You are about to take a bite of your midnight snack when you see an unwelcome guest in the kitchen. You grab your phone and search “How to Get Rid of Mice” as fast as your fingers will type.
If you see mice in your home, it’s obvious that you have a rodent issue. But what are the other signs of an infestation? And what is the best way to remove mice from your home?
Don’t forget, mice can infest your vehicle also.
Signs You Have Mice in Your Home
Mouse droppings are the best indicator that you have a problem.
Droppings are likely to be found in drawers, cabinets, under sinks and near food packages. Fresh droppings will appear dark and moist.
You are most likely to find droppings close to where the rodents are nesting or feeding.
Gnaw marks or scratches are also telltale signs that you have mice or rats in your home. You might find gnaw marks on cardboard boxes, food packages, walls and other surfaces.
Rodents will use just about anything to make their nest. If you find shredded paper, lint or dried plant material in a small pile near a wall or corner, you’ve likely uncovered a rodent nest. Often these nests will have a foul odor, further alerting you to an infestation in your home.
If you suspect mice but haven’t uncovered any of these signs, try placing a very thin layer of flour or baby powder near a wall or on your counters overnight.
If rodents are present, there is a good chance you will find their footprints in the powder the next morning.
If you see or hear mice at night but never during the day, the population is probably fairly small and can be managed with DIY methods like traps and bait. However, if you are seeing any rodents during the day or if you are seeing lots of new droppings, gnaw marks or scratches, the infestation has probably grown to the point that it will require professional rodent control.
The Best Way to Get Rid of Mice
Remove Entry Points
The most effective way to get rid of mice is to prevent them from ever getting into your home in the first place. Mice can squeeze through a hole the size of a nickel. So it’s important to check inside and outside your home for gaps or holes.
Mice are excellent climbers. Be sure to check both high and low. Look over your roof, windows, attic, crawl spaces, foundation and basement.
You can fill small holes with steel wool. Use caulk to hold the steel wool in place. Large holes can be filled with cement, hardware cloth or metal sheeting.
It’s important to seal outbuildings and garages in addition to your home.
Use Effective Mouse Traps
The best way to get rid of mice is to use an appropriate snap trap. These traps are safe to use and highly effective.
Glue traps or live traps may seem like a more humane option, but that is often not the case.
Glue traps and live traps can cause the rodent to panic and prolong their struggle.
These traps can also cause mice to urinate which can expose you and your family to germs and diseases.
You can find snap traps at your local hardware store.
Before you purchase a trap, it’s important to determine what size you will need. Traps for catching mice are different from traps meant for rats. If you’ve never seen the mouse, use the mouse signs to gauge whether you are dealing with mice or rats.
Mice are much smaller in size, so large gnaw marks and scratches indicate you are dealing with rats instead of mice.
Your Bait Matters
Most traps recommend placing a pea-size amount of peanut butter on the bait pan. Soft cheese or wet cat food also works well. In general, a sticky bait is most likely to cause the mouse to trigger the trap.
Nesting materials have also proven to be a powerful attractant. A small wad of string, lint or cotton takes advantage of the rodent’s drive to gather items and use them to build their nest.
This could be a good option if you have dogs or cats that will attempt to eat cheese or peanut butter off a snap trap.
Poison mouse bait is not recommended because of the risk it poses to children, pets and wildlife. This type of bait often relies on food-based chemicals to attract mice. Poison bait on a snap trap should be avoided especially in homes where an unintended target could come across it.
Trap Placement is Key
The best way to get rid of mice is to place your traps in the area where the rodents are most active. Traps should be placed about 2 to 10 feet apart along the wall and in corners. Traps can also be placed in cabinets, behind appliances and under furniture.
Mice don’t like to run out of the open. Instead, they run next to walls or other objects for safety.
Place your trap so that it forms a “T” with the wall. The baited end should be closest to the wall. This will force the rodent to run directly across the trap.
If you have areas of your home that do not have regular human traffic, like attics, basements or crawl spaces, you can set traps in any area you suspect rodent activity. Some mice may be cautious and may not approach the trap for several days.
Don’t give up if you don’t catch the mouse right away.
Use Bait Packages for Large, Open Areas
Bait packages or bait stations can be a good way to prevent mice infestations outdoors or in large spaces like barns or outbuildings where it’s hard to seal off all entry points.
Mice chew through a bag or another vessel and ingest poisonous bait. The rodents bring the bait back to the nest where it spreads to other mice.
Unfortunately, this method can carry a significant risk to children, pets and wildlife.
The bait stations should be used with caution and should always be placed in tamper-resistant bait stations to protect children and pets.
Eliminate Food Sources
It is critical to eliminate food sources that can attract rodents.
Maintaining a clean, sanitary environment can go a long way toward controlling mice infestations.
- Keep food in thick plastic, metal or ceramic containers with tight lids.
- Clean up spilled food immediately, wash dishes and sweep up crumbs.
- Secure pet food and do not leave pet water and food bowls out overnight.
- Use thick metal or plastic garbage cans for trash and recycling waste.
- Make sure your garbage cans have secure lids and place them away from your home if possible.
Both Interior and Exterior Mice Must Be Eliminated
When cooler temperatures arrive, mice look for food and shelter – typically in your home.
It’s important to control an outdoor infestation before the rodents have the time and opportunity to move indoors.
Our morning newsroom distraction, mouse on live webcam at a bird feeder in Port Blandord https://t.co/52z5wn21vN— Keith Gosse (@TelyPhotoGosse) September 17, 2015
Woodpiles, tall grass and leaf piles make the perfect place for mice to hide.
Bird and pet food can also attract mice.
Eliminating opportunities for mice to find food and shelter can reduce the number of rodents outside your home.
Consider a Pet Cat
Cats are the perfect pet to help get rid of mice. Barn cats have always been a friend to farmers because they are so effective at eliminating mice.
Natural rodent predators, like snakes, owls and hawks can also help control or reduce the number of mice outside the home.
While you can’t exactly direct wildlife to help with your rodent problem, you can take care not to deter these natural predators from doing their job.
Still Having Problems? Call Professional Exterminators
If you have a significant infestation, DIY methods may not be enough to get rid of mice quickly.
We have more than 20 years of experience treating termites, bed bugs, rodents and other pest problems.
Our Integrated Pest Management approach can help you get rid of unwanted rodents in no time.
Call us to learn more or schedule a pest treatment or complete the form below.