Infestations of mice are common in the fall when the temperature begins to cool. They come sneaking into the house to nest somewhere warm and safe from predators. Because they’re quiet, mice often go unnoticed for a few weeks. It isn’t until the animals have reproduced and caused trouble that many homeowners try to get rid of them.
The key to a mouse-free home is to seal entry points, limit food, and get rid of hiding spots. If you want to avoid a mouse problem this fall, try the following.
Seal entry points
Mice can sneak through holes barely half a centimetre wide. If you can fit a ballpoint pen through an opening, you can fit a mouse. Blocking the entry points that mice use to get inside is one of the most effective things you can do to prevent an infestation.
Look for the following entry points and seal them shut.
- Doors: mice frequently enter homes by crawling under doors. If there is a gap underneath your doors to the outside, block them off with some weatherstripping. If you like to leave the doors open for air, add screen doors. Replace the weatherstripping on the bottom of the garage door if it is worn.
- Windows. Mice are excellent climbers that can easily reach the windows on the sides of the home. Check your window frames for gaps and seal them shut with caulking. Fix or replace bug screens and make sure they fit snuggly within the window frame.
- Siding. Cracks between the siding panels of the house let mice and other pests inside the walls. Look for cracks with a flashlight and seal them with caulking.
- Wall vents. The vents on the sides of your home let air flow in and out. Mice, however, can unfortunately climb through them and get inside the house. Block out your wall vents by covering them in a quarter-inch mesh. Choose a sturdy material, like galvanized steel.
- Cable lines. If you can find the cable line that runs into your home, see if it is surrounded by a gap and seal it shut. You can stuff it with steel wool or expanding foam.
- Foundation. The little cracks in your foundation invite rodents and insects into the home. Close these off with caulking, concrete, or an epoxy sealer. Contact a specialist for large crack repair.
Keep the kitchen clean and tidy
Mice are not only attracted to homes for their warmth. They can also smell the food we keep inside. To reduce your risk, get in the habit of keeping the kitchen clean at all times. Vacuum and mop the floors every week. Do the dishes before the end of the day, and take out the garbage. Store food in sealed containers so it cannot be reached.
Reduce clutter in the kitchen, pantry, basement, and garage. This will give mice fewer places to hide, so if they get inside, you can get rid of them faster. Seal any cracks you find between cabinets, appliances, or baseboards. Keep any other rooms that store food or where you eat free of crumbs. Use lidded garbage cans and recycling bins.
Maintain the yard
Mice nest in bushes, underbrush, and rock piles outside. This means that they are drawn to yards that are shady and overgrown. Keep mice away from the walls of your home by maintaining a well-groomed yard. Keep the lawn short, pull weeds, and trim your bushes and hedges. Store firewood away from the walls of the home and get rid of leaf piles. Rake the leaves for the same reason.
If you grow fruits and vegetables, keep them as much out of reach as possible. Cover them in mesh and harvest your produce on time. Feed the birds sparingly or get rid of the bird feeder entirely. The seeds that fall to the ground attract mice.
Call an Exterminator for Removal
If you are currently dealing with a mouse problem, don’t worry. They can be removed with a combination of the tips above and the help of a professional exterminator.
Exterminators provide effective mouse control services in which they locate the mice in your home and get rid of them with high quality rodenticide. The rodenticides they use are specially formulated for mice, and they are kept in little plastic containers that only mice can crawl through. Mice that have consumed the bait retreat into their nests and pass away out of sight.
Professionals can also find entry points and seal them for you. Many companies offer warranties with their exclusion services, so if a mouse breaks back in, they’ll come back and fix the problem.