Best Ways to Get Rid of Mice

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Mice can be cute little animals, however, when they decide to move into your home, these little critters can become a serious pest.  Mice can damage your property and above all your health.  Here is everything you need to know about the best ways to get rid of mice.

What Are Mice?

Mice are small rodents, with a pointy nose, large ears, fur and have a long tail.

They can range in a variety of colors from different shades of white, red, brown, grey or black.

Mouse Characteristics

  • Body Size: 5-8 inches
  • Tail Size: 2-4 inches
  • Weight:  0.4 to 0.8 ounces
  • Lifespan:  6 months-2 years

Mice have amazing hearing, smell, touch, and taste, but, their vision is relatively poor and they may not distinguish colors all that well.

On top of that, they can also detect sound at frequencies substantially higher than humans and some species may even use ultrasound as a means of communication.

In addition, mice are great climbers and like other rodents are nocturnal, which means you may only encounter them at night or in low light situations. 

A few common varieties are the house mouse and deer mice also know as a field mouse. 

What Do Mice Eat?

Field mouse eating peanuts
Field mouse eating peanuts | Photo by Alexas Fotos on pixabay.com

Mice are omnivores which means they eat both plants and meat.

They prefer to eat fruits, seeds, nuts, and grains.

However, when food is scarce they will resort to eating whatever is available including garbage waste, pet food, and even other mice.

Although being small, mice have huge appetites and will eat up to 15 times per day.

What Is The Mouse Reproduction Cycle?

rodent nest with litter
Nest with a large litter

Mice will reach sexual maturity between 4 to 8 weeks of age and females have a gestation period between 19 to 21 days.

They will typically have 4 to 12 babies per litter.

Baby mice (pups) are usually born without fur and are weaned from the nest between 21 to 28 days.

Mice will have 3 to 4 litters, giving birth to an average of 20 to 25 pups per year.

As you can see, if not dealt with mice can rapidly multiply.

Why Do Mice Enter Our Homes?

Mice are opportunistic creatures and will look for a place that is warm, dry and has a good source of food.

A small garden, compost bin or your kitchen pantry may attract mice.  From there they will quickly look for shelter nearby.

Attics, garages, basements, crawl spaces and even inside walls make perfect habitats for mice to raise pups and flourish.

How Do Mice Get Into Our Homes?

Mice get into attics, crawlspace, and basements from outside through very small holes.  Any openings as small as 0.6 cm or 1/4 of an inch can be a potential entry point.

Also, mice can run along or climb on electrical wires, pipes, fences, poles, ropes, cables, vines, shrubs, and trees, as well as climb almost any rough vertical surface such as wood, brick, and concrete.

Frequently, a mouse will climb a tree branch overhanging and roof and find an opening that gets them into the attic space.

Another way mice get into our homes is by tunneling under the ground, and finding holes in the foundation that lead to a basement or wall space.

How Do Mice Damage Property?

Mice like to chew or gnaw through a wide variety of materials and will use the small pieces to create a nest.

Common materials mice will gnaw are wood, rubber, vinyl, lead or aluminum sheeting, window screens, fiberglass, plastic, and even concrete block.

Mice can even damage electrical wiring which could result in a fire.

Do Mice Transmit Harmful Diseases? 

mice eating corn
Mice eating corn | Photo by domeckopol on pixabay.com

Mice can contaminate food supplies in your pantry by leaving behind bacteria and viruses that can make your family and pets sick.

Also, they transmit diseases by bringing in fleas and other parasites into your home and leaving urine and feces droppings behind.

Some diseases associated with mice are Shigella, Salmonella, Clostridium difficile and E. coli.

In a recent study by the American Society for Microbiology scientists found that mice can transmit antibiotic-resistant bacteria that have become nearly untreatable at area hospitals.

Furthermore, diseases such as Hantavirus is known to be fatal to humans.

Clean-Up Tip: Never sweep or vacuum mouse urine, droppings or nest sites without disinfecting the area first. If virus particles to get into the air, they can easily be breathed in.  Spray the area using a Virucide Disinfectant Sanitizer to kill bacteria, viruses and mold spores before removing any droppings or nesting materials.  Nisus DSV Disinfectant sanitizer virucide on Amazon.com is a good brand to use.

 

How To Tell If You Have A Mouse Problem?

Knowing what to look for is key to fighting a mouse infestation.

It is also important to identify the difference between a mice and rats.

Here are some of the things to look for:

Scratching sounds caused by mice

Scratching sounds coming from walls or ceiling is usually the first indicator of a pest issue.

Mice and rats gnaw and scratch building materials to make small particles for nesting.

If you hear scratching sounds, especially at night, make sure you investigate that area.

Droppings and Urine Left By Mice

Another common clue is finding mouse droppings usually found in areas where mice feed and nest.

