Mice are a type of rodent that can easily infest your house. In a year, a female mouse can give birth to dozens of babies, which in turn will reach sexual maturity within a couple of weeks. They can quickly spread throughout your home if you don’t handle the problem immediately. In addition, they may carry harmful diseases and can damage your properties.
To avoid or eradicate mice infestation, you should first learn about the type of mice you are dealing with, whether you do have an infestation in your home or not, and what the best mouse repellent suits your case. In this guide, you will find all of the information that you need on how to get rid of mice.
- 1 Types of Mice
- 2 Understanding Mice
- 3 How To Get Rid of Mice
- 3.1 Sanitation and House Maintenance
- 3.2 Using Traps – What’s The Best Mouse Trap?
- 3.3 Ultrasonic Repellent
- 3.4 DIY Mouse Baits
- 3.5 Natural Mouse Repellent
- 3.6 Best Mouse Poison
Types of Mice
As the name of the creature suggests, the field mouse is usually found on rolling and open fields. It can also be found in old houses with rotten wood foundations and piles of clutter. The field mouse looks a lot like a rat, although it doesn’t have the rat’s signature large front teeth and long claws.
Including its long and hairless tail, which is almost of the same length as its body, a field mouse usually measures from four to eight inches long. It has a black, brown or white color, and it also has small yet sharp claws on its stumpy legs.
Researchers discovered the unusual intelligence of the field mouse. In a given situation, it can come up with creative strategies to improve its survival. It also has a stronger sense of smell than humans, and it uses this ability to hunt for food and to avoid predators.
Because of its disadvantageous size, the field mouse is nocturnal; it hunts at night to avoid bigger animals like bears, cats, dogs, snakes and wolves.
This tiny creature will reside in any place where food is available. They are scavengers. They will eat anything that they can, which makes them an incredibly annoying pest to have in the house.
Once it gets into your home, it will stay there for food and protection. It will chew on exposed wood, cardboard and paper, rugs and cloth, rotting food, and any other materials that its teeth can gnaw.
Field mice are carriers of virulent diseases. They are fast runners and good hiders, making it hard to get rid of them once they enter your house. If they come in groups, the infestation problem will soon get bigger. They mate often and give birth fast. The babies will be fully grown in at most three weeks, and by then, they may multiply again.
In the wild, a house mouse, or Mus musculus, usually has a brown or black fur. However, laboratory-bred fancy mice have a wider range of fur color from white to black. No matter the color of its fur, the house mouse usually has a lighter belly. It is typically five to eight inches long when measured from its nose to its long tail. It can survive in a domestic setting or out in open fields.
Though it has been domesticated as a pet, the house mouse can still become an obtrusive pest. It can carry diseases and contaminate food items in your home. It is a known carrier of leptospirosis, which is a bacterial disease that can ultimately lead to death.
House mice do not breed with their close relatives. Inbreeding tends to produce weaker babies that die soon after they are born and, therefore, is highly avoided. Still, house mice are polyandrous, which means that male mice tend to have one wife, while female mice have multiple husbands. A female mouse can breed five to ten litters a year, with an average of six to eight babies in each litter. (This means thirty to eighty babies a year.) Breeding season is usually during the summer. Young mice reach sexual maturity about six to eight weeks after being born.
House mice usually feed on seeds, nuts and flowers. They also feed on insects and their larvae if these resources are available to them.
The deer mouse can survive in a wide range of climates and geographic conditions. It thrives in subarctic boreal forests, in temperate open fields, or in warm and dry deserts; however, it does not survive well in wetlands. Like the house mouse, it has a lighter belly and a darker fur, which is usually of a gray or reddish brown color. The color of its fur is actually the source of its name, having tones that are close to that of the mule deer.
The deer mouse usually builds its home underground. It digs a hole in the soil and breeds inside. In urban areas, it can also survive within houses and buildings. It’s an adept climber, and it can easily enter openings in higher grounds. When it enters your home, it will destroy furniture and other furnishings in your house (e.g. cloth, wood, paper) to gather materials for its nest.
The deer mouse is usually omnivorous. It likes to feed on seeds, nuts, and flowers, but it may also eat small insects and invertebrates. The deer mouse also practices coprophagy, or the process of eating one’s own fecal matter. Before the winter arrives, the deer mouse stores food in its nest so it can stay active during the cold season.
The breeding season for deer mice is around February to November. They can breed four litters a year, which usually has three to five babies each. (This means that the deer mice can give birth to about twelve to twenty babies each year.) After five to six years, the young mice are able to breed babies of their own. This quick mating maturity will contribute tremendously to infestation if you don’t handle it immediately.
The deer and house mice are commonly mistaken for each other. Although they share some characteristics, such as their dark-colored furs and light-colored bellies, the deer mouse has more hair than the house mouse, especially on its bigger ears. The house mouse, meanwhile, has a skinny and scaly tail that the deer mouse doesn’t have.
