If you’ve heard scurrying under your furniture and scratching in your walls, you might have a mice infestation. 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, but that can be pretty difficult. That’s where professional pest control companies come in.
The This Old House Reviews Team recommends Terminix, Orkin, and Hawx to eradicate the mice in your house. These professionals use combinations of mechanical traps and chemical baits that are effective but might be dangerous to use on your own at home.
If you want to eliminate mice, you’ll need the right size trap— and a rat trap might not be the best solution. Both body shape and size differ between rats and mice. 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 might need to implement an alternative treatment for them. All three types range in length from 5 ½-7 ½ inches long, including their tail. Here are some key characteristics:
- House mouse: Small in size, with gray-brown hair and tail longer than body. Likes to live near people and stay close to nest.
- Deer mouse: Gray-brown or red-brown hair with white belly and feet. Tail is less than half the length of body. Likes to travel from nest.
- White-footed mouse: Nearly identical to deer mice, but larger in size. Likes to travel from nest.
Signs You Have Mice
You might think that spotting just one mouse is no big deal. However, mice are highly social 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 prevention.
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 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 live mouse for too long.
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.
Learn more: How to Set Up a Mouse Trap
- Clean off the area. If there are food crumbs around, the mice might be attracted to them instead of your bait.
- Place a dab of peanut butter or a 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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 will 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 Terminix, Orkin, and Hawx 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.
Terminix: Best Overall
With more than 90 years of experience and 2.8 million residential and commercial customers worldwide, Terminix offers easy online customer service with an efficient real-time chat function. Generally, it’s the most affordable of the pest control companies.
Visit Site: Request a Terminix Inspection
Learn More: Terminix Pest Control Review
Orkin: Best for Urgent Service
Orkin is a trusted name in the pest control industry, and has been in providing services for 100 years. The company services 1.7 million residential and commercial customers across the country, and has targeted control for termites and bed bugs.
Visit Site: Request an Orkin Inspection
Learn More: Orkin Pest Control Review
Hawx: Best Mosquito Plan
Though it’s a smaller pest control company, Hawx has glowing customer reviews across multiple review sites. In addition to its comprehensive Home Service Plan, Hawx offers a specialized Mosquito Abatement Plan.
Visit Site: Request a Hawx Inspection
Learn More: Hawx Pest Control Review
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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 plan options, additional benefits and convenience factors, availability, trustworthiness, and customer service to arrive at a final score out of 100.
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