Getting rid of mice

A look at several ways to get rid of mice in the house.

The reputation that mice have for being pests is legendary. Not only can they get in and out of amazingly small areas, but they tend to eat their way though anything that they find. In addition to the potential that they have for carrying disease, mice can also cause various illnesses by leaving their droppings and urine in places where food is stored and served.

As crafty and resilient as they may seem, though, it is possible to get rid of mice in the house without too much trouble. Below we'll look at several methods for getting rid of them, and some of the advantages and drawbacks of each.

The first method is probably the cheapest and easiest pest-control method you'll ever encounter... simply put up and seal all of your food. Mice (like most household pests) are usually simply looking for a meal, and if they can't find that then they'll go look elsewhere. Unfortunately, this means that you need to seal up all of your food... including things such as bananas and other fruits. You also need to use plastic or air-tight containers; if the mouse can smell the food inside of a box, it'll simply gnaw through the box to get to it.

Next, there are rodent poisons and baits. These work by getting the mouse to confuse them with food, and then having the mouse eat them. Since they are poison, the mouse will die soon afterward. The down side is that you have a dead mouse to get rid of, and you have poison laying around your house which pets or small children could get into. If you have children under the age of two who are just starting to explore their environment, this is definitely not the way to go.

One of the most common ways to get rid of mice is with traps. The traps either capture the mouse (these are called "humane traps", since they don't kill the mouse) or have a plunger or spring which breaks the mouse's neck. The main problems with traps are that you have to dispose of (or release) the mouse, and some of them can be set off accidentally by pets, children, or your big toe in the middle of the night.

Another type of trap that is growing increasingly common is the glue trap, also known as a glueboard. Consisting of a small card covered with a sticky substance, these traps stick the hair, legs, tail, and other body parts of the mouse to the card (which must then be disposed of.) In addition to not being reusable, glue traps carry with them the problem that the trapped mouse cannot be removed and starves to death. These traps are not recommended for animal lovers or those with very weak stomachs.

A way to drive off mice without killing them is to place mothballs or similar materials in holes and cabinets around your house. They will be repelled by the scent, though there is the drawback of having that scent in various locations of your house... it may drive away more than just mice.

Of course, there is always the option of getting a cat or other predatory pet. Cats (as well as ferrets and some dogs) will instinctively go after small, scurrying rodents. Cleanup is minimal, since the pet usually eats what it catches (though it may occasionally offer it to you as a "gift"). On the downside, cats and other pets require more affection and attention, and shouldn't be purchased simply as a way to get rid of mice.

Electronic or ultrasonic devices shouldn't be used, as they generally only have short-term effects (since the mice can get used to the new sound). They also tend to be more expensive than other methods.

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