How to keep Mice out of your House or Apartment
Spotting a mouse is every homeowner’s nightmare. When you see one in your home be sure that isn’t the only one. There is a lot more scurrying around somewhere. Mice are stealthy nocturnal creatures that enter homes even through a hole size of a nickel and find their ideal place to nest among storage, in the attic and the garage. Clutter is their best friend. They like gnawing through wood, cloth, cable wiring, and hard building material such as walls. They will find a small hole, gnaw through it and slip in easily into your home. They can reduce their body size and make it almost ¾ of their size and squeeze into small spaces. A lot of homeowners in North America are vexed by mice infestation. Knowing mice well will help you keep them out of homes. Here are some things you need to know about them to identify them.
The mouse is one easily recognizable iconic animal in the world. It is the familiar furry creature and a bothersome pest that everyone wants to get rid of. Throughout North America, there are several mice species you may encounter with unique traits, appearances, and habits.
- The deer mouse-The deer mouse, also known as Peromyscus maniculatus, is one of the most common rodent species in North America. In size, it is a large mouse. An adult deer mouse can grow up to 8 inches in length, and it has brown fur with a white underbelly. These mice are also known to carry several diseases including Lyme and the Hantavirus.
- The house Mouse- The most common species in the US is the house mouse, which usually has grey fur with a cream underbelly, it is much smaller than the deer mouse though both of them have similar eating habits. The house mouse is known to carry a variety of parasites that are fatal for humans and pets. Once they infest a home, they are capable of spreading diseases, gnawing through stuff, and leaving bad odours.
- Western harvest mouse- This largish mouse prefers to inhabit open areas such as grasslands, meadows, and marshes, along the west coast of the US. Its habitat is mostly environments such as shrublands, dunes, and deserts. It is much less of a residential pest and more of a country mouse than a town mouse.
The type of mouse which infests homes is the house mouse or the Deer mouse. These two are the most common species to infest homes. Both can be prevented by DIY methods if the infestation is small. You may need specialist service when the infestation is getting out of hand and you need to call pest control.
Each fall, the onset of cold weather causes mice to move in search of food and shelter. Mice are curious and will enter any hole or crack that is pencil sized. Mice will nest in any secret area near a source of food. Their nests are constructed of rags or paper lined with finely shredded material and look like loosely woven balls, 4-6 inches in diameter. In search of food, a mouse will normally travel no more than 10-50 feet from their nest. Mice are territorial by nature, and they will constantly explore to learn more about their surroundings. They can memorize pathways, obstacles, food, water, shelter, and other elements in their habitat. They are also quick to detect new objects in their environment and can be wary of anything new.
They have poor eyesight and navigate using their whiskers, usually traveling along a wall. If you don’t move, a mouse can’t detect you. They will explore when they think they’re alone, usually at night, and at any other time when they don’t feel movement. People usually see mice only when they have been sitting still, such as when reading or watching television. Unlike rats, if you have spotted a mouse does not necessarily mean they have a high population density but it can still be an infestation.
How to keep Mice out of your house
A mouse infestation is a great nuisance to deal with and a very unpleasant thing to happen. Knowledge is power, knowing how to take care of the infestation and making sure it doesn’t happen again is important.
Keeping predator pets helps to keep mice out of the house. A cat or dog does a good job to scare mice away. The best way to control rodents is to keep them out of the home in the first place. Rodents like to hide in vegetation, your first line of defense is to clear the vines, shrubs, and ivy near your home. Cleaning yards while cutting the supply of food and shelter to mice that they need for breeding restricts young mice’s ability to move in. Piles of grass clippings or tree trimmings make ideal rodent harbourages, so properly store and dispose of any foliage. Try to leave at least 18 inches of clear space between your house and any vegetation. Mice also like to hide under woodpiles or lumber; in abandoned automobiles, old appliances, and furniture; and under trash cans. Do not store junk in your yard. Store any lumber or wood on racks at least 12-inches off the ground, and away from the house exterior. Store your trash and garbage cans at a height as well.
Check your house perimeter annually in late summer or early fall to assure there are no holes or gaps that could be used as entry points for mice. Keep in mind that even a small opening in your eyes is sufficient for mouse entry. Pay special attention to pipes, wiring, conduits, cables, doors, and windows. Foundation must be effectively sealed at the points where the utility pipes are buried. Spot holes by shining a torch light in dark areas around the perimeters of your house along the basement and you will be able to spot potential flaw holes that you may have not noticed before. Close the openings found, using sheet metal, hardware cloth, or wire mesh. Pieces of tin cut from tomato cans make great patches.
