How to Get Rid of Mice in my House and…
… what would a Mouse Exterminator do?
Ok, so you are being tormented by a mouse – that stinks. What do you do now?
This article will walk you through the steps to get you back to a mouse-free home!
In the big picture, you have three options:
- Ignore it – Hope there is only one, and hope it will find its way out of your house. More on this below.
- DIY / Do-It-Yourself Mouse Control can be Successful. We will explain How to Do-It-Yourself.
- Call a Pest Control Exterminator. Below we will also discuss what to do if you do not want to Do-It-Yourself or, previous DIY attempts have failed.
We will also explain what an exterminator will do to get rid of mice.
Option 1 – Ignore it. Considering how fast mice reproduce, this is probably not the best option.
There are times when a mouse isn’t necessarily seeking out your house but, instead – the mouse is ‘forced’ into your house by a hungry predator or bad weather – and then it could simply leave without taking up residency. While this is possible, it is uncommon.
However, if you think this is the case, you can monitor it by cleaning up the mouse droppings (poop)2 and checking to see if more droppings appear over the next few days. You can also spread flour in the area and check to see if it is disturbed by ongoing mouse activity. Just keep in mind, the mouse (or mice) may have just moved to a different part of the building.
Consequences of ignoring a mouse problem: One female mouse can produce as many as 12 babies every 3-weeks, and the female offspring are ready to start producing babies of their own when they are 6-weeks old! Mice living inside will reproduce year-round.
Mouse droppings and urine can spread diseases.
The most common way to DIY mouse control is by using mouse traps.
How to Trap Mice
It should go without saying but, don’t put mouse traps where someone might get hurt – this includes people and pets! Also, make notes so you remember where the traps are located – you don’t want to forget one and then get an unpleasant surprise down the road! Remember, mice can’t read – so, you can even tape notes to the wall or somewhere near each trap so you can find them.
Where should I place a mouse trap?
When placing mouse traps, keep in mind, mice are instinctively afraid of people and they will hide as much as they can. Therefore, they will avoid open areas as much as possible.
Good locations to place a mouse trap:
- Along walls where you suspect mouse activity.
- Mice primarily navigate by using their whiskers while rubbing up against walls. Look for ‘grease marks’ left by mice as they move (and rub) along walls.
- Behind a stove or in the drawer at the bottom of the stove.
- Under a hot water heater.
- Anywhere you see signs of a mouse – such as their droppings, grease stains along a wall or food containers that have been chewed through.
- Look for damage to non-food items that can be used for nesting. As the weather gets colder, mice will seek out material to make a nest for the winter. Pest Control technicians will often trap mice using cotton (or other suitable nesting material) instead of a food bait during the nest-building time of year.
Learn how to set a mouse trap without snapping your fingers.
Use multiple traps
When you place the traps, use more than you think are necessary. If you think you have identified an area of activity, place several traps in the area. For example, if you have a wall where you see mouse droppings, place a trap every 4-5 feet along that wall.
If you have a heavy infestation, you may catch multiple mice with multiple traps. Keep in mind how fast a mouse population can grow. The goal is to catch as many mice a day as possible.
What Kind of Bait Should I use in a Mouse Trap?
Most often our technicians will use peanut butter. It works well and is easy to use. There is no need to over-do it. Just a small smear on the trigger does the job. Soft cheese and soft dog/cat food can also work.
Wear Gloves when Touching Mouse Trap
Mice have survived for thousands of years and are still around for a reason – they are smart. Mice can detect your scent on a trap and this may convince them to avoid the trap.
It’s also important from a hygienic standpoint to wear gloves – mice are dirty, often have parasites attached to them (such as ticks, fleas, and lice) and they carry diseases – some of which are dangerous to humans. Latex gloves work well and are disposable.
Option 3 – Hire a Pest Control company
What Does an Exterminator Do to Get Rid of Mice?
A professional pest technician will use mouse traps like most homeowners use, but they have other tools available.
Finding Signs of Pests in Your Home: The most significant advantage a trained exterminator has is their ability to ‘read the signs’ of a pest problem and understand what’s going on. Pest Control Technicians undergo an extensive amount of training and learn how mice and other pests behave. They can also get a pretty good idea of the size of an infestation – is it just a couple mice or is it much worse? Does it look like only one nest or maybe more? This knowledge takes a lot of guess-work out of the problem.
A well trained pest technician will quickly spot things like grease and urine stains, droppings, gnaw marks and other indicators of where the mice are (and where they are not). Most often, after the first visit, the technician will have a pretty good idea of the location, severity and how to eliminate the infestation, as quickly as possible.
How to Know if Mice are Inside Your Walls? It’s very common for mice to live inside walls (and other places that people can’t go). You might hear them scampering around but, how do you know where they are – or more importantly, how do you know where the nest is?
An exterminator can see through the walls – Ok, maybe it’s not as cool as Superman’s X-ray vision…but, an exterminator will often use an Infrared Imaging camera to determine where the problem is. Also referred to as ‘thermal imaging’, the camera senses heat and can show where mouse nests are inside of walls and other places. The camera can even find mice in a box, in your attic, eating your high school yearbooks – or hiding in a dark corner of a cluttered crawl space.
How are the Mice Getting In? A trained technician is also very good at finding the entry points used by mice. These are structural issues that are often easily corrected. The Infrared camera can also be used to find holes in walls that would be hard to find with a visual inspection.
Habitat for Mice – Tall grasses, weeds against the house would be a red-flag. If these conditions exist around your home, a pest control technician will realize that this may be a nesting location or an area where mice can enter your home. The same goes for trees with branches hanging over your roof. Mice often find their way onto your roof and into the upper levels of your home. There are many other warning signs that a pest control tech would recognize.
Bait Stations – In addition to using mouse traps, an exterminator will also use bait stations. These are tamper-resistant boxes with bait inside. Mice eat the bait and die. It is best to use a licensed pest control technician when these baits are used to ensure the safety of the people and pets in the house.
A few things to remember:
Whatever your situation is, remember that mice are very dirty and can spread dangerous diseases. Do everything you can to keep mice out of your house and make sure that your extermination was successful by inspecting for evidence. Be sure you know how to clean up dead mice, their poop, urine and the messes they have made without getting sick.
Mice are breeding machines – one female mouse can get pregnant 5-10 times in a year. And, the offspring begin mating when they are about 6 weeks old. If you do the math, it gets ugly fast!