Fall is the time of year when mother nature tells animals that winter is coming. This prompts animals to prepare for colder weather. This preparation includes eating more food, hoarding food and finding appropriate shelter.
Animals can become a nuisance when they use our homes and apartments for their nesting. And throughout North America, there are many animals who will move in with us if we give them the chance. One of the most invasive animals every fall is the common house mouse.
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Mice are small rodents which can multiply rapidly. Litters will contain 4-8 babies if not more.
Mice feed on stored food products, pet food and all kinds of seeds including bird and lawn seed. We have a few species in America and all will invade our properties. Once inside, you will find their droppings where they are foraging for food.
Mouse droppings are small, black, oval shaped and about the size of a grain of rice. They’ll have pointed ends unlike roach droppings which have smooth ends.
Mice love kitchens and bathrooms and will readily find good nest sites in furniture or cabinets. They will nest in dresser drawers, closets and garages. Attics provide adequate nest sites, but mice prefer living close to their food so they’re more likely to be under an appliance at food level.
Attic’s or crawl spaces which develop problems can harbor many mice for long periods of time. This can lead to odor problems, damage and a nasty mess.
If you find what you think might be mouse droppings but are not sure if they’re new or old, first remove them. If they come back within a week, you have an active problem.
HOW TO CONTROL A MOUSE INFESTATION
There are several ways to control an active mouse infestation. Contrary to what you might have heard, mice are not smart. They don’t think or problem solve. But they are creatures of habit and this trait must be exploited if we are to get control of a local problem.
The good news is we have several mouse controlling options and these are all proven methods. Once the active mice are removed, there are ways you can rodent proof your home too so they won’t come back.
So if you have an active mouse problem, ask yourself a few questions like where do you think they entered your home? Secondly, what do you think attracted them to your home? The most common attractant around the average home in America is either pet food or bird seed. And if you have a pet or like to feed birds, chances are high you’ll have mice active around or in you home. Why?
Mostly because the smells from both pet food and bird seed is so strong and nutritious, it’s just a matter of time before it attracts some kind of rodent to your yard. And since the smells will permeate outside the home, many will try hard to get inside. Once they get a taste of these nutritious foods they will try to feed at your home daily. Eventually they’ll want to live close to the food which is when they start to nest.
If you suspect you have mouse activity around pet food or bird seed, DO NOT REMOVE the food until the animal has been successfully trapped, relocated or destroyed using any of the options which this article will detail.
Simply put, mice are creatures of habit. If you remove their food source thinking they will go away YOU ARE WRONG. All you will do is force them to adapt to the changing environment which will do nothing but complicate the situation. This adaptation will generally lead them to where the food is stored, where the food came from or where food similar to it is kept. The bottom line is that removing the food source will more than likely cause the mice to come inside your home seeking more food.
If you leave the food supply with activity in tact, you will have the upper hand in dealing with this animal because you will know where its going to feed.
DO PETS CONTROL MICE PROBLEMS?
The simple answer is no. Over 80% of our customers who have mice also have pets. Why is this percentage so high? Our guess is the smell of pet food (which is so nutritious) attracts them. Regardless, its very clear that HOMES WITH PETS ARE MORE LIKELY TO GET A MOUSE PROBLEM than homes without pets.
Pet food is packed with more nutrition now than ever as is bird seed and mice are able to detect these food supplies like flares in the night sky. Once found, they will not easily give up this precious supply and move away. So if you know where they’ve been feeding, use this information to your advantage. After the mice are successfully removed, you can then alter the outside food supplies to help reduce future problems but only at such a time that you are certain there is no mice still around.
Remember, it is always easier to keep mice out. Once they get in, controlling them requires more work, more cost and more aggravation.
Another word of advice
If you know the route of entry to your building….
DO NOT CLOSE OR SEAL ENTRY HOLES UNTIL YOU KNOW THERE IS NO MORE MOUSE ACTIVITY.
This is another critical part of mice control. All too many times people will close or seal holes thinking the mice will simply go away. Nothing could be further from the truth. Again, these are creatures of habit which will stop of nothing short of death to reclaim their home.
Think of it like this: If you came home and found all your doors and windows boarded over for no reason, would you simply walk away never to return? Of course not. You would do all you could to get inside, claim your personal belongings and find out what is happening. The same is true with mice. When closed out of their home, they will chew through wood, plastic, metal and cement to get back inside. Remember, they are creatures of habit and knowing their route of entry makes controlling them all that much easier.
