sure to wipe down counters, eliminating residue, crumbs and any access to food sources. Store food in glass jars or airtight containers. Don’t forget about securing your garbage. Mice have sharp incisor teeth so they can chew through just about anything, even concrete if the mood strikes them, so plastic bags are no match for hungry rodents.
Tackle the mice in the house and out.
Remove debris around your home where mice can hide. Keep weeds to a minimum and destroy burrows and nesting areas as you find them. Lining your home’s foundation with a strip of heavy gravel is a good way to prevent nesting and burrowing. The less debris and clutter around your home and property, the easier it is to spot signs of rodent activity and stop mice dead in their tracks.
Sometimes the cat is in the bag.
Many cats love to hunt mice. Some dogs will even get in on the fun. If you have pets, they might be the best way to catch a mouse without lifting a finger. If you don’t have pets, now may be a good time to stop watching cat videos online and own one in real life. Many farms use farm or barn cats to control their mouse population. Of course, some pets just can’t be bothered with mice – not surprisingly with the way many people pamper their fur babies.
If all of this seems like too much trouble, it’s because it is. Mice are incredibly elusive critters that can cause serious property damage, electrical fires included. By far, the easiest, and best way to get rid of mice is to call Terminix® and let the professionals do what they’re trained to do – get rid of mice every single time. Period.