A black mouse can be of any breed. Though mostly considered the typical house pest, it is not of any specific species. It doesn’t matter if it’s a field mouse or a house mouse, as long as the mouse has jet black fur with beady black eyes, it is a black mouse.
Mice are different from rats. While the term “rat” is used to identify medium-to-big-sized rodents (e.g. kangaroo rats, cotton rats, pack rats, etcetera), the term “mouse” refers to tiny rodents that are sometimes domesticated as pets. Aside from the mentioned types of mice above, other examples are dormice, smoky mice, and spiny mice.
In general, mice are dangerous pests. They breed easily and swiftly, and infestation within the home can become an instant problem. Aside from their rapid mating patterns, they also carry countless diseases, both viral and bacterial. Some of the diseases they carry include leptospirosis (bacterial, most rodents), hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (viral, deer mouse), lymphocytic chorio-meningitis (viral, house mouse), and salmonellosis (bacterial, most rodents).
Mice can enter your home through openings in the wall. However, some species can also climb walls, walk across electrical lines and cords, jump across high surfaces, and use pipes as a means to get inside your house. They use their tiny claws to hold onto rough and uneven surfaces. So, if you have brick or stucco exterior walls, your house might be at risk of mice infestation. On the other hand, if you have polished walls covered with a smooth finish, you have less to worry about.
Sign of a mouse infestation
Depending on the species, a mouse can survive for a year in an outdoor setting. However, it can thrive for an average of two to three years if it lives in a safe, indoor space with lots of available resources. Within this span of time, it is capable of breeding dozens of babies, which will quickly multiply on their own after about four to eight weeks. Again, depending on the type of mice, one female can give birth to an average of six to twelve babies in each litter, and to an average of four to eight litters in a year.
Mice don’t have good eyesight. They use their other senses to help them find their way through the day and night. Usually, they rely on their whiskers and noses when navigating. Some species may have bigger eyes that help them see better in the dark, but even then their sight is still not enough to allow them to clearly make their paths.
Most mice like to eat grains, seeds, nuts and fruits, preferably those that are high in carbohydrates. Sometimes, they will also eat small insects and invertebrates. In rare cases, a breed of mice might eat crops, flowers, and even common household items.
Do You Have A Mouse Infestation?
There are different ways to know if you have a mouse infestation in your home. The first few signs that you may notice include droppings, damaged furniture and furnishings, shredded blankets and beddings, dug out garbage bins, and gnawed out storage and shoe boxes.
If you also hear scurrying or clawing noises inside your wall, a nest might be inside of it. Mice, when deprived of their regular food, might also gnaw on electrical wires, wood materials, and other regular items around the house. When you find one or more of these signs in your house, you should immediately seek action to get the mice out.
Unfortunately, there is no way to figure out the exact number of mice living in your house. You can use their droppings (black granular-shaped matter that look like rat or roach droppings) to find nesting or breeding areas and begin extermination there.
How To Get Rid of Mice
You can get rid of mice using various ways. Depending on the level of infestation in your house, or if you simply want to avoid the infestation before it even happens, you can choose among these different methods: sanitation and house maintenance, mouse traps, natural mouse repellents and mouse poison.
Sanitation and House Maintenance
Mice are attracted to clutter because they find nesting materials and food items in it. To prevent infestation, you should keep your house and garden clean. Avoid hoarding items that you don’t need so you won’t have to keep lots of storage boxes in your basement or attic. Mice use the cardboard to make their nests, and if you have a lot of boxes in your house, you’re basically providing them with the materials they need.
You should also patch holes and entrances where mice can sneak into. If there’s a hole in your wall, cover it up with dry wall and seal it with paint. If there’s a broken window that can’t be closed, fix the hinge. Remember, mice can also climb up walls, pipes, and electric cords, and even if the window is on a higher floor, they will find a way to get in. In your garden, trim overgrown grass and plants so you can see if there are nesting holes on the ground. If you do find holes on the soil, cover them up at the same time and water them down. This process will trap and drown any mice living inside.
Using Traps – What’s The Best Mouse Trap?
There are different types of mouse traps that you can use to eliminate mice from your home. Some people like to use more humane ways of catching mice due to ethical reasons. Meanwhile, others use glue traps that keep the mice from running to other nesting spots around the house. So what’s the best mouse trap for you? Here are a few examples to help you figure that out.
Humane Mouse Traps
Humane mouse traps allow you to disinfect your house without putting the mouse through much suffering. It can involve quick ways to kill a mouse, or it can be done by trapping and releasing the mice back into the wild. Here are some ways on how you can humanely eliminate mice from your home.
A trap-and-release mouse trap like The Mouse Hotel is a contraption that traps the mouse and keeps it in until you are ready to release it back into the wild. When you use this method, make sure to release caught mice in an open and uninhabited land where they can’t further damage other people’s property. Otherwise, releasing it on the street in front of your house might make it a problem again, either for you or your neighbors.
