Getting Rid Of Mice In Your Home

Learn how to get rid of mice in your home, safely dispose of dead mice, prevent the spread of disease, and how to clean areas where mice have been trapped.

Mice are prolific household pests. They contaminate and consume human and animal

food, damage property, and transmit through their urine, droppings and contact.

Eradication is difficult but not impossible. Infestations can quickly increase because of

high reproductive rates. Females produce up to 10 litters a year as early as six weeks after

birth, during a 9-12 month life span, so control is essential.

Mice have keen senses of taste, hearing, smell, touch, are excellent climbers can leap 12

inches and can squeeze through quarter-inch openings. Signs of infestation include a

musky odor, droppings in cupboards, along walls and under sinks, gnaw marks on

packaging and cardboard, tracks and shredded paper or fibrous material nests. At night

you may hear them squeaking as they scurry through walls.

Control is achieved through sanitation, exclusion, poison bates or trapping.

The first step is to eliminate food and water sources. Clean up all spills and crumbs

immediately. Wipe off the area around sinks and countertops with a household cleaner to

sanitize and destroy urine trails, especially along the wall and splash guard. Standing food

sources of dirty dishes and crumbs are open invitations. Place all packaged foods in

tightly sealed metal, plastic or glass containers. Store bags of dog food in trash containers

with tight-fitting lids. Clean up fallen bird seed around cage bases. Toss out food Fido has

lost interest in. Tighten water faucets inside and out to prevent drips. Replace washers or

valves in leaky ones.

The second step is to eliminate any gaps or openings that mice can squeeze into. Seal

foundation cracks or holes around water pipes, vents, phone lines, cable TV and utility

cables with canned expanding foam insulation, metal or concrete. Do the same in your

attic. Make sure that doors, windows, craw space covers and screens fit tightly. Check

seals on attached garage doors.

Keep your lawn mowed. Short grass doesn't provide a lot of cover. Keep doors closed.

Clean and remove any trash or organic debris piles. Raise wood piles 18 inches above

ground. Make sure trash bins have tight fitting covers.

Several types of rodenticides containing anticoagulants are used in baits, all toxic to

humans, pets and wildlife. Most require multiple feedings and can take several days

before they kill. Use caution to prevent accidental poisoning of children and pets. Place

baits in locked boxes placed well out of reach. Read manufacturer directions. And since

poisoned mice return to their lairs, the possibility exists that they could die within your

walls releasing a truly horrendous odor. Carcasses in walls cannot be easily retrieved and

removed, if at all. Poisoned mice are easy prey for cats, dogs and wild predators if they

escape to the outside. All can die if they eat the poisoned mice.

Grain or pelleted baits work the best. Place these packets into walls, under cabinets near

plumbing, in voids underneath and in areas where you've seen evidence of activity, such

as along walls and in corners. Place baits no more than 10 feet apart. Make sure that the

baits don't become wet or they will quickly lose their effectiveness.

Bait Stations provide some safeguards to people and pets. Place these next to walls with

the openings facing the wall and secure these with glue or nails to prevent accidental

spillage by someone or a pet knocking these over. Check bait stations regularly. Replace

the bait if it gets old or moldy, because mice won't eat it.

Traps are a safer alternative. Dead mice can quickly located and easily disposed. Set traps

behind objects, in dark corners, near holes and areas of mouse activity. Place them close

to walls so mice will pass directly over the trigger. Mice seldom forage far from their

shelter and food supply, so space traps no more than about 10 feet apart. Check traps


Inexpensive wood-based snap traps can be purchased at hardware and grocery stores. The

best bait is peanut butter because it's easy to use, very attractive to mice and sticks to the

trigger mechanism. Set several traps close to walls or cabinets and areas of mice activity.

Use several. These traps usually kill the mice once they are triggered.

Multiple-capture live traps can trap more than one mouse at a time, and the critters can be

released without harm in another location. Release them 100-300 yards from your home

or the mice may return.

Glue traps and pads of sticky glue applied on a board or in a cardboard box. The mice

steps onto the glue and becomes trapped. As it flops about, it becomes stuck. The

downside to these is that they lose their effectiveness in high temperatures or in dusty

locations and attract children and pets. Sometimes it takes a while for these mice to die

and any living mice will have to be killed before disposal.

Electronic Devices are ineffective. Mice quickly become accustomed to regularly

repeated ultrasonic sounds. Little evidence exists to suggest that these devices are

effective because the sounds they produce are directional, don't penetrate behind objects

and lose their intensity quickly with distance.

Dogs and cats will catch and kill mice, but aren't always successful because the mice can

go in small areas where your pets cannot follow. Cats may be able to prevent reinfestation

once mice have been controlled.

Finally, use some precautions when you dispose of mice. Wear gloves when you handle

the dead critters. Wrap the carcass in newspaper or drop in a plastic bag and place it in an

outside garbage can with a tight-fitting lid. Mice can carry disease and handling them

directly can transmit germs, fleas or ticks to you. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap

and water after handling the carcasses. Clean the areas around where traps were set with a

household cleaner containing bleach.

Using these methods will help you to rid your home of the pesky critters and prevent


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