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Mice: Problems and Solutions

House Mice Facts

  • House mice are usually a light brownish grey and about 3 inches long, with large ears and a tail as long as its body.
  • House mice can live outdoors but prefer to live indoors. They seek out small hidden spaces inside walls and clutter.
  • Keep an eye out for mice in the fall. As weather cools, mice will seek warmth and shelter.
  • Mice eat whatever people do, and will chew on almost anything including electrical wiring!
  • Female mice can have up to 100 babies a year, making a mouse problem grow quickly.

Problems With Mice

  • Mice damage property and contaminate food.
  • Mice chew and expose electrical wires, which can lead to fires.
  • Mice spread diseases such as LCMV and can trigger asthma.

Signs of a Mouse in the House

Mouse droppings, gnaw or chew marks, nesting areas, and live or dead mice all indicate a current and possibly growing mouse problem. Mouse droppings are on average ¼ inches long with pointed ends.

How to Get Rid of Mice

Prevention

Simple actions will keep mice out to prevent the problem in the first place.

  1. Repair any holes or gaps larger than ¼ inch wide. Mice can squeeze through a hole the size of a dime!
  2. Keep clean – good housekeeping is the key to prevention and control of most pests including mice.
    • Clean to the corners especially in the kitchen or other areas food is prepared or eaten.
    • Clean under the stoves, refrigerators and other heavy appliances and furniture periodically.
    • Store all food (including pet food) in tightly sealed metal, glass, or thick plastic containers.
    • Keep garbage in garbage cans with lids.
    • Use a mild soap and water solution to clean areas where mice have been active.
    • Remove clutter to reduce hiding spaces and make cleaning easier.

Treatment

When prevention fails, these treatment suggestions can help.

  1. Snap Traps: Place snap traps in areas where mice activity was spotted and along the wall, where mice like to travel. Peanut butter is a great bait, but make sure other food in the area is cleaned up. Other baits like cotton balls and shredded paper works great for nesting females.
  2. Humane Traps: These are traps that capture live mice. There are many different designs, but most use bait inside. Do not release the mice you caught near your home – they will find their way back in!
  3. Bait Boxes: Baits contain poison and are NOT RECOMMENDED for mouse control inside buildings. The poison in these baits kills mice, but they can die where they can’t be reached causing odor and other pest problems. The poison can also be very dangerous for small children and pets.
  4. Sound Repellents: These have not been shown to work in getting rid of mice in buildings. Save your money and buy snap traps.
  5. Biological Controls: A cat may be helpful in preventing mice from entering your home. However, not all cats are interested and should not be the primary line of defense for mice.

Be persistent! Keeping on top of the problem using the prevention and treatment techniques discussed here will control mice. Keep with it, and you’ll be in control and pest free before long.

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