HOW TO KEEP A MOUSE OUT OF YOUR HOUSE.

Mouse control is the “stuff” we’re talking about because …

MOUSE CONTROL

Mouse Control for inside and outside of your house.

 

Last year I went hog wild trying to get rid of mice in my home.  I don’t mean I wildly used hogs to get rid of mice from my home.  Hog wild is just a term.  Everybody knows a pig would make a terrible choice for modern day mouse control.  They don’t generally eat mice.  Mice on the other hand?  They eat pigs.  They eat live, curly tailed pigs. Jump up on ’em and start chewing at their skin.  It’s all laid out in this Australian news article from a few years back.

So.  I had mice in my house and invested in a few different types of mouse traps.  After testing them all, I found the one I thought was most effective and set them up around my house.  And they worked.  But not all mice can be lured. Some of them are pathologically suspicious of anything that looks like a torture chamber, even if it does ooze with the sweet, sweet scent of chunky peanut butter. Unlike their risk taking and curious friends, these mice, are difficult to catch.   For scientific purposes I shall refer to these mice as the super-boring mice who never got into trouble at school and probably don’t eat anything past the expiry date “just in case”.

What can you do to catch these super-boring mice who never got into trouble at school and probably don’t eat anything past the expiry date “just in case”?

You can stop them from coming into your house in the first place.

This summer I took down some parging that was on the side of my house.  It’s been there since I moved in and still have no idea why it was there, covering up a small portion of the almost 200 year old brick.  When I removed it, it revealed a huge gap between a window and the original brick.  BIG crack.  Big enough that a pig let alone a mouse could get in.

MOUSE CONTROL

If you have cracks like this they need to be filled.  But you can’t just fill the crack with spray foam because a mouse will eat right through it.  They eat live pigs.  We’ve established that.  Spray foam would just be like an airy, non filling appetizer for them.

What you have to do, if you’re serious about mouse control, is to fill the gaps with something the mouse can’t chew through;  heavy metal.

I had hardware cloth from building my chicken coop lying around and used that.  Hardware cloth is perfect because it’s flexible, heavy and depending on the size of the squares, too small for mice to fit through.  This is 1/4″ hardware cloth which makes it perfect for mouse control.

MOUSE CONTROL

Steel wool? It’s not so perfect.  It’s like pig to mice.  They’ll just chew right through it.  Also it rusts and deteriorates over time. You can try mixing steel wool with another compound like cement or something but that’s a bit of a pain isn’t it?

Shove the hardware cloth right into the crack so it fills the entire space.  Look for gaps around windows, doors, the foundation and anywhere wires or hoses come out of your house.  Things like television cables, gas lines or hydro lines.

Once your hardware cloth is pushed in, then you can add spray foam. This will act as a bit of a deterrent to the mouse, plus it’ll keep your home toasty warm and your furnace running costs down.  If the mouse makes it through the foam, it’ll come up against the hardware cloth which it won’t be able to get past.

MOUSE CONTROL

Don’t worry, I’m not going to leave my spray foam like that.  And you don’t have to either.  Once your spray foam has set and fully expanded (by the next day) you can cut away the excess so it’s flush with the surface it’s on.  Just use a serrated blade to cut it.  Either a hacksaw blade, bread knife, maybe even a drywall knife.  I have no proof of this, but I feel like the insulation is better if you don’t cut it though.  Again. No. Proof. At. All.

 

MOUSE CONTROL

These electronic mouse traps are my favourite.  They electrocute the mouse instantly and there is a 0% chance that it will only be maimed or hurt.  There is no blood ever, the traps stay clean and you can use them indefinitely.  Just replace the batteries when needed.

That isn’t always the case with old fashioned snap traps, but if those are your preferred choice for whatever reason I have a whole post explaining the best way to bait and use snap traps.

Don’t rely on only one method for controlling mice.  They’re super suspicious but not of the opposite sex.  Ever.  They are constantly having mouse sex and making babies.  Like, non-stop.  So as long as there are mice in this world, there’s going to be a chance that one or worse, TWO will get into your house and claim it as their love pad.  By using both of these methods, reliable mouse traps AND mouse proofing your home by filling gaps with hardware cloth and spray foam, you’ll have a good shot at keeping the population in your house down.

