How do I Know I Have Mice?
If you see a mouse scuttling across your floor then you clearly have a problem. In most cases you will not actually see an animal, mice are secretive but they do leave clear signs.
One of the biggest is the smell – their urine has a really strong unpleasant smell and they leave droppings which look like small raisins or small pellets. You might hear them scratching and see bite marks on food packets in your cupboards.
Mice Are Cute, What’s The Problem?
They pose a serious health risk as they are carriers of a range of nasty viruses, bacteria and parasites including salmonella. Mice crawl all over your kitchen and food leaving a trail of nasties.
Secondly they can cause a lot of damage to furniture and essential equipment like gas tubes and electric cables.
How do I get Rid of Mice
Firstly you must remove their food source. All your food needs to be in sealed packets and ideally in hard containers rather than bags. Keep floors and worktops well swept and vacuumed. Check in corners and underneath and behind appliances as dirt and crumbs can build up here.
Make sure your bins are intact and have a well fitting lid. Don’t leave full rubbish bags in the open. Its also a good idea to locate your bins away from your house as the smell will attract mice.
Secondly seal all the points of entry. You will need to pull out cupboards and appliances and check the wall and floor carefully. Mice can squeeze through small gaps between floorboards and air bricks. Make sure all holes are sealed or covered with fine mesh. Steel mesh kitchen cleaners are useful as you can wad them up to fill holes and they are too hard for mice to chew through. It is a fiddly job but it needs doing. If you eradicate your mice with poison but don’t block entry points you will just get a new batch of mice at a later date.
Killing Or Trapping Your Mice
You need to buy traditional traps, glue traps or poison. If you don’t want to kill your mice then you can buy humane traps. Bear in mind that you then have to find somewhere to release them. If you just let them go in your garden they will get back into your house. For the same reason you should not release them near anyone else’s house or commercial buildings. Ideally you should release them a mile away from any building.
Traditional poisons are cheap and easy to use. Just make sure you read the packets carefully and use gloves. If you have pets or children in your home buy a suitable poison. If in doubt ask for advice and help.
Note that sweet bait seems to work the best, chocolate and peanut butter are good ones to use.
I have not tried this myself but I have done some in-depth reading up on it. Lots of people report good success using this simple non-toxic oil. Soak a few cotton wool balls with a good quality oil and leave them near entry points and where you think the mice might nest. Apparently the smell is overpowering for the mice and they scuttle off somewhere else.
Its old fashioned but normally very effective. Get a cat! The smell of a cat will deter mice and if any should venture into your home or garden your cat will normally munch them right up. Dogs are not as reliable mouse catchers and they can catch nasty diseases from mice.
You can try buying a barn owl birds nest from a specialist supplier. If you are lucky enough to get it used by a barn owl they will help keep the area around your house clear of mice.
When To Call In A Professional
If you are overrun or have had a persistent problem you don’t seem able to manage call in an exterminator. Also if you are not at the property to keep putting traps down and cleaning up dead mice or you are looking after the property for an older or disabled person it is worth getting in professionals.