Here’s what you need to know about those pesky little critters — and how you can get rid of ’em when you do spot one.
There’s never just one mouse in the house
Sorry to break the news: If you see one mouse, you almost definitely have more than one. They’re looking for the same things that humans are looking for in the winter — food, water, and shelter. They’ve gotten so good at living with humans. When you get one, others will find their way in. Plus, they multiply very quickly.
Not only can they chew through walls and boxes in your pantry, but mice can cause other extensive damage. Particularly, they can chew on wires, which can lead to house fires. And they carry a slew of illnesses and bacteria. A build up of their droppings can worsen allergy and asthma situations, too.
Skip the home remedies
We’ve seen all sorts of DIY repellent ideas (including peppermint sprays, dryer sheet stuffings, and cotton balls soaked in oil and cayenne pepper), but you may want to skip them: There’s no science or evidence behind any of these methods. And again, mice are so used to living with humans, that smells associated with us are not usually repellent to mice.
But store-bought traps are worth a shot
The tried-and-true mousetrap is still very effective. A little dab of peanut butter on each spring-loaded trap is all you need. Want something a little, um, less out in the open? Try the d-Con Discreet No View, No Touch mousetrap, which conceals the little guy so you can just toss the whole thing.
Finding their entry point is crucial
The first step to putting down traps: Figure out where they’re coming from because putting traps randomly all over your basement floor isn’t going to do you any good. Also, look to determine where they’re living and building nests. Once you’ve found those places, set your traps around those general areas. Of course, professional exterminators will be able to determine exactly where to put them and how many you’ll need.
Stock up on caulk and steel wool
Once you handle the infestation inside, you’ll want to make sure no additional mice can find their way in. Mice are able to fit through openings the size of a dime. And rats? Well, they can fit through something the size of a quarter — incredible! Even if a hole doesn’t start out that large, the rodents can gnaw their way to make the opening larger. The good news: They can’t eat through caulk and steel wool. Pay really close attention to where pipes enter the house and along basement foundations. Be sure to replace weather stripping. And make sure you’ve screened the vents and the openings of your chimneys.
Know when to call a professional — and what to ask
Everyone has a different threshold of what they’re willing to put up with or take on themselves. But, if you get to the point of needing a professional, ask your friends and neighbors if they have any recommendations. Then, call to get an estimate to see what — if anything — they’d charge for a consultation. Also, ask if they’re licensed by the state and if they’re a member of a state or national association. Those folks are usually taking the time to be credentialed properly and they’re learning the latest techniques for treatment.