Mouse Control Basics You Should Know

Mouse control in homes.

Start with Mouse Control Basics

Mouse control basics starts with knowing your mouse. Mice are curious. They nibble, not gorge themselves, on many different types of food. Mice prefer seeds to other foods. They prefer sweetened liquids over plain water. If food is in abundance, they will travel no more than 5 feet from the nest, otherwise up to 20 feet is normal. Mice are nocturnal and have poor eye site

  1. Every “pup” reaches sexual maturity in about 35 days.
  2. Pregnancy is from 18-21 days.
  3. Litter size is from 5-8 “pups”.
  4. 8 litters per year, approximately.
  5. Mice can live up to 6 years, but many live to only 1 year.
    • So, unless you have 20 feral cats in your home, you’ll need other methods of control.

Contamination is a Big Problem

Mice, and rats for that matter, are commensal rodents. Which means “Eating together at the same table” with humans. This, also means;

  1. They’re a nuisance
  2. They damage or destroy our property;
    • Gnawing, due to constantly growing incisors;
      1. Electrical lines
        • Issues for jet airlines
      2. Plastic and metal water lines
        • How’s your water bill?

In our homes; and bird feed and grain storage businesses, contamination of our food supply is a big problem.  Mice and rats are vectors of diseases and contaminate by;

  1. Droppings
    • Mice drop 20-50 bombs, loads, okay…poop 20-50 times a day. Why is that important? Salmonella and Tapeworm is why.
  2. Urine
    • Using a black light causes the urine to fluoresce or glow in the presence of rodent urine.  Some cleaning agents will also glow, however the urine will most likely be in a puddle configuration.

Mouse Control Starts with “Building them Out”

After Identification, sanitation, and harborage elimination you’ll want to “Build Them Out” or rodent proof the structure. Once you build the mouse out of the building, all that’s left is catching/killing the mice inside. Problem is solved. I have found that there are 3 basic avenues to mouse entry

I have found there are three areas of the structure you must reduce gaps and holes to less than 1/4″.

  1. Crawlspace doors
    • Wooden crawlspace doors, over time, will have gaps allowing mice to enter the structure. Wood rot and gnawing from rodents are the cause. Consider replacing the wooden doors with metal doors.
  2. Pipe Entries Into Structure
    • Air Conditioning, gas, electrical, and exhaust lines are some of the entryways for mice. Copper mesh should be used around copper air conditioning lines due to electrolysis. Dissimilar metal corrosion will occur. Caulk and “Great Stuff” foam should not be used to build out mice. Mice will chew through it.
  3. Foundation Vents
    • The foundation vent screens are there to prevent rodent and insect entry into the crawlspace. They should be replaced if missing or damaged. We all know someone who has had someone poke a hole through the vent screen for easy access for cable wires. Don’t do that. Congratulations, you just created a highway for mice, rats, and insects.

Mechanical Mouse Control

Mechanical mouse control is great for many reasons. The ability to remove the rodent, dead or alive, is the major benefit. What you do with the live mouse is to be determined by the operator or homeowner.

Some will say Live Traps are the most humane way to remove mice, and they are. You will still need to take them somewhere to release them. Still others will say the Snap-traps are the best way, because you don’t have to deal with a live mammal. Just toss it in the can. Others will say glueboards are the most inhumane, and it is. No one wants to see “Mickey” on a glue board fighting to escape.

No matter your method, it’s important to be able to remove the critter so it doesn’t stink up the place.

Chemical Mouse Control


Well, here we are. That evil word chemical. OK, I’ll write rodenticide, material or how about product. No matter what you call it there’s basically two types; anticoagulant and non-anticoagulant.

Anticoagulants are to be applied by Pest Management Professionals due to the potential of secondary poisoning. These properties mean that second-generation products pose greater risks to non-target species that might feed on bait only once or that might feed upon animals that have eaten the bait. Such as mouse eats bait, cat eats a mouse, cat dies. Due to this risk, second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides no longer are registered for use in products for consumers and are registered only for the commercial pest control and structural pest control markets.

Here’s more information on Rodenticides from the EPA.

Until Next Time…

Brad Whitley


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