Did I tell you about that time my cat woke me up in the middle of the night screaming beside my head?  Yeah, you must remember that story.  Where I woke up, turned on the light to see what the problem was and discovered the problem was the fact that there was a dead mouse on the pillow next to my face?  That’s not something I’m wanting to relive this winter so I’ve bought a few more electronic mouse traps, and filled all the holes around the house I could find.

I feel quite content that I’ve done all I can do to keep my house mouse free this winter.  How content?  I’m currently sitting on the couch eating a cookie with no fear of leaving crumbs around while drinking a glass of milk.  And yes.  The milk is a little past its expiry date.

 

70 Comments

  1. Megan says:

    We have found that the dark milky way makes for great bait, we’ve caught 3 rats with the same piece of candy with one trap (just not all at the same time).

    • Alisa Kester says:

      Thanks for the tip! My rats seem to be developing a certain suspicion about the peanut butter I’ve been leaving out….

    • Ecoteri says:

      Milky way looks like a Mars Bar. DANG, I just ate the last Minimarsbar from Hallowe’en. perhaps there are still some available at the local drug store – on half price?

  2. Lisa says:

    You know how mice eat pigs….will Agnes eats mice. Agnes is a 3.5 metre carpet python that lives in my ceiling..she eats mice (and rats and sadly possums). She doesn’t deter them – but every summer the numbers are culled a “lot”. I can send her over if you like (I’m sure she hates our summer as much as I do).

    • Karen says:

      I know that snake! You’ve spoken of her before. I don’t mind pythons. Unless they’re covered in centipedes. ~ karen!

    • Elizabeth says:

      Oh my gosh… a python in your ceiling??? I’m not going to be able to sleep tonight thinking about that!

    • Erin says:

      In your ceiling? A python you say, I’ll raise you a Mongoose 😉 . This is the critter that eats our duck & chicken eggs as well as ducklings & chicks. They are evil vile little creatures that don’t really have a effective predator where we are ( Trinidad ).

      We also have a fluffy pink toed tarantula in our carat/tiki hut ceiling, but I have not bothered her as I’m just happy she’s not in the house 😐

      • Lisa says:

        Mongoose! Eek. Such a beautiful place you live. Have you named the fluffy pink toed tarantula??? She sounds quite cute. 🙂 (yeah I know – I’m strange).

        • Erin says:

          She is nameless , so it’s open season if you have any ideas 🙂 . I’m quite certain that she has a nest full of baby tarantulas too ( I’m a bit terrified by this but my husband insists that they will be eaten, that the Chickens are fearless and even go after scorpions ) that need named as well. There was dried up carcass of another pink toed tarantula , so maybe she killed the father?

      • Lisa says:

        Oh dear. I bet it was her partner that she ate. Maybe “Pinkie Tuscadero”? 🙂

      • Garth Wunsch says:

        My brother used to feed mice to his pet tarantula. One day he threw in a sacrificial mouse that was just a bit feisty – and it killed the tarantula. 🙂
        Mouse 1 – Tarantula 0
        I didn’t like that spider anyway.

  3. lynn says:

    did you know that they don’t care for mint oil. just don’t get carried away with the mint it can be over powering . A friend of hubby’s used a hole bottle in his garage right on the concrete 3 years later his eyes still water but no mice any more.

    • Julie says:

      Ooo, good idea! I used mint oil mixed with vodka to get rid of the impossible ant population in my kitchen last summer. Here’s hoping it gets rid of our mice as well.

      • Lynn says:

        I have heard spiders don’t like it either . I used it in inclosed carport this last summer an it had relatively few bugs of any kind , if that helps.

  4. Susan says:

    THANKS!! Just ordered the three-pack.

    Question that has nothing to do with mice.

    I used the Vegtrug this year. Cabbages didn’t turn out well, but herbs were magnificent. I transplanted herbs into nice pots to bring inside for the winter because they smell gorgeous. Neighbor was aghast. He insists that the herbs will bring a horde of insects (that are currently living in the herbs and soil) into my house. I said I could spray the herbs with a mixture of soap and water and that would kill the bugs. He said then I couldn’t eat the herbs because the soap wouldn’t wash off and it would get me sick.

