Facts

5 Steps to Keeping Mice Away

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Written by John Wells

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Mice are becoming a larger and larger problem since their natural habitats have been changing and they’ve been experiencing a scarcity of food, forcing them to start moving toward human settlements and homes. They bring disease, damage, and health risks along with them. You wouldn’t believe just how big of a problem they can become if left alone. This article will help you learn how to keep mice away.

There are a couple of reasons mice are such a danger to humans and human lives. Well, we aren’t the only ones who are in danger. Did you know that your pets (and other animals) can get sick thanks to mice? It’s true; some of the diseases they carry can infect other animals and cause even worse damage than to humans. For example, Lyme Disease is scary to us because you can easily get it through ticks in the grass. However, if your reaction is prompt and efficient, you’ll have no further health problems once it gets treated.

Unfortunately, animals don’t always get the same luxury, especially dogs. Why dogs you ask? Well, dogs are more prone to contracting Lyme Disease because it’s easier for the ticks to attach to a dog. Additionally, Lyme Disease in dogs can get real serious, real quick. There have been cases of dogs who have been treated for Lyme Disease but ultimately had their kidneys fail. This occurs due to complications which simply cannot be prevented. Death is also a possibility.

On top of the diseases such as the Plague, Typhus, Rat-Bite Fever, and others, mice are true masters of destruction. They can chew through almost anything and prefer chewing wood. Furniture is also in danger, but damaged furniture cannot cause harm to you. What can, however, are damaged wires.

Mice have a habit of gnawing and chewing on things because they need to keep their teeth sharp and short. Their teeth never stop growing. In rare cases, they will start chewing on inedible objects due to lack of food and starvation. Wires that are damaged can cause a fire. Unfortunately, if you don’t notice such damage, the fire might strike when you are asleep. People are bad at waking up from sleep in the event of a fire. So if you thought you were safe from the dangers that mice bring with them because you aren’t in direct contact with them – think again.

Lastly, population. Mice breed very quickly and can produce huge amounts of offspring in just one year. Did you know that a single female mouse can give birth to around 50 babies in a year? Multiply that number by the number of females in a single ‘colony’ and it’s easy to figure out just how big of a threat they are.

Step #1 – Prevention

The best option when it comes to mice is to prevent them from visiting and entering your house. There are a couple of methods that you can use and almost all of them are simple. But why is prevention the better choice between the two (prevention/extermination)? Well, for starters, it’s much cheaper.

Professional exterminators can cost up to $2,000 (and some don’t even include checking your home for this price; it comes extra). If you choose to exterminate them yourself, it will set you back around a hundred dollars. Traps aren’t expensive, but you’re going to need a lot of them. Bait can be found in your home; it’s usually best if you use peanut butter or chocolate. Poison isn’t usually the first choice when it comes to exterminating mice (it’s much more common for the poison to be used in the case of a rat infestation as they are larger and there are fewer traps available).

Next, we have safety and health. It’s fairly obvious that prevention lets you avoid contact with the mice altogether. You won’t be exposed to diseases and your home will be safe. If you start working on getting rid of them while there’s an ongoing infestation, you will have to come into contact with them, or at least with the dead ones. Cleaning your home and throwing their corpses away is a potential health hazard since some diseases can get transmitted through other bodily fluids (which get secreted by the decomposing mice) and dead mice that are infected. The most dangerous and prevalent of such diseases is the Plague.

Lastly, stress. Knowing that there are hundreds of these pests running amok in your home is stressful. You never know when you might bump into one (or more). If you have children, this is an even bigger problem. If you prepare your home properly, then the risks and stress drop to almost zero. Although, it’s worth noting that sometimes, not even prevention is enough (however, these cases are rare).

The most common rat repellent is peppermint oil, but people have been known to use onions, peppers, and commercial pest repellents. Peppermint oil must contain 100% peppermint, otherwise, it won’t work. Get some cotton balls and soak them in the oil. Place them around your home wherever you deem necessary, but these areas are usually near appliances, windows, doors, and other entry points. All of the mentioned repellents work thanks to the scent they produce; mice have a distinctly strong sense of smell and all of these scents bother them to the point of avoiding whatever location has the scent.

Step #2 – Trapping

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If for whatever reason, prevention didn’t work, you’re going to have to get your hands dirty. Getting rid of mice from your home is a tedious task. You’ll need a lot of patience, especially if there’s a large number of them hiding in your home.

