Top 10 Ways to Get Rid of Mice
Having a mouse in the house is a nightmare of many, and when you have signs of many mice, it is imperative that you get rid of them immediately. Mice have a way of getting into the smallest spaces, so you might find them in your walls, in the ceiling, underneath the floorboards, or even eating small holes into your sofa or other furniture. Mice also are not limited to the home, and you might also find them in your sheds, garages, or other outdoor buildings. Mice are a nuisance, plain and simple. They carry disease, they are destructive, and they leave their droppings everywhere they go.
Mice are notorious for carrying and transmitting disease, and they might also destroy property and crops. Mice can also contaminate the food in your home with diseases such as salmonellosis and hantavirus, both of which are dangerous to humans. These critters also spread quickly, and just one or two mice can easily expand to more than 200 in a matter of a couple of months.
One of the first signs of a mouse infestation is a presence of mouse droppings, which look like flecks of dirt. Other signs of a mouse infection include holes in the floorboards and walls, mouse tracks, noises at night, and the smell of urine.
It’s possible to eliminate mice from your home, and property and there are a number of ways to do this. Yes, you can call an exterminator, but they often use the same methods that you can do on your own. Here are 10 easy steps to get rid of mice:
10Build The Mice Out
One of the first steps you must take when getting rid of mice on your property is to make sure they cannot get in. This is called rodent-proofing you home, and it is an effective way to stop any infestation from expanding.
Defending your home from a mouse infection starts with finding the entry points, and then eliminating access to them. Mice can get into extremely small openings, even those that are a quarter of an inch and up. Experts say if you can fit a pencil into a hole, crack, or other opening, a mouse can also get through.
Start by walking around the foundation of the home and sealing any cracks that you find. Also look for openings in the walls, including where there are any vents or pipes. Caulking works well to seal these openings, as does steel wool. Rubber, wood, and plastic do not work well, as mice can easily gnaw through this material. Also, add weather stripping to all doors and windows as well as a sweep on the door. This will help to keep mice out when the door is closed. Remember, a mouse can get underneath many doors, so it is important that you close off these spaces, if possible.
Take a look at the yard, too, and remove any debris that mice might be using as a ‘home away from home,’ and close up any holes in sheds, garages, and the like.
9Set Traps Around the Property
Once the house is mouse-proof, you then might consider setting traps. There are two kinds of mouse traps available on the market. There are traditional mouse traps, which will kill the mouse instantly, and humane traps, which capture the mouse within a contained container that they cannot get out of.
Wooden snap traps are usually the first choice among homeowners; they are easy to set up, are cheap to buy, and they have a good rate of capture. You should use caution, however, as you can snap your finger when setting it up. Most people set several traps around the area of the infestation, and peanut butter serves as an effective bait. Once the mice are caught, since these traps are so cheap, you can throw the mouse and the trap away.
Humane mouse traps are much more expensive than the snap traps, but they capture the mouse alive. They are larger, too, so they might not fit into small spaces where mice tend to gather. These traps are also baited, except a mouse will enter into the trap and a door will snap shut behind them. Once the mouse it captured, it can be taken to a safe place and released.
The final option is a glue board. This is a baited board covered with a sticky substance that the mouse cannot escape from. This is usually a last choice for homeowners as the mice often suffer trying to remove themselves from the board.
Another option you have to get rid of mice is to use poison bait stations. Each station is filled with pellets containing a tasty combination of food that mice like, but also contains a poison, which ultimately will kill the mouse. Some people use these stations, others simply place the pellets in a tube, such as a toilet or paper towel roll, and then place them in areas where they suspect the mice will frequent.
There are pros and cons to using mouse poison pellets. First, these pellets are inexpensive. They also are effective, and they can fit into tight spaces. However, you should not use these pellets if you have pets or small children. Pets will like the taste of them, just like mice, and children might believe them to be candy. The other con of using this poison is that the mice will not die immediately. Instead, they will eat their fill, and then crawl back in between the walls of your home. Once there, they die. As you might imagine, however, one or two dead, decaying mice might not be noticeable, but 20 or 30 dead, decaying mice will certainly become an issue as they will begin to smell.
