How to Get Rid of Mice in the House
Mice are cute and cuddly little animals, often seen as harmless because of their size and general squeakiness. However, as those of you who've experienced it know, they are also a pest. They are adapted to be micro-scavengers, and fit this niche very very well. Mice are quite clever at getting into the dwellings, and consequently into the food supply, of larger animals including humans. There, they often build a nest and live in plenty while the larger animals wonder where all the grub has gone.
A mouse infestation is a serious matter. They get into your food, making it inedible, destroy furniture and other things (including tires), leave droppings, and reproduce very quickly. If you suspect a nest inside your house, I would strongly recommend the services of a professional exterminator, as getting rid of it is quite an unpleasant task.
This article will show you how to get rid of mice in the house, and how to make make sure they don't return. In order to do this, I've divided the article up into a few phases, which, if executed in order, should stop the mice in their tracks.
The first step in any endeavour of this kind is observation. In this case, you'll want to find out where the mice are coming from, how they're travelling, and what their targets are.
Most probably, you noticed some gnawed food in or around the kitchen.Start your search there, looking for any small holes, cracks, or gaps in the walls or cupboards. Mice are very good at gnawing through obstacles in their path - check for gnawed cupboard doors, windows, or skirting. If you don't see anything of the kind, check to see if there are any open pipes, or if there is another mode of entry to that area.
The next step is to search your house top to bottom for any holes in the walls, any cracks, any other points of entry. This should be a very thorough search, focusing specifically on hard-to-reach places such as storage closets, under beds, in garages, and so on.
If you are having trouble finding modes of entry, a good technique is to leave a tempting morsel out for them (for example a cracker, or some nuts), and to spread flour or talcum powder on the floor around it. The footsteps will show you where they're coming in from.
The easiest way to get rid of mice is simply to stop being a target for them. Seal all their points of entry to your house. Keep everything in hard containers such as tupperware, tins, or glass jars. Make sure there is no food lying around anywhere. Also make sure to take any food that's in low shelves or cupboards, and place it higher up, thus making it more inaccessible to the mice.
Do a complete clean of the house - top to bottom, covering every nook and cranny you can find. You want to completely eliminate both their scent and any small morsels of food you can find.
If you have a pet, now's a good time to train them to eating times (though if you have a pet cat or dog and still get mice, those mice are uncommonly brave). Only place their food dishes on the ground for an hour or so, and remove them after this. Mice love pet food.
Most people don't want to poison or mice, but simply to drive them away. In addition to the passive protection techniques above, you'll also want to be more proactive in your protection.
Mice are strongly scent driven, and usually don't like the smell of mint. You can either plant mint around your place (also in pots), or use peppermint oils on the floor or near the entry points to keep them away. Moth balls also work, though they are significantly more noxious for humans.
I would avoid other methods as they tend either to be toxic (mouse poison, mouse repellant) or simply ineffective (any sound- or ultra-sound-based devices)
When removing pests, I always try the natural approach first. The steps outlined above should remove the reason mice have for entering your house, and should repel them from doing so. If neither of these work, I would recommend contacting professionals to take care of the problem.
I have not discussed traps or poison of any kind, and for good reason. Completely aside from my pacifist tendencies: mice are disease carriers, and the less you handle them, the better. I prefer letting trained people do this to minimize risks to myself and my household.
Coeus (author) from All over the world and then some. on October 27, 2011:
I agree Phoebe. I still don't see a reason to kill them though. :)
Phoebe Pike on October 26, 2011:
I am actually terrified of mice... rats don't bother me, but mice freak me out. They actually LIKE the taste of people and if given the chance, would eat a human alive. A rat, though given a bad rep, doesn't like humans unless they are rabid... mice are evil little pests.