I woke up to a strange scratching noise coming from the corner of my room. I jumped out of bed and flipped on the lights just in time to see a mouse dive into a hole in my wall. Cute. Very cute. But he's not paying rent.
The mouse problem was an annoying suprise when I moved into my new appartment. Luckily I knew what to do about it. That's why I'd like to share with you some easy and humane ways to get rid of mice. The humane part was really important to me because I really like them-- I know they just want a warm place to stay, like everyone else, but I definitely don't want them living with me!
Here's what you'll need:
- Latex gloves
- Steel wool
- Caulking (I prefer clear latex, because it looks nice and doesn't smell terrible like the silicone)
- Expanding foam
Not sure you have mice? Here's the usual clues:
- Mouse poop. Yup, little black pellets, about the size of rice grains. Check under the sink, on countertops and along the edges of the room
- Strange scratching or rustling noises in the wall
- Small nibble marks on food. They will chew through plastic bags and even cardboard to get to your food!
Here's how to get rid of mice:
Think like a mouse. Walk along the edge of your home, following the sides of the walls and look for any openings. Mice are very sneaky and they can fit into a hole the size of a dime, so look closely! They especially like places that are hidden, like under the sink and behind radiators.
Some hotspots for mice include:
- openings around plumbing (check under the sink!)
- around wiring, electrical entances and appliances (check behind your washing machine, drier and stove)
- under baseboards (there is often a huge gap under baseboards--don't forget to check inside the closets too)
- around radiators (you may need to open the front panel and check for openings on the floor)
Block them out. Put on your latex gloves. Close off the entry points by stuffing in some steel wool. Be careful around electrical areas-- don't put steel wool around here. Mice are known to chew wires (picture on right), so there could be some exposed wire in these places. You can close these areas with caulking. The caulking will also come in handy for sealing along the baseboards. If there are openings that are too big for the steel wool, you can use the expanding foam to fill gaps. First line the area with a layer of steel wool, then apply the expanding foam to seal it (this make sure the mice can't get through--because they will chew through expanding foam!).
Trap them. If there are still mice after you block all the openings, then you need to get out the traps. I set the traps along the edge of the room, especially in corners or in hidden areas like under the sink. I found that using a piece of cheese or some peanut butter makes a great lure to catch mice. Whether you use a live trap or snap traps, you may need to leave it unarmed (for the live trap, leave the lid open) for a few days, so the mice can get used to feeding from the trap. Then, when you arm the trap, the unsuspecting mouse will easily get caught.
Success! With some crawling and some careful looking, this should put an end to your mouse problems. My little mouse friend was fond of peanut butter, so I easily caught him in the live trap under the sink. It was really early in the morning, so I took the trap out into the backyard and opened the lid. With a squeak the little critter ran off with a slight backwards glance. And that was the end of it.
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