Pesteleminater Log

Mice: Control and prevention

Mice are small mammals that are distinguished by their characteristically pointed snouts, short, rounded ears, scaly tails that reach the length of their bodies, and rapid reproduction rates. The house mouse (Mus musculus), is the most well-known species of mouse. During the winter, they frequently invade residences and vacation cottages in search of food and warmth. At best, there will be some mouse droppings to clean up, but they can cause material damage, such as gnawing on electrical cables, which, in rare instances, can cause fires! In this guide, you can read about common facts about mice, how to prevent them from coming into your home, and how to control them should the need arise.

Recommended products to control mice

Mice as a pest

Human dwellings provide an optimal environment for mice. During the winter, they will try to get into houses, because they can find warmth and food. Because of that, they will often ravage kitchens and hide in walls, making scratching noises, that annoy the inhabitants of the affected house. 

If they get into your house, material damage is the most common problem, often happening to furniture, food, and other items that have been gnawed on or polluted with urine and feces. Expensive material damage occurs frequently when building materials, such as insulation or plasterboard, or fiber cables, are targeted. The most dangerous situation is when electrical wirering are gnawed on, which, in the worst-case scenario, might result in an electrical fire. Furthermore, mouse droppings can induce allergies and spread infections like salmonella and botulism.

House mice (Mus musculus), wood mice (Apodemus sylvaticus), and yellow-necked mice (Apodemus flavicollis) are three of the hundreds of mice that are considered pests. They have numerous natural enemies in nature, but they don’t have any predators in our houses, so they can roam around freely, and often uncontested.

Identify a mouse infestation

Because mice have a very high rate of reproduction, it is critical to identify a mouse problem as fast as possible and to take corrective measures. If you have mice in your house, you will likely notice any or all of the following signs:

7 Ways to know if you have mice

  1. Look for droppings: Their droppings are a dark color and range in length from 3-8 mm. Every night, a mouse can leave anywhere from 50 to 80 droppings, which they typically deposit in cabinets or along moldings.
  2. Listen for weird noises: If you hear scratching sounds at night, especially if the noises come from the attic, the walls, or under the floor, you will, with a high probability, have either a rat or a mouse infestation.
  3. Check for foul odors: An overwhelming smell similar to that of ammonium is characteristic of mouse urine. Even after removal of the urine stain, the odor may still be present.
  4. Look for traces in dust and dirt: Mice leave behind traces in the dusty areas, which indicate the course it took. One test that may be done is to sprinkle talc or fine flour over an area that is thought to be frequented by them and then look for signs of the powder having been disturbed the following day
  5. Look for marks and dirt: When a mouse runs over moldings, walls, or other surfaces, it often leaves behind grease and dirt from its hair. This will appear as marks or stains on walls and floors.
  6. Look for dirt 'mountains': When large infestations of mice occour, they will leave behind hills of debris. These hills are actually mouse body fat, urine, and soil mixed together. These can create little mounds that are up to 4 centimeters high and around 1 centimeter wide.
  7. Look for bubbling: Soft materials such as upholstery or textile can typically be observed to have been impacted if they show signs of bubbling on the surface..

If you have already determined that you have mice, the next step is to discover where the mice are hiding, so that you can set traps and other forms of control in the appropriate areas. If you already know where to look, finding the spots where mice might be hiding in your home shouldn't be too difficult. It is important to note, that signs of a mouse infestation can look like signs of a rat infestation. If you have rats in your house, you should read our guide: Rats - Guide to pest control

How to prevent mice from infesting your home

There is a lot you can do to anticipate and perhaps even avoid mouse infestations. Key areas to address are sealing the house to keep mice out and reducing the number of possible food sources. There are some common places mice use to gain access to your house, which you should specifically ensure are sealed. 

6 ways to keep mice away from your property:

Look for any holes in the foundation of the house and vents, cover these with metal mesh (with a mesh width of 5 mm and a wire thickness of 0.7 mm). A mouse only needs a 7 mm hole to get in, so be careful.

