What to Do If Your Home Is Invaded by Mice

Don’t be fooled by their cute and fuzzy faces: mice are not the creatures you want in your home. It’s one thing to see a little field mouse scurrying along a path in a park, but another thing to see them gnawing at your furniture, leaving droppings all over your kitchen, or gnawing at electrical wires in your walls. Not to mention the fact that rodents in general are the harbingers of many diseases. They are also smart, resourceful, and difficult to get rid of.

My parents’ house recently became an unfortunate habitat for these disgusting critters, so we encountered this nightmare first-hand. Experience has taught me that any home can be a potential rodent nesting site. They are just looking for a safe place with warmth and food. While it’s great for them, it’s unpleasant and unsanitary for us. Here’s what to do about it.

Confirm that you have a problem with the mouse

Mice are like tiny four-legged ninjas that are becoming rare, but when you have a potential rodent problem, you can spot one running away out of the corner of your eye. As soon as you see him in your house, you should immediately suspect that you have a nest somewhere – in your walls, in the attic, in the garage, anywhere.

Most people don’t even realize they have mice until things get really bad. The most obvious signs of a mouse problem are droppings that look like this. (I’ll never look at chocolate sprinkles or cumin in the same way again.) While it’s temping to just rub them, make sure you take extra precautions while doing this , such as wearing gloves and a mask. Then disinfect the area and discard any food that may have been contaminated. The last thing you want to do is get sick at the same time as the infection.

You can also find chewed food bags or wall pieces at floor level from mice drilling them. At night, you can hear scratches in the walls or attic, or the clatter of little feet. And if that’s not enough, you can also find pillars of body fat, dirt, and urine that grow into small mounds up to two inches high and half an inch wide. And yes, they smell bad.

Any or all of these signs mean you have a potential infection in your hands. The good news is, getting rid of mice is easy in principle. The bad news is that this can take a lot of work or money.

Start by protecting your home from a mouse

Getting rid of mice is not easy. Mice entered your house because it is cozy, it has food and, most importantly, it is easy to get into it. Unlike what you see in cartoons like Tom and Jerry, mice don’t need a gaping half-circle hole in the baseboard. They can squeeze through tiny cracks and crevices that are smaller than the circumference of your little finger. Basically, if you can insert a pencil into the hole, a mouse will probably work too. They are very skilled acrobats.

The first step is to look outside the house to look for possible spots that mice can squeeze through. Check the stairs, foundations, corners and any places where there may be small crevices. When you find anything that might be an entrance, cover it with wire mesh . Inside your home, you can use steel wool and sealant to seal up any holes you find.

Mice can chew on almost any material other than steel. In my experience, using wire mesh wherever possible has been most effective. You will need to do this for anything that looks like a hole. This includes cracks and crevices in the ceiling and even the wall. Just imagine that these tenacious creatures can get to anywhere in your house.

Set traps around the house

As the saying goes, the best offense is a solid defense. You have cut off all possible entry points to your home to prevent new mice from entering. Then you need to deal with those that are already inside cozy and comfortable by setting traps . In this part, the cartoons did everything right, but the mouse traps are a little more complicated. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Trap Type: Usually you choose between sticky or spring loaded death trap. My parents and relatives have done well with sticky traps, butVictor’s traditional trap seems quite reliable to others. The CDC, however, does not recommend the use of sticky traps because the mouse will survive and may urinate out of fear, and the urine of the mice can spread disease. If you are a weakling, you can also research “humane” traps that do not allow killing .
  • Bait type: after that, like you have a trap , you must select the bait to lure them into mice. Cheese is one of the options, of course, but there is actually a long list of things that can tickle the imagination of a mouse, from peanut butter to chocolate, marmalade, maple syrup, and bacon. (Mice know it’s delicious.) This article in How To Get Rid of Mice covers different types of bait and other general tips and strategies for baiting and trapping mice.
  • Trap Location and Position: It is vital where you set your traps. Mice are actually very careful and intelligent creatures. CDC recommends placing traps perpendicular to the wall (T-shaped). Try setting traps where you think there is a lot of mouse activity, such as behind large pieces of furniture and in dark places.

If your traps haven’t caught anything for many days, and you still see signs of mice, there are two possible reasons: First, traps only help get rid of the doodles that are already in your house and will no longer deter you from entering. if you have yet to properly close the entry points from the outside. Second, you sometimes have to move the traps to different locations as the mice try to avoid the traps, especially if you’ve caught the mouse in the same area before.

When should you call a professional

You can only put off calling a professional for a long time. Sure, you can try to find every hole, then plug them up and catch the remaining mice, but the real question is: Is it worth risking your energy, sanity, and most importantly, your health in doing so?

This was my parents’ mistake. They spent a lot of energy, unnecessary back pain and money on various DIY methods and expensive mouse repellents that just don’t work. At the same time, the cost of rodent control specialist services ranges from $ 100 to $ 900. This obviously depends on the company, the size of your home, the nature of the service, and the severity of the rodent invasion. I went shopping and several exterminators came out to assess the situation; I asked questions such as how they are going to deal with the mice and if there is a guarantee that the mice will be killed, or at least the possibility of follow-up visits if needed.

Before calling a professional, make sure they specialize in rodents and ask how successful they are. Most professionals should carefully examine the exterior of your home to see where the mice might get caught. This article provides some helpful tips for finding and talking to a professional.

Beware of companies that recommend poison from the start. This may be effective at first, but does not guarantee success. It can kill mice (and other things, unfortunately – if you choose to use poison, you have to be careful to protect your pets, and know that it can kill neighboring animals and other wild animals around your house), but it does mean You may encounter rotting mouse carcasses in your home, in the walls, under the floor, or in the attic.

No, the only proven way to banish these freeloaders is to keep them out of your home at all. A good company will keep coming back to see if the infection has been eliminated.

Even after visiting a professional, mice infestation is not a problem that goes away overnight. However, if you don’t find fresh litter after a week of browsing and waiting, that’s a good sign that your furry guests are leaving. To reduce the likelihood of returning them, always clean up, leave no trash, and store food in airtight containers.

This story was originally published in September 2016 and updated in August 2020. Updates included checking and updating links, adding a section on humane traps, and performing copy edits to bring content in line with the current Lifehacker style.


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