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What to do if you spot mice in your home

Posted Monday, November 14th, 2016
small, brown mouse on a cushion with cat in background

The weather’s cooling down mice are coming in.

It’s cold in Michigan, and coats, scarves, and hats are becoming a daily staple. But we humans aren’t the only ones reacting to the weather. Mice and other pests are beginning to seek shelter from the cold – unfortunately, sometimes in our homes.

In addition to being just plain gross, mice can be dangerous. Their dander can trigger allergies in those sensitive to other animals, and more importantly, they can carry harmful bacteria, viruses, and disease. They can chew through electrical wires, increasing risk of electrocution and house fires, and cause damage to the structure of your home. How can you rid your house of mice and keep them from coming back? Let’s take a look.

Where do mice come from?

Brush, compost, and shrubs can make a nice shelter for mice, so it’s best to keep these far from the house. If they make their nests deep in the backyard, they generally won’t bother you. But if they make their nests right by the house, they’re more likely to find their way in.

Mice can flatten their bodies and fit through cracks smaller than seems possible for their size. Drains, plumbing, or oven gas lines, as well as cracks or holes in foundations, floors, windows, and walls can signal a welcome to mice. However, mice can’t enter if everything is properly sealed. Especially if you have an old house – an old foundation, old windows that don’t shut properly, old plumbing – a professional can update the seals and keep your house secure.

What attracts mice to your home?

Autumn is a common time for infestations to begin, because mice, like people, prefer to be inside when it’s cold out. But warmth isn’t the only thing they like: Food is also attractive. Mice will eat almost anything available, but they prefer grains, seeds, and carbohydrates.

A clean kitchen is less attractive to pests, and more attractive to you and your guests, so keeping it clean is a win-win. If you’re concerned about mice, clean with an eye toward food. Load the dishwasher, wash cooking dishes, and wipe down counters promptly after dinner, or at least before turning in for the night. In addition, sweeping, wiping up any spills on the floor, and taking out the trash can keep the pest-interest level low.

But cleanliness isn’t the only way to keep mice away. Mice can easily chew through plastic wraps, bags, and cardboard boxes. And if they’re motivated, they can chew through hard plastic canisters and wooden boxes. Any food that’s not in the refrigerator or freezer should be stored in tightly sealed glass or metal jars.

Do you eat in the living room or at your desk? Be careful to vacuum up any crumbs, and don’t leave plates or cups around, especially if they’re holding crumbs or a crust of bread. Lastly, be sure pet food and birdseed are sealed or kept away from the house. You might not eat it, but mice will.

They’re here! How can you get rid of mice?

If you’ve seen droppings on your counter or the bread bag chewed through, you probably have mice. So what can you do?

Traps and poison are some of the best remedies for an infestation, but it’s important to be careful with both, especially if you have small children or pets. Poison is, well, poisonous. And traps can break bones in paws, toes, and fingers. Consider your toddler’s affinity for putting things in his mouth or your dog’s curiosity when placing traps and poison. And if you would rather not deal with dead rodents, you can always opt for a no-kill trap.

If you’ve seen evidence of mice, you know their favorite places in your home, so target those areas with traps. Nestle the traps against the wall, since mice like to run along the wall and you’re less likely to accidently step on the trap when it’s out of the way.

While almost any food can successfully attract mice to your trap, clever mice can snatch the food and run away with it. A good solution? Peanut butter. The most sly and elusive mouse will not be able to carry away a goopy mess.

The last step: Cleaning up.

Since mice can carry so many diseases on their bodies and leave them in their droppings, it’s important to clean thoroughly. Discard any food that mice have nibbled. Use gloves and a disinfectant spray or wipe to clean any surfaces the mice have walked or eliminated on. Wash or clean in hot water any cleaning materials you use. If the infestation has been especially bad, you may need a professional cleaning to keep your family safe.

Modernistic is an excellent choice for professional cleaners. We do air ducts, area rugs, hardwood floors, and mattresses – anything that could have been contaminated by a mouse. Contact us for a free quote!

Serving Birmingham, MI for 40 years.

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