Effective ways to prevent and remove mice from your house—without harsh chemicals.
As cute as they might seem in cartoons or even in real life, dealing with mice in your home is anything but charming. These tiny rodents are a nuisance in more ways than one. They're notorious for carrying diseases—including hantavirus and salmonella—and cause structural damage via their tendency to gnaw on wood, wiring, and insulation. Not to mention, mice are downright stinky and leave a trail of feces in their path.
All that said, removing mice from the premises becomes priority number one if you spot any signs of their existence. Ahead, we’re covering how to get rid of mice using home remedies and offering some expert tips on how to deter them altogether.
Why Do Mice Go Into Houses?
Before diving into ways to get rid of mice, it’s important to understand why these critters invite themselves into your home in the first place. “Mice are looking for food, water, and shelter. In many cases, the shelter is used to reproduce,” notes pest control expert Ben McAvoy, co-founder of Insectek Pest Solutions.
And on that note, mice reproduce very quickly. In fact, their gestation period is about three weeks, and they can give birth to five or six mice at a time. Do some fast math on that data and you’ll realize that nipping their presence in your home ASAP is crucial to preventing an “out of control” situation.
Home Remedies to Get Rid of Mice
If you’re dealing with a low-level mice issue (versus a full-blown infestation) and aren’t quite ready to shell out for an exterminator, try these home remedies for getting rid of mice.
Set Traditional Mouse Traps
McAvoy says that baiting mice with food and trapping them is the go-to technique for getting rid of mice. In fact, he says, “This general technique hasn’t changed for hundreds of years.” You can purchase various types of mouse traps ranging from the classic Victor snap trap to fancier electronic versions.
If you prefer a mouse trap that kills the mouse, select one that kills the mouse instantly versus slowly over time (like glue or sticky traps). The former are considered much more humane.
Try No-Kill Catch and Release Mouse Traps
The idea of killing a mouse doesn’t sit well with some. If that’s you, opt for a catch and release trap that doesn’t harm the mouse. These work by allowing an entry point into the trap without an exit option. You can purchase these ready-to-go or make your own. A simple option is to place bait at the end of an empty toilet paper roll and balance it on the side of a chair or counter with a bucket underneath to catch the mouse.
If this is the option you prefer, McAvoy says, “It would be wise to release the rodents as far as possible from the home or else you could be dealing with the problem again.”
Plug in an Ultrasonic Device
Another humane way to get rid of mice is to try an ultrasonic device. These play an extremely high frequency sound—inaudible to human ears—that is very annoying to mice and other rodents. Results are a bit mixed, so you may want to combine this with another mice deterrent. Also, cats and dogs can hear these pitches and it may be a nuisance to them.
Consider Natural Deterrents
Mice aren’t fond of the scents of cinnamon, peppermint, eucalyptus, vinegar, citronella, ammonia, bleach, or mothballs. You can use any of the above around your home to help deter mice from entering or lingering. For liquid deterrents, soak cotton balls in the oil, extract, or liquid and place them near areas where you’ve observed mice activity (look for droppings or signs of chewing).
If the mice are in your home, don’t place the deterrents near a point of entry since it may deter them from exiting. If the mice are already gone, you can place them at entrances to prevent them from coming back.
Adopt or Foster a Cat
We love a good reason to adopt or foster a cat since it targets two issues simultaneously—saving a cat and nixing rodents. A feline roaming your home will not only catch existing mice, but will serve as a deterrent to rodents. No mouse wants to spend time with a predator.
How To Keep Mice Away
It goes without saying that prevention is important when dealing with mice. “The best home remedy is to find how the mice are entering the home in the first place,” says McAvoy. “Seal or cover the opening and then make sure you eliminate the food, water and shelter sources on the inside.”
He also recommends removing bushes and trees that touch your home, or hang over the home. Both mice and rats will use these to access the roof and enter your house.
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