"It is easier to build a strong child than to repair a broken man." - Frederick Douglass

How to Get Rid of Mice Safely and Effectively

Mice
Courtesy of Bruce Fingerhood (Flickr CC0)

Nothing is as awful as waking up to the sound of a mouse running around the house.

Mice are native to Central Asia but came to the Americans through European ships. Today, these rodents live in every state across North America. They are highly adaptable and agile, with an excellent sense of touch and smell. A mouse can jump twelve inches or higher. Mice have poor eyesight, but their peripheral vision is adept, making them challenging to catch.

Grains, cereal, and nuts are a mouse’s preferred diet, but they also eat whatever is available, including pet food. Their strong teeth allow them to chew through rubber or plastic. They are always trying to find a way into a warm shelter, especially in the fall and winter.

How to Get Rid of Mice Using Home Remedies

Mice
Courtesy of Alan Levine (Flickr CC0)

There are several ways to determine if a house has mice. First, be on the lookout for scratches or chew marks, food crumbs, mouse droppings, scratching noise in the walls. Many people prefer to set mouse traps, but calling a professional pest control company is ideal.

  • Since mice are intelligent and agile, the best defense is sealing holes with steel wool because it has sharp edges that they can not chew or dig to get through.
  • Set mouse traps in areas where they are most active. If unsure where they live, sprinkle a thin layer of flour and check for tracks the following day. Place traps ten feet apart in dark corners. Put chocolate candy, peanut butter, bacon, or dried fruit as bait.
  • Whip up some mashed potatoes with a little butter and milk. When they eat this, it will expand their stomach and kill them.
  • Mice hate the smell of onions. So put an onion out where there are mouse droppings.
  • Ask a friend for a used cat litter and spread it outside where the mice enter.

Consider Natural Rodent Predators

An indoor cat is the most common method of keeping mice from coming back, but cats can spread disease if they eat an infected mouse. For those living in rural areas, hawks and owls can help control mice outside the house.

Here are some of the easy ways to keep mice out of the house:

  • Store food in plastic or metal containers and keep the food storage clean.
  • It is a good idea to put brush strips on the bottom of doors to prevent mice from coming in, especially in older homes where doors do not fit well: cover vents and damaged roofing with wire mesh.
  • Trim tree branches and mow the grass short. Keep the yard neat, avoiding plants that grow on the side of the property as overgrown vegetation close to walls are potential nesting sites.

Cleaning up after Mice

  • Mouse droppings and urine are toxic to humans. Create cross-ventilation by opening doors and windows for half an hour.
  • Wear rubber gloves and a face mask when cleaning mouse droppings or dead mice.
  • The Centers for Prevention and Disease Control (CDC) recommends creating a mixture of 50% water and 50% bleach to spray down the entire area before cleaning nesting areas.

Changing habits conducive to infestation, like keeping food off of kitchen counters and taking preventive measures such as sealing holes and pipes, will keep mice from coming back.

Written by Janet Grace Ortigas
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware

Sources:

Insider: How to safely get rid of mice and keep them from coming back; by Kaitlyn McInnis
Good Housekeeping: How to Get Rid of Mice in Your House and Prevent Them From Ever Coming Back; by Amanda Garrity and Beth Kaufman
CDC: Rodents

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Bruce Fingerhood’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Alan Levine’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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