Getting rid of mice that have infested your house is not as easy as the internet might sometimes have you believe. Many do-it-yourself (DIY) treatments and “quick and easy” methods treat the symptoms of an infestation and will only temporarily fix the situation. The mice might come back, possibly in greater numbers than before, and you will have wasted time and money. Instead, call a professional who can guarantee results and expertly prevent future infestations.
Signs of a Mouse Infestation
Catching a mouse infestation early can be difficult because mice are nocturnal by nature, so you will rarely see them out in the daytime. However, the earlier the signs are recognized, the easier it will be to solve the problem. If you see even a few mouse droppings, you know you have a problem.
Mice can also be the cause of unexplained holes or tears in clothing, insulation and fabric – all materials mice use to build their nests. Other signs include strange scratching noises in the walls at night and grease marks caused by the bodies of the mice as they repeatedly brush against the walls, floors and skirting boards along their regular routes. If you see any of these signs in your house, it is important that you address your mouse problem immediately.
Mice reproduce at an extremely fast rate, so a few mice in your house can turn into a full scale infestation in just a few months. One female mouse can produce as many as 10 litters (of 10-12 pups each) in one year. Those young are born within 20 days after mating and are capable of reproduction within two months, meaning that two mice can turn into 72 in only 4 months.
Risks of Mice in Your House
Mice present a danger by chewing through electrical wires and creating hidden fire hazards in your home. They can also destroy expensive furniture by building nests, and damage clothing by shredding it for bedding material.
Most importantly, mice can carry diseases. In the past century alone, more than 10 million people have died from rodent-borne diseases. Rodents can harbor a wide range of parasites, such as mites and ticks, which often carry lethal pathogens. They can also directly transmit deadly germs excreted in their urine and feces. House mice are also a prevalent cause of asthma and allergies. Studies show that as many as 25% of homes have enough mouse allergens to worsen asthma symptoms.
How to Get Rid of Mice
There are several types of traps and baits available to get rid of mice, although we recommend calling a professional to reduce risk of disease transmission and to get rid of the mice more effectively. Disposing of mice can pose a hazard, as diseases such as Hantavirus can be transmitted from the bodies of mice themselves - alive or dead. A pest control professional knows the best types of treatment for your unique situation. Also important, a professional who understands mouse behavior will know the best placements for the traps or bait. Many people prefer to call a pest control professional simply to avoid the unsettling task of getting rid of mice.
Snap traps are what we usually think of when we thing of mouse traps. A snap trap uses a spring-loaded bar that swings down when a mouse touches the trip, which is baited with peanut butter or another snack. Some mice learn how to beat snap traps by eating the bait without stepping on the trip. Snap traps are often placed in open locations throughout home, including in kitchens and under desks. For homes with children or pets, snap traps create risk of small fingers or snouts getting trapped. Snap traps must be monitored and disposed of whenever a mouse triggers the trap.
Live traps humanely capture mice in a container until they can be released elsewhere. Like snap traps, these mouse traps are baited with food. These traps must be monitored closely. When the traps work, the mice must be released promptly to reduce dehydration or stress. Although live traps are more humane, they aren’t always effective. Mice have powerful homing instincts. Some mice, once released near your home, will simply come right back.
Glue traps are the least humane mouse traps. A glue trap simply holds a mouse by its legs until its elimination and disposal. Many people do not like to use these traps because of the difficult task of killing the captured mice. These traps present a greater risk of disease transmission because of the elimination process.
Mouse bait is also available, but generally is intended for outdoor use. If you bait mice indoors, you could end up with a terrible smell trapped inside your walls. Plus, mouse bait can be unsafe for other animals including domestic predators like cats and dogs, and wild predators like hawks and owls.
An Ounce of Prevention
Protect your home from a mouse infestation through prevention. By eliminating potential food sources and sealing up small entryways, you can help prevent mice from nesting in your home during the cold months. Mice can squeeze through gaps as small as ¼” around, which makes identifying possible entryways a tedious task. We recommend you call a pest control professional who is skilled in mouse exclusion techniques to seal up your home and protect it from intrusion.