    Need your sage (pun) advice. Pots are currently sitting outside by my back door.

    Thank you!

    • Karen says:

      Insecticidal soap won’t make you sick. 🙂 I bring plants and herbs in all the time and yes the odd time they have bugs but usually they don’t. You’re more likely to get bugs by bringing house plants home from a garden centre. ~ karen!

      • Thanks!! Really! Thanks!

        I never heard of insecticidal soap. Had planned on using diluted Dawn dishwashing liquid in a spray bottle.

        Could you please post an Amazon link on what you would recommend.

        Again- my herbs and I thank you.

    • Margaret K. says:

      Does your neighbor only use disposable paper plates? Or does s/he use regular dishes, wash them, and get sick from the soap that “doesn’t wash off”? No, spraying them with soap and water won’t hurt you.

      But many herbs need more sun than most people can provide inside. Google around the herb-growing sites to find out if yours can survive inside, or get a good herb book from the library.

      Good luck with them!

    • Linda says:

      what I found with bringing planters in from outside is the fungus gnats that come in with them. Not harmful but damn annoying. All you can use is the sticky bright yellow traps on sticks that you pop into the soil close to the plant. Apparently the fungus gnats live on dead plant material under the surface in larvae form then hatch into flies and pop through the dirt. Dr. Doom and other insecticide sprays only work on the flies, not the larvae and eggs.

      Used to be you could get rid of these tiny flies by adding a chemical to the soil (now banned in Alberta at least) but only to be used on ornamental plants.

      • Oh my! Thank you, Linda. I don’t need fungus, accompanying gnats, larvae or flies, and big electrical bills for the light.

        I think my best bet is to harvest the herbs, wash them and hang them upside down – somewhere in the house – (like I see in pictures) to dry them. Can I hang them in the unheated, dark garage, or will they mold, not dry?

        Growing so appeals to me, that I keep trying different things, and learning from the experience. (I am city-raised). You should see my four cabbages in the Vegtruk. I hope they are still growing.

        Last year:

        I used my dehydrator to dry nine shelves of basil leaves. Unknown to me, they dried then crumbled. I opened the door to the dehydrator and they all blew out at me.

        I thought it would be wonderful to make my own granulated garlic, so I used my dehydrator to dry nine shelves of garlic bulbs. After they dried, I ground them in my coffee grinder. The house (including the attached garage) stunk for weeks. When people approached my front door, I saw them rubbing their nose and backing up. You can imagine the coffee grinder. They are in a glass jelly jar, double bagged, in the freezer. I have enough to discourage a trainload of vampires.

        I tried removing the skin from tomatoes (I cut out the stem) by loading them into my dishwasher (no soap), except I didn’t read about plunging them into cold water. I kept checking, and when the skin didn’t come off I would add five more minutes. I ended up (after 30 minutes) with a dishwasher full of smooshed, cooked tomatoes. They all retained their skin.

        But, I’m not giving up. I have books, Karen, and all of you lovely, non-judgemental people to guide me.

        Best wishes, love, and hugs! And, thank you.
        Susan.

    • Linda says:

      I dry basil, dill – the more delicate herbs on paper towels inside a cabinet. I found the food dehydrator almost cooked them. I have never been able to grow garlic successfully and am not about to pay big dollars for them from the market ($2 for one small head of garlic at a market).

      I wouldn’t give up on the planters of herbs in the house. I suffered through the gnats and had fresh Italian parsley, mint and green onions all winter long. Apparently the fungus gnat larvae are only in the top inch or two of soil. If you used brand new potting soil you may not have an issue at all. Also if your herbs can take it, you can dry the soil out, leaving longer between waterings and that helps control them. They, the gnats and larvae, don’t each the plants only the dead plant material, peat moss, etc.

      • Linda – thank you so much for your advice and your support!!

        I wish “growing” was as easy and as rewarding for me, as is woodcarving.

        This is such a great, non-judgmental group!

        Thank you!
        Susan.