The spring trap is a traditional method of killing a mouse. It uses a spring contraption that falls onto the neck of the mice when it steps on the apparatus. When the metal bar falls onto its neck, the mouse instantly dies, reducing the amount of pain that it has to go through. This method remains one of the easiest and greenest ways of eliminating mice. However, some people find it hard to look at the mouse after it has been killed. Here is where the brand Tomcat and its innovative product come in play.
The Tomcat Kill and Contain Mouse Trap uses the traditional spring trap inside a small concealed container that hides the dead mouse from view. By using this product, you’re not only giving the mouse an easy way out, you’re also making the process a lot more efficient and safe. You don’t have to worry about your finger getting accidentally caught in the trap. In addition, it makes clean-up a lot easier because it removes the gross factor from the equation.
The idea behind glue traps is that they trap the mouse until it dies of either dehydration or starvation, or both. A lot of people use glue traps to catch the mice in their home because it is as easy as laying the traps around the house and waiting for the mice to find their way onto it.
However, if you somehow forget about the traps and they catch mice, the dead creature will start to produce a reeking smell after a few days. Worse, you may stumble upon the glue trap and step on it while a dead mouse is stuck on it. Therefore, you should never forget that you’ve place glue traps around your house.
If you plan on using glue traps, you should really try the Tomcat Mouse Size Glue Traps. It is sold in packs of six with a non-toxic, eugenol formula that is safe for your family. You can also use this trap for other pests around the house, such as roaches, spiders and insects.
Meanwhile, the Catchmaster Mice Glue Board Professional is another great glue trap to spend your money on. It comes with a peanut butter scent, which will easily attract the mice onto it. You can use it inside your house or on your garden. Each board is 5.6 by 8.6 inches, which covers a bigger area and can therefore trap more mice on one board.
Ultrasonic pest repellents take advantage of the mice’s sharp hearing. It sends sound signals that drive mice away from your home. Even mice inside your walls will hear the signal and leave. The good thing about this method is that it doesn’t affect human ears. Therefore, you can get rid of mice without worrying about your own hearing.
A product that you can use for this method is the Ultrasonic Pest Repeller, which you can simply plug into a wall socket to drive away mice from your house. It will eliminate all pests in as fast as two weeks, and you don’t even have to do any work for it. You can concentrate the use on problem areas, but if the infestation is widespread, you might have to buy one device for each room of the house.
DIY Mouse Baits
Some mouse traps need an accompanying bait to lure the mice. If you don’t want to use poisonous pellets because you have pets or children in the house, here are some examples of safe mouse baits that you can create or find around your place.
- Sweet things attract mice really well. You can use a dollop of maple syrup or honey, sweet candies like gum drops, and chocolate as mouse bait.
- Strong-smelling food items can also catch a mouse’s attention. For this purpose, you can use bacon bits and/or grease, hotdog slices, or any strong-smelling cheese.
- Because mice are naturally nut-eaters, you can use chunky peanut butter as bait.
- Bird seeds and nuts from your birdhouse will work well as bait too.
- Lastly, if you have pets, you can use a tiny portion of their food as bait.
With these creative solutions, you are guaranteed to catch mice successfully. Moreover, you will not put your family and pets in danger because you are not using harmful chemicals to get rid of mice.
Natural Mouse Repellent
You can use essential oils to keep mice away. The smell will irritate their strong olfactory senses, and they will immediately evacuate the area where you apply this remedy.
For example, you can put a few drops of peppermint oil to a couple of cotton balls. Place these cotton balls near nests, and you will find these areas clean of mice after a few days. You can even pair this method with glue traps, so the mice will be caught while they try to escape. The cool scent of the peppermint will cover the rancid smell of the dying mouse as well.
Remember, however, to refresh the oil every other day. The smell quickly dissipates in the air, and mice may return to their nests if you don’t regularly reapply the oil. Alternatively, you can light an essential oil candle and place it near problem areas.
Best Mouse Poison
There are a lot of brands that claim to have the best mouse poison in the market. In this guide, we’ve narrowed it down to three of the most effective products out there.
The D-Con Ready Mixed Baits kills both mice and rats in your house. Within four to five days and with just a single consumption, you will find these pests dead from internal hemorrhages. It contains brodifacoum, a highly lethal form of vitamin K that is used in a lot of commercial pesticides.
Meanwhile, the Tomcat Bromethalin Bait kills rodents by poisoning their central nervous system. After eating this mouse poison, the mouse will die in a couple of days. It doesn’t take much to kill a mouse either. With just a single lethal serving, the mouse will feel the poison slowly working its way around its body, and it will not eat the poison again until it dies. This means that you need less poison to kill mice, saving you a lot of money during the extermination.
Farnam Bar comes in a soap-like form and contains bromadiolone, an anticoagulant rodenticide that is recognized for its potency. With just one bite, the mice will end up dead within a few days. It is best if you place this poison near or around the nest so you can quickly eliminate these pests from your house.
Hopefully, with everything that you’ve learned from this guide, you can now effectively exterminate the mice in your house. Remember to maintain the cleanliness of your home to avoid infestation from happening again.