A mouse in the house

Lions and tigers and bears! OH MY!

Well, you may not be seeing any of those trying to get into your house soon, but with the weather turning colder in the Cedar Rapids Area,  you may see mice, bugs and spiders. OH MY!

Keeping these pesky little devils out of your house can be a feat within itself, but there are ways to stop mice making themselves at home in your home.

How can you tell you have a mouse in the house?

Since mice normally run at night, you will see their droppings and damage before you see them. You may even hear them scratching in the walls or attic. Once you see or hear them, they’re in the house.

If you see mouse droppings, you may want to know if they are “fresh” or old. But how can you tell? Fresh mouse feces (which are 1/8” long and pointed at both ends) is moist, soft, shiny and dark. If the droppings are several days old, they become dry and hard. “Old” droppings are dull and grayish and crumble when you press with a stick.

If you have one mouse in the house, they will “mark” their trails with their urine. Other mice will follow this trail right into your house. Just getting rid of the mouse will not stop other mice from following the same urine highway into your house – you need to block their entry to their urine trail.

Another way of these pesky little devils are showing themselves is by their nests – this is where the real damage lies in your house. They may have gnawed through your entire box of sweaters or box of books before you found them. It is maddening!

So how do you keep the mouse out of your house?

Remove food sources.

Bird food, pet food and other edible items stored in your garage is like the Hard Rock Café to a mouse. Plastic garbage cans or Rubbermaid tubs will generally keep mice out. If they can get their little hands in, the rest will follow. So make sure any food source, including cardboard is cleaned up.

If you do find an entry, steel wool, copper gauze (Stuf-it® brand) or screen wire packed tightly into openings is a good temporary plug. For long-term or permanent repair, mix a quick-drying patching plaster or anchoring such as Fixall® into a wad of Stuf-it® before pushing the material into the hole, and smooth over the outside. If steel wool is used, rust stains are likely to result. Holes 3 inches (8 cm) or more in diameter should be covered or backed with 1/4-inch (0.6-cm) woven/welded hardware cloth prior to filling with a good patching compound. Another backing material available is Strong PatchTM (D. P. Wagner Mfg. Inc.), a 6 x 6-inch (15 x 15-cm) sheet metal patch to cover holes up to 5 x 5 inches (11 x 11 cm). It has a self-adhesive backing and a mesh on the surface for better adhesion of the patching compound or other texture.

Evicting a Mouse in the House

A cat can generally give a pretty good eviction notice, however, this may not be practical in every situation. Poisons work well, but are not as quick as a cat and the mice crawl off and die which can be quite a smelly situation. And poison can be dangerous to have around children or pets.

Wooden mouse traps work well and many have their own favorite recipe for the bait. I have found stickies for Micky work well for getting mice. These are squares of highly sticky goo which immediately trap a mouse once they even get near it. Some of these are housed within boxes, so you don’t see Micky stuck and can neatly dispose of them.

Removing your Mouse

Because of the risk of hantavirus and other illnesses, care should be taken when cleaning up mouse droppings/remains, especially in quantity and/or in enclosed areas. (Information adapted from Environment, Health and Safety Online.)

  • Wear gloves, either rubber gloves or work gloves you can wash in hot water
  • Spray the droppings first with 3% hydrogen peroxide, then with white vinegar. This will kill 99% of bacteria. A bleach water solution or disinfectant is also and option.
  • Wipe up droppings with a paper towel, throw towel in garbage
  • Clean area with disinfectant solution or hydrogen peroxide/vinegar combo
  • Wash hands with soap and water before and after removing gloves

Now is the time to make sure your home doesn’t become a multiplex for mice. Also, if you’re looking for a new home, now is a great time to be in before winter. Contact me today and let’s get started. No Mice Allowed.