As winter approaches, many animals will begin to seek shelter indoors – especially inside our homes! In fact, rodents are one of the most common winter pests that invade our personal space. Mice and other rodents seek the warmth, shelter, food, and water found indoors. Would you know how to tell if you had a mouse in your house? What can you do to prevent these pests from coming into your home?
- Small in size (usually 1-4 inches in length)
- Light (usually about 0.5 ounces)
- Small head and small feet
- Pointed snout (triangular) with long whiskers
- Large floppy ears
- Long, thin, dark colored tails
- White, brown, or grey in color
- Musky odor
- Rod shaped droppings
- Found throughout the world
- Can live indoors or outdoors
- Can live in urban or rural areas
- Prefer to live on the ground or in nests or in burrows
- Will use nearly any soft material they find to build a nest
- Prefer grains, fruits, and seeds
- Gnaw on electrical wiring, cardboard, paper and other household items
- Can damage crops and gardens
- Look for food in the same place each day
- Nocturnal – most active from dusk to dawn
- Timid around humans
- Color blind
- Can climb, jump, and swim
- Can jump up to 13 inches
- Can run along wires, cables, and ropes
- Can fit through openings as small as 1/4″
- Can produce 6 to 7 mice per litter
- Usually have 8 to 10 litters per year
- Know What You Are Looking For. The most common signs of mice in your home are rod shaped droppings, fresh gnaw marks, and a musky odor.
- Keep It Clean. Poor sanitation attracts mice and provides them with the environment necessary to multiply. Keep your home clean to eliminate both the food source and the shelter mice seek inside.
- Don’t Give Them A Way In. Mice can come through openings as small as 1/4″. It is important to eliminate any of these entry points mice can find into your home. Seal openings and cracks with caulk or steel wool. Make sure to seal cracks in the foundation, as well. Seal around any openings for water pipes, vents, and utilities. Cover your door and window edges with metal. This keeps mice from gnawing them. Store your food in airtight containers. This includes the outside of your home also. Check your garage and attic for entry points and food sources. Make sure to check barns, sheds, and any other buildings on your property too.
- Maintain Your Yard. Make sure shrubbery and branches are cut back from the house. Mice can climb these to easily get into your home. Keep firewood at least 20 feet from the house. Make sure you remove any debris around your house that mice can hide in. Keep your weeds to a minimum because mice like to hide in them also.
- Use Mouse Traps: Mousetraps are nontoxic methods to rid your home of mice. They do not use poisons which can be hazardous to your health, as well as that of your family and pets. With traps the mouse is killed instantly so you can verify that the mouse has been eliminated. You can also dispose of the carcass immediately, thus eliminating the odor from the mouse. When putting out traps, make sure to use plenty as there is never just one mouse. Also be sure to use different types of traps – including wooden traps, bait traps, multiple-capture live traps, and glue traps.
- Choose the Proper Bait for Your Traps: The best bait to use is whatever food the mice have been eating in your home. You can also use mouse-proven favorites such as chocolate, peanut butter, bacon, oatmeal, dried fruit, and hazelnut spread. Use dental floss or fishing line to secure the bait to the trap. This helps prevent the mice from running off with your bait. You can also use hot glue to secure the bait to the trap. Be sure to replace the bait every 2 days or so.
- Properly Place Your Mouse Traps: Traps should be placed perpendicular to the walls with the trigger section facing the baseboards. This allows the mice to hit the traps as they are scurrying along your walls and helps avoid them “tripping” over the back of the trap and setting them off prematurely. Place your traps where you see signs of mice such as where you find droppings or rubbings on baseboards. Be sure to change the location of your traps every 2 days or so.
- Call The Pros. If none of these do-it-yourself methods work or if you already have a mouse problem, call a pest control professional who can provide a thorough inspection and treatment plan for you.