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 Victor electronic mouse trap (Click the link to read about it). 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.
Table of Contents
- How Do I Know If I Have a Mouse Infestation?
- What Should I Do If a Mouse Has Moved In?
- Where Is the Best Place to Put the Mouse Trap?
- How Do I Set a Mouse Trap?
- How Long Should I leave a Mouse Trap in Place?
- Where Can I Dispose of a Dead Mouse Safely?
- If I Use the Trap & Release Method – Where Should I release The Mouse?
- Clean up the mess
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.
The house mouse is a common pest. After all, they live in houses. Your attic is a warm, safe, quiet place for a mother mouse to give birth and raise her babies. Those baby mice will have baby mice and their baby mice will have baby mice, so that it you don’t take care of the problem you will have:
- The faint odor of mouse urine all over your house.
- Unexpected shorts and outages as the mice gnaw through insulation on electrical wires.
- Scratching and scampering noises in your ceiling and in your walls.
- Drips, leaks, and unexpectedly high water bills when mice gnaw through PVC pipes.
- Interruptions to cable and Internet service when mice chew insulation.
- Mouse droppings in your attic and in your kitchen.
- Damage to food in the pantry.
- Disease problems that are hard to track, such as E. coli and Salmonella infections from mouse-tainted food, and parasites in your pets.
Mice stake their territory in nooks and crannies anywhere in your house, but your attic is practically a vacation resort. In the safe and secure environment of your attic, just two mice can become 100 mice in less than a year. The sooner you get that first mouse out of your house, the fewer problems you will have. Here are not-really-easy but necessary steps to small rodent control for your attic and for the rest of your house.
How Do I Know If I Have a Mouse Infestation?
It 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. A good way of identifying the problem is to use a camera trap (like a security camera). They are very easy to install because they are wireless and are easy to use. Most cameras have night-vision capability so are perfect to use in dark places like the attic and… at night. Check-out the top 3 camera traps here.
Another way to see where mice are getting in is to do your inspection at night with a black light (ultraviolet light). Mice navigate your house by smell rather than by sight, and their smell of choice is their own or another mouse’s urine. A black light will show you the highest concentrations of urine which are most highly trafficked by mice.
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 and the attic. 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’s also a good idea to make sure your doors are closed every time they are opened. Door springs and door closers have to be in working order to keep mice out. This is particularly true if you have children. You should also check pet doors to make sure they close securely behind your pet.
Natural 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, getting a cat or using an ultrasonic rodent repeller (this link goes to an article talking about repelling squirrels, but it is the same concept as for mice because they are both rodents).
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 traps to use, do you use traditional mouse snap traps, electronic traps, or humane traps. You can also use glue traps or mouse poison bait. There are pros and cons for each.
Snap traps are very efficient at killing mice. As they are very cheap, it’s easiest to dispose of the trap and mouse at the same time.
Glue traps, 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. This is why you only use them in conjunction with a mouse bait station.
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 well as the loft.
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 mouse 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.
Poisons are another option. You should use them with a mouse bait station, don’t just scatter poison bait around your loft space. You can buy pre-loaded bait stations, so all you have to do is place the bait stations in corners or the mouse runways.
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.
Glue traps are effective and good for putting in places where the space height is too low to fit a conventional spring or electronic trap. You don’t have to set them, you just put them in the best location.
Humane traps should be baited 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?
When you don’t hear any more mouse noises, and you don’t see any new mouse droppings, and you’re sure you have sealed your house from new arrivals, then you don’t need to continue trapping.
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?
The trap and release method uses a humane mouse 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.
Clean up the mess
Mouse urine can carry bacterial infections that make cats, dogs, and people sick. Mouse droppings are disgusting, and a source of E. coli and Salmonella. Vacuum up droppings. Use an enzymatic fogging mister to neutralize dried urine. If you have just one step of the mouse control process done by a professional exterminator, your best choice may be cleanup. Exterminators will have chemicals that remove the pheromones that attract new mice as well as kill germs and parasites.
Ridding mice from your attic doesn’t have to be extremely expensive, but you will save time by making sure you have all the equipment you need. Buy a motion activated security camera with night vision to identify the pest and understand its behavior. In addition buy a black light to detect urine trails. Seal mouse holes with at least a spray foam pest blocker. Buy stainless steel pads to stuff into small holes that you then seal with caulk. It’s best to go to the home repair center and get wire mesh to mouse-proof holes in walls, your roof, and joints and soffits. Get enough snap traps and/or tunnel traps to capture 24 mice. One or two traps just won’t do. Get a shop vac for cleaning up droppings.
Whether you do your own rodent control or depend on a professional, you have to stop new infestations before you can get rid of old ones. You care the most about the long-term pest-free status of your home. You are your own best pest exterminator.