So, what first aroused your suspicion that you have mice in your walls? Was it when your super smart cat or dog suddenly took a keen interest in staring at a blank wall? Yep, that’s a pretty darn good sign you’ve got a mouse problem. Or, maybe you noticed rice grain-sized droppings here and there in your kitchen or pantry, or found tiny holes in food bags. So, now you’re wondering, how do you get mice out of your walls? However amusing mice may be for the furry members of your household, you can’t let them remain in your home, getting into food supplies or damaging other things with their chewing. The tips and links in this article will help you get the situation under control.
First things first
If you find tiny holes chewed in a food bag, or other evidence of mice having gotten into a food item, throw out the entire package. Some mice may carry diseases that can be harmful to you or your pets, so do not risk using any portion of potentially contaminated foods. Check out the National Center for Disease Control and Prevention site for more specific guidance.
Take away the temptation
How do you get rid of mice? Like any other animal, mice need to live where they find food and shelter. The best way to get rid of mice, then, is to eliminate the foods that make living in your home so appealing. This means being more careful than you already are about cleaning up crumbs and other food debris anywhere you prepare or eat food. It also means making sure you don’t leave pet food out in dishes overnight. Check out your pantry, too. Cardboard boxes and plastic bags are no match for a mouse’s sharp teeth. Round up some bins in which to organize and protect your foods.
Find the (mouse) front door to your home
If you have mice living in your walls, and you take the above steps to eliminate food opportunities inside your house, they will have to go outside to find food. So next you must close off holes mice will use to enter the living space of the
home. Look for gaps around the base of kitchen and bathrooms cabinets, spaces around pipes and wires where they enter the house, and cracks around your attic and basement doors. The materials you choose will make the difference between a good fix and a temporary one. Use copper wire mesh for small openings that are not around electrical wiring (consider pan scrubbers as a handy option), along with caulking or expandable foam insulation. For larger openings, either replace with the original materials or seal off the holes with heavy wire mesh with openings no larger than ¼”. For cracks around doors, add heavy weather stripping.
Next, you should search the exterior of your home for openings—anything dime-size or larger—cracks in the foundation, deteriorating siding, or space around pipes or wires that enter your home. Lay down some baby powder around the perimeter of your home to discover openings you may not otherwise notice. The telltale little tracks you see in the morning are your map of where you need to seal up unintended mouse entryways.
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How to catch a mouse?
If you want to know how to catch a mouse, read more about live traps and lethal control here. Briefly, though, the simple truth is that there is no truly humane way to deal with mice in your home—but two ways are vastly worse than others: poison and glue boards. Both are extremely inhumane and often lead to other problems for you or your pets. Poison is dangerous to animals other than those targeted (as well as to people!) and will result in animals dying in the walls. The stench of that alone is enough to make most people choose against poison. Glue boards are indiscriminate as well and lead to a great deal of suffering as animals are captured by them but languish for days before they die of dehydration and exhaustion.
Instead, look into live traps online or at your local hardware store. You can catch mice and release them alive outdoors. Beware though, that currently there’s not much research tracking the survival rate of relocated house mice. If for some reason you must go with a lethal option, the old-fashioned snap trap is the least inhumane, but is still a better choice than poison or glue boards.
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Make a commitment
Once you get the mice out of your home, make a commitment to yourself to keep things picked up inside, and keep things sealed up on your home’s exterior. If you keep that commitment, you most likely won’t ever have to grapple with the problem of how to get rid of mice again.