Prevention is the best cure and we agree where mice infestation is concerned. Here are the most effective methods we know of.
Did you know that the house mouse (Mus musculus) is among the most economically destructive pests in the United States? Indeed, these rodents aren’t just troublesome but these also bring health-related issues including contamination of food preparation surfaces and food! These animals bring a wide range of diseases through their feces and urine, such as salmonella and leptospirosis that can be fatal to humans, not to mention their damage on the property through their gnawing activities and nesting habits.
The bottom line: You don’t want mice in your home! You want a home that doesn’t carry with it the health and property risks associated with a mice infestation – and the best way to do so is to prevent their entry into your home in the first place. Here are two primary ways that it can be done.
Keep Your Home as Clean as Possible
As surprising as it sounds, mice are fastidiously clean animals because they groom themselves several times a day. But that doesn’t mean that they aren’t attracted to dirty places either since these are sources of food and nesting materials, among others.
Keep in mind, too, that mice can survive in extremely small areas even with limited food and water. As such, they are likely to build their homes or get their food from buildings where food is handled, stored and/or used, especially structures that haven’t been mouse-proofed.
While good sanitation itself will not necessarily mean mouse elimination, it should also be emphasized that poor sanitation will definitely attract them and, worse, allow them to thrive and increase their population. Good sanitation also decreases the food and nesting materials available for use by mice already present that, in turn, makes traps and baits more effective. They will turn to the baits, such as peanut butter and cheese, placed on the traps when there’s a scarcity of food supply from, say, the pantry and the kitchen.
Good sanitation in relation to mouse control also means eliminating the places where mice can establish their nests or find shelter from the elements. The fewer the places where they can rest, build nests and raise their litter, the less likely they will survive in large numbers and the more likely you can remove them from your home.
A few tips to start on good sanitation in your home.
- Remove the clutter from your home – your clutter means the ideal home for mice. Throw away the boxes and bags in the basement, attic and, garage, especially when these contain clothes, paper and, other building materials. Keep clothes and documents, among others, in wooden chests and plastic bins with covers and locks. Throw away old magazines, newspapers and, documents that have little to no use; these are perfect nest materials for them.
- Store your food in airtight containers, preferably metal since they can’t easily gnaw through the material. Cakes, cookies, cereals, and bread, among others, which are stored in cardboard boxes and plastic bags are like magnets to mice.
- Remove outdoor food sources, such as fruits, nuts, and berries that have fallen off the trees. Even dead birds can become a source of food for mice so you should consider regularly raking your yard and disposing of them.
- Keep certain parts of your house, particularly the attics, basements and, garage as well as crawlspaces, as dry and ventilated as possible. Address clogged drains and leaky pipes, too, since these are ideal breeding places for mice. Remember that they need water, too, and it’s readily available from leaky pipes and the like.
- Keep your woodpile at least 20 feet away from your house, a piece of advice that also applies to wood boxes and bushes. They can build nests in a woodpile or take shelter in a large bush near your house, both of which are easy entry points for them.
Keeping your house clean isn’t just about living in a tidy place – it’s also about ensuring that pests including mice are kept out of it. There’s a good reason spring cleaning is a popular activity, after all. You can read more about how to keep mice away from your home by practicing good sanitation.
Keep the Mice Out of Your Home
Building them out is a great principle to follow when keeping out household pests like mice. Think of it as mouse-proof construction where all possible entry points are removed thus preventing them from setting foot inside your home.
A few effective methods that you can do yourself although a few will also require professional assistance.
- Seal openings larger than ¼ inch, from the roof to the floors. Mix caulking compound with steel wool in plugging cracks, opening and holes, particularly in vents, water pipes and utilities. Be sure that it’s applied smoothly on the surface so they don’t have the opportunity to chew through and pull out the material. Cap the chimney, if your home has one, too.
- Ensure that the windows and doors close properly. Even a tiny gap can become an entry point for mice. Use metal kick plates in bridging any gaps, if necessary.
Mice infestation control is within your control! You just have to spend time and energy on keeping your home clean and keeping them out, and you will find that you won’t have their blood on your hands, literally and figuratively.