How to get rid of mice without poison

Traps are a simple and inexpensive way to get rid of mice without the use of dangerous poisons. Other ideas and tips included for catching mice.

If mice have decided to hang up a "Home Sweet Home" sign in your house, don't despair. There are several ways to get rid of the critters - without the use of dangerous poisons.

Although poison is an easy way to get rid of mice, it has many drawbacks. After eating the poison, mice will return to their hiding place and die. If you don't know where this is, the dead rodent will lie there and rot, creating a smelly and unsanitary condition. There also is a great danger of children or pets getting into the poison. And even if the poison is kept where children or pets can't get at it, it's possible that pets, particularly house cats, will eat a poisoned mouse.

Instead of poison, try traps. They are a time-proven way to get rid of mice. Regardless of the type of trap you use, be sure to place it along the wall where mouse activity is suspected. Because mice tend to be shy, put the trap out unset for a couple days to allow mice to become familiar with it. Doing this will increase your chances of actually catching a mouse instead of scaring it away when the trap tries to do its job.

Even if you don't see a mouse - they avoid open spaces - you will know they are around by what they leave behind. As mice scamper along walls, they leave feces. Their droppings are tiny, black, and rod-shaped. You also may find chewed wires, tufts of insulation, or shredded fabric, which the mice use for nesting materials. In addition, they will chew small holes in boxes of food.

One of the cheapest and most common ways to get rid of mice is with conventional snap traps. These typically are wooden rectangles that have a spring-loaded bar on the top. Bait is placed on a pedal, and when a mouse touches the pedal, the bar is released, snapping forcefully down onto the mouse, usually killing it quickly. Although cheese is the stereotypical food of choice for mice, they also seem to be very fond of peanut butter and chocolate, and both of these items work well as bait. The biggest drawbacks to snap traps are that they are tricky to set, and because they are very sensitive, can snap on your finger before they are placed. Manufacturers, however, have come out with some models that are easier to set than the most basic traps.

Glue pads or trays are another option. These work on the same principle as strips of fly paper. The extremely sticky pads are placed where mouse activity has been seen or is suspected. When a mouse walks onto the sticky surface, it cannot get off. If left there, it will die and the whole thing can simply be throw into the trash. Some people prefer to release the mouse - outside, of course - before it dies. This can be done by putting a little vegetable oil on the sticky surface of the glue pad and pushing the mouse off with a pencil.

Another way to catch a mouse and have the option of allowing it to live is with a box trap. These small, usually see-through cubes have a swinging door at one end only. Rub bait on the door to get the smell on the cube, then place the bait inside the cube at the opposite end of the door. A mouse will enter, the door will shut behind it, and the mouse will not be able to get out. After the mouse has been caught, push open the door and tip out the mouse. This could be while the mouse is still alive, or after it dies.

A more high-tech way to kill mice is with an electronic zapper. These devices are usually box-shaped and run on batteries. Like all traps, they must be baited, then they are turned on, and when a mouse touches the surface, it is given a fatal shock.. The mouse dies in seconds. A second option that makes use of technology is an ultrasonic machine that does not kill mice, but drives them out of an area. These devices are plugged into wall outlets and emit sound waves that rodents do not like.

Of course, no article on mouse control would be complete without mention of cats. By nature, cats hunt mice. Outdoor cats tend to be better hunters, simply because they have been exposed to mice and unlike their indoor counterparts, may have had to rely on them for food to survive. However, even if a cat does not catch a mouse for food, a cat's curious nature will compel it to catch a mouse if only to play with it before killing it.

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