  1. Mown your lawn regularly, as this effectively removes cover and concealment for mice and makes them more vulnerable to predators. 
  2. Avoid shrubs, trees, and plants near the front of the house. Similarly, piles of wood or outdoor furniture near the facade should be avoided as mice may use these to climb to openings higher up on facade of the house.
  3. Do not feed birds or other animals near the house and if you do, make sure to remove spills and debris afterwards.
  4. Ensure that lids on rubbish bins seal tightly and any compost should be placed well away from the house and kept closed.
  5. Areas under patios and similar areas should be kept clean and debris generally avoided.

5 tips to make your house impenetrable to mice:

  1. Seal doors, windows, vents, and other possible cavities to the outside.
  2. Make sure that pipe joints under sinks are tight and that kitchen and pantry doors close tightly. Similarly, make sure water seals on toilets are tight and water-filled.
  3. Keep things tidy, especially in basements and attics. Make sure there are no food spills, candles, cake crumbs, and other things edible to mice; clean cottages and vacation homes extra carefully if you are going to be away for a long time.
  4. Avoid placing cardboard boxes directly on the floor, and replace them with sealable plastic containers or at least place them on shelves away from the ground.
  5. Make your food storage impenetrable to mice - sealable plastic containers keep mice out.

How to get rid of mice

Getting rid of mice should be an easy, clean, and painless process, not just for you, but for the mouse as well. Animals should not be subjected to unnecessary pain and suffering for whatever reason.

With that in mind, the use of poison to kill mice is generally not recommended. This is due to the fact, that it inflicts a great amount of pain and suffering on the mouse. Naturally, such a product does have use cases, but the typical homeowner should look for alternate methods of control.

Furthermore, the quality of the products used in control should be taken into account. Poorly built traps not only cause additional agony, but also result in more mess and blood since they frequently fail to accomplish the objective at hand with unpredictable results. For example, an injured mouse may scurry around the home in a panic after being caught in the trap.

Mouse traps

Spring mousetraps (traditional mousetraps)

The spring mousetrap is the sort of mousetrap that is both the easiest to operate and the most prevalent. The mechanism consists of a lever that, when the target animal gets close enough to the bait, the trap closes and the target animal dies. Typically, the device will be installed on a board made of either plastic or wood. This trap is easy to set up and does not cost too much money, but unfortunately, there is a good chance that the animal is captured, but not killed right away, which will cause it to suffer unnecessarily.

Electric mousetraps

Properly built and powerful electric mousetraps nearly never fail because the rodent receives numerous intense electric shocks, ensuring a rapid, painless, and guaranteed kill. Modern electric mousetraps target the mouse 5 times over with larger and repeated shocks, to ensure a painless process.

Most electric mousetraps can be emptied without touching the infected mouse. They kill the pest without causing it discomfort. The mouse won't see or feel it. Electric mousetraps have secure circuits that protect users from harmful parts.

With a reusable electric trap, you avoid using mouse poison, which can harm the environment and cause unnecessary suffering. An electric mousetrap can pass as any electronic gadget, belying a homeowner's mouse battle.

Live-catch mousetraps

Live-catch traps are nothing more than cages with one entrance that, when activated, close and ensnare the animal, in this case, a mouse. In order to lure mice into the trap cage, bait needs to be placed within the trap cage. The goal of using live-catch traps is to give you the opportunity to release the mouse you catch back into the wild, but in a location that is a significant distance from the area in which you wish to control mice.

If you check the traps often enough so the mice aren't stressed by the catch and release them far away, it may be the most humane technique to control rats and mice.

Mouse repellers

Mice repellers emit high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound) that humans can't hear but rodents can. Ultrasounds are terrifying and distressing to mice, perhaps because the noises are foreign to them and they have developed to avoid sounds and movements that may be viewed as threats.

To sustain the frightening effect, the frequency and rhythm of the ultrasound are usually adjusted so mice don't become accustomed to the noises.

Some mouse repellers transmit electromagnetic pulses through wall sockets and electrical lines. These should provide the additional effect of stopping mice from gnawing on wiring and other electrical installations.

Use this bait to catch mice

Snickers, chocolate, peanut butter, sunflower seeds, raisins, bacon, smoked ham, salami, shrimp, smoked salmon, and gummy bears are all great bait to use in mouse traps. These are just some of the common household foods, that can attract mice fast and efficiently.

