How to Get Rid of Mice
Mouse infestations are only increasing within residential homes in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. After mice enter your home, they can be extremely difficult to get rid of since they often live in hidden areas within garages, attics, lofts, and wall interiors which is why store bought solutions often fall short. Do you have mice in your home? Or maybe you want to learn more about how mouse control works. Our library of mouse information will answer your questions.
Mice Library Shortcuts
Where do mice hide in my home?
Mice make their nests in houses where there human activity is the lowest. They seek out places where they are least likely to be disturbed to create their nest. A single mouse will create a nest to live and raise pups. Once pups are old enough to live on their own, they leave the nest and create their own individual nests.
Nests can be found pretty much anywhere within a home or on the property. The most common hiding places for mice nests are:Wall Voids
Secure and protected areas with little activity that provide close access to food and water are ideal locations for mouse nesting.
How much does mouse control cost?
The best way to tell if you are being charged too much or too little is to do your research. Local pest control companies will have pricing that greatly varies based on their specific business and tools. To find a pest control company whose pricing meets your needs, you must first determine what is most important to you and then ask the questions below.
Reliability- Learn about the elements of the service. Is the company willing to come out after the initial service? Are the technicians state-certified?
Service Guarantee- Are the services guaranteed? Is the company willing to do whatever it takes to help you maintain a pest-free home?
Reputation- How long has the company been in business? How do customers rate them online?
Tactics- Are they applying chemicals as the label indicates? Are their services based on science? Are they using minimal pesticides?
Price Only- What is the cheapest company, regardless of the quality of service?
Read through the company’s website to make sure they clearly outline what your service entails. If the features of a service are unclear, it might not be trustworthy. Check reviews on Google and Facebook. Reviews from past and current clients cannot be mandatory, so their opinions are honest.
How can I get rid of mice?
“Mice only need a ¼ inch gap to enter your home,” according to Dr. Richard Cooper, staff entomologist for Cooper Pest Solutions. “So homeowners need to seal up any obvious gaps around entry doors, garage doors and utility penetration points that are a ¼ of an inch or larger.” Mouse activity can be present year round, but typically becomes more of a problem when the warmer months are coming to a close when they are seeking shelter from the cold.
Mice are attracted to your home because they have found a food source and are not being disturbed, allowing them to multiply quickly. Preventing mouse infestations can be as easy as following the guidelines below.
Food – Make it a habit to sweep up crumbs in your kitchen and transfer pantry items such as cereal that come in boxes into sealed plastic containers.
Entry Points – Seal cracks and crevices around the foundation of your home.
Visual Inspection – Perform visual inspections. Do you see mouse droppings? Are you hearing scratching at night? The sooner you act on the problem, the sooner it can be resolved.
Do I have mice or squirrels?
Mice can be identified by the following:
Droppings – Mice constantly eat throughout the day, which is a lot for their little bodies. Droppings are left behind and will appear to be black or brown in color and the shape of a grain of rice.
Scratching – They are nocturnal creatures. If you hear light scratching in your home at night, it could be mice.
Tampered food – While in search of shelter, mice are also in search of a food source. It’s much easier to eat food from your pantry than search for food outside in the elements. Signs of tampered food are cereal boxes or other pantry items that look like they were chewed through along the edges.
Similar to mice, squirrels can make their way into your attic and create their nest. The main difference between squirrel and mouse infestations is the time of day that they are active. Mice are nocturnal, whereas squirrels are diurnal.
You hear strange scratching, jumping, or scampering noises in your home
You find squirrel droppings throughout your attic
Damaged entry points include around the fascia boards, shingles, eaves troughs, and outer panels with all kinds of damage along the roof line.
Strange odors and “water damage” marks on your walls and ceilings from the squirrel urine and feces
Mice vs. Rats. What's the difference?
The typical House Mouse (Mus musculus) is anywhere from two to four inches in length, as opposed to the common, and much larger, Norway Rat which measures seven to nine inches in length. Of course, it may be easy to distinguish between the two if both are at adult size, but a juvenile Norway Rat that has not reached full size can look similar to an adult House Mouse.
When it comes to nesting, mice are skillful climbers and have no problem inhabiting the attic in your home. Due to their small size, mice can also fit into the smallest of holes, allowing them to access parts of your home you didn’t think anything could fit in. Rats, on the other hand, can climb but prefer to inhabit lower levels of a structure, such as a basement or a crawlspace.
Both rats and mice can gnaw on various structures and wires in your home, which can lead to fire hazards. Mice have weaker teeth than rats, which means that any food source that is properly stored in glass or metal can prevent the mice from contaminating it, but that may not be the case with rats. Rats are much stronger than mice and have been known to gnaw through various building materials, including aluminum, wood, glass, sheet metal, and even cinder blocks.
Why are mice in my home?
“Typically mice will start entering homes as the weather starts to cool down for warmth,” said Dr.
Richard Cooper, staff entomologist for Cooper Pest Solutions. What many homeowners don’t realize is that mice can squeeze through holes much smaller than their body size, making it possible for them to into your home through even the smallest of holes on the exterior of your home. Mice can actually fit into holes as small as a dime and can quickly slip into your home unnoticed.
