How to Get Rid Of Mice

How to Get Rid of Mice in a Nutshell:

Seal-up all holes around your property, to prevent mice entering or re-entering.

Clean-up all food. Do not leave crumbs or food scraps on surfaces or floors and store all food in sealed glass, plastic or tin containers. Same goes for water.

Use timed pet feeders to feed your cats and dogs, do not leave pet food or water on the floor for the mice.

Best Methods for Trapping Mice

One of the best mouse traps is the electronic Victor mouse trap (Click the link to read a full review). The best bait to use is peanut butter placed on a candy wrapper, also place some bait under the trap. Always place the trap against a wall or a corner.

When setting traps, use gloves so you don’t leave your human smell on the trap. BUT make sure you only touch the gloves at the “wrist end” because you don’t want to transfer you human smell the the gloves and then the gloves to transmit it to the trap.

Mice Infestations

An infestation of mice in your home can be difficult to deal with, especially if you don’t know how to get rid of mice efficiently and effectively. Rodents are nasty pests because they can cause a lot of damage to your property by gnawing through walls, electric cables and furniture, as well as posing a health risk.

Mouse NestOf course, prevention is better than cure, but if it’s too late for that, then you need to learn about getting rid of mice. In the meantime, there are quite a lot of simple, common sense things you can do to help control the problem.

You should understand that the mice are in your home primarily because they have found a good food and water supply. They are also enjoying having a nice warm place to live, and because everything is in their favor, they will happily start to raise a family – several families, in fact.

Before long, the original breeding pair, or pairs, will be grandparents, then great-grandparents, and so on. It all happens rather quickly with mice, so time is definitely of the essence.

How Do I Know If I Have a Mouse Infestation?

Mouse CheeseIt is, of course, important to be sure there actually is a mouse infestation before you go off half-cocked trying to get rid of mice that may not even exist. Mice will leave tell-tale signs that they have moved in. Some of the signs will be visible, while others may be audible, or even olfactory. That simply means you will be able to see the evidence, hear the evidence, or smell the odor.

The most obvious visible evidence of a mouse infestation is their droppings. These look like small black beads. Mice poop a lot, and often, so there are always plenty of droppings to be found where mice have been. You can see pictures of mouse droppings at Arkive.

Look primarily in the kitchen. Check cupboards and drawers, as well as bins. Always remember they are after food, so try to think like a mouse and go where they are most likely to find food. Remember also, they are small creatures, so it doesn’t have to be a lot of food either. Crumbs dropped on the floor will provide a nice snack for a small mouse.

Mice are noisy creatures. They will inhabit the spaces behind your walls, or up in the attic. One single mouse can sound like an elephant charging, almost, if you hear it scurrying along your attic floor, which also happens to be you bedroom roof, in the middle of the night, for example. You may also hear them squeaking a lot too.

You are unlikely to smell the evidence of a mouse infestation in the early stages. By the time you can smell anything, the problem is getting out of hand. The main smells are of mouse urine, usually, and easy to recognize. If a mouse dies behind a wall, it will also smell as its flesh rots. The smell will be quite intense and very nasty.

What Should I Do If a Mouse Has Moved In?

You should start by blocking up the source of their entry. This way you can ensure that no more will get in, and then you can start to tackle the ones already inside. Check for cracks or openings in the foundations on the outside of the house. Check where pipes or cables enter or leave the house to see if there are any openings between the pipes or cables and the wall.

You need to check the tiniest of spaces. Don’t leave any space, no matter how small, to chance. Go around your house checking carefully, and eliminate all spaces and openings from the foundations to the top of the roof, and block them all up securely. It will take a while to do properly, but your valuable property is worth the effort, isn’t it?

Cat and MouseNatural methods for deterring mice from entering apartments or houses include, soaking balls of cotton wool in mint and peppermint oil and leaving them in places where the mice are active and getting a cat!

When you are satisfied that no mouse can either get in or out of the house, it’s time to set some traps. You need to decide what pest control products to use, do you use traditional snap traps, electronic traps, or humane traps. You can also use glue traps or spread mouse poison. There are pros and cons for each.