MOUSE CONTROL OPTIONS
To control existing mice populations, consider the options. Over the years, we have learned what works and what doesn’t. Proven methods of control include the following:
RODENTICIDE (also known as poison bait) Pros: easy. Cons: risk of animal dying and smelling, secondary poisoning, non target animal impact.
SNAP TRAPS (kill traps) Pros: easy, fast, low cost. Cons: risky around pets and kids, messy, trap shyness.
GLUE BOARDS (paper and plastic tray) Pros: easy, fast, low cost. Cons: risky around pets and kids, can be messy, inhumane, board shyness.
ELECTROCUTION DEVICE Pros: easy and fast. Cons: costly.
LIVE TRAPS Pros: easy, fast, safe, highly effective, long lasting investment. Cons: must relocate or destroy trapped animals.
MOUSE RODENTICIDE AKA: MOUSE POISON
Rodenticide is a poison bait which mice eat. Most rodenticides are anticoagulants which mean they prevent the clotting of blood. The material works by affecting different components of the animals body. In effect, the mice loose their ability to clot their blood. Once an artery or vein ruptures, the animal dies. This can happen from a cut or when the animal sustains an internal hemorrhage. Either way, a weakened animal will quickly fall victim to the effect and once it starts to bleed, it will die.
No doubt one of the easiest ways to treat for mice is to employ a bait. Commonly used as a bait block or bait pack, this method of control is easy to deploy and fast working. But its important to understand that non target animals such as children and pets are also vulnerable to these products. For this reason you must be extra careful when using a mouse bait and the use of protective tamperproof bait stations is strongly recommended to help prevent accidental poisoning.
For small problems in 1-2 rooms, our BAITED TAMPERPROOF STATIONS. These stations are essentially ready to be use. Packed in a tamperproof station, they’re small enough to be placed in living areas. They have a clear window allowing you to inspect the bait inside so you know when its empty.
Each station has a 1 oz bait block which is enough to kill several mice. These use an active that features a “stop feed” mode of action so rodents will only consume enough to kill them and once this threshold is met, they will stop feeding. Place stations every 15-20 feet out of reach of children and pets when deployed inside the home.
For more “serious” problems where you need a lot of bait, go with the bulk packaging of the bait block. Known as TOP GUN BLOCKS, each block is 1/2 oz, weather resistant and features the same active ingredient as the bait station above. Well suited for use in moist areas like crawl spaces and water retention ditches, they’re good for attics and garages too.
Each pail weighs 4 lbs and contains 128 blocks. You’ll need to use one of the two bait stations listed below to keep the blocks protected and secure.
For ground level placements, you’ll need to keep the bait blocks out of sight and protected. Well suited for the task are these MOUSE TAMPERPROOF BAIT STATIONS. Basically these are heavy duty plastic boxes designed to keep the bait fresh and protected. They can be attached to stakes in the ground or glued in placed for long term service. Around the home, they can be anchored to cement blocks or nailed to wood for added security if you have curious kids or dogs.
The tops of these lock on and can only be taken off with a special key.
For tight narrow areas, our MINIGARD BAIT STATION is skinny enough to fit most anywhere and still large enough to hold one bait block.
To keep bait stations “locked” in place, use HERCULES PUTTY. This double sided “sticky” putty is strong and sticks well to plastic, wood, metal and more. A single piece of 1″ is enough to hold either of the above bait stations in place.
Alternatively, TOP GUN BAIT PELLETS auses the same formulation as the bait blocks but is presented in a broken down “place pack”. Well suited for areas where bait stations are needed such as attics or inaccessible crawl spaces, the pack will protect the bait inside but allow odor or permeate out so foraging animals will readily find the offer.
Packed in 4 lb pails, each pail has 128 packs.
BEST TAMPER PROOF BAIT STATIONS FOR TRAPS AND RODENTICIDE
If you need to keep your traps or bait safe from pets or children, look no further than our TAMPERPROOF BAIT STATIONS WITH BAIT OR TRAPS.
These stations come with a 10 lb block, two feeding or trap compartments, locked lid and safe enough to use both inside and outside the home.
For inside applications, we recommend using them configured with nothing but two mouse kill traps and PECAN PASTE. This reduces the risk of them dying somewhere in accessible.