“There may also be gaps that aren’t visibly accessible which are covered by siding or moldings, that can allow rodents to get in,” said Dr. Cooper. “Rodents can find entry points that you might not even be aware of.”
Does steel wool really repel mice?
There is nothing in steel wool that repels mice. However, it will keep them from getting into cracks and crevices in your home. Simply go to your local hardware, grocery, or wholesale store and buy some steel wool. Walk around your house and look for any holes or cracks that a mouse might squeeze into and stuff the openings with steel wool. Unlike drywall or other materials, mice have a very hard time chewing through the steel wool making it the perfect filler. Common areas, which should be filled in with steel wool include corners of unfinished basements, the perimeter of crawl spaces, and utility entry points such as plumbing pipes.
Why do I have mice in my walls?
1. Broken or Torn Vents
Common vents that lead outdoors can be dryer vents, gable vents, attic vents, turbine vents, soffit vents, and crawl space vents. They are built for airflow, to literally “ventilate” your home as the name implies. When gaps and holes are left exposed, rodents follow the air currents to crawl indoors. From there, it’s possible that they can nest within wall voids, causing that unnerving scratching noise and movement you hear at night.
2. Cracks in the Foundation
Rodents can slip through cracks in the foundation or exterior of your home as small as ¼ inch. They have collapsible bodies that can squeeze into spaces that you may have not considered in the past. Cracks usually happen when the ground is settling causing the foundation to shift. Water erosion due to improper drainage or bad gutters and downspouts is another common problem. Although different types of cracks depending on the severity and direction can indicate differing issues, if space exists, mice can enter. From there, mice have no problem getting into your walls.
3. Weep Holes
Weep holes are intentional gaps between bricks when masonry takes place on a home or other human-made structures. The purpose of weep holes is to prevent moisture from being trapped behind the bricks, which can lead to structural issues. While it’s suggested that you shouldn’t seal or fill in weep holes, it is important to keep them screened off to prevent rodents and other insects from entering. Weep holes are large and exposed, leaving a perfect space for infestations. Pest control professionals run into this problem very frequently. The best way to keep weep holes functioning as the mason intended, but also to prevent rodents, is to use professional materials that block rodent entry but still allow the space to breathe.
4. Unsealed Utility Pipes
Utility pipes such as sump pumps (pictured above) and other plumbing aren’t always completely sealed where they meet the exterior of the house. Mice are skilled climbers that can use the gaps around piping to enter your basement and walls. Take a walk around the outside of your home and look for these gaps. Remember, mice only need ¼ inch to collapse their bodies. Any piping that exposes an entry point should be taken care of as soon as possible. It’s not necessarily something that is always top of mind, so even if you don’t have a current or past rodent problem, you’re leaving your home open to future infestations.
5. Builder’s Gaps
When a home is constructed, a “builder’s gap,” also called a construction or roof gap, is sometimes created to allow the house to breathe. This opening exists where the roof and gutters meet, running horizontally along where the two should come together. It’s typically covered by shingles so you may not know that an exposed builder’s gap exists on your roof. The space is notorious for allowing squirrels, rats, and mice into attics. Once rodents enter your attic, it’s easy for them to migrate into wall voids and other parts of your home.
How do I keep mice out of my garage?
There are several dos and don’ts of mouse elimination if you are going to try mouse control on your own.
✔ Close off gaps- Use caulk and steel wool to fill in small holes and gaps leading into the garage.
✔ Clean up your garage- Grass seed and dog food strewn around the garage is an endless buffet for mice.
✔ Declutter and reorganize- Don’t keep items in cardboard boxes. Use sealed containers and bins. If there is more floor space open, you have fewer hiding places and a better chance of finding potential nesting spots.
✔ Cut back bushes and plants- By trimming back vegetation that comes into contact with the foundation of your garage, mice will have less space to hide and gather.
X Use sound machines or ultrasonic repellers- They have been proven time and time again to be ineffective.
X Rely on essential oils or scents- Mice are highly adaptable and aren’t deterred by a little bit of peppermint oil when they find a goldmine of bird seed in your garage.
X Trust your cat- Yes, cats can catch mice. However, it’s not a reliable form of pest control when mice are multiplying and infesting.
X Cover your garage in cayenne pepper- Our pest control technicians run into this issue a lot. They are called to a home that has droppings everywhere, including on and around cayenne pepper that was used as a “natural barrier.” If it was this easy to get rid of mice, pest control companies would be out of business.
How to Pest-Proof Your Home This Winter
Planning ahead for winter pest prevention is one of the smartest things you can do as a homeowner. Use the following tips to prevent winter pests from infesting your home.
- Inspect the foundation and exterior of your home. Are there gaps or cracks? Seal them to prevent potential entry points.
- Repair and replace broken or aging vents.
- Keep your kitchen tidy. Pests are drawn indoors by seeking heat, but they stay once they find food.
- Repair any appliances suffering from water damage. This can include dishwashers and sinks.
- Schedule a professional pest inspection. Pest management professionals are trained to search for vulnerabilities in your home that can make your house more susceptible to winter pest activity.