Guide to Mice Removal (2024)

Key points

  • Mice removal methods include live traps, ultrasonic repellents and natural deterrents such as peppermint oil.

  • Mice breed rapidly and can quickly become unwelcome cohabitants.

  • Mice carry diseases — salmonella, hantavirus and leptospirosis — and can pose health risks.

While mice might seem harmless at first glance, they can quickly become unwelcome guests, leaving behind a trail of droppings and gnawed belongings.

To help you find the perfect pest control solution, we contacted seasoned pest control pros — such as Derrick Clay, district manager of Jacksonville and Orlando, Florida at Trutech Wildlife Service, and Blair Calder, founder and CEO at Automatic Trap Company, headquartered in Sonoma, California — to share their tips and tricks on keeping a home mouse-free.

It’s time to reclaim your cabinets and quiet time. Here’s what it takes to eliminate mice in your home like a pro.

What are some humane mouse removal methods?

For some people, ‘humane’ means that the rodent is captured alive and relocated. “The reality is that capture and relocation is incredibly stressful [for the rodent] and often results in the rodent’s death anyway,” Calder explained.

What is not considered humane is the use of rodenticides and even nontoxic rodenticides, which cause a slow, painful death and can harm wildlife or pets that may be exposed to them.

“Snap traps do not always kill,” Calder continued. “Sometimes they just entrap the rodent, and it suffers for hours or days. Glue traps are cruel, medieval devices that subject rodents to unspeakable horror.”

Compared to bait stations and traps, Calder said the only humane solution to get rid of a house mouse is instant death.

This mice removal approach may discourage some readers, so we’re sharing compassionate pest control methods to minimize harm and stress to mice.

Live-catch traps

Live-catch traps are devices designed to capture mice alive without harming them. They work by luring mice into a compartment with bait, such as peanut butter, triggering a door to close behind them.

If you genuinely want a humane solution to your mouse problem, consider live-catch traps before using traditional mouse traps.

Electronic traps

Electronic traps use bait to lure mice into an enclosed area where an electric shock quickly and humanely kills them. They provide a swift and painless method of mouse control. However, you must regularly check each trap for malfunction or dead batteries to ensure it functions properly.

Ultrasonic repellents

Ultrasonic repellents emit high-frequency sound waves that mice hate, driving them away from your home. This is a more humane approach because the repellents don’t harm the mice but encourage them to seek shelter elsewhere. Effectiveness may vary depending on room size and acoustics.

Natural deterrents

Natural deterrents for mice include peppermint oil, mothballs and vinegar-soaked cotton balls. These items give off strong odors that mice find unpleasant, so they won’t enter your home. Place these deterrents in areas where mice will likely gain access to your home, such as entry points, crawl spaces or cabinets. While they may not eliminate an existing rodent problem, they can help prevent future ones.

Why do mice infest homes?

Mice are skillful intruders. They’re adept at finding their way into your homes, even when you take preventative measures. Here’s why they choose human living spaces as their hideouts:

  • Food: Kitchens and pantries offer a never-ending supply of food.
  • Shelter and safe nesting sites: Homes offer plenty of nesting materials and secure locations for mice to raise their young and plenty of nesting materials. The inside of the house also provides shelter from harsh weather conditions and predators.
  • Water: Mice need water to survive, and our homes often provide easy access to water sources — dripping faucets, leaky pipes and condensation.

Your home is irresistible to mice. They are inventive, exploratory creatures that will find a way in.

Blair Calder

Essentially, our homes are inviting havens for mice. The little holes in your house smell like warmth and food — not snakes. “It is the human equivalent of getting home on a snowy day when you’re freezing cold, missed your lunch and your mom just made chicken noodle soup,” Calder said. “In short, your home is irresistible to them. They are inventive, exploratory creatures that will find a way in.”

Are mice dangerous?

Though mice may not directly attack humans and seem harmless (even cute), they can be hazardous due to their potential to spread diseases, said Clay. Mouse urine and feces carry pathogens and can promote the growth of mold spores, which can become airborne. If mice create nests in air ventilation systems, these spores may circulate throughout the home, posing a health risk when inhaled in living spaces.

Risk factors include the following:

  • Contamination: Droppings, urine and hair left behind by mice can contaminate food and surfaces.
  • Disease: Mice can carry diseases such as salmonella, hantavirus and leptospirosis — potentially putting your family at risk.
  • Property damage: Mice like to chew. Their constant gnawing can damage furniture, walls and even electrical wiring, increasing the risk of fires.

What are common signs of a mouse infestation?

