Mice are very common unwanted house guests. They are small, can squeeze through the tiniest of spaces, and multiply quickly. The average mouse is four to six inches long from nose to the tip of the tail. Mice can begin reproducing at about two months and can have as many as eight litters a year. Each litter usually produces four to eight little ones.
Mice are usually nocturnal, however you can see them scurrying around sometimes during the day. Mice frequently live outside, but they do welcome the warmth of buildings. The inside population generally grows in the spring and fall. Mice are good runners, climbers, and jumpers. I have seen a mouse scurry quickly up cinder block wall with as much ease as running down the hallway.
Mice like to eat many things and will chew through cardboard and plastic to get to a food source. I keep many of my staples and dry supplies in big plastic totes. Although the mice can chew through them, it does deter them a bit more than a cardboard box does.
It is a good idea to control the mouse population as soon as possible so you don’t have nests of little ones growing up in your house. Mouse traps should be set where you see evidence of mice. Mouse droppings and evidence of chewing are the most common signs. Placement of the traps is very important. Some of the best places are your pantry, garage, basement, attic, and storage areas. All traps should be out of the reach of children and pets, and should be checked daily. Dead mice should be disposed of immediately. Be sure to use disposable gloves when handling and resetting the mouse traps.
There are a variety of ways to get rid of mice. I use the traditional snap trap, as it works best for me. Although I do not like killing animals, I have found this is the best way for me to keep mice out of my house. Believe it or not, I have found the best bait for catching mice is a tootsie roll. You just need a very small piece for each mouse trap. The mice seem to have a sweet tooth and a tootsie roll requires them to stop and nibble. I have found that the mice can snatch a piece of cheese and run off before the mouse trap snaps. I also have had mice lick a mouse trap clean that has been spread with peanut butter. Glue traps are another way to catch mice, but I ran into two problems with them. First of all, I found that some glue traps completely disappeared. Apparently, larger mice can run off with the glue trap stuck to them. I have no idea if they shake the glue trap free, or die somewhere else. I have never found some of the glue traps that disappeared. Another personal problem I have with glue traps is that the mouse dies a slow and painful death. It becomes stuck to the glue trap and can not get away. It usually takes quite a while for the mouse to die, and it empties its’ bowels while dying. Electronic pest control devices are also available. Unfortunately, the mouse population did not change at all when I had them plugged in my home. Another option for killing mice is to use poison. I do not feel comfortable using poison because of having children and pets around. Also, you never know where and when the mouse dies. If you have a mouse eat poison and die in a wall or your heating vents, you can have an awful odor for a very long time.
To control the mouse population in your house, you have to decide what will work best for you. I find that the old fashioned snap traps with a little piece of tootsie roll works best for me.