Mice are one of those pests that seem to come and go. You’ll have years of peace and then suddenly this pest comes around again. If you know how to get rid of mice effectively, then you won’t have to worry about a new infestation. This guide can provide you with some extra help should you need it.
These rodents are small, round, and cute enough that some people keep them as pets. They can be as large as a Russet potato but are typically about 3.5 inches in length from the nose. Most mice have tails that are the same length as their body. Mice are not the same thing as rats, so it is important to distinguish the two. Mice tend to be timider and run away. Rats can be very aggressive and may even attack.
Mice can be found virtually everywhere. They are hardy animals that love coming out at night to find a good meal. They are territorial animals and one nest will claim your home as their own. If you hear foraging and rustling in the middle of the night, it could be the mice getting up to play or fight off other mouse intruders.
Controlling a mouse infestation is important because these rodents bring disease with them. All it takes for people or animals to become infected with hantavirus is to be exposed to the droppings or urine that mice leave behind. This virus can lead to a disease called HPS that can be fatal. Early symptoms of hantavirus feel like the flu, but after 10 days, the lungs begin to fill with fluid. Controlling mice in the home is the #1 way to prevent an infection.
It only takes 60 days for mice to be old enough to begin breeding. One female mouse can average almost 1 litter per month. Most mice live for about 1 year, which means one nest can grow exponentially if left unaddressed.
Signs of Mice
Most people recognize an infestation of mice because of the droppings that they leave behind. These small pellets tend to congregate in the hidden feeding areas where these rodents are nesting. It may be behind a kitchen appliance, within a wall, or down in a crawl space that has dark, hidden corners.
Mice also tend to chew on everything that is around them. Many homeowners will find that there are chewed cords, plastic items that have been gnawed on, and even shredded corners of upholstery on their furniture. Mice make nests from shredded fibrous materials, so an undisturbed area of a closet that has a stack of shoeboxes in it can become the perfect home for a mouse.
Mice that have invaded a home also tend to smell a bit musty. It’s like being in a dusty room that hasn’t had any fresh air in it for about a week. The musty smell can be detected throughout the entire home, but it gets stronger over by the nest. This can help homeowners be able to locate and then remove the nest of mice that has infested the home.
How To Kill Mice
The classic way to get rid of mice is to use the mousetrap method. The two most effective forms of bait for a mousetrap are chocolate or peanut butter. Place the trap somewhere that a nest is suspected and then let it get to work. Those wooden snap traps will snag the animal and either kill it immediately or prevent it from being able to move and it will die in time. The benefit of the classic mousetrap is that it is very cheap. The disadvantage is that these traps aren’t exactly humane and mice are wily – they can steal the bait and not set off the trap.
Glue-based mousetraps are now the industry standard. These immobilize the rodent and because it can’t move, it will eventually die of thirst or exposure. Electrical traps are much quicker and effective, but they also require constant checking – especially if there is a large mice infestation. For best results with a trap, be sure to set it flush against a wall. When the trigger plate faces the wall, there is less of a chance that the rodent can outsmart the trap.
For those who want to capture mice, but don’t want to kill the mice, humane traps can be set that will cause the animal to enter into the trap and then become stuck. Then the animal can be taken away to a new location and released, removing the problem from the home. Food bait that is placed at twilight tends to be the most tempting to these rodents and will even pull them out of the walls when food is sensed.
Poisons are also an effective way to eliminate a nest, but this method has drawbacks for homes with pets and kids. If you do prefer a poison, then choose bromadiolone because it’s less harmful to everyone since Vitamin K is the antidote for it. There’s also the disadvantage of not knowing when the mice will succumb to the poison, so if you have a nest within your walls that decides to kick the bucket from the bait, it can make the house smell bad for some time.
If you want to avoid killing the mice altogether, then ultrasonic sounds can drive the rodents away from your home. You’ll need to have equipment that can produce a sound at 45k Hz. You can’t hear the sounds, but some dogs and any other pets that are rodents will be able to hear them. The sounds only last for so long, so you’ll need 2-3 per floor to surround your home and keep the mice away.
DIY Mice Control
Controlling these rodents means either trying to repel them or trying to kill or remove them so they’re no longer bothersome. These are some of the best DIY solutions that are available on the market today.
