It seems that just about everyone has to deal with a mouse problem sooner or later. Mice are particularly pesky animals that like to take residence inside a home, and they stubbornly refuse to pay even a nickel in rent! While wild mice generally only live up to three months, a small family of six can multiply to 60 in that time span. That’s a lot of hungry little mouths that need fed, and they enjoy nothing better than snacking on your unsecured food supplies.
To make things worse, mice cause a variety of problems, including potentially serious health issues like Hantavirus and salmonellosis. Since mice are drawn to areas with food, food contamination from their urine and feces are of high concern. It’s important to check often for mouse droppings near food storage areas, as well as signs of gnawing.
Keeping Mice Out
As they say in sports, a good offense is often the best defense. When applied to mice prevention, this means you need to know how to repel mice. Keeping mice out of your home is the most effective means of mice control. To do this, eliminate all openings larger than a quarter inch, as mice have the uncanny ability to squeeze through the tiniest of cracks.
When mice have already taken up residence, one humane method of repelling mice is to use a homemade mouse repellent. However, common remedies like soaking cotton balls in peppermint oil and placing them near favorite mouse highways in your home are mostly ineffective. In fact, when the cotton balls dry out, mice love to use them as nesting material! A more effective method is to use an ultrasonic mouse repellent that uses high frequency sound waves to create an acoustically hostile environment. To mice, it’s kind of like fingernails being dragged across a chalkboard.
Tips for Baiting Live Mouse Traps
Knowing how to trap mice alive is another humane and safe way to deal with a mouse problem. To trap live mice, use a baited trap along the wall or other barrier. Traps should be placed before going to bed and checked in the morning as mice like to make their rounds while you sleep. The best bait for mice is bread and butter, small nuts, cherry pits, oatmeal, sunflower or similar seeds, mixed peanut butter and oatmeal or gumdrops.
Placing the Bait in Your Live Mouse Trap
Whichever bait you choose, you want to be sure that you place it in a way that lures the animal inside the trap and minimizes the chances of the critter stealing the bait and escaping. Place the bait on a small plate and position it at the end of the trap to entice the mouse to make a full commitment to entering the trap.
Image: Stephen Barnett