Using Mice Traps and Other Mice Tips
You hear them late at night when all is quiet; the padding of their tiny feet, the scratching and scurrying noises overhead and in the walls. At first you think it may be a branch from a nearby tree rubbing up against the house, but in the morning there are more telltale signs. You see little things that look like black grains of rice. You find an incredibly precise little circle gnawed in the wall near the baseboard. Then it dawns on you: mice!
Mice will make their homes anywhere that is warm with an available food supply. Those little crumbs in the back of your cabinets make the perfect snack for these critters. They can get into your home quite easily, being able to elongate their little bodies to squirm through even a dime-sized hole.
Unfortunately, when there is one mouse, there are more. A female mouse will have litters of five to six babies between five and ten times a year. Those babies only need to be six weeks old to have litters of their own. You do the math. That’s a lot of mice running around your house and in between your walls.
While cute, these little guys will do a lot of damage to your home and they carry parasites that can pass disease onto humans. Think Bubonic Plague. The potential dangers of mice make it necessary to eliminate them from your home. Because mice reproduce so quickly, it is essential you take action to control the population as soon as you notice their presence. This means sealing off all potential means of entry, eliminating sources of food and unfortunately, killing mice.
Seal them Off
Stopping more mice from entering your home should be a high priority. Once you have eliminated their foods sources, you will need to inspect your home closely for any and all possible means of entry. Check every crack and crevice within 24 inches of the ground. Any opening bigger than a dime should be blocked of and sealed with caulking. If necessary, stuff a hole with steel wool for now. Mouse cannot gnaw through this tough material. Be sure to inspect near doors and windows as well.
Once the exterior is sealed off, inspect your basement for any cracks that may be serving as an underground entrance. Plug openings around pipes and wiring with steel wool.
Because mice can still get in when you open your door to come in and out of the house, it is a good idea to place some mint plants around the entrances to your home. You can also use cotton balls soaked in pure peppermint oil to deter mice by placing them near entrances. The smell is too strong for their sensitive noses and they will run the other way. Be sure it is pure peppermint oil and not peppermint extract like you use for cooking.
Eliminate Food Sources
Almost all food crumbs are potential sources of food for mice. They may even gnaw holes in cardboard packaging to get at food. While they prefer nuts and seeds, they will eat whatever they can find. You will need to empty your cupboards and vacuum out any crumbs that you find. If you find packages that appear to have been gnawed, throw them away and wash your hands. Mice are very dirty creatures that carry viruses dangerous to humans.
To prevent further intrusion into your food supply, put all items in plastic storage containers with sealable lids. This includes any pet food you may have since mice have no qualms about eating any kind of food, human, dog or cat. Next search the entire house for any signs of food anywhere else. The kids may not be allowed to eat in their rooms, but that does not mean they are not doing it. Check their closets, dressers and under beds for any potential mouse food sources.
You will also need to go into the garage to check for any bird seed or other potential food sources. Do not forget to check the shed as well. Anything you have should be thrown away if the mice have been at it. If not, seal it in a plastic storage bin so they will not feed the next generation of mice.
Sad to say, you will have to kill some mice. When they are in your home, there is just no getting around it. If you can’t stand to do it, you may need to pay a pest control service to take care of this for you. There are two main ways of killing mice. You can use poison or traps. Poison is really not the best option because the mice can then die in your walls and you will have one hell of a time finding and disposing of their decomposing little bodies.
While there are traps that can catch mice without killing them, you would then have to transport the mice miles away from your home to be sure they do not come back. Think about how many times you are willing to do this with an expanding mouse population in your house. Although humane, non-lethal traps are just too much work.
The Classic Snap Trap
When it comes to traps, there are three main mechanisms for capture. The most commonly known and effective is the snap trap. These are those spring-based traps you see on Tom and Jerry cartoons. You should do some research before buying your traps. If you get one that is intended for larger rodents, like rats, the trap will actually decapitate the mouse, leaving a bloody mess in your house. Choose the appropriate trap for the critters you have, whether field or house mice. Field mice are generally smaller and do not need as strong a trap.
Snap traps are most successful when placed with strategy in mind. Mice are actually very smart creatures and will figure out how to eat the bait off a trap without ever springing it. It is best to get them accustomed to the traps being around so they will not be cautious. Leave them unset with bait on them. Let the mice nibble the bait and enjoy themselves for a day or two. Then set the traps the third day. You may need to repeat this process a few times to get all the mice, so set out a lot of traps to catch as many as you can the first time. A rule of thumb may be to set five traps every few feet along the walls of each mouse-prone room.
Mice have an exceptional sense of smell and can smell that your hands have been on a trap. Rub a little bacon grease on the trap to cover your scent and further entice the mouse to take the bait. The most effective baits are peanut butter, bacon and of course, cheese! You can also try cotton balls as the mice will want them for nesting material.
The glue board is the second way to trap mice. This method is generally considered inhumane because it takes a long time to kill the mice. The critters become stuck to the boards when they walk across them, and die of starvation or distress. Glue traps are also dangerous to other animals. If you don’t mind letting the mice suffer, you can buy these traps cheaply at your local hardware store.
Electric traps work by electrocuting the mouse to death in about ten seconds. They are effective and easy to clean, but use up a lot of batteries. This is one of the more expensive means of trapping mice and if you have a large population, getting enough to handle them all is likely to be costly.