Got a rodent issue? When it comes to mice, the best attack is to prevent an infestation from happening in the first place. Winter, especially, is a prime time for mice to find new cozy places to call home. Not only do mice carry disease and illness but they can leave a trail of serious havoc in your home by chewing up what’s in sight. If you find them in the garage, they can even cause damage to your car!
How do you know if you have a mice problem? Follow the droppings. They look like dark grains of rice. More importantly, keep your home well maintained and follow the tips below to ensure you are prepared before disaster strikes.
1. Seal off entryways and cracks
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If you’ve got a mice problem, the first place to start is to make sure there’s no way in. Sealing off entryways into the house (and especially to the garage) is a good place to start. Knowing all the entryways also lets you set better trap locations.
2. Don’t forget to check these common neglected areas
A few common areas that are often neglected such as windows, doors, or attics. For windows and doors, look for damaged weather stripping. In the attic, check for shredded pipe insulation. Externally, look for cracks that are low or near waste pipes. Be sure to check for small holes as mice can fit through holes as small as 1/2 inch wide.
3. Perform inspections at regular intervals
Regardless of whether you rent or own your home, it’s easy to let things slip and forget to perform regular home maintenance. Setting a calendar reminder on your smartphone to remind you to do these regular home inspections is particularly helpful.
If you think mice are in your garage, be sure to check underneath the car. Often times they like to hide underneath a warm car engine. Once they get to the car, mice can do serious damage, so you’ll want to inspect this early on.
4. Use a live steel trap
There are different mouse trap options out there including humane ones, but a tried-and-true trap with a bit of peanut butter is just as effective. Be sure to dispose of dead mice quickly as the scent can attract other mice. Putting two traps side-by-side can also be more effective than just having one.
5. Prune your garden away your house
Ensure your garden doesn’t begin to leak into the interior of your home. Advise your gardener to keep these shrubs well groomed. It’s recommended you keep firewood at least 20 feet from the home. Otherwise, they will act as a pathway straight into your home!
6. Use steel wool and caulk
The combination of steel wool and caulk makes it very hard for mice to chew through. Use it to fill gaps from the perimeter of crawl spaces to the corners of unfinished basements.
7. Keep food and garbage cans hidden away
When storing food, make sure to use airtight containers. Also keep an eye on your garbage can. Be sure to replace it if you see holes. One idea is to set garbage bins on wood platforms that are at least 6 inches high. If you have a fruit tree in your yard, be sure to keep your yard free of fallen fruit.
8. Consider adopting a cat
Just like Tom and Jerry, it’s wise to remember the circle of life. Having a cat around can also keep mice at bay.
9. Know what bait to use
There are many different types out there. Try butter as it’s not very easy to remove. Remember, usually it’s never just one mouse. If you find one, there’s usually a whole family as the gestation period is short.
10. Tie bait to the trap tigger
You definitely don’t want your mice to make off with the bait. Tie your bait down with some dental floss.
11. Know when to call a professional
Depending on your situation, sometimes it makes sense to call in pros, especially if the problem begins to be more hazardous. Be sure to consult a licensed professional regarding extermination in your area and make sure you get an estimate before proceeding with work. Remember, sometimes even consultations cost money, so double check before sending anyone over to your house.