Tis the season – the season for mice and other rodents that is! Fall and winter are the optimal seasons for mice and rodent infestations as they seek warmth, shelter and food in our unsuspecting homes. If you suspect a mice infestation or just want to get a step ahead on prevention, follow these 10 steps for keeping the mouse out of your house.

  1. Recognize the signs. When looking for signs of mice in your home the best indications are droppings, fresh gnawing especially around food containers, tracks, nests and a musky odor.
  2. Sanitation:  While good sanitation does not usually eliminate existing mice problems, poor sanitation most definitely attracts mice and allows them to proliferate. By keeping your home clean and sanitized, you reduce both the food source, as well as places for shelter that mice need to survive.
  3. Mouse Proof Construction: Mice can squeeze through openings of ¼” and larger. The most important prevention technique for mice is to eliminate as many of these entry points into your home as you can. Seal any openings or cracks with steel wool and caulk. Seal any cracks in your foundation. Seal openings for water pipes, vents, and utilities with metal or concrete. Cover door and window edges with metal to prevent gnawing. Use glass jars, metal canisters, or airtight containers to store food.
  4. Don’t Forget to Check outside Your House: Mice don’t just take up shelter inside your house. Be sure to check your garage for any entry points or food sources, as well as any outlying buildings on your property such as barns, sheds, etc.
  5. Landscaping: Cut back shrubbery and branches from the house. Mice can use these to gain easy entry into your home. Firewood should be stored at least 20 feet from the house. Remove debris around your home where mice can hide. Keep weeds to a minimum. You can also place a layer of gravel around the foundation of your home to prevent entry, as well.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Let Your Animals Loose: Cats and dogs love to hunt mice. If you have a pet they may be one of your best methods for catching mice. If you don’t have a pet, now might be the time to consider investing in one.
  10. Call A Professional: If all else fails, you can always call a pest control professional to inspect and treat your home. Exterminators know where mice like to hide and they can quickly locate the source of your problem and treat it.  Pest control professionals are trained to know all the tricks of baiting and trapping mice for maximum efficiency. Professionals will also follow up and inspect your home to ensure success in ridding your home of mice.