Snap traps can be cruel. They don’t always kill the animal outright, leaving it to suffer for hours on end. Even if they do kill the mouse instantly, there is still the problem of disposal of the body, and there will likely be blood and gore to clean up too.

Glue traps are very cruel. They trap the animal on a strip of glue. It stays alive, but you need to kill it once you find it, and then dispose of it. Poison is, of course, dangerous to use, especially if you have household pets or children.

Humane traps work well. They trap the animal without harming it so you can release it again somewhere far from your house. Of course, you do need to check these traps regularly, or the mouse will be left inside the trap without food or water for possibly days, which would of course be cruel.

Electronic traps are extremely efficient. They work off batteries, which mean they are completely portable without wires. They work by giving the mouse a high voltage charge when it steps on a special plate and completes a circuit. The mouse is killed instantly, and there is no blood or gore. Disposal of the body is easy and clean.

Where Is the Best Place to Put the Mouse Trap?

The best place to put mouse traps is where the mice are most active. You will know where this is by observing the amount of mouse droppings. There may also be an increased amount of mouse urine where they have been very active. This is likely to be somewhere that they can get at food and water. The kitchen or pantry is a likely place.

As a rough guide, the more mouse activity you see, the more mouse traps you will likely need. Placing several traps a few feet apart will likely work well. You should experiment and see what works best.

How Do I Set a Mouse Trap?

Each different type of mouse trap should be set according to the best way for that trap. Traditionally a piece of cheese was used to catch a mouse, but these days most people get great results using peanut butter. In fact, anything smelly and tasty will likely work with mice. Test various types of bait and use what works best for you.

Set a snap trap by placing the bait on the trigger and very carefully loading the trap. These traps are extremely sensitive, so be careful you don’t get you fingers caught, which will be very painful indeed.

Electronic traps are set by ensuring that the device is switched off first, then placing the bait at the far end of the trap. Some people recommend smearing a tiny quantity of peanut butter at the entrance of the trap as a kind of appetizer for the mouse. Once it gets a taste, it will want more, and it will smell the larger amount of bait at the far end of the trap, but of course, it won’t make it that far.

Humane traps should be set in the same way as electronic traps by placing the bait at the far end of the trap. This will ensure that the mouse has to pass the trigger mechanism that will close the door of the trap, preventing it from escaping again. A tiny appetizer of peanut butter at the trap entrance could again work in your favor to persuade the mouse to enter the trap.

How Long Should I leave a Mouse Trap in Place?

As long as it takes, usually. However, if that means the bait will go off, then of course you will need to remove the bait and place fresh bait in the trap again. If it takes that long and no mouse is caught, there are several possible reasons. It could be that you no longer have a mouse infestation, or perhaps you have placed the trap in a place where they are not very active.

Where Can I Dispose of a Dead Mouse Safely?

Getting rid of dead mice is a health hazard. It should be handled very carefully, and removed from the home as soon as possible. Make sure that any pets, and especially children, don’t touch or go near the dead mouse.

You can pick up the dead mouse using an inside-out plastic bag. Carefully invert the bag the right way around while holding the mouse, seal the bag securely, and dispose of the dead body in a tightly secured bin or container.

The body will decay and start to smell very quickly. Be sure to only put it, secured in a plastic bag, in a bin that other creatures cannot get in to. This is especially important if you have used poison to kill the mouse, but even if not, still treat the disposal of the body as a serious matter.

If I Use the Trap & Release Method – Where Should I release The Mouse?

Trap and Release MouseThe trap and release method uses a humane trap that does not harm the animal. However, the mouse is still a health hazard. It has ticks and fleas on its body that can spread diseases, so avoid touching it. Also, the animal will most likely bite if you attempt to handle it, and this could lead to a more serious situation for you.

The animal should be taken as far away from the house as possible, preferable to some country area, and released somewhere in a field, quiet and dry. Mice are extremely resourceful, so it will find another food and water source very quickly.

