"How to get rid of mice" is a question most people hope they never need to ask. However, considering the damage mice can create to a building and the health risk (deer mice, for example, carry the dangerous hantavirus which causes severe respiratory disease), it's a question many home and business owners suddenly and unexpectedly have to face. This site is designed to give a quick and informative summary for those concerned about preventing mice from moving in.
The first thing to understand is, how to recognize the presence of mice in a building and how do you know if you have a mouse problem? There are two breeds of mice that typically move into homes, restaurants, hotels and other buildings: The deer mouse and the house mouse.
Deer Mouse: The bicolored body and distinctive large ears distinguish the deer mouse from the house mouse. Deer mice damage upholstered furniture, mattresses, clothing, paper, or other materials they find suitable for constructing their nests. They are a particular concern because they spread hantavirus, which can be a severe respiratory disease in humans with fatality rates of about 36%.
House Mouse: House mice are small rodents with relatively large ears and small, black eyes. They weigh about 1/2 ounce and usually are light brownish to gray. Droppings, fresh gnaw marks, and tracks indicate the presence of these mice. Their nests are made from finely shredded paper or other fibrous material, usually in sheltered locations. The house mouse consumes and contaminates food meant for humans, pets, livestock, or other animals, and causes considerable damage to structures and property, also transmitting salmonellosis and other diseases.
Female deer mice can be reproductively active as early as six weeks of age, bearing 3-6 young per litter. In a single year, a female house mouse may have 5 to 10 litters of about 5 or 6 young.
Mice enter homes through small cracks in windows and doors and are in search of food and warmth. They can squeeze through openings slightly larger than 1/4 inch across. Nests, droppings, and other signs left by deer mice are similar to those of house mice. However, deer mice have a much greater tendency to cache food supplies such as acorns, seeds, or nuts than do house mice.
The most effective way to keep mice out of houses, cabins, and dwellings is by rodent proofing and excluding them from these structures by sealing all small gaps and cracks. You will also want to make the outside of your home an unfriendly environment by clearing away brush and wood piles near the home, and not leaving food outside for pets or wild animals. Once deer mice infest a dwelling, it is critical to avoid working and sleeping in these areas until the infestation has been controlled and the area has been made safe for humans.
Natural repellents include peppermint oil, apple cider vinegar, ammonia, cayenne pepper, preditor odor and mint leaves. Commercially sold ultrasonic devices and other frightening devices aren’t effective at repelling deer mice. Chemical repellents, also commercially available for outdoor use, aren’t sufficiently effective to justify their expense. Dogs and cats can catch and kill deer mice. However, it is unlikely they will effectively control mouse populations. Mice can find many places to hide and rear their young out of the reach of such predators., Other control methods will be required.
You may try the natural repellents, traps and devices mentioned above, and place your cat on guard, but if you have an established mouse problem you'll probably need the help of a professional pest control expert.
Do you think you have a problem with mice? Don't wait until they further multiply, damage your home or spread disease.