Mice are gnawing and scratching behind your walls making trails in the insulation, curled up warm behind the refrigerator and cupboards. They are nibbling at your food, taking just a portion, but contaminating it with mouse hair, feces, and disease. At night, they journey across the countertop, around the appliances, and over the dishes. Everywhere they go, a little trail of urine drops and fur can be found.
Mickey Mouse is cute and that little rodent at the petstore is your best friend. But, wild mice are disease ridden. At one time they were responsible for killing millions of people by spreading the bubonic plague. The Center for Disease Control claims 35 diseases are spread from mice to humans worldwide. Thats just the disease count, it doesn’t even include the millions of people who have allergic and asthmatic responses to mouse droppings.
But how can you catch mice in Birmingham?
Standard mouse traps work well with peanut butter. Its easier to position than little pieces of cheese which can dry out and lose its scent. If you use a trap, wear gloves when disposing of the mouse to reduce your exposure to germs. Clean the area with disinfectant or bleach.
Glue traps don’t kill the mouse right away. They work really well at getting rid of mice but, the CDC does not recommend this because it scares the mice and causes them to urinate. PETA doesn’t recommend it because they think it is a cruel way to die. Some websites list ways removing the mice from the trap but this again is exposing you to the mouse germs. If you choose to use glue traps, place them in the corners of cabinets or under furniture where you see the most traffic. It may take a few days but the mice will travel that way again.
Poison kills the mice but it can also kill your household pets and children if they eat it. This may not be the option if you have small pets and kids. Another hazard of using poison is they do not die immediately. So, they can eat it and then crawl back into some hole in your wall and then travel between the insulation and die in yet another room. Then, you would have the smell of something dead and would have to take apart several walls to find it to get it out.
Natural predators such as cats, nonvenomous snakes, and barn owls also deter mice. Once the predators remove the current mice, their very presence will deter mice in the future.
Seal entries is the most important thing to do when removing mice. This is where exterminators, PETA, and the CDC agree. You can kill one but there are hundreds out there. You have to block whatever way the mouse came in. They don’t always come in for food. It may just be cold, rainy, and they want shelter. Caulk cracks, screen vents and, put steel wool in holes. Mice can’t chew through steel wool.
Clean up indoor piles and outdoor stacks. A mouse likes to live in a pile. If it were nesting it would chew bits of things and stack it in a pile. Stacks of clothes or piles of paper that you never touch are perfect for them. The same goes for any stacks of wood or piles of trash you have outside your home. Place that stack of wood for the fireplace and trashcan away from the house.
Remove food sources. As mentioned earlier, this alone will not keep them away. But, it does deter them and it protects you and your family. Place food in airtight containers made of metal, glasss, or ceramic. They can chew through plastic and cardboard. Store as much food in the fridge as possible. A very important food to remove is a half empty baby bottle. Mice move around at night. Tired parents give a baby a bottle and go back to bed. Mice have been known to lick and bite the milk drool off a baby’s cheek.
Cleaning is very important before, during, and after mouse removal. Steam clean all floors. Use disinfectant on all surfaces. Wash your pets. The fleas on mice can carry the germs to your pet. You will want to wear gloves and keep covered until you are able to catch the mice.