Mice are probably the number one thing I get calls for in the winter months. Just like us they don't like spending the winters out in the cold.
As I have gone from house to house helping homeowners take care of mouse, vole and other rodent issues I have seen what it takes to prevent and stop a mouse infestation.
Be sure to always keep pet food cleaned up when your dog or cat isn't eating. Mice love dog and cat food. Every once in awhile I'll come across a stash of pet food that some little mouse family has stored away for the winter. Another pet food that always seems to attract mice into and around homes is bird seed and grass seed.
Anytime a mouse family has a large steady supply of food and water they will hang around. Simply by using good sanitary habits you can prevent a severe mouse infestation down the road.
While most mouse jobs seem to be isolated to around the exterior of the home or in the garage or shed we usually don't realize its an issue until the mice move into our space. Unopened bags of pasta, cereal and candy are some of the favorites of mice and other rodents once they set up shop in our homes. The best thing to do is to make sure bags are always sealed tight and no crumbs are left on counters or shelves. I highly recommend storing anything you aren't going to eat very soon in plastic containers with tight sealing lids.
Dishes that are left in the sink, in bedrooms, or on counters also can attract mice once they make it into your house. Even just a few small crumbs can make your unwanted mouse friends want to stick around.
If you find droppings in your house then its time to take action. Don't waste time ignoring the problem. Mice don't just go away. The first thing you should do is to start by cleaning your home thoroughly. Eliminating food sources will help as you start to eliminate the mice.
Common areas to look for mice droppings are:
While you can handle most mouse jobs on your own, if you aren't seeing results within a week I highly recommend calling a professional. Mice can bring in allergens and diseases to your home so you don't want to mess around when trying to stop them.
First snap traps inside the home are one of the most effective means to kill mice. However, snap traps are also commonly used improperly when try to catch mice. Always use a bait with a wooden snap trap. I recommend using peanut butter or a sweet bait like a Starburst candy. Be sure that you are always placing the traps along walls, placing them in the middle of a room or even just a few inches away from the wall will greatly decrease the effectiveness of the traps will do you no good. The side of the trap with the bait should always be placed against the wall. Once you've caught a mouse be sure to always wear gloves when handling the trap or mouse.
Another approach that can be done independent of the traps or with them is poison baits. Modern mouse baits are highly effective at taking out large groups of mice and when used properly safe around children and pets. Bait should typically be used only on the exterior of a home or in a garage unless you are a professional.
Of course prevention is always the best pest route. Be sure to go around your home and look for any holes or openings that mice might be able ti fit through and use wire, caulking, steel-wool to close up those openings. Its pretty hard to seal up a home 100% but even doing a little may help prevent the next mouse that comes by your home from coming in for a meal and staying all winter.
Having a mouse issue in your home can be one of the most nerve-racking things. But with the proper tools and techniques you can be mouse free in no time.