Last Christmas I got a surprise I was not bargaining for me. I got up early and sat on the couch with my laptop to catch up on work before the kids got up, and I saw something scurry out of the corner of my eye. I screamed for my husband who confirmed that it was indeed a mouse that I had seen. I am terrified of mice, and I wanted them OUT of my home as quickly as possible!
We live in a second-story apartment, so I never thought we would deal with mice. But unfortunately when you live in such close quarters with other people you are at the mercy of the critters they bring with them. Thankfully I already stored almost all of the food in my pantry in glass canning jars and plastic storage containers, so there wasn’t much of a food source to encourage the mice to stay. But after a week we had caught 6 mice, and we had to come up with a solution to stop the infestation.
Block Their Entry
The most important thing you can do, hands down, is find out where they are coming in and block the hole. We eventually discovered a small hole under our kitchen sink where a pipe had once run, and once we filled it in with spray foam, there were no more mice. Mice can get in incredibly small spaces, so take your time and really investigate your home for potential entry points.
Eliminate A Food Source
I already mentioned that almost all of our food was stored in pest-resistant containers, but one food source I didn’t consider was our dogs’ food. Not only was there often food in their dish over night, there was a bag of dog food under our kitchen sink. We got a plastic garbage can to begin storing our dog food in, and started emptying their dish at night.
Keep Traps Out
Just because you fill in holes and eliminate food sources doesn’t mean you are ready to get rid of the mouse traps yet. There may be some residual mice that were already in your home, or you may have missed an entry point. Leave some traps up in obvious places for a while after it seems that you have caught your last mouse, to insure that you did indeed exterminate them.
Repelling Is Superior To Killing
Once a mouse is in your space there are few options to remove it other than traps, but killing or removing mice alone will not solve your problem because often more mice will keep coming in. There are many options that claim to repel mice, but we have had the most success with peppermint essential oil. The scent of peppermint oil is stronger than the mice can stand, so they avoid it at all costs. I placed a drop of oil on several cotton balls and placed them around areas we had seen or caught mice.
Clean, Clean, Clean
The worst part about dealing with mice is the cleaning. Mice carry a lot of filth and disease, so daily sanitizing is necessary until they are exterminated. Be careful with potent cleaners like bleach because prolonged and repeated exposure can cause lung issues.
If your mouse problem seems like more than you can handle, don’t be afraid to call in a professional. They can often help find entry points and food sources with a lot more accuracy.