T3-R Mouse Repeller
Not only does this device use the ultrasonic repellent method to drive away mice and keep them away, but it also features modulations in the frequencies for further disruption. The sounds are above human hearing detection but blast out at 135 decibels so that no rodents are going to want to be around your home. This device stands on its own and has a 6 foot cord that works in any standard US outlet. Cats and dogs can’t hear the sounds either and it won’t interfere with any of your electronic devices. It works and you don’t have to remove dead mice. That’s a big win.
If you’ve found that the standard mousetraps aren’t making the grade because your mice seem to have passed the fifth grade, then consider this upgraded option. The bait up is preformed and holds the food in such a way that the mouse has to climb into it so that it can be accessed. Instead of being made of wood, it’s composed of steel and polystyrene for a firmer, faster design. The dual level design also means that you don’t have to touch the rodent to release it from the trap. Unlike wooden traps that stain and smell over time, these are easy to clean and reuse for years to come. We recommend the value that comes with the 6 pack.
Just One Bite Bar
This mouse bait contains bromadiolone, so it’s one of the best options of this type of mouse control that’s available today. It can be placed as an entire bar so a mouse can drag it back to the nest or broken down into 2 ounce chunks that can be placed around the home or used for bait stations. One feeding can be all it takes to eliminate the mouse for good. Mice that have been previously exposed to bromadiolone may have built up a resistance to it, however, so several bait placements may be necessary to control the population.
Mouse Exterminator Cost
When a mouse exterminator comes to visit your property for an estimate, there will be three things that they will evaluate.
- How the mice are getting into the home.
- How many mice might be within the home.
- What the needed method of infestation control must be for your circumstances.
If your mouse exterminator does not work to seal up the exterior holes of your home, then you’ll always have the potential of being infested with rodents in the future. That’s money for the exterminator, but keeps your costs up. A good exterminator may charge up to $500 for their services, but the end result is a guaranteed removal of the pest.
The problem that many homeowners face is that professional mouse extermination often utilizes the same DIY methods, but for a much higher costs. Traps, bait, and physical removal are common exterminator methods that you can use yourself.
Mice Repellent and Prevention
The #1 way of repelling mice from your home is to seal up every exterior opening where a mouse may enter. Mice might chew a new opening, but you can generally find these before they can enter the home. If you don’t find every opening, then you’ll still have a mouse problem at some point in time.
If you seal up your property and there are still mice inside, then you’ll need to remove them in some way. Some homeowners have a pet cat or two for this specific reason. You may wish to consider using an ultrasonic device to drive the mice away first and then seal up the exterior of the home to prevent them from coming back in.
Sometimes you can’t fully seal up a home. There might be a root cellar or outdoor access crawl space that you need to routinely access. Make sure any vents to the area are covered with a wire mesh and that the access panel or doorway fits snugly. This will prevent most mice from being able to access the building.
If all else fails, place a glue trap, another mouse trap, or humane traps at access points and then periodically check. Mouse poison can work, but if it isn’t given in a large enough dose, it may not be 100% effective.
Natural Mouse Deterrent and Control
The most effective way to eliminate a mouse problem naturally is to keep your home and property free from potential food sources. Make sure all of your food is properly packaged, sealed in airtight containers, and not in cellulose containers that mice can chew through to access food. If you suspect mice, even saltine crackers in their cardboard box can be a food source for the rodent.
Your outside garbage cans can also be a food source for mice that will attract them to your property. Keep all trash in containers that close tightly and place them as far away from your home as possible. If this is not possible, then consider storing your trash cans in your garage or a locked shed to prevent mice from becoming a problem.
Mice also hate the smell of peppermint. If you clean with peppermint oils, then you’ll naturally deter mice from entering the home. Another effective strategy is to grow peppermint plans and to place them near exterior entry points to your home. As an added bonus, the peppermint plants can be used for cooking once they mature.
If most of the mice are outdoors, then you’ve got a nice food source for other animals. Encourage owls especially to come live on your property by offering them shelter boxes or other homes and those mice will get taken care of quickly. One nest of owls can easily eat a dozen mice per day.
Knowing how to get rid of mice means being proactive, taking action, and using this guide as a resource. Don’t let the mice rule your property. Use these options to get rid of your rodent problem today.