Look for small brown droppings about 1/4 inch in size and tapered at both ends.

Comparison Chart of the Difference Between Mice and Rat Droppings:

Furthermore, mice leave urine droplets along pathways they frequently patrol.

Use an ultraviolet (“black”) light to reveal mouse urine so you can target places they frequent with traps.

Grease Smudge Marks Left By Mice

Additionally, mice leave greasy smudge marks along run-ways and entry or exit holes they are using.

Look for brown grease marks left by the oil in their fur as they run along walls or baseboards.

Mice Gnawing Evidence

Finally, look for signs of mice gnawing on food containers in a pantry.

If you find a box in the pantry that has a hole in it, it probably was done by a mouse that was able to get into the pantry.

Try looking for the entry and exit points that the mice are using to access the pantry.

If you do find small holes in the wall that would be a good location to set traps.

Make sure you repair the holes after the trapping is completed.

Read further below for more detailed instructions on how to get rid of mice.

What are the Best Ways To Get Rid of Mice?

Once mice start nesting in your home, attic, crawl space or garage they can be extremely difficult to get rid of causing a stressful situation.

Prevention is key to keeping pests away, yet sometimes no matter how hard you try, they just show up anyway.

Don’t worry, there are several effective ways of dealing with these common pests.

Options to solve mice problems are:

  • Hire an exterminator
  • Use Poisons
  • Use Traps
  • Prevention Methods

Hire An Exterminator

Sometimes the best solution may be to hire a professional pest removal company.

Unfortunately, hiring someone else to do the work can cost quite a bit more than you think.

Give a few pest removal companies a call to get a feel for the average cost before deciding.

In my opinion though, if your able to climb a ladder and do basic handy work, you should be able to get rid of them on your own.

If you do hire a pro, make sure they don’t use poisons and are licensed and insured since they will be getting into hazardous areas such as crawl spaces, attics and on your roof.

Using Poisons

poison bottle

Poisons may be considered practical and cost-effective for reducing troublesome mice populations on a farm or at a factory, however,  there are many downsides when using them at home.

How Rodenticide Poisons Work

Rodenticide poisons are fast-acting, requiring just a single bite to kill a mouse.

They have the potential to rapidly kill mice infestations.

Success often will decline quickly since the mice that survive learn not to eat the poisoned bait.

If mice become cautious around the poisoned baits, you can try to do “prebaiting” campaigns with non-toxic bait to trick the mice into thinking the bait is safe to eat. 

Nevertheless, at this point, you’re just feeding the mice.

A consideration when using poison: It’s not recommended to use poisons to control mice around your home, since it can lead to targeting the wrong animal, such as a pet cat or dog.

In addition, a poisoned mouse often does not die right near the bait.

hawk eating a field mouse
Poisons can target the wrong animal such as a hawk. | Photo by Rob Zweers on visualhunt.com

They usually go outside to look for water and are more likely to be eaten by predators, such as owls, hawks, and eagles again causing the wrong animal to be harmed.

Poisons are toxic to humans,  pets, and other wildlife.

In addition, a poisoned mouse may crawl away somewhere in your attic or in a wall to die, making it difficult to recover the corpse for proper disposal.

As a result, this creates additional health concerns and the smell of rotting dead mice can linger for months.

Finally, poisons are not the best way to go and should be avoided at home.

The Best Ways To Get Rid Of Mice Is By Using Traps

Field Mouse in a Live Catch Trap
Field Mouse in Live Catch Trap

Traps are considered the best and most effective way to get rid of mice by professionals.

As a result, there are many varieties available today.

When deciding what type to choose,  you should consider how humane the trap is to the animal.

After all, they are living creatures, and we should try to minimize their suffering.

Let us take a look at the different types of traps:

Glue Mouse Traps

Glue Traps For Mice

Glue traps use a sticky glue to catch the mouse when they walk into the trap.

Once the mouse steps on the sticky trap, its feet, and fur get stuck in the glue and the animal slowly dies.

In my opinion, this is an inhumane way to get rid of mice due to prolonged suffering.

Certainly, in some situations, mice will learn to avoid other traps leaving them ineffective.

In this situation, glue traps can be an effective alternative.

Consider using other more humane traps first before turning to glue traps.

To learn more about Glue Traps, check out the review on  Glue Traps for Mice.

Snap Mouse Traps

snap mouse trap

Probably the most well-known mousetrap is a wooded snap trap.

They have a strong spring that slams a bar down shut breaking the neck of a mouse causing an instant death.

This is a much more effective and humane way to getting rid of mice.

Using some peanut butter fixed to the trigger work well as bait and gives the best results.

If your thinking of using Snap Traps, read the review on the Best Snap Traps For Mice.

Electronic Mouse Traps

Electronic Mouse trap

Zapper traps usually run on batteries and give a mouse an electrical shock when they enter the trap.