It is important to clean out the humane trap before setting it again. Mice can easily detect the smell of humans, so wear gloves when handling the trap.

How Will I Know If I Have Been Successful In Getting Rid Of the Mouse Infestation?

You will know your mouse infestation has finally come to an end through several indications. The frequency of fresh mouse droppings will stop. If you still have mice, there will be fresh droppings every day. You won’t hear them scurrying around, especially at night when it’s quiet. And any smells that might have been will disappear.

However, stay vigilant. Keep checking for mice for up to two weeks or more. Check also for new openings or holes on the outside of the house. If, after a month or so, there is definitely no further sign of mice, you will know how to get rid of mice, for you will have successfully achieved it.

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About Mark

Mark has a strong background in Engineering and a huge interest in Pest Control as a way of getting rid of rodents and other unwanted pests who can cause a nuisance in your home and garden. You can subscribe to his free daily paper on Pest Control Solutions and follow him on Facebook or Twitter

Comments

  1. MomOfGirl says:

    We just moved into a new apt. Our boxes were in storage for a couple of weeks.
    Today we unpacked a box to find what we think are droppings inside the toaster.
    We find weird that there were no other signs of mice in any of the other kitchen boxes
    And that the droppings were jus located in the toaster and the paper in which it was wrapped
    The descriptions we have read about droppings seem to match.
    How do we know if we have mice and what should we do?
    I am super freaked out. Thanks!

  2. Two nights ago we heard weird noises in our wall during the middle of the night. Now, two days later my husband went down stairs (in our basement-liveable”fixed”) to our bedroom and smelled something awful. After checking things out the smell was coming from the laundry room. The l.room and our b.room share a wall. He cut the wall in the l. room maybe 2 feet wide and found around 40 dead mice 2-3 were about 2-10 days old and dead. The others were anywhere from 30 to only 2 years old. We have lived here for almost 5 years. He also found 2 live mice in the wall when he cut it he said both were not adults, but not babies, middle sized. He threw those out to the cats who ate them very fast. yuck, but I’m happy! He went into the attic and saw many mice holes in the insulation and dropping, but is unsure if its 30 some years old, or new holes. We are planning to get bait tomorrow, and traps. Mice freak me out more than anything……. We have 4 kids who are terrified also. Is there anything to help with this? Do you think they are infested here, or a fluke to find 2 in the wall with all the dead ones? Thanks, very worried ;(

    • It sounds like you have an infestation and recommend you apply all or many of the suggestions on this page. One of the most important things to do is block all the possible entrances into your home. Furthermore, check with your neighbors, work together and form a plan of action. You need to be very vigilant over the next couple of months.

  3. My friend said she saw a mouse in my flat 10 days ago by the kitchen bin which shot under the cabinet under the sink. sincE then I’ve been extremely on edge and have not slept properly in days!

    I have placed all dry foods in containers and in high kitchen cabinets, blocked up the gap around the piping under the sink with steel wool and put steel wool in every corner of my flat.

    I actually have never seen the mouse

    I’ve had a mouse problem in a different student flat before I know what mouse droppings/odour to expect, except this time rOund I can’t smell the mouse urine or have noticed any droppings.

    I’ve placed 8 traps in the small kitchen perimeter and under the sink as well as other corners of my flat and still no mice. I don’t know if at night I’m hearing scratching/scurrying or if it’s just my imagination. I also didn’t haven’t peppermint oil only t-tree oil so soaked and used that on cotton wool balls around the flat.

    Do I still have a mouse problem? Can mice naturally leave since I’ve cut off their food supply? Ive become so OCD about cleaning hoovering after I’ve eaten and taking the bin straight out to the communal bin room in the apartment block after cooking each meal so I actually don’t keep any waste in my flat anymore. My desk and papers/office is in the lounge which is open plan to the kitchen, theres no evidence of them feeding on paper either that’s on my desk/coffee table.

