It’s estimated that more than a third of Americans have found a mouse in their house in the last year.
The sight of these small rodents may not drive you to shriek and stand on a chair, but having mice in your home is problematic. A single mouse can drop up to 25,000 stinky, potentially disease-carrying poop pellets a year. Mice can eat your food, shred your possessions, and fray electrical wires, creating a fire hazard.
Because a female mouse can have up to 12 pups every three weeks, once you become cognizant that you’re cohabitating with these critters, you want to nip the problem in the bud.
Preventing Mice Infestations
The best way to deal with mice is to prevent them from entering your home in the first place. Here are some preventive measures you can take:
- Maintain the structural integrity of your home. Homeowners who live in houses that have damaged roofs and walls are 4-5X more likely to have mice. No surprise there; mice use the cracks and openings in a home’s compromised structure to get inside.
- Eliminate entry points: Mice can squeeze through impressively tiny openings, so it’s important to seal off any potential entry points. Use steel wool or caulk to fill cracks in the foundation and walls. A common place mice get in is the holes around pipes. Install weather stripping on doors and windows to prevent mice from entering.
- Maintain good sanitation: While even the cleanest house can still have mice, good sanitation does help ward them off. Clean up spills and crumbs promptly, and store food in airtight containers. Dispose of garbage properly and keep your yard clean to eliminate potential nesting areas. Never give a mouse a cookie!
- Get a cat. Farmers keep “barn cats” around their property to keep mice in check. Getting a house cat might do the same for you. Be ready for your cat to bring you dead mice as offerings.
Do You Have a Mouse In the House?
If you suspect a mouse snuck past your defenses, you’ll want to confirm your suspicions.
It’s rare to see a mouse during the day, as they’re nocturnal, but these other clues can alert you to their presence:
- Scurrying sounds: Mice will make squeaking and scurrying sounds at night when they’re active.
- Mouse droppings: Mouse droppings are small, dark, cylindrical pellets that resemble rice. If you spot these droppings in your home, it’s a clear indication that a mouse is cohabitating with you.
- Chewed surfaces: Mice have a habit of gnawing on things. Look for signs of chewed baseboards, ducts, or other objects.
- Nests: Mice build nests using soft materials such as paper or insulation. They like dark, secluded areas, so look for nests in the crawl space, garage, attic, and basement. If you encounter the signs above, but don’t find a nest, that means you’ve got mice, but they haven’t fully settled in yet.
If you do see a single mouse, there’s probably more. While it’s possible for a lone mouse to make its way into your house, especially in very cold weather, where there’s one mouse, there’s usually an infestation of them.
Options for Elimination
You confirmed that you’ve got a mice problem on your hands. Because inventors have been trying to build a better mousetrap for nearly two centuries, there are a ton of methods on the market to dispatch these rodents. Each has its pros and cons.
Poisoned bait. Place plastic boxes filled with poisoned bait in areas with evidence of mice activity; the mice nibble on the bait and die. The upside of this elimination method is that it’s easy. The downside is that the mice don’t die right away, so 1) they’ll suffer some, and 2) they’ll retreat and die somewhere you can’t retrieve the carcass, which will rot and emit a pungent stench.
Mouse glue paper. Another elimination method people use is putting glue paper down near mouse activity. The mouse steps on the paper and gets stuck. It’s a simple trap, but may not be the right one if you’ve got humane concerns around mice extermination: the mouse will either die by starvation or you’ll have to kill it yourself, and mice have been known to chew their own legs off to escape. Another downside of glue paper is that it only works on small mice; it won’t work on larger mice or rats.
The classic snap trap. If you have just a few mice in your home, it’s hard to beat the classic Victor snap trap. It’s cheap and effective. Put some bait on the trap mechanism — peanut butter is a good choice. When the mouse comes to nibble on the food, the trap snaps down, killing them instantly. For optimal snap trap setting, place mouse traps perpendicular to walls, with the trigger section facing the baseboard. Mice tend to run along walls, increasing their chances of triggering the trap.
Flip N Slide Bucket Lid Mouse Trap. If you have a lot of mice in your home, snap traps aren’t enough. This is where the Flip N Slide Bucket Lid Mouse Trap comes in clutch. Shawn Woods, a YouTuber who has tested hundreds of mouse traps on his channel Monday Mousetrap, has crowned it the greatest mousetrap ever invented.
It’s really simple. It’s a lid that you can place on any 5-gallon bucket. The lid has a trap door that will open when a mouse walks on it, dropping it into the bucket below. To lure the mice to the bucket, you just put some bait near its trap door.
You can use the bucket as a capture-and-release trap or as a kill trap.
If you want to make it a kill trap, you fill the bucket with water to drown the mice when they fall in.
To make the bucket a capture-and-release trap, just line the bottom with wood shavings to break the mouse’s fall. Once you’ve captured a bunch of mice, take the bucket far away from your home and to an outdoor wooded area and release them.
Consider Professional Pest Control
Hiring a pest control specialist may be the best option if you’re dealing with a severe mouse infestation. Pest control professionals have the expertise and tools to eradicate mice from your home effectively. They can conduct a thorough inspection, develop a tailored treatment plan, and ensure the infestation is properly addressed. If you’re having trouble getting a handle on the mice in your home, consider reaching out to a reputable pest control company for assistance.