Mice are sneaky and quiet creatures, so you might not even know you have mice until they start to grow in numbers and start becoming a problem. Once mice have been inside your home, they will start to leave little signs around your home. If you are vigilant, you can spot these signs and take action before it turns into an infestation.
- Droppings: Look for tiny brown or black pellets in pantries and in basements where the wall meets the floor.
- Paw prints in the dust: Check for pawprints in areas such as under shelves and on top of basement beams and ventilation ducts.
- Chew marks: Mice will chew on almost anything, including wooden beams, cardboard boxes, drywall, insulation, and even electrical wires.
- Seed caches: Look for piles of seeds stored behind boxes, under appliances, or on top of air ducts.
Mice will typically get into your home to seek shelter from cold temperatures and bad weather. They will try to find warm places to spend the winter. But what attracts rodents to your home in the first place? When mice start looking for places to live, they have three criteria in mind:
- Shelter from the rain and snow
- Easy access to food and water sources
Mice are remarkably resourceful when it comes to infiltrating homes. They can squeeze through incredibly small openings and navigate various environments. Here are some common ways mice can get into your home:
Gaps Around Windows and Doors
The most common way for mice to get into your house is through gaps around windows or doors. Mice can slip through even the tiniest gaps around windows and doors that aren't properly sealed.
2. Cracks in Walls
Mice can also get into a house through cracks in walls. Even small cracks and gaps in your home's exterior can provide easy entry points for mice.
3. Foundation Cracks
Foundation cracks can also be a point of entry for mice. If there are cracks in the foundation of your home, mice can use them to gain access.
4. Vents and Chimneys
Open vents and uncapped chimneys can provide a direct route for mice into your home.
5. Holes for Utilities
Pipes, electrical wires, and cables that enter your home through holes in the walls can inadvertently create pathways for mice.
6. Siding and Cladding Gaps
Loose or damaged siding can create openings that mice can exploit to enter your home.
7. Attic and Roof
Overhanging tree branches, ivy, or even gaps in the roof can allow mice to access your attic.
8. Crawl Spaces
Mice can enter through crawl space vents or gaps between the crawl space and the rest of the house.
9. Garages and Sheds
If not properly sealed, garages and sheds can become entry points for mice, who then find their way into your living spaces.
10. Pet Doors
Even if intended for your pets, a pet door can also be an entry point for small rodents like mice.
When you notice mice living in your home, swift action is needed to get rid of them before they multiply. Here are some strategies on how to eliminate mice once they have invaded your home.
1. Set Up Mouse Traps
Classic mouse traps are an effective way to catch mice. There are different types available, such as snap traps and glue traps. Place these traps along walls, near food sources, and in areas where you've noticed mouse activity.
2. Install Electronic Repellents
Electronic devices that emit ultrasonic sounds can deter mice. While their effectiveness varies, some homeowners find them helpful in keeping mice away.
3. Use Poison Baits
Mouse poison baits can be used cautiously. These baits contain toxins that mice consume and later die from. However, it's essential to use them carefully, especially in households with pets or small children, to prevent accidental ingestion.
4. Get a Natural Predator for a Roommate
If you're comfortable with it, a cat can be a natural mouse deterrent. Cats are natural predators and often keep mice away.
The best way to keep mice out of your home is to prevent them from getting in your home in the first place. Here are some of the best ways to make your home unattractive to mice and other rodents.
1. Keep Dry Foods Sealed
Mice are attracted by food, so to keep them away, it's important to keep dry foods such as cereals and grains sealed and stored properly.
2. Store Pet Food Properly
Mice also love to eat pet food, and if it is easily accessible, they can survive off of it. Store dry pet food in airtight, plastic storage containers to ensure mice cannot get to it.
3. Keep Your Kitchen Clean
Clean up after cooking and eating. Sweep the floors and clean the counters of any crumbs, and do not leave dirty dishes in the sink. Always make sure to take the trash out of the house at the end of the night.
4. Keep Bird Feeders Away From the House
Seeds from bird feeders also attract mice and rodents. By keeping bird feeders at least 30 feet from your home, you will ensure mice don't get too close. Whatever you do, don't keep bird feeders on your porch.
5. Seal and Close all Doors
Keeping all doors and screens closed at all times will also keep mice out of the house. Additionally, you should never leave your garage door open overnight since mice and rats are most active during the night.
6. Use Smells to Keep Mice Away
When it comes to dealing with a mouse infestation, sometimes the solution can be found right under your nose – literally. Mice have a heightened sense of smell, and there are certain scents that they find incredibly repulsive. Try placing these scents around your home to ward off these furry intruders.
- Cayenne Pepper
- Tabasco Sauce
The fresh scent of peppermint oil may be delightful to humans, but it's repulsive to mice. Placing cotton balls that are soaked in peppermint oil around your home can act as a natural deterrent.
The strong smell of ammonia is a big turn-off for mice. Create a mixture of water and ammonia and spray it in areas where mice are active, but be cautious not to inhale the fumes yourself.
Garlic is not only a culinary favorite but also a potent mouse repellent. Crushed garlic cloves or garlic powder can be sprinkled in areas prone to mouse activity.
Like garlic, the strong smell of onions is off-putting to mice. Placing onion slices near mouse-prone areas can help keep them at bay.
Mice despise the strong, minty scent of eucalyptus. Eucalyptus leaves, or essential oils can be strategically placed to deter them.
Cayenne pepper is another effective repellent. Sprinkling cayenne pepper in entry points and corners can discourage mice from venturing further.
The sour and acidic smell of vinegar is highly displeasing to mice. Wipe down surfaces with a vinegar-water solution to create an uninviting atmosphere.
The intense spiciness and fumes of Tabasco sauce can send mice running. Mix it with water and spray it in areas frequented by mice.
While mothballs have a strong odor that mice dislike, use caution, as they can also be toxic to humans and pets. Place them in enclosed spaces where pets and children can't access them.
While loved by many, the sweet scent of lavender is detested by mice. Sachets of dried lavender or lavender essential oil can be strategically placed to repel these pests.
Protecting your home against a mouse invasion requires a proactive approach. By eliminating easy entry points food sources, and taking proactive steps to prevent mice, you can make your home an undesirable location for these rodents.