    How can I tell if it’s gone?
    Should I call exterminator?
    Is this an early Infestation?
    Which traps are best to use? I have a selection the rentokil advanaced snap traps and the sealed traps where the mouse has to enter a station to get the bait but trips the trap inside the container in doing so
    None have caught any mice yet I placed 8 yesterday still none have been caught used peanut butter as bait some with nutella

    Any ideas?
    Thank you

  4. If you hear mice scurrying around, then you still have an infestation. Double check everywhere to make sure there are no holes, no matter how small, you need to block them. You are doing the right thing in keeping your home clean and tidy and making sure there is no food or water available for them to drink.

    Read these two articles:
    http://www.pest-control-products.net/408/reviews/the-top-three-victor-mouse-traps/
    http://www.pest-control-products.net/314/mice/what-is-the-best-bait-to-use-for-catching-mice/

    When setting traps it is very important not to leave the human scent on them. Wear out door gloves (not latex) or use three sheets of newspapers when handling traps. Furthermore, do not transfer you scent to the glove when putting them on. You might want to rub them in some dirt or mud and then only pick them up by the wrist end.

  5. I have recently discovered a single mouse under my counter top stove. We heard it and immediately set a trap. Within that night he fell for the bait and is no longer with us. We have emptied out all of the kitchen cabinets and drawers, and have sanitized all of the cooking materials. There was droppings found in a couple of the cabinets and drawers, but I wouldn’t say that there was a “ton” or enough that makes me think there is an infestation….especially since they poop a lot on their own.

    We also sealed up any holes or cracks in the cabinets (they back up to an outside wall). Two days have passed now and nothing in any of the traps! So my question is how long should I wait before cleaning down all the cabinets and putting my cooking supplies back?

    • Hi
      As it has been a couple of days since you have seen or heard any evidence of mice, I would clean down now and put your stuff back.

      However, you always need to be vigilant and check your whole house once a month for possible entry points.

      M

  6. hi
    we caught 5 mice a few weeks ago in live traps we thought they were all gone as i left the traps down for 4 days after that and didn’t catch anymore but I saw a dropping under my bath though it was fresh one but wasn’t sure cause i thought the heat coming from the bath could of kept it moist as i was fixing the panel, i put a trap in there and in my hot press. i put food in the trap but noticed that when i went back to check them the next day the food was gone so i did it again and it happened the food was gone. I haven’t heard any scratching or seen any new dropping or heard anything could this be a mouse again?

    • It sounds like you have mice who are at least as interested in finding water as they are in finding food, and that maybe your trap has a defective door. The first thing you can do that will help control the problem is simply to make sure you never leave any water in the tub, even a tiny amount of water in the tub. A mouse only needs about 4 ml (about 1/60 of a cup) of water daily for survival. A few drops of water around the rim of the drain in your tub can be enough to sustain a mouse, and, more importantly, sufficient to attract a mouse.

      The second thing you can do to catch mice is to make sure the spring on the door of your trap is working correctly. Some large adult mice and adult rats are capable of bending the door lock so the door pops open. Just bend it back with a screwdriver.

      Want to try additional methods to keep your home rodent-free?

      It sounds as if you have the ideal situation for using an ultrasonic deterrent. Place the device as near to the bathtub as you can. Don’t run it all the time. It’s OK to turn it off during the times of day when you are in the bathroom. This way the mice don’t get accustomed to the sound, and you don’t have to worry about a mouse popping in you while you are in the room. Turn the machine back on at night and during times of day you are not at home.

  7. My family and I have recently moved into a rented home. We moved in in November and we saw about one or two mice. We got traps and thought we had caught the ones we had been seeing. Then a little after Christmas a house two doors down was completely torn down. Lately we have found mice wandering around but we do not know where they are coming in from. My mother-in-law has seen them in her room where there is a crawl space but the landlord said it is filled with insulation. We have tried decon but we do not think they are getting into it. We have caught 5 using the sticky traps and still have seen 3-4 more. My husband and I also hear scurrying around in our ceiling at night/ early morning. People say we only have mice because of the house being torn down but I am not sure. Can you help us?

    • It may be true that you wouldn’t have mice if your neighbor’s house wasn’t being torn down, but the fact is, you do have mice now.