Keep in mind that you are limited in the type of mouse poison you can purchase on the market, as the Food and Drug Administration banned several types of this product in late 2015.
7Electronic Mouse Control
You also might want to consider electronic mouse control. This method of mouse eradication has been around since the 1980s, and has mixed reviews. The concept of this mouse control method is that the mice do not appreciate the electrical ultrasonic waves that come from the devices. These devices can only be placed in rooms that have outlets, however.
Finding a good spot for the devices is difficult as any object in front of the repelling device might prevent the waves from reaching the mice. On top of this, you must figure out how to make contact with the mice. It doesn’t make sense, for instance, to put the device in a room where mice never pass.
Another issue you might encounter is not knowing how many devices you need for your area. Remember, these will only work inside and you likely don’t have any idea at this point of how many rodents there are in the home or building. So, in general, you will require several devices and must put them in rooms that don’t have a lot of furniture or other things that might block the waves. Additionally, you cannot use these devices outdoors, so even if you can use them indoors, you will have to choose another method to get rid of the mice outdoors.
As mentioned, these repelling devices have mixed reviews, and independent reviews suggest that these are not the most effective methods for getting rid of mice. In fact, some find these to be completely ineffective.
6Clean Up Your Act
Getting rid of mice can be as simple as cleaning up your act. Mice are attracted to crumbs, garbage, and other debris in your home, so when you remove these things, the mouse will have nothing to eat.
Start in the kitchen and do a thorough cleaning of the area. Clean out drawers, underneath cabinets, and under tables and chairs. You also should pull the refrigerator out if possible, and sweep and mop under there, taking care to reach into all of the corners. Your goal is to clean the kitchen from every crumb and spec of food.
Keep in mind, however, you must use caution if you notice that there are any mouse droppings in the area. These should not be swept up. Why? Because the droppings of the mice often contain bacteria and viruses that can become airborne when you sweep. If you breathe this air in, the chances of developing an illness are much higher. Instead, you have to do some heavy duty cleaning by hand, making sure that you wear a face mask and gloves. It is best to use an OSHA-approved respirator with a cartridge to ensure that you are fully protected.
After you are done cleaning any area with visible mouse droppings, you should throw away all of your gloves and masks, along with any clothing that you have been wearing. You should also wash your hands several times after taking the gloves off. Throw everything away in a plastic bag and tie it very tightly.
5Mice Repellent and Sprays
There are also mice repellant and sprays on the market that you might want to try. However, keep in mind that these are primarily used to keep mice from coming onto the property and keeping them away. They are not as effective once mice have already settled in.
Mice repellents are often found at department stores or in local garden centers. Keep in mind, there is no evidence that these sprays, which irritate the mice with chemicals or natural oils, actually work in the long term. Though it is true that the mice will not want to cross the area where these sprays are applied, the spray naturally washes away quickly, or the mice simply find another route into the home.
These sprays are often not regulated, so make sure to do a bit of research before you use the spray on certain areas of your home. These sprays might not be safe for pets or small children, and you should advise older children and other adults to stay away from the area after spraying.
If you do choose to try these sprays and repellants, make sure that you are cleaning up the area, such as removing any food source, and clean up debris, where mice might find food that you are not aware of. This will help to keep the mice population on your property under control, and if you pair that with the use of a repellant, you might be able to eliminate them completely.
4Use a Cat…or Even a Dog
Though it might be an extreme step to get a cat or dog to solve your mouse problems, if you already have one, you might want to let them take on the role of mouse eradicator. According to the ASPCA, almost half of all households in the US have a dog, and almost 40 percent of households in the US have a cat, so you might find that you fall into these statistics.
Should you go out and adopt a cat or dog to get rid of your mouse problem? Probably not, if that’s the only reason, but if you have a barn or a lot of land, a few barn cats might not be a bad idea.
Cats, especially, love to hunt, and mice are a perfect prey for their natural instincts. Many dogs, especially small ones, will also like to chase mice for fun. Not all pets will want to jump in on the chase, of course, but if you can convince your furry family members to help in the hunt, you might find that they can greatly help your situation. The mice will get clued in fairly quickly that there is a predator around, and they will usually stay clear of the area.