5 Tips to Keep Mice Out of Your Home
Check for Infestation and seal entryways– The first step is to confirm if you have an infestation. The important signs to look for are mouse droppings, urine stains, and odors, scratch marks, gnaw markings on furniture, grease marks and strong pungent odors, and of course seeing a mouse and finding its nest. Follow these tips to get rid of Mice:
- Throw away old and contaminated food
- Make sure that all your food is stored away in sealed metal, plastic, or glass containers. This saves your food from contamination and cuts food supply.
- Make sure to transfer food from cardboard boxes and dispose of them safely outside the house in garbage bins. Cardboard makes for perfect nesting and gnawing material for mice.
- Do not leave cut fruit or open bread on the kitchen counters. Store it away in the fridge. This is the perfect food for mice to carry into their den.
- Make sure to clear all food crumbs and spills and pet food leftovers from pantries and kitchen cabinets. This attracts mice a great deal.
- Inspect your property for holes and gaps and seal them with caulk and steel wool to prevent mice from entering inside.
- Shut the doors and windows during the evening times to keep off mice. They are nocturnal creatures and spread around at night.
- Clearing away items that are old like books, bags, and old clothing material that is not in use and storing away the ones not in use securely using camphor balls.
- Sanitize the areas where mice have frequented and left their droppings and urine puddles and nesting remains.
- Do not store personal belongings in cardboard and plastic boxes.
- -Maintain regular upkeep of places that you don’t regularly use like attics, garages, and basements by cleaning and sanitizing them regularly.
- Trim the shrubs and prune the branches so that they don’t act as entry points for mice.
- Mice gnaw on every possible thing. Be it food remains; pet remains or diapers and pet food all are food for mice. Clean up all.
- If you have fruit trees in your backyards and gardens make sure to clear away rotten fruits that have dropped as well as the good ones immediately.
- Garbage cans need to be shut tightly. Both the indoor and outdoor ones.
- Clean up the bird feeder and pet dishes regularly. Do not leave them overnight. They serve as ideal food sources for foraging mice.
Humane Traps- Animal lovers prefer to get humanely rid of mice by using live traps. They are pretty easy to set up and use, the only drawback is they don’t help large infestations as they can tackle only a single mouse at a time.
The trap has a door that is tied to the bait. As soon as the mouse gets inside the door closes behind it trapping the mouse without harming it. The trap needs to be checked every few hours as you cannot leave the mouse in there for a long time. After it is trapped you need to drive to a place away from your home for at least 3 miles and release the trapped mouse from it with help of a stick. Remember to wear gloves while handling the trap and dispose them of securely.
Glue Traps & Poisonous Bait Stations- These traps are covered with strong glue on the surface boards that make the rodent stick to it very tightly if it tries to pass over it. Most young mice get lured easily into these traps as opposed to the adults who just go around them. This trap is potentially very dangerous to pets and kids. You need to be extremely careful while using this and make sure it doesn’t reach the wrong hands.
It is recommended to free the mouse as soon as you trap it. Do not leave it for long. Drive at least 3 miles away from your home. Place the glue board with gloved hands at a safe distance and pour vegetable oil on the board so that it frees itself and runs away. Dispose of the trap and do not use it again.
Use poison bait stations with extreme caution. The trap is designed like a plastic box that holds poison. Use a pair of protective gloves when setting the trap. Put the poison in the correct sections. Place the traps around hidden and closed spaces where mice mostly seem to nest. Never place these traps in the way of stray or wild animals. Store the leftover poison on shelves that are not easily accessible to kids and pets.
Natural mice control
Naturally controlling mice may ward off a new mouse looking for a home but it doesn’t help a full-blown infestation. The repellents used are mothballs, peppermint oil, and ultrasound waves.
-Mothballs generally don’t work for big rodents like mice. Mothballs contain a substance known as naphthalene that works if ingested in large amounts but never in small. Mice generally avoid the balls. It is mainly used to ward off unpleasant doors.
-Peppermint oil is said to work on mice. If applied and re-applied in large quantities but isn’t a sure-shot effective way to ward off mice. It has a very smell potent but most mice have a developed sense of smell and usually survive in very smelly areas like sewages and dirty matter so it doesn’t seem to affect them.
Ultrasonic wave devices help by emitting strange noises that are a sensory overload to mice only. Mice may avoid these areas completely as they cannot bear the discomfort. Sometimes they may adapt to these and find ways to avoid them and go around them to still get what they want.
Calling a professional mouse exterminator to get rid of mice in your home is the safest way to go about things. These are trained professionals who have been in all kinds of houses and have dealt with various levels of infestation. They are well-versed in locating nests and they know the best and safest ways to get rid of mice. They will leave you with all the instructions and tips necessary to help you prevent such situations in the future. Call a professional extermination company if you cannot deal with the infestation and they will have everything taken care of, while you may sit back and relax.