      Mice love insulation. It makes great nesting material. You can even bait traps with insulation. It’s that attractive to mice.

      Glue traps don’t do a very good job of capturing mice. When the mouse gets all four paws stuck to the glue, then you will catch the critter. But adult mice can easily detect the glue by its scent and scurry around it. Glue traps really don’t work except as a backup trap to capture mice when they move around a snap trap.

      When you have mice in the insulation, it’s not a good idea to try to poison them, either. Your mother-in-law may be seeing live mice now, but she may start smelling dead mice if you keep putting out Decon. What you need to do is to set out snap traps, and not just one or two.

      If you have seen 3 or 4 mice, you need about 20 snap traps. Put them in locations where the mice are likely to travel when they forage for food or water, such as under sinks, under the stove, under the refrigerator, and under cabinets. It is also a good idea to put out traps under the sink in the bathroom, since mice may go there to get water, as well as any place you have seen evidence of rodent activity (droppings or torn fabric, for example).

      Place traps in pairs, perpendicular to the wall. Orient the traps so that one trap’s trigger end is next to the wall and the other trap’s trigger end is away from the wall. This makes it impossible for the mouse to hop over the trap. Make sure you wear gloves when you handle the traps, so you won’t transfer your own human scent from traces of sweat or dead skin cells on your hands.

      It usually only takes a night or two to get rid of 3 or 4 mice. Check all your traps daily, and if you don’t have any kills in 72 hours, put on gloves and take up all the traps for 48 hours, so mice won’t get used to them. Put the snap traps out again two days later and see if this doesn’t get rid of your infestation.

  8. Hello! I began seeing mouse droppings about 4 months ago. I immediately bought several glue traps and bigger traps (the ones that you put bait inside.) No luck catching mice. It seems as if they went right around the traps. I would see droppings inches away from the traps. I had an exterminator come in about one month after who put down poison. The poison was blue in color and he said if I saw blue droppings, then the mice have eaten the poison and would die soon. No luck. I have been seeing blue droppings for two months now. I also bought the electric “buzzers” two months ago (the little squares that you plug in and emit that buzzing sound that mice allegedly don’t like.) Again, no luck. The mice are still here. Any suggestions or ideas? I see droppings on the floor but never in cupboards or cabinets where food is (thank God!) I bought some mint oil that I will put on cotton balls and pray that helps. Should I try to ond a stronger poison? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

    • I don’t personally like using poisons, I prefer using traps.

      The thing with traps is that mice have a very keen sense of smell and can smell the human scent on traps. Therefore never handle traps with your bare hands. Use gardening gloves and rub them in some soil before touching the traps.

      If you can see droppings near the traps at least you know the paths the mice travel and have the traps roughly in the right place.

      Always place your traps along a wall, mix up the type of traps as well. Think very carefully about positioning of traps, a mouse will jump over a snap trap, but if you put two down, the second one will trap him. Or put a snap trap next to a glue trap. Create tunnels out of cardboard boxes and put traps in their – use electronic traps.

      To catch a mouse, think like a mouse.

      Simon

  9. I recently found mouse in my lounge it was climbing up the fireplace fortunately I managed to catch that mouse, with in an hour of seeing it as i had watched the path it was taking, I left my traps out just in case, I had two weeks of no activity and then came down to find another mouse in the trap I had put in the exact same place as where I caught the first mouse. I have looked everyday since seeing the first mouse and can’t find any mouse activity (no noises, droppings or gnawed boxes, wires etc). I am just wondering if this is just two random mice that have found there way in to my house (as my neighbour has been having their out of control ivy that covers their entire back garden seen to, as I had never seen a mouse before this and have lived here for seven years), or the fact I caught them in the same trap that they know each other and have nest nearby. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    • You did very well catching your two mice with, what it seems, not too much difficulty. The most important thing is to keep an eye out for any mice activity. The seconding thing to do is to try to find out how the mice got into your home and block that route in.

      It could be as you said, if your neighbor is getting the ivy sorted, then this may up prompted any mice to try to find a new home, and they chose yours!