        • Patricia says:

          I’ve recently had success with rosemary. I keep it in a terra cotta pot, and just move it outside in the summer and inside to a south window. It requires frequent watering, and sharp drainage, no sitting in water. I love the smell and it grows prolifically. I killed off several until I learned that it needs frequent watering. I also enjoyed thyme all winter until it died shortly before spring.

  5. Ecoteri says:

    Karen, I went down into my warm and toasty (wood stove lives there) and spiderwebby and rat-poopy (you know what else lives there, hmmm?) basement yesterday. put some wood on the fire, turned around to find a HUGE rat dead in one of those black-rat-snap-traps. UGH. not what I am interested in dealing with at 10:30 at night. Did the next morning – only to discover that the flies had found the rat first (Quivers with distaste). Cleaned up the flybabies. As I was carrying all this yuck to the basement door, I discovered ANOTHER rat (not quite so huge) who had been caught in ANOTHER trap. And – yes – flies. Further along in the flybaby process.
    BLECH
    The weird thing is that both of these traps were set almost a year ago, no rat has gone near them. the PB must be Rock Hard.
    we have poison out and monitor how much is nibbled, but the weather has suddenly turned cold (yes – honest to goodness snow on Vancouver Island this weekend) and the ratties are looking for winter digs. Sigh. We will again do a house tour and fill more gaps. and maybe this year I will hire a concrete pumper truck and fill in the crawlspace that has a dirt floor. THAT is a job that will cost me big bucks to pay someone to do, as it will require a lot of gravel slung in through two tiny openings….. before the concrete is brought in. But it would also solve 90% of the Rat entry points……
    BLEAH again. mice are bad enough, rats are bigger and do even more damage (and are not cute in any way shape or form)

    • carswell says:

      Oh yeah. I can deal with mice but rats are downright skeevy.

      In my previous abode (rented) I was home one day working at the computer in the dining room. I happened to glance up and see what I thought was a squirrel face peeking out from under the last kitchen cupboard against the wall. Not a squirrel.

      As I watched a rat emerged from a hole I never knew was there and slipped along the wall to feast on a bowl of cat food. Ick. Ick. Ick. Ick. (I had been wondering for a few weeks why the cat food seemed to be depleting so fast and the cats weren’t gaining weight.)

      Needless to say I called my landlord that evening and the following weekend was spent in the crawlspace beneath the kitchens (it was a duplex built around the turn of the century) searching out points of entry and filling them up.

    • Karen says:

      Rats! Ack. They’re getting to be a problem close to where I live and I’m terrified for the day they show up! And they will. :/ Good luck with the rats! ~ karen

  6. Centi says:

    Well done! Keeping them out of the house is so much nicer than killing them. 🙂

    • Heather says:

      I agree it’s great if you can keep them out, Centi. But sometimes they’ve got to die. I once left a couple of cute little rodents who appeared not to be doing any harm and, before I knew it, my house was over-run. Electrocution is the most humane death, much better than poison which is really painful and can kill larger predators that make a meal of a mouse that ate poison – that includes owls, snakes and the neighbour’s cat.

  7. Constanze says:

    any space that is wider (or higher) than 13 milimetres, a mouse will be able to squeeze through, because they can make themselves quite flat…. we always had mice at my parents home, but we always had at least one cat that was an avid hunter to keep them in check as well as nutella baited spring traps…

  8. Darlene says:

    Check out the Oust-a-Mouse. Canadian company out of Huntsville. I bought 2 several years ago at the Cottage Show. Works great.

    • Lisa says:

      Thanks for this info!

    • linda in illinois says:

      problem there is if you have dogs or cats that might like a snack of dead mouse, then they eat the poisoned mouse and in turn are poisoned themselves. My niece neighbor did this and her cat chewed on the mouse and died as a result. You ever see a poisoned animal die? It’s a horrible death. I don’t recommend.

  9. Gina Rantanen says:

    Karen once again you made me laugh out loud! My cat brings mice as a peace offering to owner….sometimes ALIVE! I use the traps with bags of rat poison, yes I have to as they live and procriate in my garden shed.
    Thanks for a great laugh!!!

    • kelly in weed says:

      Since your are bringing you mice, I would advise not using mice poison.
      If your cat eats a poisoned mice, they will get violently sick.
      This has been happening in our neighborhood. Once we put the word
      out, no more sick kitties, and they’re killing mice like crazy.

