Mice may be cute little critters and may make interesting pets but they can also cause quite a bit of havoc in your home. Mice can get into your walls and chew on electrical cords, they can get into your cabinets and food supplies, and they can leave mice droppings in areas that can cause a serious health problem. In short, mice can be real pests and difficult to get rid of. If your house or business is infested, how do you get rid of mice? Do you need to call a pest control expert or can you do it yourself? If you are facing a problem with the whiskered sort, here is how to get rid of mice.
Signs Of Mice In Your Home
Mice may be small and difficult to see at times but they leave behind obvious clues. If your home has mice, you are likely to hear scurrying noises in the walls, especially at night when they are more active. If your home has an attic, that is a good spot for mice because it provides lots of hiding spots and access to your walls.
Another clue that you have mice is holes chewed in walls or containers of food. If you keep any kind of grains or seeds in your cabinets, you might find holes chewed through the containers and the grains scattered around. Mice like to chew holes in walls in dark corners or out-of-the-way places.
Another sign is mice droppings. Mice droppings are small, dark, and slightly oval. In fact, they look similar to dark brown rice. You will probably find these anywhere the mice roam such as the corner of cabinets or near the floorboards. If you find any of these types of signs, then congratulations. You have a mice infestation.
Remove Their Food Source
Mice will eat just about anything and your home is the perfect food source for them. They prefer grains and seeds but will eat anything from fruit, trash, crumbs, accidental spills, and even paper. The first step in getting rid of mice is to remove their food source. Start by taking all possible food items and storing them in metal or glass containers. Putting unprotected food on shelves is not good enough. Mice can get up on those tall shelves. Trust me, they have their ways. Do an inspection of your kitchen and make sure you don’t leave anything out that mice could possibly eat.
If you have pets in the house, use elevated food dishes and make sure you don’t leave any crumbs on the floor. This will attract the mice. If you keep any trash in the house, such as out in the garage, make sure it is in a secure container with a lid. Don’t let the trash pile up as this is a big attractor for mice.
Go through the rest of your house and inspect it for loose items that could be a food source. Anywhere that meals are taken should be checked out such as dining room, living room, or the bedrooms. If you find anything that might have been chewed on by a mouse, throw it away. Mice carry diseases and to share food with a mouse is to invite a variety of health problems.
Block Access To Your Home
After you get rid of the source of food for mice, next you need to fortify your home. Just like a king and his castle, you need to prepare it against invasion. Mice can crawl through the smallest openings imaginable. The best way to secure your home and turn it into a mouse-proof fortress is to walk around your home and inspect it. Check out every possible nook and cranny for any cracks or openings. If there is the slightest chance that a mouse might be able to wiggle through, plug the hole with material that the mouse cannot chew through. For brick homes, use mortar and cement. For homes with wooden siding, you can use steel wool, metal plates, or an exterior caulking. Once you are done with the outside, you will want to go inside the house and do the same thing. Check out your basement, attic, closets, and behind appliances. Pay close attention to plumbing and any conduits, such as the dryer vent, that may lead outside.
Eliminate Their Shelters
Mice like warm, dark places to hide and build their nests. They also like a lot of clutter. You want to eliminate everything that could possibly be used by a mouse for cover or shelter. If your attic, basement, or garage has a lot of boxes and stuff piled up, it is time to clean that mess up. Get rid of anything that is unnecessary and store the rest in containers such as plastic totes or anything mouse-proof. The idea is to limit the mouse’s roaming area. A mouse will generally only venture about 25 feet from its hiding place so you want to narrow down the mouse’s possibilities for shelter.
Mice Traps And Repellents
Now we come to the part of actually getting rid of mice. There are a number of do-it-yourself products available that you can use and it all depends on how humane you want to be. There are products that trap and kill mice and there are some that trap them alive without harming them.
Traps all have their own specific guidelines on how to use them. But whatever type you use, you need to know where to place them to be the most effective. Set the traps out in areas where you have seen signs of mice. Basements, attics, behind appliances, or inside cabinets are all good spots for traps. Don’t immediately set the trap. Bait it and let the mouse get used to eating from it. If the bait has not been disturbed, you may have to move the trap around. If there are signs that mice have been nibbling the bait, wait a few days and then set the trap. Mice also have an excellent sense of smell so to cover up your scent, you can smear a little grease on the trap.
If you are full of righteous homeowner’s revenge and want to get rid of the mice any way possible, you can always try to kill them. You can use traps such as the traditional snap traps, glue boards, or even shock traps that deliver a lethal electric shock to the varmint. Poisons are another method that are available but be very careful when using these. They can be just as harmful, and fatal, to pets and small children. Poisons usually come in a small container that you set out like a trap. The mice are attracted to the poison and will eat it just like any other bait.
For the more humane approach, you can use non-lethal traps. There are many catch traps on the market that are made of either metal or plastic. They work by baiting the trap and then once the mouse jumps inside and takes the bait, it triggers the door to close, thus trapping the mouse.
Other means of getting rid of mice include repellents. There are some commercial brands out there that all claim to have some form of success but the there are two common repellents that you can get that will do the job. The first is mint. Mice do not like the smell of mint. You can plant these small but fragrant plants around your home and it acts as a natural deterrent against the little rodents. The second form of repellent is a cat. Cats are natural predators and will likely injure and play with he mouse before killing it and presenting it to you as a gift. Just make sure your cat is smarter than the one in those cartoons.