So you’re probably here because you saw a little mouse in your house and want to get rid of it as soon as possible, right? I was in the same situation as you. When you first see the little bugger, you can’t help but feel violated. He is eating your food, gnawing through your things, and worst of all, leaving droppings (AKA poop) all over the place. So what now? I will show you how to get rid of mice in your home.
This is the time to make a concise plan to get rid of mice in your house once and for all. It’s not going to be easy, but after you’re done, you will gain a valuable life lesson and be able to get rid of mice no matter where you live in the future. And let’s be honest, mice are everywhere, so it’s not like you’re going to move to somewhere where they do not have mice.
And perhaps worst of all, mice can carry diseases which you probably do not want to expose your family to.
I put together this guide to go walk you through each step of the way in getting rid of mice so that your house can be at peace and your food can be left for intended audience only.
By the way, if you’ve seen one mouse or their droppings, chances are you have a lot more. When I first caught my first mouse, I was super excited. I thought I was one and done, but guess what? I kept catching mice each and every day until I caught all nine. I was lucky enough to have a mama mouse give birth in my place, and I was blessed with 8 little baby mice. So I will show you exactly how to catch mice in your own home too.
Close Off Any Entry Points to Your House
Perhaps the most important part in getting rid of mice is to close of and eliminate any entry points into your house. The mice did not just magically appear in your house. They found a nice little hole (as small as quarter of inch) and made their way through. Mice usually like to live outdoors during summer and warmed months, but when it starts getting colder, they find a place to nest (such as your beautiful house).
The most obvious entry points to examine would be exterior vents, large foundation cracks and gaps, gaps in windows, gaps in ceilings, gaps in doors, gaps around sewer lines, gaps around plumbing or gas lines, and so on. Basically where ever you can find a little gap, there is a chance the mouse can go through it.
The best material for closing gaps in and around your house is steel wool. You can simply stuff a lot of steel wool into gaps and then caulk around those gaps or use other methods to secure steel wool into the cracks.
Mice do not like to chew through steel wool as it hurts their little teeth, so they will most likely pass on that gap if there is a lot of steel wool to get through. Use #3 grade steel wool which is thick enough for rodents. If the steel wool is too thin, there is a chance the mice will still gnaw their way through it.
For larger gaps, you should close them off properly, whether it’s concrete mix, sheet metal, or another appropriate material for your case.
Use Mouse Traps to Catch Mice
So you’ve closed of all the gaps in your house and now you need to get the little buggers out, right? The next step is to get some good quality mouse traps and catch those guys.
There are several types of mouse traps out there including:
These mouse traps lure mice on them and then they snap onto the mouse in order to kill it. Usually snapping his neck. Although nobody enjoys killing these little critters, this is probably the most humane way of killing them if you choose to go that route. Every one in a while, you might have to deal with a mouse that’s still alive, but suffering horribly. For example, the snap broke its spine, but the mouse is still alive and cannot move anywhere.
Glue traps are becoming more and more popular because they usually come pre-baited and do not require much monitoring. The process is simple. The mouse walks on them to feed and becomes glued to it.
Next, the mouse proceeds to die a somewhat slow death due to one of the following reasons:
- Hypothermia – he cannot move to maintain his optimal body temperature
- Asphyxiation – his nose and nasal passages might get glued as well, thus blocking the air entry into their lungs
- Hunger – no food on the trap anymore so he will starve if he doesn’t succumb to any of the other methods first
Glue traps are definitely one of the least humane ways to get rid of mice. So if you are looking for humane traps, either go with snap traps (to kill) or live catch and release traps (to keep alive).
Humane Live Catch and Release Traps
These traps are my favorite. I even put together a list of the best humane mouse traps. I don’t enjoy killing mice since they’re somewhat cute, so when I had to get rid of them, I simply caught them and released them in the nearby park. By nearby, I mean about 3 miles away.
What happens next to these mice is not certain. Some will be eaten by predators such as hawks or snakes, others might be run over by cars, and the remainder might nest elsewhere and live a normal mouse life.
Although not technically a trap, it is used to kill mice. It is essentially just a really delicious mouse food which kills them when they consume it. I would advise staying away from these because the mice will die a slow and painful death, and worst of all, they’ll probably die inside your walls which might stink for a week or two.