  10. Hi Mark,
    thank you for the informative article. I am from Sydney and have lived in the same house for 8yrs (it’s an old home about 100yrs old) and this is the first time we have had a mouse. I worry it has come from our neighbour’s property. She is elderly and about one year ago I saw two mice scurry beneath one of her outdoor window sills into her home. I told her grandson about it and he said he would deal with it (it appeared that mice wasn’t a new occurrence in the home). However he was quite abrupt and I don’t feel I can chat to him about working together to get rid of mice! My neighbour is over 90, frail and doesn’t speak English so I can’t really talk to her about it.

    Anyway, about two weeks ago we had a backyard birthday party and about 5days later we noticed something run under the couch. it was dark we weren’t sure what it was, then the night after we saw something run under the kitchen fridge. The next morning we found droppings in the cupboard under the sink and under the couch. My husband and I thought that any crumbs or food left outside from the party may have attracted the mouse. So my hubby set up a variety of traps, along walls in the lounge and one near the fridge and of course under the sink. But it’s been close to one week and the mouse has not been caught! We have placed a sultana with peanut butter on some traps, and on others some peanut butter and salami.

    We hadn’t seen any activity for 2 days or mouse droppings in the kitchen cupboard but just this morning I found some droppings behind my son’s bed (that really is the final straw for me!) To be honest I don’t know if the droppings are fresh because I didn’t actually check my son’s room for droppings (I naively just thought the mouse would hang around the kitchen!)
    Anyway, I keep a clean house and do my best to keep it crumb free. I don’t really know what the mouse could be feeding on because I don’t have food laying around the house. Is there any way of knowing that the mouse is gone, or if we have in fact more than one mouse? I am petrified that we won’t catch the mouse and it may bring in a family of mice. That’s about when I may move LOL!

    Also, yesterday morning I noticed some paint shavings from our outdoor window sill laying on the grass. I found it odd. Would it be a mice knowing at the paint/window from the outside?? Again, I don’t know when this actually happened, I just noticed it yesterday.

    IS it ever possible that a mouse just moves on out of your home, or once you have a mouse you have a mouse???
    I don’t know what else to do., I have been disinfecting cupboard and floors but don’t know if its pointless if the mouse is still here??! Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks!

    • Hi Yve,

      I think your first step is all about prevention and working with your neighbor. If you have clutter or an overgrown garden this is the environment pests like, so start here. If you have a well maintained garden then good. The next step is to check and make sure there are no holes where mice can get into your home – seal up everything – they can get in via some extremely small holes.

      If your neighbor’s home is a refuge for mice and they won’t do anything about it, contact your local authority and see if they can help.

      Finally, when setting traps in your home, be very careful that you do not leave a human smell on the traps – i.e don’t touch them with your bare hands.

      Simon

  11. We found out we had mice when we were sitting on the couch one night and we heard scratching underneath it. The following day our dog started going nuts in our room, he was rooting around under our bed and we saw one scurry across the floor. The following day we immediately got traps. We then noticed a chewed hole in the wall near our stairs and then one in the bathroom where the pipes are. The only area we have seen and droppings is in one cupboard in the kitchen. We checked the rest!

    Since then our dog has rooted around in the kitchen, which produced a mouse that ran under the fridge. Since we already have traps in there as well as an ultrasonic device, I then soaked some cotton balls in peppermint oil and put the all around our living room, kitchen, and dining room. We haven’t heard anything under the couch and our dog doesn’t seem as interested in the kitchen. He has instead moved his interest to our laundry room, which is connected to the kitchen. So far we have only caught caught two mice in our room which is on the second floor of our house. They don’t seem interested in any of the other traps we have set up around the house. They haven’t been getting into food either.

    This weekend we will be plugging up the holes we found in the foundation around our house. Other than this I am out of ideas. So to sum it up, we have traps all around both upstairs and downstairs, ultrasonic devices up and down as well, peppermint soaked cotton balls all over downstairs, and we will be plugging up all holes outside. Any other suggestions?

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