Fall and winter are those seasons when rodents decide to shelter from the cold by making their home in your house or apartment. Even though they don’t usually enter apartments or homes during summers, it is never too early to start defending your house against them. The optimal way to get rid of these rodents is to establish a good offense. To help you achieve that, we bring you the ultimate guide on how to get rid of mice.
Mice can wreak havoc in your home. They can eat away at storage boxes, clothes, food in the pantry, and they leave behind a string of bacteria that can spread major illnesses. In this article, we will highlight a few steps that can help you strengthen your defense against a mice invasion.
1. Eliminate Entry Points
As we’ve already established, you need first to defend your home. By eliminating entry points, you are doing just that. It proves to be a very effective way of preventing mice from getting into your home, or if they’re already in your home, it’s a good way to stop them from increasing in number.
A good starting point is to close off all unnecessary openings and seal off the space between walls and doors and windows. If the opening is not needed, then it shouldn’t be there.
Mice are very flexible and can squeeze themselves through very minute openings. An excellent identifying method is that if you can fit a pencil through the hole, it is big enough for mice to enter through. Seal all cracks in the foundation and openings in the walls, primarily where utility pipes and vents are located. Caulking is the best way to cut off all entry points.
The second best option is using steel wool to seal off any cracks. Avoid using plastic, rubber, or any other material that mice can easily gnaw through. For added protection, apply weather stripping to door and window gaps. Also, make sure the sweep on your door creates a seal against the threshold when it’s closed.
2. Use Mouse Traps
If you start noticing traces of mice droppings or hear the sounds they make, then set up mouse traps. Doing so can have two benefits.
- It can capture that lone rodent lurking around the house
- It can also help you identify any entry point that the mice may have found or created
Place multiple mouse traps in all corners, near drains, and under and behind furniture. It’s not uncommon to use a dozen or so mouse traps for just one rodent. It is encouraged because you may have spotted one, but another could be moving around unnoticed.
Use bait traps for the particularly sneaky ones. There is a reason why Tom always used cheese to lure Jerry out of the mouse hole. Food works! Set up a mousetrap with a piece of cheese or any food item. The smell of food is bound to bring them out of their hiding spots.
Because mice are particularly sneaky, we suggest that you douse the bait with poison. If the mice manage to escape the trap somehow, they are bound to die due to the poison.
3. Choose the Best Bait
Choosing the right bait is essential. You can put out whatever the mouse has been eating in your house. That is probably the smartest and easiest solution. However, you can also use chemically produced rodent bait. These are manufactured specially to attract rodents and are bound to get you that catch.
There are a few mice-approved favorites that you can use. They include:
- Peanut butter
- Dried fruit
- Hazelnut spread
When you are ready to set the trap, tie the bait to the trigger using a fishing line or dental floss. You can also secure the bait using a hot glue gun. You should replace the bait every two days. If the food isn’t working, then you can use nesting materials such as cotton balls or feathers. Mice are particularly attracted to these soft-feel materials, and they can sometimes prove better than food.
4. Sticky Traps
These glue traps come in the form of booklets. Just like regular mouse traps, you can set them up with or without bait. When a mouse runs over these traps, their bodies get stuck to the sheet. The mouse, unable to move, is rendered incapable of searching for food and eventually dies of starvation.
5. Placement of Mouse Traps
The installation of traps is critical to the elimination process. Mice can run over the trap from the wrong side, triggering the trap prematurely. Mice never travel more than 10 to 20 feet from the food sources and their territory. Ensure you place traps where you notice the most traffic or where you witness the most traces left behind by these rodents.
The ideal way to place a trap is perpendicular to the wall with the trigger facing the floor. It will ensure that the mouse runs directly into the trap. We also suggest that you change the locations of the traps every two days or so, especially if you find them empty every morning.
6. Set Up Bait Stations
Bait stations are types of bait traps that come in sealed packets containing meal or pellets. They are wrapped in easily gnaw able packaging like plastic and paper. The food source in these packets is poisonous and will kill the mice instantly as they eat it.
