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How to Get Rid of Mice in the Home

Updated: Feb 7

Learn from the experts at Greeny's pest control on the best strategies for eliminating mouse issues in the home.


Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Mouse activity in the kitchen
Mouse activity in the kitchen

Discovering mice in your home can be unsettling and even frustrating for most homeowners. These tiny rodents not only pose health risks by spreading diseases but can also cause significant damage to your property if left unchecked. If you're dealing with a mouse infestation and are trying to get on top of it, then you've come to the right place. This comprehensive guide will walk you through some effective strategies used by professional exterminators to rid your home of mice issues!


Understanding Mice

Before we dive into eradication methods, it's crucial to understand a bit about mice. Mice are small, nocturnal rodents known for their sharp incisors that constantly grow. They are attracted to warm, sheltered environments with easy access to food and water. Understanding these preferences can be key to preventing and eliminating them from your home.


Step 1: Inspection and Identification

(Finding the mice activity)


Identify Signs of Mice

  • Droppings: Small, dark droppings, particularly in cupboards, drawers, or under sinks.

  • Gnaw Marks: On food packaging, furniture, or walls.

  • Nests: Made from shredded paper, fabric, or other fibrous materials in secluded areas.

  • Sounds: Scratching or scurrying noises, especially at night.

  • Smell: A distinctive, ammonia-like odor from their urine.


Inspect Your Home

It is important to discover entry points and signs of mouse activity around the home in order to create the most effective treatment plan. Common entry points include gaps around doors, windows, and pipes; holes in walls or floors; and vents. When we perform an inspection we love using the surprisingly low tech "Finger rule"... If you can fit your pointer finger into an opening then that means a mouse can fit through it as well.


Other common entryways include holes where utility pipes and cables enter buildings, breaches in foundations or floors. Vents, especially those without proper screening, the rubber seals on the bottoms of garage doors and even weep holes in bricks where the mortar is intentionally left out.


Step 2: Prevention

(Stopping new entry)


Seal Entry Points

Using either steel wool or copper mesh, seal any holes or gaps you've identified in the inspection phase. Mice can't chew through these materials which makes them ideal. The other added benefit of these materials is that they allow the home to breath ensuring moisture will not build up in areas they are not supposed to. When facing larger openings where moisture is not a concern we often use a combination of copper mesh & spray foam.


The most common entryways include gaps around doors and windows, holes where utility pipes and cables enter buildings, and breaches in foundations or floors. Vents, especially those without proper screening, also offer a welcoming passage.
Before and after mouse exclusion example

In the example above, mice had chewed through spray foam and made their way into a homeowners basement. In order to fix the issue, our technician had embedded copper mesh in spray foam which helped stop the chewing as well eliminate a cold draft!


Eliminate Food Sources

Mice usually enter homes for two reasons... warmth and food. Store dry foods, pet food, and birdseed in airtight containers. Keep counters and floors clean of crumbs and spills. Regularly dispose of garbage in sealed containers.


Declutter

Mice love hiding in cluttered spaces. By minimizing clutter, especially in storage areas like basements and attics, you remove potential nesting sites.


Step 3: Eradication

(Get rid of mice inside the structure)


Traps

  • Snap Traps: Snap traps are found in almost every major hardware store and can still do the trick, however for larger issues they likely won't be enough. Rodent's are often smarter then people realize and can begin to learn to stay away for these types of traps.


  • Live Traps: If you prefer a catch-and-release approach, live traps are available. However, you must release the mouse several miles away from your home to prevent it from returning, and unless you are checking these stations daily the mice are most likely going to die inside the trap anyways.


  • Bait stations: Bait stations contain rodenticides and are designed to allow a mouse to enter, eat the bait and then leave. They are safer around children and pets since the poison is contained in tamper resistant "bait stations". After consumption mice will often leave the home seeking a water source. You can pick up these stations from most major hardware stores, however after decades of use mice have begun developing a resistance to these types of rodenticides. One benefit to working with a professional extermination company is that they hold a special license which allows them to possess "commercial grade" rodenticides which tend to work much better than the hardware store type.



Greeny's exterminator inspecting a mouse bait station
Greeny's exterminator inspecting a rodent bait station

Step 4: Maintenance

(Ensure the issue doesn't come back)


Regular Inspection

Regularly check for signs of mice and maintain vigilance with sealing and repairing any new entry points. Also, monitor for potential food sources that could attract mice.

Sanitation

Maintain cleanliness in your home, especially in kitchens and dining areas. Ensure garbage is securely stored and disposed of regularly. Keep outdoor areas near the home free of debris and stored items that could serve as shelter for mice.

Professional Help

If your mouse problem persists despite your best efforts, it may be time to call in professional pest control. A professional rodent control program can include regular visits to inspect rodent activity and refill bait stations when necessary.


Conclusion

Mice are unwelcome guests in any home, but with diligence and the right approach, you can reclaim your space. Start with a thorough inspection and move on to sealing up entry points and eliminating attractants. Choose the eradication methods that best suit your comfort level and ethical considerations, whether that's traps, bait stations, or humane alternatives. Remember, prevention is key to ensuring your home remains mouse-free in the long term. With patience and persistence, you can achieve a clean, healthy, and rodent-free environment.

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