Mouse Control

(Mus musculus)

Controlling House Mice

Commensal rodents are a real problem for many people. Don't ignore the noises in your attics or walls. Mice are a real threat. They chew wires and damage insulation.

#Non-lethal Control of Mice

#Lethal Control of Mice Warning, photo of trapped mouse located below. 

#Common Questions

Scientific Name: Mus musculus

 

Biology

WARNING: Before performing any mouse control, be sure you read up on the Hanta Virus. Although we don't know a lot about this disease at present, the following precautions are recommended. Wear a HEPA filter mask when in enclosed places with mouse droppings, bleach contaminated areas, wear rubber gloves when handling traps and bodies (due to sharp objects I would put rubber gloves inside of leather ones). Bleach feces before sweeping. Let the bleach sit on feces for at least 15 minutes. Try to air out area as much as possible without stirring up dust. 

Mice defecate 70 dropping each day. (Larry Pinto Pest Control Magazine p. 14 March 2001).

 

Non-lethal Control of Mice (Forget ultrasonics)

If you want to reduce the risk of mice entering your home follow the next few steps as rigorously as possible. As for ultrasonics, we are not aware of any scientific evidence that ultrasonics effectively rid or repel mice in homeowner situations. We welcome any scientific (ie. double blind and peer reviewed) evidence to support the efficacy of ultrasonics.

Remove food sources.

Don't allow bird feeders to let food fall to the ground. For information on modifying bird feeders click feedbirdsnotsquirrels.php Don't feed pets out doors.

 

Remove harborage (where they live)

Keep your property clean and tidy. Don't let wood piles, stone piles just lay in the same place for years. (Follow the precautions listed for Hanta Virus) Keep grass cut short around your home. Mice don't like to travel through short grass as it leaves them exposed to predators.

Eliminate access

Fill cracks and crevices around your home's foundation, pipes, eaves with caulk or foam appropriate to the location. Mice can fit into holes the size of a pencil. While they can chew through foam, you will be able to see their activity and take additional steps. Foam also stops heat loss which will help reduce the attractiveness of your home.

Stuff larger cracks and crevices with Copper Stuf-it. Steel wool also works but it can rust. Use screw driver to wedge in around pipes. Be careful of heat bearing pipes!!! Make sure you aren't creating a potential fire hazard. Add foam or caulk to the stuff-it, if you want to stop heat escape. Heat escape and air flow are attractants to cold mice.

Screen your attic vents with 1/4 inch hardware cloth from the outside. Yes, your attic vents. Mice can chew through mosquito netting. Mice are excellent climbers. Check your eaves as well for gaps around the soffits.

 

Lethal Control of Mice

Takes one of three forms, biological, poison and traps.

Biological

Some people believe that if they get a cat their mouse problems will be over. The problem is that while cats kill mice, they also kill a lot of other things too, like song birds. So while your feline is outside supposedly keeping the rodent population down, he is also ravaging the environment see House Cats. Some cats are also not very good mousers. Finally, cats cannot control mice living in your walls. They can only kill the mice when their population rises high enough to be forced to expand beyond the walls.

Poison

Poison is very effective. Go to any hardware store and you will find mouse poison that will kill your mice. Don't believe the statement that the mice go outside to die. The mice die where they die. Odor? Yes it is a possibility, although according to Bobby Corrigan, a small one.It depends on how many mice you have, where they die, how fast they dry out and how well you smell. Never put poison outside of your home. Always keep the poison inside a building, you don't want to poison non-target animals or children. This is why even poison inside a structure is normally placed inside a tamper resistant poison bait station.

For information about handling secondary poisoning (ie. an animal eating the carcass of another which was killed by a pesticide) click Secondary Poisoning

For a government document Secondary poisoningPdf file on Poisoining click Rodenticide Cluster

"Poison on the Farm" by Jon Geller DVM in Mother Earth News August/Sept 1999 pp. 66-68 Article covers a variety of poisonings and their symptoms.