They can be effective and are a very humane way to kill mice since death is almost instant with no mess.

The traps are usually baited with peanut butter in the back of the chamber which lures the mouse inside triggering a high voltage electric shock.

For more information on Zapper Traps, read the review post of the Best Electronic Mouse Traps.

Live Catch Mouse Traps

Live Humane Mouse Trap

Many people consider live catch mouse traps to be the most humane way to deal with mice.

Even more, if a trap is not collected in time, the mouse could starve or suffocate especially in a hot attic.

Also when relocating mice away from its nest the chances of surviving in a new environment diminish significantly.

Always check your local laws when using live catch mouse traps to understand the guidelines you must follow when using them.

In most cases, you will have to release mice 1-5 miles away so they do not return to your home.

Also, you will need permission to relocate live mice on land you do not own, as it may be considered unlawful to relocate animals to public lands in your area.

For more information on humane mouse traps read the review of the Best Live Mouse Trap.

Repellent Devices for Mice

cat chasing a mouse

Mice have been repelled successfully in several ways.

Using chemical and natural mouse deterrent sprays, scent pouches, steel wool cloth or ultrasonic sound devices have been shown to be effective.

These devices can be used as an alternative to poisoning and trapping mice.

I do not recommend any toxic chemicals, however, some natural repellents may help keep mice from coming back.

For more detailed information on Repellent Devices read the review of Mice Prevention Products That Actually Work

How To Get Rid OF Mice: The Removal Process

      1. Inspect inside the garage, attic, crawlspace, and outside of the home for entry points.  Remember these holes can be as small as a 1/4″ wide opening. Also, trim any tree branches too close to the roof.
      2. Seal shut all entry holes with the proper materials such as steel wool or copper wire cloth.
      3. Set out 12 mouse traps with bait covered in peanut butter, in the primary locations where mouse activity has been located.
      4. Check and re-bait as needed regularly. Once you do not see or hear mouse activity, especially at night when they are active then trapping is complete.
      5. Clean and decontaminate the space with a Virucide Disinfectant Sanitizer to kill bacteria, viruses or mold spores.  Follow the direction on the product packaging. You may have to let the Virucide sit for several hours before removing the droppings and nesting materials.

 Clean Up Tip: Never Sweep or Vacuum Mouse or Rat Droppings without disinfecting first to prevent virus particles from getting into the air.  Also, consider getting a HEPA Filter Vacuum cleaner. Here are links to a Virucide Sanitizer and a HEPA Vacuum  I recommend on Amazon.com.

Hole Sealing Tip: When sealing holes around pipes, use steel wool or copper wire cloth material around the openings Fit in tight or use silicon caulking to hold the material in place. If mice come back, the metal material will deter them from chewing and creating a new hole.  If you have a brick home, you may want to fill weep holes with steel or copper cloth which still allows air and moisture to pass.

 

What Are Some Prevention Methods For Mice?

Mice Mitigation
The Mogollon Rim Ranger District gathered at Blue Ridge Ranger Station to install wire mesh around the foundation of buildings to keep mice from tunneling into the buildings. Mice had damaged some of the offices, chewing clothing, paper and getting into storage areas. | Photo credit Deborah Lee Soltesz. U.S. Forest Service Coconino National Forest.

Prevention comes in many forms, but as I said earlier, sometimes no matter how much you try prevention,  these pests just show up anyway.

Here are some tips to increase your success:

  • Don’t leave out food.  Many pet owners leave a bowl of food outside for their pets.  This can attract unwanted pest.
  • Compost bins are great for the garden but can attract all kinds of unwanted critters. If you are collecting table scraps and transferring them to a compost bin outside, make sure you are burying the scraps to decrease the chances of mice finding them.
  • Keep your kitchen area clean at all times and seal food away in containers or jars in your pantry.
  • Trim trees back from your roof line.  If a tree branch is hanging close to your roof a mouse, rat or other pests can gain access to your home by jumping on to your roof.
  • Inspect all around your home for entry points including holes in the ground surrounding the foundation.  A mouse can fit through very small holes.  A hole the size of  1/4 inch is enough for them to get in.  If you find a small hole, make sure you seal it with the proper materials.

Conclusion

My favorite way to get rid of mice is by using time-tested snap traps.  To find out which ones I have found to be the best, read my review of the Best Snap Traps For Mice.

Make sure you set up at least 12 traps at a time to increase your chances of success and provide the fastest results.

Additionally, using gloves when handling the traps and adding peanut butter to the trigger with a q-tip to minimize transferring your scent will greatly increase your success rate.

Finally, keep in mind that it may take several campaigns to fully rid your home of mice and with persistence, you will be successful, saving yourself some money along the way.

If you have found this advice useful or have tips to share, leave a comment and let me know how you made out!

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