      I’ll take the kitty presents, alive or dead, but a sick kitty makes me weep.

    • Nancy Blue Moon says:

      I have to agree with Kelly…Gina…if you love your kitty as I love mine..do not use poison!…If kitty bites into a poisoned mouse he could become sick or die…I ‘m sure you don’t want that….

  10. Eileen says:

    Rat poison spreads throughout the environment and kills and poisons other creatures. Insects feed on the poisoned rat, birds and others eat the insects….look it up. It’s horrific.

  11. Heather says:

    I’ve got the battery operated, electrocution chamber, Rat Catcher. It was $79 at Canadian Tire and it’s really effective and humane. Thankfully, I’ve yet to find a rat in it but it makes short work of mice. I use pecans or walnuts to lure them; I leave a few little bits of nuts on the floor around the device, and then put a couple of big nuts inside the chamber. It works even on the most cautious. At this time of year, I don’t wait until I find evidence of mice before taking steps. I leave a walnut in the corner of the drawer under the stove and check it every morning. If it’s gone, time to get the Rat Catcher out. Today, I’ll be checking my foundation. Thanks, Karen!

  12. Elizabeth says:

    Our battle with Mickey and friends has been an autumn ritual ever since we moved into our house. Every fall, they move in. Every year, we set traps.

    Last fall, we had $25K worth of repairs done to our back “Florida” room. Every nook and cranny was plugged in the process and we were looking forward to a mouse-free home in 2017. Yeah, no. The little mo’fos came back and so, we continue to do battle.

    FYI – they can squeeze in through a space that is about the size of a dime. They can smell where their ancestors have gone before and instinctively, they will head for, and manage to (somehow/someway) get to the same place where Grandpa and Grandpa started their family.

    The ridiculously expensive, green rodent relocator company that we contacted, told us that our hot mouse spots would have to be “disinfected”, if we had any hopes of getting rid of them for good.

  13. Sabina says:

    Hmmm, steel wool doesn’t work? I had no idea! I’ve been told for as long as I’ve been a homeowner that mice and rats can’t chew through steel wool. Thankfully I do not (knock on wood) have a rodent problem in my house. I do see mice evidence in the garage every now and then and rat evidence on the patio every now and then where the garage ends so I dug out the herb garden bed I had planted along the side of the garage and replaced it with grass (that I had dug up and removed to plant an herb garden). I figured I was giving them a nice cozy hidden “run” so I thought it best to clear it out. Thankfully my garage is not attached to my house.

  14. Pat H. says:

    OMG, I thought I was the only person using this method! After having mice laugh at my trapping methods (even the electronic gizmo you featured) I finally decided to think like a mouse and search for what would stop me in my tracks! This summer I used the hardware cloth everywhere I found the slightest sliver of a crack. I have college students living in my basement and once they move I plan on removing all the baseboards and laying this all around the perimeter. Its just beginning to get cold and I’m sure the critters will be looking for a nice cozy place to set up shop, but I hope they see my “no vacancy” sign and head for the neighbors house!!!!

  15. Beatrice says:

    I have found potato chips to be irresistible to mice.

  16. Bryonna says:

    I used a plug in electric mouse repellent device (under $20) .. worked like a charm and they permanently vacated

  17. Alena says:

    I would happily use the the hardware cloth only if I could figure how the darn mice are getting in, or rather, where.
    I have always stuffed any holes or cracks with broken glass before patching them over with cement (that was in my previous house where there where lots of suspicious cracks or missing mortar etc.
    I have to try the mint oil that another reader suggested (Thanks!).
    My neighbour, who moved into a house opposite to me a year ago, always leaves her garage door open for a long time – like every morning, at least for 15 minutes. I don’t know why – she doesn’t park in the garage but she and her kids always go out (to the car) via the door from the basement to the garage. I always wonder if she is not worried about inviting in all mice from the neighbourhood not to mention pumping so much cold air into the house (our houses are identical and the rooms situated above the (unheated) garage are significantly colder then the rest.