The bait stations are harmful when dealt with carelessly. The poison can seep through the packaging and can pose a danger to you and your family. Therefore, it is best if pest control professionals handle them.
Hygienic conditions don’t necessarily deter mice from entering your house, but unhygienic conditions definitely attract them. Mice can survive on minimal amounts of food – as little as 3 to 4 grams even. Make sure you vacuum all bread crumbs and mop all spills immediately after they happen.
Store food in glass jars and airtight containers so that mice cannot bite through them. Cutting off their food source is the easiest way to get rid of them. It is not as simple as it sounds, but just a little bit of extra care can make a significant difference in mice traffic in the house.
8. Maintain the Outside of your House
Insects, pests, and rodent infestations come about only when they find plenty of nesting sources and entry points outside and inside your house. To ensure that they do not find nesting places, remove all debris from around your home. Make sure you clean both the backyard and front yard of the house.
Regularly mowing and removing weeds from your yard is a good start. It will help you identify any burrows that these rodents may have made, and you can eliminate them as you find them. It is also a good idea to lay a bed of gravel in your yard to deter them from making burrows. If they don’t find adequate places to hide, then they won’t be attracted to your home.
9. Let your Pets Hunt
It is a well-known fact that cats enjoy hunting mice. Some dogs even take part in the sport for fun. If you have a pet, then mice probably won’t attack your home. Even if they do find their way in, your trusty companion can chase them out, relieving you of the stress of having to deal with the infestation.
A lot of farms have full-time barn cats that deal with mice. Letting nature take its course is probably the best way to deal with the situation.
10. Use a Zapper that Beeps
Some devices emit a beeping sound that mice hate. These devices are readily available in hardware stores. They are safe for use around pets, and the noise only irritates mice, keeping them at bay. A few such electronic devices are:
- UCATCH Rat Zapper Classic Rat Trap
- Victor M250S Electronic Mouse Trap
- EBUNG Electric Mouse Trap and Rat, Rodent, Chipmunk Zapper
- Victor M2 Smart-Kill Wi-Fi Electronic Rat Trap
11. Identify Behavior Patterns
Mice can be pretty challenging to handle, especially if you go in without prior research and with guns blazing. You can’t shoot everywhere and expect the mouse to come to stand in the line of fire. You have to play smart and identify high traffic zones.
Mice usually travel near the walls and sneak around corners. They never move in open spaces, so placing mice traps in the middle of the living room will never provide fruitful results.
Rodents usually come out somewhere between dusk and dawn, but evidence of their activity can be spotted anytime. Because they avoid open spaces, looking for mice droppings along walls and in corners is an excellent way to begin locating the mice.
Wherever you find the most mice droppings is where you need to place the traps.
12. Use Strong Odors
Using very strong-smelling products like ammonia can drive away these rodents. In areas like your basements and garage, this remedy can be particularly useful. You do not frequent those areas much and can use products that will leave behind a smell that deters mice and stops them from entering the house.
You can use multiple products that leave behind scents that repel rodents. Some of them are:
Keeping an open container of mothballs in your house can cause keep the mice at bay. Mothballs have a very pungent smell. Made from either naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene, mothballs repel several insects, pests, and rodents. They smell exactly like your storage does, probably because almost all housekeepers use these to ensure that their clothes and other valuables are well protected from sneaky assailants.
Ammonia is another way to remove rodents and several other insects from the house. Ammonia’s scent is very potent, and mice interpret it as the smell of their predator’s urine. The fear of becoming prey will have them avoid your house for as long as the scent of ammonia stays.
Ammonia can be used in the same way as mothballs. You can place a small container under sinks, and in corners, or for better targeting, you can put them in areas where you see the highest amount of mouse droppings.
If you are worried about your pet tipping over the little jar of ammonia, then you can also dip cotton balls into the liquid and place them where needed; this method will also work just fine.
Ammonia is pretty harmful if swallowed or excessively inhaled, so make sure you do not douse the cotton balls too much or pour out an amount that is more than necessary. Make sure there is proper ventilation in your house whenever you are dealing with ammonia.
