Mice are common around the world. These little critters have been a problem to human beings for thousands of years, getting into our granaries and contaminating our food. They have followed us everywhere and they are not going away.
The key to a mouse-free home is to block out every potential entry point and to keep the house clean. If you’ve struggled with mice before, or if you simply want to avoid them, here’s what you can do.
Eliminate Entry Points
Mice are flexible, agile little creatures that sneak into the home at night. They can tell that the interior is warm and safe from predators. One simple way to keep mice out is to eliminate these points of entry. If you’re not sure where to begin, here’s a list:
- Door gaps. Mice will simply crawl under the front door or walk in when it has been left open. If you like to leave the door open, have a screen door installed to keep mice out. Put weatherstripping on the bottoms of your doors, including the garage door, and seal out cracks in the door frame with caulking.
- Windows. Like doors, mice will crawl through open windows and squeeze through gaps in the window frames. Make sure your windows have screens and that they are in good condition. Then, check your window frames for gaps and close them with caulking. Remember that mice can fit through 6mm gaps.
- Cracks in the foundation. Mice, rats, and insects will take advantage of cracks in the foundation to reach the basement. Examine your foundation closely and close narrow cracks with epoxy. If you find large, diagonal, horizontal, or bulging cracks, call a foundation specialist for help.
- Cable lines. The pipes and cables that run into your home may be surrounded by gaps through which mice can crawl. Seal these gaps off with an expanding foam or stuff them with steel wool.
- Wall vents and pipes. Mice can climb brick walls and sneak into the house through the ventilation. Purchase a 16-gauge, quarter inch galvanized steel mesh and use it to cover your wall vents. Simply screw the material into the wall to keep pests out.
- Weep Vents. The weep vents in your brick wall may be large enough to fit a mouse. You can find little stainless-steel covers at the hardware store to block these out. Doing so will keep mice, wasps, and other bugs from getting into the walls.
- Vinyl siding. Vinyl siding panels may split away from each other, creating cracks for mice to crawl through. Using a flashlight, check for cracks in the wall and seal them shut with silicone caulking.
Note that a pest control technician can do this for you. Professionals know where to look for points of entry and they have the materials to do it right. Call Advanced Pest Control or a company near you for guaranteed exclusion.
Limit Food Outdoors
Once you have eliminated entry points, think about the food you supply outdoors. Bird feeders, vegetable gardens, and fallen fruit will feed an entire horde of mice. Switch to a hanging bird feeder and use it sparingly if you can’t go without it. If you grow produce, consider pest-proofing the garden. Get some garden hoops and netting and cover your plants to keep mice and other critters out. Pick up fruit as they fall and don’t let anything rot on the ground. Use lidded garbage cans and try to keep them out of reach, in a shed or in the garage.
Get Rid of Hiding Spots
Mice are nearly blind, so they prefer to walk along the walls and other reliable structures, following the scent of other mice. These are prey to several predators, so they like to hide as much as possible. Clear the yard of unnecessary clutter so that it is less attractive. Mow the lawn, pull weeds, rake the leaves, and maintain the yard on a regular basis. Trim bushes and vines. Move things away from the walls, like leaves, woodpiles, or furniture.
Indoors, try to declutter the basement and garage, where mice like to hide. Organize your belongings and get rid of the things you don’t need. The tidier the home, the easier it will be to eliminate a mouse problem.
Clean the Kitchen Every Day
Finally, get in the habit of doing dishes and tidying up the kitchen every day. Wipe down the countertops and avoid leaving any food out overnight, like dirty dishes or pet food. Tidy up the pantry and store food in jars or containers. Sweep or vacuum the floors every week and eat only in designated rooms, like the kitchen, dining room, and family room. Deep clean behind appliances and throughout the home every spring and fall.