This picture shows the traps inside each of the compartments (the lid is hinged and open out of frame). Notice the ramp to the far right; position that against their runway and rodents will confidently enter and forage to the feeder stations.
For outside applications, get the kit which includes one mouse kill trap and one tub of Top Gun.
This configuration is ideal for use around homes. By intercepting and controlling the mice around the home before they get inside is more effective.
What this VIDEO for details on all this amazing station and all the ways you can set it up to fit your specific environment and safety concerns.
HOW TO GET RID OF DEAD MOUSE ODOR
If you’ve had a mouse die somewhere in the home and now have that after death stink, you’ll need some ODOR NEUTRALIZER to remove it. This enzymal compound works two ways.
First, it readily “eats” the odor molecule which is a gaseous by product emitted by the decaying organic matter – in this case the body of the mouse. Second, it attaches itself to other odor causing molecules created in the breakdown of the body and causes them to get heavy and simply fall from the air. This dual action will eliminate the odor immediately from treated areas.
You will get the best results if you’re able to apply the product directly where the animal died. If you do not have access to this area, you can spray in crawl spaces, attics and into wall voids where you think the animal died and see if that helps.
So for attics, crawl spaces and wall voids, mix 8 oz of T.O.N. per gallon of water and expect to get about 800 sq/ft of coverage per mixed gallon. Since odors will translocate, you may need to wipe down the walls of adjoining rooms in case the odor has relocated to other parts of the house. T.O.N. works immediately so you’ll see an immediate improvement. Within half a day, you’ll know if you solved the problem or if you will have to treat again.
Use any any standard PUMP SPRAYER to apply the T.O.N. although you can wipe it over walls with a rag or sponge.
HOW TO SAFELY CLEAN UP MOUSE DROPPINGS
If the mice have been living under a cabinet or behind a large appliance, there could be a lot of accumulated droppings. Since these droppings can hold a range of virus and bacteria, they should be deactivated first by spraying them with ROUGH’N READY. Used by commercial processing plants, hospitals and warehouses to sanitize the mess left by rodents, Rough and Ready is easy to use and goes a long way.
Rough and Ready is ready to use and a quart will cover250 sq/ft; gallons will cover 1,000 sq/ft. Simply wipe countertops, spray over the floor or wipe contaminated surfaces using a sponge. Allow the treatment to air dry before using the area although the treatment will kill all virus and bacteria within a few minutes.
For small areas, HOSPITAL DISINFECTANT SPRAY. is easy to use and just as effective. Well suited for spot treatingThis is a ready to use aerosol which works well at killing any type of bacteria or virus and will quickly sterilize without hurting finishes or making a mess. Once you start the cleanup, be sure to place all rags, towels, droppings and other contaminants in a plastic bag for disposal. Wear rubber gloves during cleanup and be sure to wash your hands, clothing and shoes following the job.
MOUSE SNAP TRAPS
If you prefer a “tried and true” method for killing mice rapidly, EXPANDED TRIGGER TRAPS are a good choice. Don’t waste your time with the old fashioned metal trigger traps. The big problem with these traps is that mice can easily clean the bait off the trigger without setting off the trap. This new design with the expanded trigger alleviates the issue. In fact this expanded trigger area is so effective, you can use these traps without bait. Just place traps alongside the wall where the mouse is foraging. Be sure to locate the trigger along the wall. Foraging mice will walk on the trigger and meet their demise.
Although baiting is not necessary when using these traps, add TRAPPERS CHOICE PECAN PASTE to the trigger to ensure quick results. This strong smelling food lure is super sweet and cannot be ignored.
GLUE BOARD TRAPS
Glueboards are another device which have caught many mice over the years. These “traps” rely on the use of non-drying glue to catch and hold unsuspecting mice. The traps vary in size and should be placed along walls, around cabinets, under furniture or refrigerators where mice are active.
In general, place where mice activity is known to exist but you can also use them on either side of a garage door where mice could enter. When the animal steps on the glue, they get stuck and cannot pull free. Mice will not quit pulling however and many times will pull off a leg, tail or section of their body in an effort to escape. For this reason these devices are considered by many to be “inhumane”.
For dry areas, the common PAPER MOUSE GLUE BOARD is effective. Use it as is, flat on the ground, or you can fold them up into triangles shaped like a T-Pee.
