What to Do When There's a Mouse in Your House
When people think of house pests, thoughts often turn to the usual suspects: ants, spiders or other insects and arachnids. However, many homes fall victim to a different kind of intruder, one with a little more size and destructive potential. When you’ve got a mouse in the house, you’ve got a problem on your hands, and probably a few questions as well. How did the critter get into your home? Are there more lurking elsewhere? Most importantly, how does one get rid of the problem quickly and cleanly? Rodents can be a challenge, but by taking the right steps, you can reclaim your peaceful living space and keep it clear of future infestations.
Evaluating the Problem
The first step is determining whether the mouse you’ve seen is an isolated issue or just the tip of the iceberg. Unfortunately, mice rarely work alone, so it’s important to evaluate the situation early on. Look for these indicators:
- Check for evidence of nests being made in insulation or other potentially cozy spots.
- Food packaging being chewed and torn open is often a sign of hungry rodents.
- Traces of mouse droppings or urine are telltale signs of a larger problem.
Like most invasive pests, mice come in search of provisions and shelter, particularly when the weather is colder outside. If they’re in your home, it’s likely because they found it to be accessible. If they’re hanging around, it’s probably because they’ve found plentiful food sources.
Getting rid of mice quickly is critical, as they can carry diseases as well as cause property damage. Depending on your personal preference, you can address the issue in a number of ways:
- Live cage traps are a humane way to capture critters, at which time they can be removed from your home and transported far enough away that they won’t come back.
- Traditional snap traps are less subtle, but often effective. Make sure to place bait on the metal bait pedal. Peanut butter works well and sticks easily to the bait pedal.
- Cats are natural hunters, and mice are a favorite type of prey for most active felines. As with snap traps, however, there’ll probably be some mess to deal with.
Of course, prevention is half the battle, so make sure to seal off gaps and cracks around your home with caulk or similar products. Store food in airtight containers and make sure waste, pet food and other potential nourishment sources are unavailable. With little incentive for future rodents, you’ll be much more likely to enjoy a clean, mouse-free abode for the long haul.