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How to get rid of mice

Information, facts and resources to help you deal with an infestation of mice and, if the worst happens, how to destroy the mice and prevent this household pests return.


What does a mouse look like?

common mouse

Common Mouse

house mouse

House Mouse

Mouse Description

  • The common mouse found in buildings is the house mouse.
  • The fur colour varies between light brown and dark grey.
  • Mice have hairless tails.
  • Body length varies between 60 - 90mm and the tail can add an additional 100mm.
  • Often, the droppings found are black, rod-shaped and 3 - 6mm long.

Where do mice live?

  • Mice live in nests, which are often built inside houses, especially during the winter.
  • Nests are built wherever there is access to a good source of food. Spaces under floors and lofts are favoured places for nests, which are built out of cloth, wool and paper.
  • Mouse holes are normally 20 - 30mm in diameter. Mice are mainly active at night and can be heard running about as they search for food.
  • Mice can squeeze through cracks as small as 5mm..

What are the signs of mice infestation?

  • Sightings of live mice.
  • Common mouse droppings are small black oval beads, rod-shaped and 3 - 6mm long.
  • Packets of dried food, pulses, rice, and seeds will have round or oval shaped holes gnawed in them where the mice have tried to access the food inside the packets.
  • Electric wires and water pipes may be gnawed and bitten through - leading to power failures or water leaks.

What do mice eat?

  • The favourite foods of mice are cereal products, although mice will eat almost anything. Most of the damage they do is by gnawing and ripping open packets. Mice also foul food with urine and droppings. Mice will gnaw their way through wood, paper and plastic to get to sources of food.

Why must mice be controlled?

  • Mice can transmit many diseases to humans, and spread disease in their travels around the home in search of food.
  • Mice will eat or contaminate food intended for humans. It is estimated that up to 5% of food produced world-wide is lost as a result of rodent activity.
  • Damage to buildings and other structures due to mice gnawing and burrowing.
  • Mice leave a constant dribble of mice urine as they run over shelves, crockery and food.
  • Mice contaminate human food with droppings, urine, and hair.
  • Mice carry diseases and parasites, which may be harmful to humans.
  • A female mouse produces on avrage 30 young during her 12-month lifetime, if there is a sufficient food supply.

How can I get rid of mice?

  • It is important to get rid of mice quickly, before they damage pipes, cables and insulation. It is possible to carry out the work yourself.
  • To get rid of mice the following strategies may be successful:
  • Set traps. Break-back traps may be used and these should be placed next to walls where mice tend to travel.
  • The trap should be baited with chocolate, biscuit or cereal.
  • Use several traps and examine them daily, removing dead mice as soon as they are discovered.
  • All traps should be handled with care.
  • Lay poison. Mouse poison can be bought from hardware stores and most garden centres.
  • Always select the most suitable type of mouse poison for your situation and reach the directions carefully.
  • Put the poison in a safe and secure place to ensure children and pets cannot get to it and handle or eat it.
  • Wash your hands after use and contact with the mouse poison.
  • When using pesticides always follow the instructions on the label.
  • Mice are adaptable, highly mobile and breed rapidly. This combination makes rat control a difficult task for the householder.
  • Householders can assist in preventing infestation by some simple measures:
  • Remove potential nesting sites by keeping food atorage areas clean and tidy, and by immediately clearing up open packets or spilled food.
  • Keep your home in good repair so that mice cannot gain access to it. Stop and block gaps, cravices and holes in skirting boards and other areas around the home.
  • Do not leave household waste or food where mice can get at it.

How can I prevent Mice from returning?

  • Good hygiene.
  • Block up access routes.
  • Block up and repair holes in skirting boards and other woodwork around the home.
  • Remove all food sources.
  • Bait and trap.

Mouse Poisons and Mouse Pesticides

  • When using pesticides always follow the instructions on the label.
  • All major DIY stores have a selection of Rat Poisons and Rat Pesticides.
  • Check with your local authority before paying for expensive poisons and pesticides - some councils have a FREE pest control service, that includes the poisons.

The "Green Option" - Environmentally friendly control of Mice

  • Consider investing in traps - mice can be then be killed without the use of harmful pesticides or poisonous chemicals.

  • Alternatively, use humane traps, then the trapped and caught mice could be released away from human habitation.

  • A large cat or small terrier-type dog may be a good natural defence against mice.

  • Be scrupously hygienic and deny the mice their food sources.

  • Close off and seal holes in exterior or interior walls.

  • Garbage sacks and rubbish bins should be kept tightly covered.

  • Fresh mint leaves, lavender, cayenne pepper, camphor or mothballs are known to repel mice and rats.

Mice : Household Pests

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