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How to Deal With -- and Get Rid of -- Mice

Filed Under: Essential Skills, Know-How

Finding mice in your house is not only disgusting -- it's stressful! Here's how to deal, from the first moment you spot the little guys...

You're in your house, minding your own business, and out of the corner of your eye, you see a tiny blur. You immediately know what the blur is. It's a mouse.

Photo: Clinton Hussey, Corbis


Not only is it disgusting and awful to see a mouse in your home, you know that there's never just one. There's a whole family of mice somewhere, and that is quite frankly terrifying. So, what do you do?

Calm down: Try not to scream and cry and jump on top of the kitchen table like a housewife in a "Tom & Jerry"cartoon. The idea of having a mouse in your house is upsetting, but try to see the realities at hand. There's a reason why they call it "Pest Control" and not "Pest Get Rid of Forever" -- you've just got to take the steps to keep them at bay.

Clean everything: Cute TV mice have brainwashed us into thinking that they're cute and capable of accomplishing things most humans can only dream off. All of this is untrue. Mice carry diseases. If you see a mouse, you're going to need to clean everything. Use bleach and water to wipe down all counters and tabletops, and make sure you clean surfaces that don't usually get the attention they deserve -- dish racks and stovetops are two big ones.

Understand the mouse: Face it -- mice laugh in the face of your pathetic attempts to catch them. You'll set a trap and they'll steal the bait and not get caught. You wonder, "How is it that I paid so much money to earn a Master's Degree when I can't even manage to outsmart a mouse?" Don't be too hard on yourself. Mice are tricky. If your mouse had a Twitter account, he'd be tweeting at you all day long: "It was really hilarious watching you try to set that trap for 15 minutes!" or "Thanks for the peanut butter, LOL!" or "You think I only stay in the kitchen but I definitely don't!" He's taunting you. Try not to let them make you turn into Nathan Lane in "Mouse Hunt". There are worse things in life than a mouse hanging around. Promise.

Explore your options: There are a ton of different products on the market to help you to catch mice. Wooden traps, clothespin traps, glue traps -- someone is getting rich off of rodent infestations. Cool job, guy. Bet you get a lot of women. Anyway, while the newer models may work, your best bet is to stick with the original. Old school wooden traps with peanut butter as bait usually do the trick -- or check out a humane way to get rid of mice.

Prepare for the future: Also, remember this: Mice don't have exoskeletons, so they can squeeze themselves into any tiny crack or hole. Deny them access -- fill holes with plaster where you can. And where you can't, shove in some steel wool. Your baseboards will look like they're growing arm pit hair, which is always really attractive.

Call an exterminator: If none of these home-spun preventative measures take care of the problem, you're going to need to call an exterminator. Make sure they do a thorough inspection of the whole house, especially the garage and basement.

Feel better? Yeah, neither do I. But don't let it drive you crazy. Don't spend all of your free time sitting on the couch in silence, listening for the pitter-patter of rodent feet (or, as they say in The Night Before Christmas, "stirring"). It's not healthy.


  • Cyndie

    You don't say anything about those new sonic devices that are supposed to keep critters away. What are your thoughts on those?

    Reply
  • Gene

    I've found that the sonic devices don't work. I went to a farm supply store and bought a bottle of bobcat urine, doused cotton balls with it and toss them into corners where the mice might get into the house, or places that I knew they would be and never saw one again! Make sure you wear disposable gloves, you don't want it on your hand, but it isn't toxic. Someone said that fox urine would work, too, but I haven't tried it (though I know it works for larger animals like possums and armadillos).

    Reply
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