Never let the liquid come in contact with your skin – it will burn! Always wear gloves and a mask. Do not inhale the fumes directly and maintain as much of a distance as possible. As soon as you are done, go outside for a breath of fresh air.
Fabric Softener Sheets
Ammonia and mothballs both have potent smells. If you cannot deal with them, then consider using fabric softener sheets. They are known to repel mice and offer a more flexible solution as compared to mothballs and ammonia.
Fabric sheets can be laid out flat in corners or rolled up in balls and stuffed in cracks and edges as well. These can also eliminate entry points as well as act as repellents. You can even line your cabinets with these sheets or place them under trash cans to keep your cabinets smelling fresh.
The smell of peppermint can be very soothing for humans, but not so much for rodents. Dip cotton balls in the oil and place it in corners, under basins, and in cabinets. You can also spray a little bit of the oil in corners, and it will be just as effective.
13.Chemical Mice Repellants
Home remedies don’t always work for everyone. When these fail, there are a lot of tried and tested chemical products that you can use. Here are a few options that you can try.
Fresh Crab Natural Rodent Repellant
The tagline for this product by Earthkind is “preserve the good, prevent the rest.” Nothing could have described the product better. Made from a blend of plant fibers & oils, the scent of this product is strong but pleasant for humans. Fresh crab repellant smells like Fir trees, and it works like magic when it comes to keeping these disgusting rodents out of your house.
It is a ready-to-use solution. You can place these pouches around your house in areas where you want to keep mice out or where they are known to be concentrated. It is a safe & effective way to keep the mice away and won’t harm your pets.
Shake Away Rodent Repellent Granules
The Shake Away rodent repellant is a 100% organic pest repellant. Made from a combination of natural oils, Shake Away irritates the rodents’ nervous systems, which will keep them out of your house. It will not only prevent mice from entering your home, but will also repel moles, shrews, chipmunks, squirrels, and more.
Shake Away is entirely organic and safe for use around your pets. You can even sprinkle these granules around the house and outdoors without any reservations or doubts about pet and child safety. The product is a ready-to-use solution and can provide quick relief.
- Exterminators’ Choice Mice Defense
The Exterminators’ choice is an all-natural and effective spray that acts as a repellant and deterrent for mice. It is the ideal option for developing both a good defense and offense against mice. It is safe for both indoor and outdoor use and for use around children and pets.
14.Use Electronic Mice Repellants
Besides using odors and chemical repellants, you can also opt for electronic devices that can keep rodents, reptiles, and insects out of your house. These devices emit ultrasonic waves and electromagnetic waves that agitate mice, keeping them far away from your home.
The best part about electronic repellants is that they provide a good amount of coverage without any unpleasant odors. They do not require regular monitoring or bait refreshing, either. They will drive mice out of the house using waves that you won’t be able to hear or feel.
Some of the best electronic repellants are:
VEPOWER Pest Repeller
The VEPOWER Pest Repeller uses ultrasonic and electromagnetic wave technology. It emits waves that disturb and irritate the nervous system of pests, such as mice, cockroaches, and ants. It is safe to use around pets and is eco-friendly. With regular use, you can keep pests and mice away from your house for good.
Loraffe LED Mouse Repellent
Using a combination of fluctuating sonic waves, led flashlights, and ultrasonic waves, the Loraffe under-hood mice repellent deters pests from entering your vehicle. It is easy to install under the hood and uses the vehicle’s battery for power. It proves particularly useful during winter seasons when mice seek warmth under and within cars.
Weluck Pest Repellent
The Weluck pest repellant offers a vast coverage area. Using ultrasonic waves, it can repel mice over 1200 square feet away. This product is easy to use, safe, and an effective way to prevent rodents and other insects from getting into the house.
What Not to Do
Not all elimination methods and techniques are equally effective. Always use a gradual progression for the elimination process. Be very thorough when trying to get rid of mice and make sure you keep the following points in mind.
- Do not start with poison and chemical repellants. Start slow and first try out some home remedies and set up mouse traps around the house.
