One mouse is cute. Many mice—particularly if they get into the walls of your home—are pests. A single female mouse can give birth to 5 to 10 litters per year with 3 to 12 babies per litter, meaning that a mouse infestation can increase rapidly. Mice will gnaw on building structures, furniture, and even electrical wiring, leading to significant structural damage. They can also contaminate your food and potentially bring lice, fleas, or ticks into your home.

We’ll take a look at some frequently asked questions about mouse problems in the home and also cover ways to get mice out of your walls and prevent them from coming back. For immediate assistance, we recommend getting professional help by contacting a top pest control company:

How Do Mice Get in My Home?

A mouse infestation doesn’t mean that your home is dirty or rundown. When outdoor temperatures drop, mice can look for entry points into any building in search of food, warmth, and shelter. Small cracks in a foundation, holes in siding, and gaps around windows and doors can all serve as entry points for rodents.

Can Mice Climb Walls?

Unfortunately, both mice and rats are very good climbers, and they can even ascend straight up a vertical surface if the texture is rough enough. They can also jump up to 18 inches and slip through surprisingly small cracks and holes, making them very difficult to catch.

How Do I Know If There Are Mice in My Walls?

Mice typically stick to the darkest, unoccupied parts of your home including crawl spaces, air ducts, and wall cavities. Additionally, they usually stay hidden during daylight hours, so you may have an infestation long before you ever actually spot a mouse. Here are some signs that you may have a mouse problem.

  • Rustling or scratching sounds in the walls or under floorboards
  • Small holes in food containers, old fabric, or cardboard boxes
  • Droppings that look like small, dark seeds
  • Unusual ammonia-like smells
  • Nests made of soft, shredded materials in rarely used areas of your home (under cabinets, behind appliances, in basements, etc.)
  • Feet and tail tracks on dusty floors

Look for these signs anywhere food is stored, as well as along floorboards in basements, cellars, lofts, crawl spaces, and other out-of-the-way places.

Getting Rid of Mice in Walls

If you’ve determined you have a mouse problem, here’s how to get rid of mice in walls.

Set Traps

Mousetraps are still the standard for catching rodent pests. If you opt for a lethal trap, choose snap traps that kill mice instantly instead of poison bait traps. You don’t want mice dying and decaying in your walls. Bait traps with peanut butter and set them along walls where you suspect mouse activity. If mice seem to keep evading traps left out in the open, you may have to drill a small hole in the drywall a few inches off the floor and place a trap right by the hole.

Call an Exterminator

Mice infestations can be hard to root out, so you probably don’t want to drill more than one hole before talking to a pest control professional. These companies will know how to extract the mice from your walls while doing the least amount of damage to your home. They can also help you prevent new infestations by finding and securing possible entry points. If you are evaluating pest control companies, we recommend getting quotes from Terminix and Orkin.

Seal Any Gaps

As you work on getting the mice out of your house, also ensure that they can’t find their way back in. Remember that mice can gnaw through sprayable foams and sealants, so look for filler made out of chew-resistant polyester and stainless steel fibers. Wire mesh is a good choice for large holes on the exterior of your home, and door sweeps will cover entranceway gaps by the floor.

Mouse-Proof Your Yard

Once you’ve sealed your home, take a look around the outside. Outdoors, mice like to nest anywhere that can provide a good hiding place from predators, which can include woodpiles, garbage bags, compost heaps, or untrimmed shrubbery, so move these away from the perimeter of your house. Keeping a tidy lawn, in general, will discourage mice from moving in.

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Our Rating Methodology

The This Old House Reviews Team backs up our pest control recommendations with a detailed rating methodology that we use to objectively score each provider. We review pest control plans, navigate the provider website, speak with customer service representatives by phone and online chat (if available), request quotes, and analyze customer reviews for each provider. We then score the provider against our review standards for plans and services, reputation and customer responses, customer service offerings, workmanship guarantees, financing, and availability to arrive at a final score on a 5-point rating scale.

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