LIVE TRAPPING MICE
The last option (and overall one of the best) is to use a live trap. Because these devices do not kill or harm the mice, they will not become afraid of entering or being around one. Live trapping mice is easy, inexpensive and without risk or danger to non-target animals. The latest design of traps will last a long time, catch many mice and be able to trap a wide range of small rodents like shrews and voles.
There are many models available for mice. For low areas under appliances or furniture, the TIN CAT is well suited. It features two entry doors. Mice enter and once inside, the doorway closes keeping them in the holding area. These traps can hold 5-10 mice no problem and once 1-2 get inside, more will enter as long as you fill the trap with lots of lure.
Place traps along walls mice use with the holes facing the wall. Traps should be spaced every 10-20 feet.
Since mice like to see “through” any tunnel they enter, the MOUSE MASTER is a good design. This trap features a wind up mechanism which powers a “paddle”. Mice will readily enter the open tunnel but halfway through, they’ll land on the paddle which is sensitive. Once activated, the mice will be “tossed” into the large holding area which can easily handle 10+ mice per set.
Like the Tin Cat, you need to place these out along walls mice are using. Space them at least 10 feet apart. These traps are almost 3 times “taller” than a Tin Cat so they’re more appropriate for use in open areas like basements, garages, attics, porches and crawl spaces.
One of the more unique designs which enables a multitude of sets is the LONG LINE MOUSE TRAP. It can be set out in one long continuous “tunnel” or can be bent around corners effectively. The mid section “hinges” allowing such flexibility. Its low profile too making it well suited for tight spaces.
Lastly, the LT3310 is a one of the best options (the authors personal favorite) when you need to trap skittish animals or where larger animals might be active. So if there is a chance you could catch rats or chipmunks, this trap is a solid and effective trap. It only catches one animal per set but its easy to clean and super durable making it useful for both inside and outside sets.
BEST LIVE TRAP MOUSE LURE
To ensure mice find your live traps, you’ll need the right food inside.
First, place out MIXED BIRD SEED. Use at least 2 oz of seed per trap. Mice love bird seed and when they find a bunch of it inside any trap, they’ll have plenty of motive to enter.
Though bird seed is important to have inside any live trap set, its just as important to get the mice to your sets. To do this, you’ll need a strong attractant like TRAPPERS CHOICE PECAN placed at the opening. Just a dab of 1/4 teaspoon full is enough. And be sure to add at least a teaspoon full to the holding area of the trap too. Pecan Paste cannot be ignored by foraging mice so they’ll quickly target the traps where some has been added.
LIVE TRAPS ARE PROBABLY THE BEST WAY TO CONTROL MICE
The great thing about live traps is that they don’t kill the mice which enter. This prevents other mice from becoming afraid or wary of the device. In fact, we have observed a trap with several mice in it seemingly lure new ones to it. The untrapped mouse on the outside would come to the trap after smelling the lure and hearing other mice. Once the trap is found, they will circle the holding area interested with the activity going on inside. Its clear the smell of the pecan paste is so powerful that even after being trapped the mice do not become upset or frightened so new mice finding the offer do not get alarmed. That being said, you do need to remove trapped mice within 3 days of being caught.
Now if you are inspecting the device every day or two, this will not be a problem. But if you are using this device in a vacation home or some part of the house where it is difficult to inspect it daily, you may have some of them die before you are able to empty it. If the animals are left to die, they will certainly smell and decay. Try to prevent this from happening.
WHAT TO DO WITH TRAPPED MICE
We are constantly asked how to destroy mice once trapped in a live trap and though we don’t recommend one method over the other, here are some methods which customers have used to discard trapped mice.
Drowning. This is done by placing the trap (with the mice inside the traps) into a bucket of water. You can also use a stream or pond if one is close by. It usually only takes a few minutes for the trapped mice to drown but wait 15 minutes to ensure the result.
Freezing. Placing the trap in a bag and then in a freezer will cause the trapped animals to go to sleep and then die. This is painless but does take awhile. Plan on keeping the animal in the freezer overnight.
Suffocating. Though this sounds humane, it can get difficult to accomplish since it’s hard to devise a way that removes all air available. Mice will prove to be persistent so expect them to hang on quite awhile.
