The last thing you want to be welcomed by when you climb up into your attic is the big black eyes of a house mouse. Mice are incessant pests and can often be tricky to get rid of. While these sneaky creatures can raid any part of the house, like your kitchen and bathroom, without being noticed for days, they can go undetected in your attic for months! You might think that all is well, while your attic is festering with mice. The infestation can damage any personal belongings that you might have stored in your attic, and it can quickly spread to other parts of your house through the attic, making timely action extremely necessary.
Dealing with a mice infestation in your attic might be tricky, as you run the risk of forcing the mice out of your attic into your house. If you don’t want to aggravate the issue, you need to deal with your mouse infestation problem with tact, to ensure that you don’t accidentally drive them into your house and make the whole issue a lot worse.
Is It Common To Have Mice In The Attic?
Though mice are seldom choosy and can infest any part of the house in search of food and water, the attic can be a particular favorite among them for a number of reasons. You might think that your kitchen would be more attractive to them, but there’s one place they like even more – the attic. A mouse, when they choose to nest in indoors, is always looking for one of two things; warmth and food. And your attic provides mice with easy access to both.
Attics are often the hottest parts of the house. It is where all the hot air accumulates, and it’s also the place that takes all the beating of the sun, giving it just the right cozy temperatures that mice are looking for to settle down, nest, and breed. Your attic might seem even more appealing to mice during the winters when they’re looking for some shelter from the cold. If you leave behind any way for them to get in, be sure that they will settle and multiply.
Your attic is also overstuffed with storage boxes and belongings that you can’t fit inside your house. The clutter makes it very easy for them to hide from your sight on the rare occasion that you do decide to visit your attic. Boxes and other bits of junk also help to shelter the mice from the wind and cold.
As much as you’re scared of these mice, know that the mice are more scared of you and certainly do not want to face you or interact with you unless they absolutely have to. Your attic is the ideal place for mice to settle in because they can go about their business without being interrupted by you at any point during the day. After all, who visits their attics every day? You only go to the attic once in a while when you need something from there, giving the mice a lot of privacy and room to themselves to do as they please.
Another reason that mice infestations in the attic are so common is that attics are easy to reach for these athletic vermin. If you left a window cracked open just a bit to help with the ventilation in the attic, a mouse will find out about it. Mice are amazing climbers and jumpers and have no trouble reaching these places. If you have trees outside your attic, the task is made even easier for these creatures, as they will scale the braches and make their way inside your attic through even the tiniest of cracks.
So, if you have just discovered that there are mice living in your attic, rest assured that you are not alone.
How Can You Get Rid of Mice in an Attic?
If you’ve somehow discovered their comfortable nesting spots in your attic, the question is how to get rid of them. Your hesitance about stepping into the contaminated area is understandable, but you can’t run away from the problem for too long.
Look for Cracks and Seal Them
The first thing you need to do is to make sure that there are no holes in your plan. Before taking any action, you need to seal off your attic entirely. Though, if you had done this beforehand, the mice would never have gotten into your house in the first place. Inspect the place thoroughly to see if there are small cracks that you might have missed before. Even though our eyes miss it, a mouse can detect the smallest of entry points it can crawl through. Mice are very agile and can squeeze themselves through cracks and holes as small as 0.6cm wide.
Seal Off the Entry Points
Seal off all entry points so that no mouse can get out of the house when you start the extermination process. This will also ensure that once the mice are dead, no other mouse can make its way inside.
Seal the cracks with cement, wood, or, better yet, steel wool. Mice are chewers, and they can usually chew through the sturdiest of stuff, but steel wool irritates their teeth. Stuff steel wool in the small cracks to keep the mice out in the future and to prevent the ones that are inside from getting out.
Eliminate The Mice
Only after every entry point and opening has been sealed should you start the elimination process. Ambush the mice with tactfully laid out snap traps that catch and kill them. While killing a mouse might not be the most pleasant thing to do, in serious infestation cases, it is the most practical and feasible solution.
There are a variety of snap traps and baits available in the market that can be used to get rid of mice from an attic. Baits are usually laced with poison that kills off the mice after a while, but traps are simply used to ensnare the mice, and then you can choose what you do with them. People who are not comfortable with the idea of killing the mice can just trap them, transport them far away from their place, and release them into the wild. If you poison the mice with pesticides, remember that you will have to dispose of the bodies too.
Clean The Place
After the mice are gone, clean up your attic. Scoop away all their droppings and clear away their nesting materials, or else the stench will attract more mice in the future. Wash the floor with water and bleach. The strong smell of bleach is particularly unattractive to the mice and will eliminate any odor from the attic of their existence.
Take Preventative Action
While you have sealed off the cracks effectively, which is pretty much the only sure way of stopping a mouse from getting in, there are certain things you can do that might deter mice from settling down in your attic. One trick is to introduce some foreign scents that mice hate.
What Scent Will Keep Mice Away?
Mice hate the smell of peppermint oil, cayenne peppers, mint, cloves, and dryer sheets. Soaking little cotton balls with these smells or sprinkling these things around your attic might make the mice stay away because of the strange, unpleasant smell.
Though it is a common practice to use mothballs in attics to keep mice away, know that there is no basis for it. In fact, it might even work against you. The naphthalene in the mothballs irritates the mouse’s nasal tissues, which is not enough to deter them from camping in your attic; rather, it makes them immune to other scents that could have helped keep them out. Mothballs can do more damage than good.
How Much Does It Cost To Get Rid Of Mice In The Attic?
It’s understandable if you don’t want to step into a mice-ridden attic yourself. Pest control is always there to have your back. If you don’t want to do the dirty task yourself, pest control services will handle it for you. Pest control services and exterminators cost you an average of $200 to $325. While it might cost you a bit more, at least you won’t have to face the problem head-on yourself.
After you get the extermination done, make sure to take all the preventative measures suggested to make sure another mice takeover doesn’t happen in your attic in the future.
Why are mothballs ineffective when it comes to keeping mice away?
Mothballs are small balls of pesticides and naphthalene. Though people have used it as a remedy for a mouse infestation, thinking that the mice hate the smell and will stay away, it hardly does any good. Research on the effects of naphthalene on mice shows that the naphthalene causes minor tissue breakdown in a mouse’s nasal cavity, causing it to become insensitive to other smells around the house. The nasal tissue damage is not enough reason for the mice to avoid your attic.
What can you use to seal cracks and holes to keep mice out?
Prepare a mixture of caulking and steel wool to stuff in the walls to keep the mice out. While the steel wool does the job perfectly, it rusts quickly. Other materials you can use in place of steel wool that are not as susceptible to rusting are copper or aluminum mesh.
What other pests can make their home in your attic?
Attic mice aren’t the only inhabitants of an ignored attic. Bats, rats, termites, stingers, some birds, squirrels, and even snakes can make a home in your attic if you are not careful.