Smell For more hints on removing odors click on the smell

If you havebeen putting poison down for mice, and you smell an odor, then the odor probably is a dead mouse. Yes, the smell will go away. But it will take time. Just air out as much as you can. Once the carcass dries out, the odor will go away. As for discoveringe where the dead mouse (mice) is (are), unless you can follow flies to it, it isn't usually worth looking for the body. You can cut holes in the walls etc. But unless you are quite certain on the location, you could be doing some real damage on your home. Sometimes the cure is worse than the disease.

Traps to buy some mouse traps click Mouse Traps

I like traps. They are effective, poison free and you get to see the results. I also consider them to be more humane than other traps to catch mice. Be careful handling bodies due to hanta-virus. Although we don't know a lot about this disease at present, the following prtrapped mouse mouse droppings mouse signecautions are recommended. Wear a HEPA filter mask when in enclosed places with mouse droppings, bleach contaminated areas, wear rubber gloves when handling traps and bodies (due to sharp objects I would put rubber gloves inside of leather ones). Bleach feces before sweeping. Let the bleach sit on feces for at least 15 minutes. Try to air out area as much as possible without stirring up dust. 

I like snap traps see photo. Bait with peanut butter NOT CHEESE. Set traps with bait area (narrow end is perpendicular to the wall. Mice like to follow edges.  Set lots of traps. A single family ranch size, one story, home should have at least 12-15 traps set. More if your house is larger. Check traps regularly. 

Tin Cat (solid roof) Order Online

Victor Tin CatThe problem with snap traps is that people don't want to handle them. So the next best thing is to use Victor Tin Cats which we sell. These are multiple catch mouse traps. I don't claim they are humane. They rely on one way doors that allow the mice to enter but not leave. Unless you put a snap trap inside they eventually die of exposure. Not a pretty sight. But given that so many people won't use the snap traps or poison, it is an appropriate alternative. The other feature I like about the Tin Cat is the way it allows me to put snap traps inside and thus protected from children or pets. The mouse walks in, gets trapped by the snap trap. But the cat or dog doesn't come over sniff the trap, accidentally spring it or start eating the dead mouse.

 

 

 

 

Rodent RockRODENT ROCK
As you can see a Big Snap-E Rat trap can be place perpendicular to the entry holes.

 

 

 

Common Questions

Q. Do mice bite people?

A. Yes, they can, but it is highly unlikely. Usually people (ie. infants and toddlers) get bitten by rats not mice.

Q. Do mice carry rabies?

A. Any mammal, including mice, can carry and transmit rabies. However, the incidence of rabies in mice is astoundingly low. If you have been bitten by a mouse or otherwise came into unprotected exposure to mouse fluids contact your physician and state health department and apply appropriate cleansing solutions.

Q. What about hanta-virus?

A. Visit hanta-virus

Mice and Cars

Unfortunately, we are not aware of any repellent system that would actually work. Our suggestions are 1. Garage the vehicle. 2. Remove food and habitat that increase the mouse population in the area. 3. Initiate an aggressive mouse control program. Some traps are listed below. 4. One theory is that there may be salt on the wires or spills from antifreeze that encourages their already high desire to gnaw. Perhaps washing the car engine (discuss this with a mechanic or the consequences could be disastrous) may help reduce the attractiveness of your engine.

Mouse Resources

Corrigan, Bobby. "Do you worry about Dead Mouse Odors?" PCT, June 2002 pp. 92-3. He argues that the risk of odors from dead mice is very small due to the size of mice and that they would normally die in their nests. He notes there are exceptions, but again the risk is small.

The New York Cooperative Extension Mouse/Rat Control Document

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10/4/03

 

Disclaimer: WDC seeks to provide accurate, effective and responsible information on resolving human/wildlife conflicts. We welcome suggestions, criticisms to help us achieve this goal. The information provided is for informational purposes only and users of the information use it at their own risk. The reader must consult state/federal officials to determine the legality of any technique in the reader's locale. Some techniques are dangerous to the user and to others. WDC encourages readers to obtain appropriate training (see our informational literature at our Store ), and understand that proper animal damage control involves patience, understanding that not every technique/method works for every situation or even 100% of the time. Your use of this information is governed by this understanding. We welcome potential users of the information and photos to simply ask for permission via e-mail. Finally, WDC welcomes e-mail but understand that all e-mails become property of Wildlife Damage Control.