How to Keep Mice Out of Your Home This Winter
With the cold temperatures and winter rearing it’s ugly head, we thought now would be a good time to help our clients prepare for one of the problems faced by many homeowners this time of year: MICE. When the temperature starts dropping, mice are looking for a warm, dry place with food and good nesting conditions. Basically, they want to live inside your house!
They enter through the smallest imaginable holes and cracks. Young mice can squeeze their way through a 1/4-in. opening! Take a very close look (or contact us for help) around the outside of your house, and then determine what areas need caulk, plugging or whatever it takes to close off every entry point you can find. Odd Job Larry can help you fix these issues! For instance, worn weather stripping under doors can be an easy entry point for mice looking for a warm place to winter, or even a bad seal around a basement window. It’s important to check all of these areas as mice WILL find them if you don’t!
What Traps Should I Use and Why?
We know most people don’t relish killing animals—even mice—but for us, trapping them in snap traps is the best choice. Here’s our take on some other options:
• Live traps. Mice, by nature, build nests and store food. So you trap them this fall and let them go outside where they start their new life, right? Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. Once released, they have no food stored away and no nest to live in. They’ll most likely die of starvation and/or exposure.
• Poison. Most poisons are ingested and cause severe dehydration or blood coagulation. It’s not a painless death!
• Live with the disease-carrying creatures as they run around your floors, countertops, plates with leftovers and your pet’s food dishes?! That’s not the best option either.
• Sticky mouse traps can work, but then what? They’re not dead and you have to either kill them or throw them into the trash can where they’ll die slowly from starvation or dehydration.
This mouse-killing business isn’t for the faint-of-heart. Sometimes, but not too often, snap traps fail to kill the mouse right away and they may suffer. However, if you have a mouse problem and ignore it, you’re putting your family’s health at risk! Below are 4 great tips on how to effectively trap any mice that are able to infiltrate your home.
1. Buy and Set Many Traps
Anywhere you see mouse droppings is a perfect place to set traps. The more traps you set, the more mice you’ll catch—period. Placing a few traps around the house will not take care of your mouse problem. Begin by concentrating on the worst room—the kitchen—and set six traps or so. You can use ordinary mouse traps or search around for your ideal trap. We’ve had the best luck with good old Victor traps. Before going to bed every night (they normally come out at night), bait and set at least six traps.
2. Peanut Butter is the BEST Bait
Believe it or not, cheese is actually one of the least effective baits for capturing mice. While many baits work well, we recommend peanut butter. Here’s a tip: buy separate peanut butter, mark it, and let your family know what it’s for to avoid contamination. Use plastic knives and throw them away when you’re through re-baiting and resetting the traps. This way, the scent of your hands won’t warn the mice to the trap you’ve set.
3. Pet Food is a Problem and An Opportunity
In our client’s basement, we found a cache of cat food under the cushions of the couch. It’s amazing that these tiny animals hauled those food nuggets one at a time down 10 ft. of stairs (100 total feet) to stash them away. We set three traps next to the cat dish in the kitchen, and our client caught eight mice in one week! Unfortunately, dogs love peanut butter just as much as mice do. While you may not want your pet’s tongue caught in a trap, their food dish is an excellent place to put traps. Consider letting your dog stay in your bedroom or another location over night while you combat the mice problem.
4. Look for the Pathways
A mouse is like Spiderman when it comes to climbing! In fact, a mouse can jump up to 8 in. and climb up electrical cords to get to other places. If you find mouse droppings in high places, look low and put your traps there.The spaces under cabinets are like a freeway for mice. Pull out your bottom drawers and look for droppings. Put traps on the floor, replace the drawers and check them every morning. Mice also love to live inside walls where they’re safe and warm. Look around your home to see where plumbing or other fixtures penetrate the drywall or plaster and put traps just below it. There’s a good chance that this is where they’ll come in at night to feed.
If you need help finding their entryways and pathways or even setting traps in difficult to reach places, Odd Job Larry can help! We’ve dealt with rodents ourselves many times and the methods we’ve shared here are the best methods we have to offer. Contact us today for help controlling your rodent problem, renovating your home, or any various odd jobs!