If you’ve heard scurrying under your furniture and scratching in your walls, or you’ve seen chew marks on your cereal box or droppings in the corners, you may have a mice infestation on your hands. This can be serious, since mice can introduce fleas and lice, contaminate food, damage furniture and books, and create fire hazards by chewing through electrical wiring. You can try to get rid of these pests on your own using mechanical traps and baits, but that can be pretty difficult. That’s where professional pest control companies come in.
The This Old House Reviews Team recommends Orkin, Terminix, and Aptive to eradicate the mice in your house. These professionals use combinations of mechanical traps and chemical baits that are effective but may be dangerous to use—baits that you shouldn’t try to use by yourself.
If you want to eliminate the mice, you’ll need the right size trap—a rat trap may not do you much good. Looking at their body shape and size will help you tell them apart. Young rats’ heads are larger compared to their bodies, while adult mice have proportionally smaller heads. Both types of rodents chew on wood, but rats leave larger bite marks.
There are three different types of mice that tend to make nests in homes: the house mouse, deer mouse, and white-footed mouse. They have slightly different behavioral patterns, so you may need to implement an alternative treatment for them.
All three types range in length from 5 ½-7 ½ inches long including their tail, with house mice on the smaller end of that spectrum. House mice are gray-brown with a tail longer than their body. Deer mice are gray-brown or red-brown with white bellies and feet. Their tails are less than half the length of their bodies. White-footed mice are nearly identical to them, but are larger. House mice like to live near people and stay close to their nests, rarely venturing out more than 100 feet. Deer mice and white-footed mice will travel farther.
Signs You Have Mice
You may think that spotting just one mouse is no big deal. Maybe you’re right—or maybe there are many mice burrowed into a nest in your walls. Mice are highly social with other mice and live in groups. Inspecting for the following signs can help confirm you have a large mice problem in your house.
- Droppings that are between ⅛-½ inches
- Scratching sound in walls
- Scurrying sound in rooms
- Nests made of shredded paper and other insulation behind or under furniture
- Chew marks on bags of food, wood, and electrical wiring
- Footprints in dust
- Musty odors (from mouse urine)
How to Get Rid of Mice
There are several steps you can take for mice removal and mice prevention. You can set up mechanical traps and baits. If you have a cat, it may do a lot of the work for you.
Remove food sources
- Wash dishes immediately after using them.
- Wipe down countertops.
- Enclose all food in airtight containers.
- Sweep the kitchen floor or tile.
- Make sure garbage is secured and taken out regularly.
Seal all entry points
Mice are excellent at squeezing into small spaces—even openings that are just ¼ inch big. Rodent-proofing your home will keep any new mice from entering. Eliminate access points like cracks in foundation and wall openings, especially where the wall meets utility pipes.
Be sure to use sealants like caulk and steel wool. Mice can chew through materials like wood, plastic, and rubber. You can ensure your door is sealed tightly with weather stripping.
Use wooden snap traps
Trapping is your best bet for catching and eliminating mice—baits work much more slowly and may be dangerous to handle if you’re not a professional. Wooden snap traps can take care of light to moderate mice infestations, killing them one at a time.
How to set up mouse traps
First, clean off the area. If there are food crumbs around, the mice may be attracted to them instead of your bait.
Next, place a dab of peanut butter or piece of cheese or chocolate in the trigger plate. You can tie a piece of dental floss to the trigger to keep the mice from carrying the bait off and not getting trapped.
Then, set the trap. Place it in an area where you suspect there is a lot of mouse traffic, with the trigger at a 90 degree angle from the wall—directly in the mouse’s path. Set a trap every 2-3 feet in areas where you suspect there is the most activity, like in dark corners, along walls, and behind appliances.
You should also consider using some humane traps and glue traps. Mice may learn to avoid one type of trap, so you have greater chances of trapping them with greater variety. Refresh the bait every couple of days.
Do not get rid of a wooden snap trap once you catch a mouse. Mice are drawn to the scent of other mice, and will be more likely to investigate a trap if another mouse has been there. Remove the dead mouse, bag it up, and place it in an outdoor trash can, and add new bait to the trap and reset it.
Use glue traps
Glue traps are handy because they can kill multiple mice in one go. Place food in the center of the trap, and place the traps behind furniture, in corners, and against walls. After one mouse gets trapped, more will come to see what’s going on, getting trapped as well.
Use humane traps
Humane mouse traps catch mice without harming them. The plastic traps are well-ventilated and have spring-loaded doors that click into place. Mice will enter the trap to get the bait, and when they step on the trigger pad, the door will snap closed. You’ll need to check these traps more regularly so that you don’t leave the mouse in there to die.
Set up bait stations
Bait stations include rodenticide in sealed packages, usually in plastic or cellophane. The mice chew through the package, eat the bait, and die. These chemicals can be dangerous to people and pets. While bait stations can be used DIY, they are best left in the hands of professionals.
How to Prevent Mice
Making your home less accessible to mice can prevent them from coming in. Make sure you keep your lawn and shrubs trimmed, so that mice can’t hide in them. Also, keep wood piles no closer than 20 feet from your house, and never rest them against the foundation. Mice like to use these wood piles as shelter in the colder months, and move into your home from there.
Top Recommended Companies for Mice Removal
This Old House Reviews Team recommends hiring a professional pest control company to get rid of the mice in your home. The specialists at Orkin, Terminix, and Aptive have the equipment, products, and experience to do a professional-level job. They know how to handle potentially harmful chemicals and how to get rid of mice in the most effective, efficient way.
Pest control specialists seal off entry points, identify the species of mouse, and use mechanical traps and devices or rodent baits, or both, to fully eradicate the issue.
Mice Removal FAQs
What do mice hate the most?
Mice are said to hate the smell of cayenne pepper, cloves, and peppermint oil.
How does an exterminator get rid of mice?
Exterminators use a variety of methods to get rid of mice. Pest control specialists often start by sealing all possible entry points, like gaps in windows and cracks in foundation. Then, they will identify the type of mouse you’re dealing with, because different types may behave differently and require different treatments. After that, they will decide to use either traps and mechanical devices or rodent baits, or both.
How much does it cost for mice removal?
The cost for mice removal will depend on where you live and the extent of the infestation, among other factors.
How long does it take an exterminator to get rid of mice?
It will depend on the degree of infestation, but typically it takes 1-3 months for exterminators to get rid of mice.
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