Trapping itself isn’t too difficult; mice traps are simple in design and require a minimal amount of setup. What is difficult is placement. Placement is highly important in the process of exterminating mice from your house because they won’t come into contact with the traps if they are somewhere where the mice don’t usually visit. So placing a trap in your fridge won’t do anything.

You can give it some thought yourself, but we’ll give you a hint: Place the traps in high-frequency locations. Mice have specific paths that they take almost every time they go out scavenging. These paths are most often against walls and in dark areas. The reason for this is that these areas provide the most safety to them. If there’s a wall on one side, they only need to look out for the other side.

Be mindful of the bait you use. As mentioned before, chocolate and peanut butter are the best bait, but you can use small pieces of fruit as well. Do not use cheese, even though movies and cartoons taught us otherwise. Cheese isn’t that appealing to them and, although they will eat it given the chance, they won’t risk their lives for it.

Use plenty of traps but not too much. The minimum should be from 6-8, depending on the size of your home, but it’s always better to use a bit more, just to be sure. Also, it’s recommended you use different types of traps to maximize the efficiency of all of them. Snap traps are a great option and so are a catch & release traps. Although, remember that with catch & release traps you have to physically let the mouse out of it. This does leave the possibility of it returning to your home.

Quick reaction is the key here since the mice breed very quickly. The faster you get them, the lower the chances there’ll be more.

Step #3 – Poison

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If you aren’t a fan of poison, you can skip this step. Poison isn’t as prevalent in mice extermination as it is with rat extermination, but it’s still useful if there’s nothing else you can do. Poison nowadays works fast and usually kills the rodent in a couple of hours. However, keep in mind that the poison is lethal to both you and your pets (if you have any). This is why poison placement is just as important as with traps.

Don’t leave the poison in easily accessible areas that your kids or pets might reach. Or, alternatively, you can place them in such areas, but you’ll have to be extra careful. Your best bet while using poison is to be the only person in the house until you take care of the problem. It’s the only way you can be absolutely sure no one except the mice will be in danger.

Most commercial poisons only require you to open the packaging and that’s it – place it somewhere and let it work its magic. But, there’s one extra downside that comes with using poison: Location of death.

Mice, alongside other rodents, have a tendency to pick where they will die. If the animal knows it’s poisoned and that it will soon die, it might crawl somewhere inside your home in an effort to find a suitable location. This is a problem. You’ll have to find its corpse and remove it, but if it picked a well-hidden spot, then it’s going to take a long time. This, along with other reasons (and poison being inhumane), is why people don’t like using poison.

Step #4 – Exterminators

Well, you’ve tried everything but there’s simply too much of them. You can’t do anything more than you did and it was a valiant effort. But, the enemy is still out there and your back is up against the wall. The only way out is to call the exterminators.

The exterminators are trained in doing exactly this – getting rid of mice and other animal pests. They will take care of the problem, professionally as well, and you’ll return to your home in no time. The downside of calling the exterminators is that they are expensive. The cost is astronomical compared to DIY mice extermination, but it’s worth it if there are no other alternatives.

You might even pick up a couple of tips from them! Generally speaking, they’ll be happy to provide you with some tricks that you can use in the event of another infestation. All you have to do is come up to them and ask!

Step #5 – Cleaning Up

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We previously said that hygiene plays a big part whether your home will be targeted by mice, and it’s 100% true. A dirty home acts as an open invitation to the mice, which will most likely come in large numbers. This information could have been placed in step #1, but it’s important as a standalone step as well.

Basically, once an infestation has been dealt with, you’ll have to clean your home from the bottom up. This means everything – your attic, your basement, behind your appliances, everything. Get rid of all trash that you have and keep your garden clean as well.

There’s also a possibility of a recurring infestation, especially if you weren’t quick enough. Sometimes, a couple of mice escape and survive the onslaught of traps and poisons. If you don’t clean up after everything, they might return, and then you’ll have to do everything once more.

Conclusion

Mice are a silent danger; oftentimes ignored. If you want to live peacefully, without having to worry about the sounds in your walls and the potential health risks associated with mice, then preventing a mice infestation is exactly what you should do.

Hopefully, this article has helped you better understand what to do if the mice occupy your home and how to prepare for such an event. Remember: Prevention beats extermination 100% of the time!

About the author

John Wells

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