Electrocution. The Zappers detailed above have proven to provide a very humane way to destroy unwanted mice and can be used as an “execution” chamber.
HOW TO MOUSE PROOF YOUR HOUSE
Once you’ve removed all the mice in the home, consider sealing off any route of entry found along foundations walls, around doors or where pipes enter the home.
To seal known gaps or open spaces, first fill them with COPPER WOOL. This product cannot be chewed through by rodents and it will not rust. Copper wool is both easy to cut and easy to stick into entry holes you find around the home.
Once the gaps are filled with Copper Wool, seal them tight with PUR BLACK. This unique expanding material is durable, strong and will pretty much permanently seal any gaps through which nuisance animals can enter. For small jobs, the cans which include the injecting hose will do the job.
For large jobs where you’ll need several cans, get the larger size Pur Black which is applied using a PUR SHOOTER GUN. This tool is similar to a caulking gun. It will hold the Pur Black cartridge and allow you to specifically apply just the right amount
For the gun, you’ll need the larger can of PUR FOAM.
You’ll also need some GUN CLEANER when the job is done and you want to store the gun.
HOW TO REMOVE MOUSE ODOR
Since mice rely on smell to find their way around, once a structure gets a mouse problem, its just a matter of time before new mice find this area and try to take advantage of the vacated voids. This happens because the scent and odor mice leave will linger for 1-2 years after the mice are removed. Think of these smells as a kind of “beacon” telling other mice your home would make a great place to live. In general these scents are used by the nesting mice to navigate around the structure. But once they’re gone, the odor won’t disappear.
In fact this is why structures which get mice tend to get them every 6-12 months. Basically new mice foraging around the home are finding the old scent trails and following them inside the structure.
FIRST REMOVE THE OLD SCENT TRAILS AROUND THE HOME
To prevent reinfestation, spray the TOTAL ODOR NEUTRALIZER (mentioned above) around the homes exterior. This can be safely used on foundations, around windows, doors, garages, plants, etc. where mice are finding old scent trails. Plan on using 1-2 gallons of mixed material. If the mice were active in crawl spaces or attics, spray these areas too. Its also suggest you spray gutters and rooflines where mice have entered attics if you had them this high on the structure.
Mix 8 oz T.O.N. per gallon of water and use it after mice have been removed from the building.
INSTALL ULTRA SOUND REPELLERS
Another way to ensure rodents don’t come back is to install an ULTRA SOUND REPELLER. Our unit is well designed for mice. It will release ultra sound by default (sound in a frequency range people cannot hear) which in turn will keep mice and rats away.
Set units up inside the home where mice were previously active. This can be in crawl spaces, attics, basements, garages or even living spaces. Our unit comes an included AC power converter so you can run the machine via electricity. And since they’re water resistant, they can be used outside too. For outside installations, use them around the homes exterior to create a barrier of sound mice will not want to enter.
When using ultra sound as a repeller, its important to understand it does have limits. First, you will lose protection in areas which are cluttered or filled with storage. Wide open attics and crawl spaces will provide an area well suited for good results; cluttered areas will require extra units to insure no “dead spots” exist.
Additionally, most homes will get great protection by installing units where activity was most noted. This is usually in the attic or crawl space. However, it could be in the garage or living area. Our units will not hurt people or pets so it can be used in these areas if needed. Another great location to set up units is at key points of entry.
We also feature several accessories for our sound repeller including POWER CORD EXTENDERS (33 FEET AND 66 FEET), CIGARETTE LIGHTER POWER ADAPTER, ALLIGATOR CLIP POWER CORD and AC POWER SUPPLY REPLACEMENTS.
Mice have been on the earth longer than mankind. In fact, the more we thrive, the more they prosper. We cannot hope to rid the world of these creatures; like most, they, too, have a place in nature. However, we can do many things around the home to help minimize their intrusions. Once inside, we have several options to first remove and then keep new ones from entering. Which ever method you choose to employ, remember that we as a species are much more advanced and intelligent than any mouse. If you learn to observe and use a method of control which works with the current pattern of behavior you will get great results. Combining two or three of the options listed above along with the use of repellents should not only solve your problem but keep new ones away. In the end, you will be able to reclaim your home mice free!
Give us a call if you need further help. Our toll free is 1-800-877-7290 and we’re open Monday through Thursday, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. On Friday, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM and on Saturday, 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time).
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