- Do not just use one or two traps and expect them to work. You need to place at least a dozen or more to increase the chance of actually catching the mice.
- Don’t just set them up and leave them be. Make sure you regularly check the traps. If you do not check the traps and one has caught a mouse, then it can rot and will create a nasty smell in the house.
- Sometimes, insects can also set off the traps. You should recheck these traps and reset them whenever need be.
- If mousetraps don’t work, then use bait in combination with traps.
- Mice are fast, and sometimes, they prove to be quicker than the traps. Don’t just use regular food as bait. Start using poison induced bait for your traps to be extra sure that it will fulfill its purpose.
- Check whether the bait is gone. If the bait is gone and it was poison induced, then look for the dead mouse.
- If the bait wasn’t poison induced and it is gone, and you can’t find a dead mouse, then change the trap. Set a new one with a faster response time.
- Don’t set up traps if you do not want to be actively involved in the process. Instead, use passive methods like chemical repellants, mothballs, or ammonia. The easiest thing to do is to get an electric repellant.
Where Do Mice Hide?
Mice that live indoors have a few preferred places where they hide and build nests. You can find them in barns, within furniture, garages, storerooms, and other structures. They are opportunistic nesters and will create a home wherever it is most comfortable. They want to rest undisturbed in their house, and thus, can most commonly be found in these places:
- Beneath bathroom and kitchen sinks
- In cabinets
- Inside or behind a cabinet or desk drawers
- Near kitchen appliances
- Under furniture
- Inside upholstered furniture voids
- In secluded corners of cluttered rooms
- In garages and attics
- Within cardboard boxes in storage rooms
- Within gaps in walls or ceilings (usually near heat sources)
- Water heater closets
- Under car hoods especially during winters
- Within water pump cabinets
Evidence of Mice Infestation
- Droppings – The most apparent sign of mice in the house will be the presence of droppings, which are around a quarter of an inch long and rod-shaped. They will be visible behind or beneath furniture, behind curtains, near windows and doors, or in dark corners of the house.
- Gnaw marks – Mice gnaw at almost everything. You will find chew marks on furniture, at the ends of the curtains, on storage boxes, and even on clothes. These marks are usually half an inch in diameter and are one of the most easily noticeable pieces of evidence of mice’s existence.
- Gathered nesting material – As we mentioned earlier, mice use soft materials like feathers, shredded paper, cardboard, insulation, and cotton to build nests. If you happen to spot an abundance of such material lying around in a corner where it shouldn’t be, then you know where to place your traps.
- Squeaking or gnawing sounds – Another noticeable sign of their presence is the noise they make. Mice are not quiet by nature. They squeak and gnaw at things, giving away their presence. They do hide as much as they possibly can by scurrying around corners and keeping out of plain sight, yet, they are rather noisy at night. They squeak quite loudly when on their quest for food. You can locate their nesting areas by following these sounds.
- Food tampering – Mice eat anything and everything they can find. Fruits, vegetables, grains, meat, pet food, mice will gnaw away at everything. They have very sharp teeth and can tear through most packaging, which can become a good indicator of their existence. Keep a check on food packages in pantries and pet food containers for traces of a mouse infestation. If you find marks or messed up, torn food packaging, then you know that you’re dealing with a rodent infestation.
How to get rid of mice outdoors?
To get rid of mice outdoors, you should start by clearing debris so that there is no place for them to hide. Regularly clean and remove weeds from your lawn. This helps you identify any burrow openings that you can close right away. You can spray mice repellants down these openings regularly to eliminate them from the premises.
How to get rid of mice fast?
The fastest way to get rid of mice is by using electronic repellants. Mice can avoid areas with chemical smells, but they cannot escape ultrasonic waves. The waves will irritate their nervous system, and these rodents will run away from them, leaving your house.
How to get rid of mice in the walls?
The best way is to use electronic repellants again to first drive them out of the house. Then, you should caulk up and seal off all openings in the walls of your home, ensuring that mice never find a way in again. Make sure you fix the wall from both inside and outside.