Effective mouse control, as well as dealing with rats and other rodent infestations in homes and businesses is generally quite simple and in most cases, something that the average homeowner or business can do themselves quite easily. While exterminating mice and rodents is on our list of pest control services and we will be glad to take care of it for you, with our free evaluation we will also advise you on what you can do yourself to eliminate the problem and prevent further infestations.
First, an important note about using poisons to get rid of mice and other rodents. We don't use any poisons in a commercial or residential application unless the client is willing to sign off that Horizon is not responsible to find and extract any dead rodents that have made their final resting place in a wall, under the floor, or some other hard to discover or access area. Simply, poisons aren't generally the best solution for mouse control in living and working space buildings. Give some thought to the results before you use them.
Generally, by the time we get a call regarding a mouse infestation, it has been identified and the client has already been active in trying to eliminate the issue. They may have already caught a few or many mice. Using every fancy electronic, spring loaded, or box trap on the market, they still can't seem to get rid of the problem completely. So they give us a call in hopes that we have the magic cure or some super poison to end all civilization known to mouse and rodent.
The problem usually is that they're approaching the problem a bit backwards. It's a process. And traps are the last step in the process and not usually the means to the end. So let's start from the beginning.
Sanitation - Stop Feeding The Mice
While eliminating food sources doesn't guarantee that mice and other rodents and pests will stay away, a plentiful food source will almost guarantee that they will take up residence and stay.
While mice and many other rodent species prefer grains and cereals, they also enjoy and will feed on many other types of food. So all sources need to be considered for this step. A plus side to this step is that it will also help with keeping your home free of insect pests as well.
Take an assessment and evaluation. You can't really go overboard with this step. All food sources from grain products like flower and cereals to candy to meat products need to be considered. Also, don't forget pet foods.
Place these and all food sources in sealed containers. While metal canisters with lids are preferable, especially for pet foods, tightly sealed plastic will generally do the trick.
Keep pet food spills cleaned up. It's even a good idea to pick up and store pet food bowls at night.
Exclusion - Rodent Proofing
Even if you've got the trapping process down to an art, you're not going to ever reach the end of it as long as more mice can continue to gain access to your home or business. You need to do a little investigating to see where the mice are gaining access and then fix the issue.
Even the smallest spaces that don't seem possible for entry can be access points. Mice can fit through an opening as small as 1/4". So don't exclude any areas. Also, look at it this way. Patching up all the little holes will also help eliminate other pest issues like insects. As well, it may even help with your heating and cooling bills.
Identifying Entry And Access Points
- - Around pipe entry points through walls - Look under sinks, behind toilets, where hvac lines come into the building, etc.
- - Around electrical receptacles - Be careful here. Don't touch or apply any sealant to or near actual electrical wires or connections.
- - Make sure doors and windows seal tightly. Replace worn weather stripping and seals around and under doors.
- - Repair torn window and door screens. A mouse can chew through wire screens with no problem. Still, as long as you have eliminated food sources as mentioned above, the temptation to simply crawl through will be lessened.
- - Patch and repair any holes in walls.
- - Around heating and cooling vents.
- - Eliminate any and all entry points that you can identify. This means even high up on a wall. Mice are excellent climbers and can jump a good distance.
Seal Holes To Keep Mice Out
Mice, rats, and rodents can chew their way through just about any material. Wood and plastics are really no obstacle for them. Still we use what is practical and called for the job. And once again, eliminating food sources will lessen the temptation to access an area.
Sealing holes around pipe and wire entries can be done with a mixture of steel wool and caulking or with canned expanding foam insulation. If possible, place some steel wool in the holes before sealing.
Try and make the sealing materials as smooth as possible. Mice and rats will pull at and find it easier to gnaw on any extrusion or angle in the sealant.
Mouse Deterrents And Repellants
Rodents are very sensitive to scent, sound, sight, motion, and touch. So so this is worth mentioning here and clearing up any false ideas about it.
Ultra Sonic And Noise Pest Repellants
Seriously? Don't let some snake oil pest control guy sell you on these. At the time of this writing, they simply do not work to eliminate and repel mice, other rodents, insects, or other pests.
For one, they are directional and can't penetrate through walls or other obstacles. So, unless you're going to purchase one for every electrical outlet and behind every wall, it is pointless.
As well, at the time of this writing, there is no clinical research evidence that they even work at all. Sure, there are lots of reviews on the sites that sell them. But try to find the clinical scientific research proof on the sites. There is none.
Secondly, let's just say that ultra sonic or noise deterrents did work. While mice may be initially frightened by loud or unfamiliar sound, they soon get use to it, realize there is no harm, and return.
As stated earlier, a mouse's senses are very keen. Their sense of smell is way more sensitive than humans. So some scent repellants have been found to be very effective and used with great success.
Peppermint Oil - We've actually had good success with this. Not peppermint extract. Peppermint oil. You can generally find this online and sometimes at your local health food store.
Put a few drops on a cotton ball and place the cotton ball on a piece of foil or other object that it can't seep through and place in areas where you've seen mouse droppings or activity. Also place near or in holes that can't be repaired. You may be surprised at the results.
We've used this with great success to keep mice and rats from chewing the wires under hoods of cars and trucks. Placing the soaked cotton balls in magnetic hide-a-keys and attaching them to the firewalls, it usually fixes the problem. Make sure whatever you use and wherever you place it won't be prone to catch on fire from the heat of the engine.
Natural Scent Rodent Repellants - We've used several of these with great success. However, they're generally very strong and can often be a bit overpowering when used in residence and business locations. Use sparingly at first until you know how they will affect you.
The main problem with using these natural scent repellants is that they do diminish over time and have to be replenished. Still, they're a good part of any do it yourself mouse control program.
While there have been fancier and cooler mouse traps developed that work well, I really don't think they can be called any better or more effective than the good old fashioned spring loaded wood trap. They're inexpensive, easy to use, easily monitored, and easy to dispose of.
Multi-catch live catch box traps are good for certain situations and maintenance. They need to be monitored regularly and can be a pain when you have to figure out what to do and dispose of live mice. We'll leave that one up to you.
These multi-catch live traps may be an option when you have pets or small children that may get into the other conventional traps. When using these types of traps, place them against walls in areas traveled by mice. And make sure the entry ways are against the wall. Mice generally travel rooms against the wall.
What To Use For Mouse Bait
You may have to do a little bit of experimenting with this to find out what your resident mice like best and what's most effective. As a general starter, peanut butter, chocolate, or even good ol' cheese will often work best. Another good one is a piece of bacon put in place and then lightly torched. And then again, you may find something that works even better in your situation.
Final Words And Cautions
Mice are nasty little critters that can carry a lot of diseases. For a list of some of the diseases that rodents can carry and spread see - Diseases Directly Transmitted By Rodents
When dealing with, handling traps, disposing of mice and rodents, and cleaning droppings and infested areas, wear resistant gloves and a dust mask. The kind of dust mask used for mowing lawns is generally adequate. Better is better.
Professional Rodent And Mouse Control
As I stated at the first of this post, rodent and mouse control is on our list of services offered. If you are in Carlsbad, Artesia, or most of Southeast New Mexico, we will be glad to take care of it for you if you don't wish to mess with it. From creating exclusion to advising on sanitation to trapping and monitoring the traps, Horizon is available at an hourly rate. However, depending on the extent of your infestation, it can run into some expense. Give us a call today at 575-725-9331.