How can I get Rid of Mice?

J. Beam

Mice may seem cute and fluffy to some, but once they have entered a home, they become an invasive pest that will reproduce, invade your food store, and carry and spread disease with the little “presents” they leave along your baseboards, under your sinks, and even in your cabinets. To get rid of mice, you have two options – tackle the extermination yourself or call a professional.

Old newspapers can attract mice who are looking for nesting materials.
Old newspapers can attract mice who are looking for nesting materials.

When trying to get rid of mice, it’s most important to understand how they live. They are small creatures with relatively poor eyesight and are attracted by certain foods as well as nesting materials, such as insulation, cotton balls, newspapers, and so on. They can fit through an opening roughly ¼-inch (0.6 cm) in diameter, making it fairly easy for them to enter a home through a crack in a door, window, or elsewhere.

Mice are attracted to nesting materials, such as cotton balls.
Mice are attracted to nesting materials, such as cotton balls.

Signs of mice in the home will be evident by chew marks and droppings. In some cases, you might even see a mouse dart out across the room. Whatever sign tips you off to having visitors, it is important to deal with it as quickly as possible and to take measures to prevent repeat visits. If possible, determine the point of entry by walking the perimeter of your home and closely checking for cracks and gaps in doors, especially attached garage doors. If a gap is located, seal it up.

The most effective means of getting rid of mice is laying traps. If you have an issue with snap traps or glue traps, live traps designed for small rodents can be purchased at many hardware and lawn and garden stores. There are two different means of laying traps that should prove effective. If you are able to easily identify the paths the mice are traveling -- usually evident by trails of droppings - you can lay un-baited traps perpendicular to the walls they are traveling. Use several traps and, if laying them on a kitchen countertop or under a sink, rearrange objects to pique their curiosity. Remember they can’t see well and are not so highly intellectual as to avoid the trap, which they will view as merely an unknown object.

If un-baited traps aren’t working, try baiting the traps with a miniscule amount of food or better yet, a small piece of cotton or newspaper, which will not attract other critters like bugs. If you use food, a very small amount of peanut butter or even a grain or two of birdseed will be sufficient to attract them. Check your traps daily and to be sure to get rid of mice completely, resetting the traps every day for a couple of weeks. If using live traps, remember to release the mice far enough away from your house to avoid their return and make sure you have addressed any points of entry, or they will simply come back.

If self-efforts of getting rid of mice fail, consider calling in a professional exterminator. They will be prepared to place the proper bait in the proper locations and can assist in permanent removal and future control. Using poisonous baits on your own is not advisable, as this may cause the mice to go off and die in an unsuspecting area within your walls, attic, or crawlspace, causing a stench as well as attracting certain insects. If all your efforts at trapping and eliminating points of entry are unsuccessful, it’s best to contact a professional rather than attempt poison on your own, especially if you have pets or small children in the home.

Mice will look for food that has been left in dark places.
Mice will look for food that has been left in dark places.

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Discussion Comments


Has anyone ever heard of a mouse poison called Ditrex(sp?). If so, how does it work? Thanks.

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