One thing is certain: When mice are sharing your home, you most certainly know about it! Mice leave unmistakable evidence of their presence, they will not leave on their own accord, and where there is one, there are bound to be many more.
Poison Isn’t the Answer
Mice aren’t the worst pest you could have enter your home and set up shop. They pretty much just want to make a warm and dry nest in a quiet, dark place, scavenge your food, and have babies. You will see telltale signs that they are in your house.
- They will leave small brown seed-like droppings. The shinier the dropping, the newer it is. Old droppings are drier and lighter in color.
- Mice will also chew small holes in the corners of boxes and bags of food, either on your counters or even inside the cupboards. Examples are dry goods like crackers, rice, bread, etc. If you notice that a bag of chips has moved to another location overnight, chances are you have a mouse problem!
- You will hear them, especially at night. Because we are not nocturnal, we often miss this sign. Listen up, though, because if you hear rustling, scurrying or squeaking in your walls or ceiling, you have critters.
You’d be shocked to know how easily they can chew their way into new spaces and that they can squeeze through holes the size of a dime. Therefore, it’s more than likely that if they are eating your food, they have built their nests in your walls, crawlspaces, attic and/or basement. These spaces are dry and dark, allowing the mice to sleep all day and pillage your home and kitchen at night while you sleep.
You might think this is simple, just throw a few pellets near the holes they are making or set a plate of poison out in your cupboard for the mice to munch on during their scavenges. This is not the best solution for a few reasons. First, this poison could easily find itself tempting or accidentally ingested by a child or a pet who is also living in the house. Second, it could contaminate your food and encourage more mouse activity. Third, and perhaps the most compelling, they will go back to their nests (which are tucked away and hard to reach) and die, leaving a rotten stench behind to stink up your house.
Better Methods to Effectively Killing Mice
The trick is luring them out of the walls and killing (or trapping) them there. This way you will not have to deal with rodent corpses that you cannot reach. How to proceed now?
- Trapping and Relocation
This is definitely a humane route, but it can be time-consuming. Be sure to release them a good distance from your house, or they will just return.
- Glue Traps vs. Snap Traps
You don’t have to be a strict vegan to understand that a glue trap is cruel. The animal doesn’t die instantly and instead spends a slow agonizing period of time slowly suffocating. Opt for the instant killing device of a snap trap.
Bait snap traps with nuts or dried fruit (tied on with thread) or a nut butter spread in a thin layer on both the top and bottom of the bait pedestal. Do not be discouraged if you come across tripped traps or eaten bait. Keep trying, and you will find a good bait method. Dispose of the dead animal and reuse the trap, and don’t forget to use gloves and wash your hands during and after the process!
- Electric Traps
Electric traps are newer and pricier options, but they also kill instantly and make it easy to dispose of bodies. If your budget allows it, try one of these out. They are also effective for large-scale infestations.
If you end up with mice one day, don’t beat yourself up about it too much. You might be thinking that you’re not living in a clean environment or that you’ve failed your family by letting a pest indoors to thrive in your home. This is not the case! Remember mice can squeeze into the tiniest of nooks and crannies and spend all night burrowing and foraging for this very purpose. It’s not necessarily your fault, but there are a couple things you can do to prevent them from entering your house again:
- Plug all the holes from the outside to the inside.
This is a tedious, time-consuming and difficult job, but it’s critical. Using small pieces of cotton or steel wool, work your way around your entire home, plugging up every tiny crack and crevice you can find.
- Rethink your pantry storage methods.
Mice have a tremendous sense of smell and are tempted by food that is only separated from them by a piece of paper or thin plastic. Consider putting your dry goods into sturdy glass or plastic jars and containers when you unpack them from the grocery store, so mice will be discouraged and seek out another food source.