  18. Patricia says:

    Thank you for the post. I ordered the 2-pack. I currently use the old “wind up” boxes in the storage room of my chicken house, this looks like a much better option. The process of emptying the possibly live mice from a wind up box, into a five gallon bucket, with a bat handy, screaming with tightly closed lips…it’s not pretty. I was in this process once when my future son in law drove into our yard. Remarkably, he still married our daughter!

  19. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Karen aren’t you afraid that Cleo or Ernie will stick their paws in the electronic traps and get shocked?….I also have a good true story for you…don’t think I ever told you this one…I was having mouse problems a few years back so I went to Wal-Mart to shop for help…as I was checking out the clerk said to me “Why don’t you get a cat?”…To which I said “Because I already have 7.” … She had no more advice for me….lol..

    • Steph says:

      These traps are set up like a little maze. There’s a wall that bisects the box lengthwise, so the mouse goes all the way to the end, turns the corner, and goes back toward the end with the opening, but on the other side of the wall, where the electrified pad and the bait are. Does that make sense? Anyway, there’s no way a cat could get a paw in to get shocked. I had to use these a few years ago when a neighbor renovated the rundown house across the street and all of the rest of us were suddenly overrun with tiny, adorable, disease-ridden visitors. I chose these because they were the most humane, and was emptying it nearly once a day for a couple of weeks. They work really well!

  20. Heidi says:

    I love cats but Cats are assholes. Happened same here. At least the trophy was presented in whole and not in bits. 🙄

  21. Laurie says:

    Hey Karen, what a timely post! I was up early this morning and I heard a little “skritch, skritch” coming from the wall in the dining room.. Yep, a mouse in the wall. Any thoughts on wall mice? I know he’ll have to come out to eat at some point, maybe just one of the electronic traps in the kitchen? I already know where he came in, there’s a tiny crack in the foundation under the deck. I guess somebody will be worming their way under there this weekend to fill it in with hardware cloth.

  22. Renee Ryz says:

    Ug a few years back, we had them in the floorboards. I would hear them at night – drove me insane. We used the snap traps, as I never heard of the electric ones, but luckily none were still alive. Got 32 yes 32 of them within a week or so. Got a mama that I swear by the size was a rat, and that ended it. When we redid our kitchen, we tore up the floor to replace it, as it just skeeved me out that all the mouse poop was in the floor. They shredded all the black paper they used when building the house (60 years old house) Now I have an outside TNR’d colony (The Minions) of 5 that hang out in my back yard, and they leave me presents – so that keeps em from coming in. Another place to check – your dryer vent. Due to some lint, the flap outside was not totally closed, and I have a bird feeder near there, so it was probably feasting on dropped seeds, so I am guessing one of my Minions chased the mouse and it went up the vent. Imagine my delight when I opened the dryer to take out socks (which I dry on HOT) and by the front load door, was a jerkified mouse. barf. The vent was cleaned & flap is closed, and dryer sanitized- but I am putting some wire mesh on the outside to be doubly sure.

  23. D Peterson says:

    A local sheep farmer informed me that sheep’s wool is mouse proof. The squirrel had made a hole through the drywall in the garage and was helping itself to the coffee that it scooped out of the Folgers containers in the pantry. It would simply chew a hole in the lid big enough to reach in and then…well you seem to be familiar with the term hog wild…I digress. That is another story.
    I stuffed the hole with sheep’s wool until no more would force in.
    Squirrel made a new hole through the drywall next to the wool plug. That is when we invited the cat to live in the house. I share coffee freely. But not with squirrels.

  24. Glenda Shine says:

    I can not begin to tell you how much I enjoy your posts!
    Not only are they informative, you have me laughing from the first word, through to the end of your comments.
    They say the greatest gift we can have is to bring laughter to others.
    Well done!

  25. Melissa Keyser says:

    You lost me at parging. Is that a Canadian house thing? 99.9% I don’t have that on my house.

  26. Tracy says:

    Hi Karen,
    What do you use for bate in the electronic traps? How often do you replace it?
    Thanks!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Tracy! I use just a tiny bit of peanut butter. About the size of a pea. I probably don’t replace it as often as I should, lol. Maybe once a month? But you should really replace it every week or so. Do as I say, not as I do. 😉 ~ karen!

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