Pest Control for Mice - How to Get Rid of Mice
Can you hear little footsteps moving in your ceiling? Did you notice little black droppings (rice-sized) or nibbled packaging in your kitchen presses? Then you probably have a mice problem. Check our advice below or contact us for help.
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Why mice are considered pests?
It is essential to get rid of mice for a number of reasons:
- Mice gnaw through food packaging
- Mice carry diseases that are hazardous to both humans and animals. Diseases include typhus, trichinosis, and leptospirosis (Weil’s disease)
- Mice eat and can contaminate all types of food with their urine and droppings.
- Property can be damaged by mice. Mouse gnawing is regularly responsible for electrical damage which can lead to fire.
Find the source of mice infestation
Mice are most active at night, but they can be seen occasionally during daylight hours. Remember that mice are very flexible and fit through 6mm gaps, so check for any holes in your walls or around skirting boards that mice may use to get access and start plugging them up.
In the case of a minor infestation, mice are not necessarily seen, but there are many signs that give away their presence so you should first look for the source:
- Droppings: Mice produce over 30 droppings per day which are similar to rice in size and shape, but are black in colour. Looking for droppings is usually the easiest and fastest way to reveal mice activity. These droppings are often located in the kitchen presses, under the sink, behind the fridge near the compressor; and in the hot press on the floor.
- Gnawing: Mice teeth grow all the time and they need to gnaw to wear them down. They gnaw paper or plastic packaging to get access to food, or use shredded paper for their nest. Mice also make little holes 20-30mm in diameter to get access through plasterboard and other physical barriers. The picture to the right illustrates mice damage to electrical wire (ceiling lamp) with all the subsequent risks of sparking and electrical fire.
- Noise: Mice walk up to 200 metres per day. In many instances the noise they make while walking above the ceiling or behind the bedroom plasterboard walls is the first sign of activity noticed by residents. This noise may sound very loud at night when everything is quiet. Moreover hollow ceiling space may amplify the noise and give the wrong impression of rat activity instead of mice.
- Smell and marks: Distasteful as this may be, an infestation of mice will be accompanied by quite a strong urine smell, especially if they’ve been there for some time. Mice also walk along the same path repeatidly which soon results in dark, greasy smear marks.
Clean up and deprive mice of food
Mice are attracted to stored food. A mouse only eat 2 to 4 grams per day of almost anything, but it prefers cereal grains, seeds, or sweet material. The House mouse require very little water, obtaining most of its water needs from their food. It is therefore paramount to remove all food access to mice:
- All food that is stored, processed or used should be made mouse-proof. Dried grain and meat products should be stored in glass jars, metal canisters or other seal-able airtight containers.
- If food is eaten in the living room or bedrooms, residents must make sure they clean up after eating and vacuum the room. Any kind of crumbs or food debris will be enough to feed few mice (remember that a mouse only eat 4 to 5 grams of food per day).
- Carefully examine any packaging that is torn or left open and get rid of anything that is not properly sealed, as mice will exploit the slightest aperture in a box or bag of food.
- Accumulations of waste materials and rubbish/debris attract mice. Food waste must be disposed of promptly and appropriately in a sealed bin.
From then on, always be aware to keep your kitchen clean and sweep up any foods in order to prevent mice from being attracted.
Start to get rid of mice
In appropriate living conditions (food, water, and shelter), mice can multiply rapidly: they produce about 8 litters in a one year and each mouse litter has 4-7 pups. It is important to get rid of mice quickly before the infestation gets out of hands and they damage pipes, cables, insulation, and infest your home or work place.
There are three options available to get rid of mice. These consist of DIY rodent poison, mouse traps and professional rodent control specialists. If you are a landlord you may also have a legal obligation to ensure that your property is free of rodents so you should choose between one of these methods and keep records of all your actions.
Spring traps may be the most widely used remedy for getting rid of mice in Ireland. Traps act are relatively inexpensive, they work very quickly and do not require a lot of skills. Snap traps are also a chemical-free way to get rid of mice. You just need to place the trap where you expect mice to emerge and wait. When a mouse visits the trap it triggers it and gets caught on it, so all you need to do is to dispose of it.
There are two difficulties when using traps:
- You have to wait, and sometimes for several days. You don’t really have any control over how quickly the mice will turn up, and baby mice may not venture too far from the nest.
- The proper location of the trap can be tricky – if you don’t pick the right spot for the trap it may not be very effective.
Mouse poison bait is relatively cheap and easy to use. All is needed is to get the mice to eat it. It is usually in the form of cereal food. The advantage of poison is that it does not have to be reset like the traps. You simply put it down let it do its job.
The downside of new poison is that EU has recently brought a lot of restrictions on the use of poison, and amateur products are now only half the strength of what they use to be (25ppm). Also if not used properly it will not work. You must read the label directions and follow them carefully or else your mice problem won’t go away.
Get Help from a Mice Control Specialist
This may be initially more costly than using DIY options, but it is the fastest way to get rid of mice. Trained and experienced professionals will save you the effort and reduce the risks to you family’s health and property damage.
Beside if 100% control is not achieved rapidly, mice may rebuild their population or reproduce quicker than traps can catch them. There are also instances where mice cannot be accessed, e.g. nests in ceilings, walls, attics, under floorboards etc.
For all these reasons it may be preferable to consult a professional Pest Controller who will know exactly who to handle each situation in order to achieve complete mice control.
Owl Pest Control Technicians are qualified and work with the most effective rodent control products available for professional use. They have decades of experience and knowledge required to get rodents quickly from any tricky area around your home or office, e.g.:
- Mice inside walls, behind plasterboards, or mice nests in insulation materials;
- Scrabbling/scratching noises in the ceiling indicating the presence of mice, even if you cannot see them (this can be treated);
- Mice living under floorboards, getting access through wiring or pipework;
- Evidence of mice presence in kitchen presses, quickly noticeable with gnaw marks on packaging and droppings
- Other areas where mice like to nest, such as a warm and cosy Hot Press
Prevent mice from coming back
The final part of mice control is to make sure they are not coming back:
If you want to use natural repellents, peppermint oil should be your first choice. Although it will not remove mice from your home, peppermint oil is a very good mouse deterrent which can be used as a preventative measure or after you got rid of mice from your home, apartment or business.
Just make sure you buy 100% pure peppermint oil, as diluted oil will not repel mice. Also do not over-use peppermint oil because it has a very strong odour. All you need is to soak a couple of cotton balls in the oil and dispose them where mice may enter your property.
You should also focus on mice entry points and try to seal them:
- Doors and windows. Check for any mice access gaps around the frame or under the door.
- Air vents: some of them have large apertures and a mouse can easily squeeze through.
- Waste pipes and gas/water pipes entering walls: Check if any gap was left big enough for a mouse to get in.
- Electrical circuit board / telephone / cable supply: Mice will also try these to infest your property.