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MouseTrap

Your Guide to Mice Removal (2024)

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Author Icon By Brenda Woods Updated 02/21/2024

If you’ve heard scurrying under your furniture and scratching in your walls, you might have a mouse infestation. While they may seem harmless, mice can spread disease, introduce fleas and lice, contaminate food, damage furniture and books, and create fire hazards by chewing through electrical wiring. In this article, we’ll show you how to identify a mouse infestation, identify some common DIY rodent control methods, and recommend the best professional pest control companies to get rid of mice.


Identifying Mice

Your first step should be to confirm the presence of a mouse infestation. While treating for mice is similar to treating for rats, rats are larger and more cautious. Thus, a rat trap might not be the best solution to a mouse problem. The easiest way to tell the two apart is by their body size and the droppings they leave behind.

Rodent CharacteristicMiceRats
Length5.5–7.5 inches10–18 inches
Weight0.5-1 ounces5-18 ounces
FurLighter and smootherDarker and rougher
Head shapePointedBlunt-nosed
Droppings1/4 inch with pointed ends1/2–3/4 inch with blunt ends

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 slightly different treatments for each. All three types range in length from 5 1/2 to 7 1/2 inches long, including their tail. Here are some key characteristics:

Small in size, with gray-brown hair and tail longer than body. Likes to live near people and stay close to nest.
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.
Nearly identical to deer mice, but larger in size. Likes to travel from nest.

Signs You Have Mice

Even if you never spot a live mouse, your house still may have an infestation. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you’re likely to spot droppings and gnaw marks before you see a mouse. Mice are nocturnal and tend to stay hidden during the day, but they’re also highly social and live in groups. You’re unlikely to even have just one or two mice in a home. If you spot several live mice over the course of a single day, you could have an infestation of up to 5,000 mice. Inspecting for the following signs can help confirm you have a mouse problem in your house.

  • Droppings that are between 1/8 and 1/2 inch
  • Scratching sound in walls
  • Scurrying sound in rooms
  • Nests made of shredded paper and other insulation behind or under furniture
  • Gnaw marks on bags of food, wood, and electrical wiring
  • Footprints in dust
  • Musty odors (from mouse urine)

Steps to follow

How to Get Rid of Mice

There are several steps you can take for mice removal and prevention. Explore them in the dropdown sections below.

Mice can and will eat nearly all human food, so be sure to keep your food contained and seal away scraps.

  • Wash dishes immediately after using them
  • Wipe down countertops
  • Enclose all food in airtight containers
  • Sweep the kitchen floor
  • Make sure garbage is secured and taken out regularly

Mice are excellent at squeezing into small spaces—even openings that are just 1/4 inch in size. Rodent-proofing your home will keep any new mice from entering. Eliminate access points like cracks in the foundation and wall openings, especially where utility pipes penetrate walls.

Be sure to use sealants like caulk and steel wool, as mice can chew through wood, plastic, and rubber. You can ensure your door creates a tight seal when closed by applying weatherstripping around the frame.

Humane mouse traps catch mice without harming them. The plastic traps are well-ventilated and have spring-loaded doors that click into place. Mice enter the trap to get the bait, and when they step on the trigger pad, the door snaps closed. You’ll need to check these traps more regularly to avoid leaving the live mouse for too long. Make sure to release the mouse at least one mile from your home.

Trapping is your best bet for catching and eliminating mice—baits work much slower and may be dangerous to handle if you’re not a professional. Poison baits are hazardous to pets and children. Additionally, mice that die trapped in the walls can create a terrible odor. Wooden snap traps, on the other hand, can take care of light to moderate mice infestations, killing them one at a time. Electrical traps also exist, but they’re expensive and tend to run through batteries very quickly.

Learn more: How to Set Up a Mouse Trap

  1. Clean off the area. If there are food crumbs around, the mice might be attracted to them instead of your bait.
  2. Place a dab of peanut butter or a piece of cheese or chocolate in the trigger plate.
  3. 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 two to three feet in areas where you suspect there is the most activity, like in dark corners, along walls, and behind appliances.
  4. Do not throw away the wooden snap trap once you catch a mouse. Mice are drawn to the scent of other mice and are more likely to investigate a trap if another mouse has been there. Remove the dead mouse, bag it and place it in an outdoor trash can, add new bait to the trap, and reset it.

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 are dangerous to people and pets. We recommend leaving this option in the hands of professionals.


How to Prevent Mice

Making your home less accessible to mice can prevent them from coming in. The Environmental Protection Agency strongly recommends prevention as the first step to pest control. Taking a few simple actions now to prevent a future infestation can save you a lot of hassle and expense in the long run.

  • Keep your lawn and shrubs trimmed so that mice can’t hide in them.
  • Store wood piles at least 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 may move into your home from there.
  • Repair leaks as soon as possible, and eliminate sources of standing water.
  • Pay special attention to sealing and rodent-proofing your garage and basement, two notorious trouble spots.
  • Throw away food trash in tightly-sealed garbage containers.
  • Consider an annual pest control inspection and treatment to catch any problems early.

While you may be able to remove a mild to moderate mouse infestation yourself, you’ll need help with a more severe one. Pest control professionals have access to better equipment and rodenticides than most homeowners. Since technicians will also identify and seal locations where rodents may enter your home, we recommend hiring a professional pest control company to get rid of the mice in your home, particularly for large or repeated infestations.

The specialists at Terminix, Orkin, and Hawx have the equipment, products, and experience to do a professional-level job. According to our research, these companies offer the best range of rodent control services at affordable prices. Additionally, all three offer a satisfaction guarantee: if the mice return between treatments, their technicians will treat the problem for free.

With over 95 years of experience and 2.9 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 is a trusted name in the pest control industry and has provided services for over 120 years. The company has serviced 1.7 million residential and commercial customers across the country and offers targeted control for termites and bed bugs, mice, rats, and other rodents.

Visit Site: Request an Orkin Inspection

Learn More: Orkin Pest Control Review

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 rodent control service consisting of exterior bait stations that aren’t accessible by children or pets.

Visit Site: Request a Hawx Inspection

Learn More: Hawx Pest Control Review


Although mice can be found nearly everywhere in North America, they tend to cause the most problems in large cities.


Frequently Asked Questions About Mice Removal

Should I call a professional exterminator to get rid of mice?

We recommend hiring a professional pest control company to get rid of a mouse infestation. Mice tend to live in large groups, and they can cause serious health problems. DIY methods will kill small numbers of individual mice, but professional methods can take on a large infestation.

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 the 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 one to three months for exterminators to get rid of mice.


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.

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.