The most obvious sign of a mouse infestation is, of course, seeing a mouse. “By the time you see just one mouse, you probably have many more,” Calder said. “They reproduce aggressively.”

If you haven’t seen a mouse just yet but suspect unwanted roommates, watch for the following signs of mouse activity:

  • Droppings: Mouse droppings are small and pellet-shaped, typically dark brown or black. You might find them along baseboards, in cabinets or near food sources. To prevent disease spread, clean up droppings immediately, especially near food or utensil drawers.
  • Gnaw marks: Mice gnaw on objects to trim their teeth. Gnaw marks on furniture, wiring and cardboard boxes are telltale signs that you have a mouse problem. Be on the lookout for small, irregularly shaped indentations.
  • Nests: Mouse nests are typically made from shredded paper, fabric and other soft materials. Look for them in attics, basem*nts or behind appliances. If you spot a mouse nest in your home, it’s best to avoid disturbing it; instead, seek professional assistance.
  • Scratching sounds: If you hear scratching or scurrying sounds in the walls, ceiling or under floors, particularly at night, it could indicate the presence of mice. Even though plumbing issues or a settling house can cause similar sounds (or even squirrels in your attic), it’s still a good idea to check further if you suspect a rodent infestation.
  • Urine odor: Mouse urine has a distinct ammonia-like scent that becomes more noticeable in enclosed spaces, especially behind appliances, in cabinets or along baseboards.

If you notice any of these signs, take proactive steps to address the infestation and prevent further damage to your home.

When should I call in an exterminator?

Consider calling an exterminator if your DIY mouse removal methods fail to control the rodent population in your home or if you’re dealing with a severe infestation.

“A female mouse can give birth every three weeks,” Clay said. “In one year, one female mouse can deliver 86 babies. I recommend calling a professional at the first sign of a mouse infestation because if there’s one mouse, there are likely more.”

When choosing a mouse exterminator, look for a licensed and experienced professional who offers humane and effective methods. You should also ask about their overall pest control approach, guarantees and potential risks.

I recommend calling a professional at the first sign of a mouse infestation because if there’s one mouse, there are likely more.

Derrick Clay

A reputable pest control company will conduct an in-depth inspection of your home, develop a customized treatment plan and provide ongoing support. They can also help you tackle other pest issues, such as getting rid of chipmunks.

What is the proper way to dispose of a caught mouse?

Properly disposing of captured mice is important for both safety and ethical reasons. If you’re using live-catch traps, though not ideal, release the mice at least a mile away from your home in a suitable outdoor location. Make sure they have access to food, water and shelter.

However, if you’re using traps that kill mice, carefully remove and dispose of the dead rodents to prevent contamination and odor. Wear gloves and use a plastic bag to pick up a dead mouse, then tie the bag securely and place it in an outdoor trash bin. Double bag for best results. Avoid touching the mouse with bare hands. Wash your hands thoroughly after you dispose of the mouse, even if you didn’t touch it. Finally, sanitize the area where the mouse was found to prevent attracting more rodents.

How can I keep my home free of mice attractants?

Simple strategies can create an unwelcoming environment for mice and reduce the risk of another infestation. Follow these tips:

  • Upkeep your home: Regularly clean your home, focusing on areas where food is present — countertops and cabinets. Remove crumbs and spills that attract mice.
  • Invest in storage containers: Store all food items, including pet food, in airtight containers to prevent mice from nibbling.
  • Secure trash: Empty trash cans frequently and check that lids fit properly to prevent mice from accessing food waste.
  • Seal cracks: Inspect your home for any openings that serve as an entryway for mice. Seal windows and gaps around doors with caulk or steel wool.

What’s next?

After clearing out a mouse infestation, take proactive steps to prevent the unwanted critters from returning. You must be vigilant to keep your home free of mice. Regularly monitor your home for potential access points and vulnerabilities, including wall gaps, openings around pipes and damaged screens.

Additionally, consider adding extra rodent control preventative measures by installing door sweeps, using ultrasonic repellents or incorporating natural deterrents such as peppermint oil in basem*nts, crawl spaces and garages to further deter mice from entering your home.

If your mouse problem keeps returning or the above strategies fail to oust your rodent intruders, don’t hesitate to seek professional assistance. The best pest control experts can provide targeted treatments and personalized advice to address your situation. We recommend contacting at least three companies to find a solution that fits your needs and budget.

By staying proactive and vigilant, you can maintain a mouse-free home and ensure the comfort and safety of your household for years to come.

Guide to Mice Removal (2024)
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