Mice are bad news. They leave urine and feces everywhere they roam, including countertops and cabinets where they could come into contact with your food. If bacteria aren’t enough of a problem, they can chew through food containers, electrical wiring and even beams. If you have a large enough mouse problem, it can damage the structural integrity of a home.
Not only that, but seeing a mouse usually means that you’ve got several. Mice come out at night, and they are unlikely to cavort around when humans are around. So if you see one, you’ve got a real problem, and you need to take care of it.
Your ability to take certain steps to free yourself of your mouse issue may vary depending on whether you’re a homeowner or a renter. For that reason, we’ve given advice to homeowners first below, and renters second.
If you own a home, you should concentrate on prevention and extermination. Take these steps to keep your home a vermin-free zone.
Mice like a nice cozy place full of accessible food as well as the next creature. Particularly in winter, they start looking for such a location. They can fit in any area that is large enough to insert a pencil. They can come in from the outside through small holes anywhere:
The first step to eradicating mice in your home is finding out where they are getting in, and making sure they can’t anymore. Without that step, you can kill existing mice only to have their cousins take up residence the next day. Finding where they enter and stopping up the entryway is often referred to as “building them out.”
Seal and caulk any hole. This includes walls, of course, but also foundations and other areas a mouse could be. Don’t just pay attention to areas close to the floor. Mice can jump and climb. Put weather stripping in gaps between doors and floor and windows and frames.
Mice will be predisposed to come in if they can eat and nest easily. You need to eliminate access to food sources first. They can chew through boxes and bags. So for cereals, grains and other foods, buy sturdy containers and put your food in them. Store foods like chocolate in canisters as well.
If you have paper or stacks of material in your garage that they might find a convenient nesting area, throw it out. That goes for sleeping bags and swimming suits, for example.
You will often see people claim that mice can be deterred from entering your house with homemade remedies like peppermint oil or purchasable items such as ultrasound. The jury is still out on these, however. For every source that recommends trying them, another can be found saying they don’t work.
The only thing that works for sure is catching the mice in a trap and getting rid of them. You must bait every kind of trap with food, such as cheese — yes, it works — or peanut butter put into a soda cap. You have your choice of trap.
The first is the classic spring and capture, often sketched in cartoons. You place bait in a trap. The mouse comes strolling in for the bait and is captured by the spring. If it works well, the trap will break the mouse’s neck. If it doesn’t, you have a caught mouse that is injured.
There is a spring and capture variant where the mouse enters and is trapped inside once it takes the bait. It works very similarly to the first type, but you don’t see the dead mouse, as it remains inside.
The second type of capture model doesn’t have a spring but has glue on the bottom. The mouse takes the bait and gets stuck but not killed. This is perhaps the least-humane trap, as the mouse doesn’t die yet can’t be released. It slowly starves to death.
The third type of trap doesn’t kill the mouse. It is a cage. Bait lures the mouse in, and the cage shuts. Many people who use this type take the mouse into a natural area at least one mile from the house and release it.
Some people, and some professional exterminators, set out poison for mice without traps. There are a couple reasons this is a bad idea:
You will need to dispose of the dead mice with every trap type and with poison. Place any dead body within plastic and dispose of it properly.
If you do not own your home, then your options for mice-battling may be more limited. Try these two tips.
As you’ve probably guessed, building mice out is a bit more complicated if you’re a renter. First, it’s your landlord’s responsibility to repair cracks, holes and crevices where mice can come in. The landlord needs to know these exist, so don’t take the duty on yourself. Second, you shouldn’t fix or change your landlord’s property.
You will need to secure your food sources and eliminate any nesting material. The hygiene of your apartment is your responsibility.
You may also need to set traps, especially if you don’t have a responsible landlord. Choose the type that will make capture and elimination of the mouse most likely and convenient for you.
Mice can cause disease and damage to living areas. The steps above will ensure their eradication from your property, whether you rent or own.