Select The Best Bait for Your Mouse Traps
The best bait for your mouse traps will vary. Although most people recommend using peanut butter, I’ve had the most luck using dry dog food.
The idea is to use the bait that the mice are used to eating in your house. If you have a dog, then it could be the dog food. If you do not have a dog, it could be anything that’s left laying around in your house. I put together a guide for best bait for mouse traps here.
Finding Best Location for Mouse Traps
It does not matter how good the mouse trap is if it’s placed in the wrong location. Before I started successfully catching mice in my home, it took probably three months for me to realize I was looking in the wrong places.
If you have found mouse droppings somewhere in your house such as behind your stove or fridge, then those would probably be the best places to try first. Mice usually walk around the perimeter of the room, so placing the traps by the baseboards and walls can be more successful than just placing them randomly in the room.
If you have not seen any mouse droppings, then it can be difficult to find where they roam around when you’re not there. In most cases, it will be somewhere close to food, which means in or around the kitchen in majority of homes.
A mouse will most likely not live inside your kitchen though. They will usually prefer more secretive place such as inside your walls, ceilings, attic, crawlspace, and so on. And if you hear your mouse inside the walls, you know that’s most likely where their nest is. So while you can start tearing down drywall in hopes of catching the mouse, it is more economical to set up traps in the correct locations and wait till the little guy is hungry and comes out in search of food.
If you have a pet such as a dog, it could very well be around their food bowl, especially if your dog doesn’t finish his or her food each day.
If you have been trying to catch a mouse for a long time and still do not have any success, I would suggest doing what I do. Buy an inexpensive indoor camera with motion detection and place it in farthest corner in your kitchen. Make sure to leave some light on during the night and watch the playback at night to see if you can spot the mice moving around your place.
In my case, the mice were coming in from under the kitchen cabinet, but the whole was in such a weird place that I had not seen it before even when I looked for it. I had to look down and up in order to see the hole as shown in the image below.
Practice Good Sanitation
Whether you’ve caught all the mice yet or not, it is important to practice good sanitation. Don’t leave any food laying around your house at night. If you have a lot of food crumbles on your floor, make sure to vacuum it often.
If you have kids in the house, then I can relate how messy your house probably is. But you still need to make sure the kids clean up after themselves, or if they’re too young to do that, you need to clean up. Messy and dirty homes will not only invite mice, but they could also invite other rodents as well as insects such as cockroaches.
After you have caught your mouse, make sure you clean up all of their droppings and dead bodies. If you’ve caught the mouse humanely, then make sure you release it far away so that it cannot come back to your house. It is also important to release it swiftly as the mouse can still die if left in the humane trap for too long.
Consider Adopting a Cat
We have all seen Tom & Jerry, and while it’s not always true, most cats do love to prey on mice. If you are not having luck catching the mouse on your own, then maybe it’s time to adopt a nice little cat from your local humane society or animal shelter.
Although most cats are really good at catching mice, there are some that are just lazy. If you feed your cat a lot of food, the cat doesn’t really have much incentive to roll of your couch and try to catch a speedy mouse.
But keep in mind that cats do not only catch mice for food. They also do it because they’re naturally hunters so their instincts tell them to catch the mice.
Still, if you had to choose which cat to get, I would prefer a leaner, faster, and younger cat, rather than overweight older cat. Good hunter cats will get rid of mice fast, and because mice can smell cat’s scent, they might move out of your place on their own.
Hire a Professional Pest Management Company
If you’ve tried everything and are still not having luck, then you might have a bigger problem. Your mouse might be on steroids (not literally) and the best way to get rid of those is to hire a professional pest management company. I have never worked with a pest management company, so I cannot recommend which one is best. Your best bet is to look around on Google and Angie’s List and find the ones that are rated the highest.
Celebrate The Removal of Mice
Hooray! You’ve successfully removed all the mice from your house, so now you can pat yourself on the back and celebrate a bit in your achievement. Now that you know how to catch mice, you can keep that skill with you forever and any time you cross paths with a mouse inside your home, walls, attic, or anywhere else, you can implement your technique and get rid of those mice too!