Mice, however, are quite elusive, so even a dog or cat might not be able to catch them. However, they can usually clue you into a mice infestation if you have not yet noticed this, yourself.
3Grab a Box of Moth Balls
You might also consider using moth balls to get rid of mice. According to independent reports, moth balls work about 65 percent of the time to get rid of mice. Even though that is a lower percentage, it still might be worth a shot because finding moth balls is easy and the product is inexpensive.
If you try to use moth balls for a mice infestation, there are a few things that you should be aware of. First, mothballs can be dangerous, and they do post a threat to pets and children. Mothballs are a type of pesticide, and when used indoors, they can greatly affect the indoor air quality of your home. Additionally, if using mothballs outdoors, they will quickly dissolve if it rains, or be blown away by a simply gust of wind.
It is best to use mothballs in indoor areas that are not living areas, such as garages, sheds, or other buildings. Just make sure, if you go into these buildings, that you have enough ventilation. Just a very small amount of the active chemicals in mothballs could bring on negative health effects. In fact, this is the equivalent of only a few drops of water in an Olympic-sized swimming pool. Though mothballs can be effective at getting mice out of your property, use them with caution.
2Work with Nature
There are some natural remedies you might want to try to get rid of mice, too. For instance, you might consider making your own pepper spray to deter mice. Make sure to wear gloves when working with hot peppers, and you might also want to wear eye protection. To create this spray, cut up about a half a cup of habanero peppers, and then take two tablespoons of hot pepper flakes, and add both into about two gallons of water. Boil the concoction and allow it to soak for about 24 hours, and then strain the peppers out and pour the water into a spray bottle. Spray the area around your property where mice are coming, making sure to keep pets and young children away from the area, as this spray will hurt!
Another natural remedy you might wish to try is essential oils. Both peppermint and clove oils can work well to get rid of mice around your property. To use these oils, you can place several drops on cotton balls, old rags, old t-shirts, or other cloth items. Place these items around the area where the evidence of mice is found. Make sure, however, that all items have the oil on them and that they have a scent, otherwise, the mice might outsmart you and use these items to build a nest.
Finally, you can try to keep mice out of your property by spreading dryer sheets around. For example, if you are having problems with an area of your barn, such as where you store your feed, it can help to place dryer sheets on the floor around the feed. However, you must check the sheets on occasion, as once the scent leaves the sheets, the mice will use them to build up their nests.
1Hire a Pro
If you have tried all of the above steps, and you still have a problem with mice, you might have to contact a professional. There are plenty of local and national pest control businesses that can eliminate the mice in your home or on your property. Though these companies often suggest the same remedies that have been mentioned above, you will also find that they have some advanced chemicals and methods that they can use to finally rid you of mice.
When you call out a pest control professional, they will come in and first examine your home and property. This will help them to find out every vulnerability in the home starting with the roof down to the crawl space. They will then create a plan to secure the home against mice.
Once they have this information, they will come up with a plan to patch, seal, and secure the exterior. They will also install special devices that will allow any mice inside of the home or building to escape, but they cannot get back in. If they believe that more traps or bait are necessary for the eradication of the mice they might try that, too, as it’s possible that you might not have had enough, or that they were placed in areas where the mice did not frequent. Since these people are experts, they will know exactly where to place the traps.
It doesn’t matter where you live or how clean and tidy your home, barn, or shed is, there is always the chance that you will come into contact with mice. Once a single mouse settles in, his friends will soon follow, and before you know it, you will have a full blown mouse infestation.
Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to eradicate these rodents from your property, though some will work better than others. In some cases, all of these methods of eradication will work well, and in others, you might be forced to try all 10 before you can live in a rodent-free environment.
If you notice any sign of a mouse in your home, on your property, or in outdoor buildings, your very first step should be to seal up any open holes, cracks or seams where they might be able to enter. After that, you can start trying the rest of the steps one by one.
Though mice are usually quite cute on cartoons or in the movies, in real life, they can carry diseases and even bring other pests in with them, such as fleas, which can bring even more of a headache to your life.
Time is extremely important when you are dealing with rodents such as mice, so at the first sign of an infestation, start your mice eradication steps.