It is also possible to lure mice with materials derived from trees. In the autumn, when female mice are finishing their nests, they are especially drawn to yarn, insulation, dental floss, and other materials. However, trapping with these items is inconvenient and rarely as effective as using edible baits.

Facts about mice

The mouse is classified within the order Rodentia, making it a rodent. Mice are the collective name for all muroid rodents less than the size of rats. In the late 1700s through the late 1800s, all rodents that had a body that was similar to that of a mouse or rat were classified as species of the genus Mus. After further research, the majority of those species were reclassified into a large number of distinct groups, leaving Mus as a more compact, unmistakably distinct genus with a specific set of characteristics.

The genus Mus is home to the common house mouse, while Apodemus contains a great number of species of field mice. Mus is home to 38 different species, with Mus musculus serving as the category's type specimen. Mus musculus is comprised of a total of 13 subspecies, and it is the scientific name given to the ordinary house mouse, while Mus musculus domestica is the scientific name given to the fancy mouse. Mus musculus domestica is a domesticated variant of the house mouse.


Mice have a thin body, a blunt or tapering muzzle, light hair, prominent ears, narrow hind feet with bald soles, and sharp, little claws on their hind feet. They also have prominent ears. The tail has very little fur on it and gives the impression of having no hair at all. The tail length can range from being comparable to that of the head and body to being significantly shorter. Adults weigh about 1 ounce (28 grams) and have a length that ranges between 2.5 and 3.5 inches (6-8 cm), excluding the tail. Males typically have more robust builds than their female counterparts. The texture of the fur and the color of the fur can vary quite a lot from one species of Mus to another.

Behavior, lifestyle, and reproduction

Mice are nocturnal for the most part, but some of them will venture out during the day to look for food on occasion. They are ground-dwelling, though some species are also agile climbers, leapers, and skilled swimmers. Due to the fact that they are sociable creatures, they groom both themselves and one another. They do it for amusement or to assert their superiority over one another during a battle by chasing each other. Mice lack great eyesight, so they instead use their sensitive whiskers to navigate.

It is possible for a female mouse to have as many as a dozen offspring every three weeks, and as many as 15 litters, or 150 offspring, in just one year. At 2 months of age, females are mature enough to give birth, and they can become pregnant again 24 hours after they have given birth. The typical number of puppies in a litter is 5-8, but there can be as many as 10–12 in a litter. Puppies are born unable to hear or see. The gestation period lasts between 19 and 21 days but can be extended by up to a week if the mother is still feeding another litter.

It is easy to comprehend how they are able to rapidly populate new areas given that they reach sexual maturity at the age of 35 days, have huge litters on a regular basis, and produce many offspring. If mice find their way into your home, it won't be long before they have totally taken over the entire space.

Mice litter
Litter of mice in their nest

FAQ - Pest control of mice

What is the most common mousetrap?

The simplest, and most common type of mousetrap is the spring mousetrap. The design is based on a lever that releases and kills the prey when it comes near the bait. The device is usually mounted on a plastic or wooden board. This trap is simple and affordable, but unfortunately, there is often a risk that it will be messy and for some types of trap the catch will not be killed immediately, causing unnecessary suffering to the animal.

Should you use poison to control mice?

Mouse poison can be effective. You need to consider the fact, that the mouse will die inhumanely because the toxin functions as a blood thinner, causing internal bleeding. It will take a long time for the mouse to pass away, and it will often end up being toyed with by a cat.
In addition, domestic animals (e.g. cats) that eat mice treated with mouse poison may be secondarily poisoned, causing significant and occasionally life-threatening damage. Also, natural predators or scavengers like eagles or foxes may be poisoned.

How do I start controlling mice?

Inspect common places in the house where mice might hide. This is to find out if you actually have an ongoing mouse infestation. Ideally, you should go through these places every autumn/winter to quickly discover if you have mice. Starting control early will make it much easier to get rid of the mice before the problem has grown out of control.

Pesteleminater Log
Pesteleminator is a website that offers tips and information on pest control and prevention. We provide articles and infographics to help educate people on the best practices for keeping their properties free of pests, including insects and rodents. Whether you are dealing with an infestation or just want to take proactive steps to prevent pests, Pesteleminator has something for you.