Did you wake up to find your box of cereal chewed up and lacking a bit of its content? It is perhaps time to prepare for battle because you will be wanting to get rid of mice. These little tricksters are looking for the same as everyone, food and shelter, and they just hit jackpot with your home.
They also have no qualms using whatever they find for their own profit and consequences can be dire. They can even chew through cable cords and set your house on fire in the process. Mice are no joke.
How to get rid of mice
It’s not easy to get rid of mice. Unless you are a professional exterminator, it will require a bit of luck and technique to expel the little rodents. They are clever creatures, not as easy to trick as it might seem, but they also have a modus operandi that you can take advantage of to trap them.
Trapped them out
The first step to get rid of mice is to find out how are they getting into your house in the first place.
As a thumb rule, if you can fit a pencil through a crack or an opening, chances are the mice can also pass through. It might look impossible, but to give you a perspective, a rat, which is more impressive in size, can fit through a hole the size of a quarter.
Once you find the entry point, seal it using steel wool or caulk. Rubber, wood or plastic are useless as mice can still get through by chewing them.
Tip! If you can’t find where the entry point is, spread a bit of baby powder or baking soda on the floor, especially closer to the walls, before going to sleep. The following morning you can hunt for tiny paw marks and track the entry point down.
This is quite a gruesome trick to get rid of mice, but alas, it works.
The reason you should try to fill all the possible entry points for the rodents with this material is that they will try to chew through it to get through. However, since it’s made of steel and sharp, the steel wool will cause internal bleeding, which will eventually kill the mice.
Old-fashion mouse trap
Old-fashion as it may be, it is still to this day one of the most efficient ways to catch them.
Forget about the cheese you see used in cartoons. You should try peanut butter or anything similarly tasty and sticky so the rodent doesn’t have the opportunity to dash off with the treat.
As an alternative, you can use bacon, bread, or anything that suits the mouse taste and secure it with a fishing line so it stays invisible but prevents food theft.
If you don’t want to have to face the mouse’s dead body or, worst, having to deal with a trap while the animal is still fighting for its life, you can also use closed traps.
These typically contain poison and the entry is designed to make it harder for the mouse to escape, to give the poison enough time to work before the rodent can run away.
You can also make your DIY closed trap by making a hole in a box or using a brown paper bag and placing inside the rat poison. As an alternative, you can place the old-fashion mouse trap inside and just discard everything in the end.
Peppermint essential oil?
There are some anecdotes detailing how mice can’t stand the smell of peppermint and try to avoid it. The essential oil seems to be especially effective since the odor is more concentrated.
You can mix a few drops in water and spray around the area of your home where you think the mice might be hiding.
There is no proof that this trick will work, but you can always give it a try.
Other points you should consider
Try to use several methods at once
If possible, spread around different types of mice traps to increase your chances of success. Mice can prove to be too clever for some, but they won’t be able to escape all types.
Place several traps
First the bad news: a mouse doesn’t usually come alone. If you spot any signs a rodent made a trip to your pantry, it is very likely that either more is arriving or that it wasn’t the work of one single mouse. And even if it is, you should still place as many traps as possible to increase your chances of catching it.
Placement is key
Mice normally keep within a radius of 10 to 20 feet from their food and nests. Therefore, you should place your traps around anywhere you find signs of their activity, be it chewed food, droppings and the nest itself, if you come across it.
Cleaning won’t help
A dirty house will attract more rodents who see a lot of potential in the crumbs and food spares laying around. However, a clean house won’t work to prevent them from coming.
They can still gnaw through your pantry to get what they want, even if it is not directly at their reach.
Keep your shrubs and bushes away from the house
Or, if you like them close to the walls, make sure to trim them often and check for signs of any rodents often. They cover possible entry points for them to get into your house and provide shelter for them.
Consider putting a patch of gravel between your plants and your house, at least.
Should you get a cat?
Unless you’re committed to having a pet and to care for it, then don’t. The rodent pest is temporary, but adopting a cat should not be.
Some cats are experts at hunting mice, while others couldn’t care less. A street cat will likely be very good at this job as it had to fend for itself on the streets, but a house cat never had to hunt in its pampered life. Most likely, instead of trying to get rid of mice, they will just ignore them or be frightful of them.