Wondering how to get rid of mice the humane way? The steps outlined below will enable you to clear your home from unwanted mice once and for all.
How to get rid of mice in 4 steps
- Seal entry points.
- Remove the food supply.
- Trap existing mice with a live trap.
- Use a mouse repellent.
Seal entry points
The great infiltrator: Mice can squeeze through holes and cracks the size of their skulls.1 Depending on the age and strain of mouse, an opening of 1/4 inch (6.35 mm) is sufficient to fit through. Unbelievable?! A mouse skeleton has flexible cartilage that allows the bones to compress, enabling the mouse to writhe through tiny spaces.
The best way to prevent mice from entering your home is to seal the openings that lead into your house. The general rule used by pest control services is to seal any opening that a pencil (6mm) can fit through.
Investigate around your house to find out where mice can get in. Keep in mind that mice are excellent climbers, so you need to look at high areas too, for points of entry.
The most common openings used by mice
Doors: Keep your doors closed and fit a “door bottom seal” to your door. Alternatively you can fit screen doors if you prefer to keep your doors open.
Windows: Check for gaps between the window and the frame. As a barrier, you can fill gaps with stainless steel wool. The sharp fibers prevent mice from chewing through it. Installing window screens is an option if you like to have open windows.
Vents and Pipes: Cover openings with stainless steel wire mesh. Using stainless steel will prevent rust corrosion.
Cable outlets: Stuff stainless steel wool into the surrounding opening and seal it with caulk.
Foundation: Check for holes and cracks in the foundation and fill it with concrete.
Walls: Depending on the size of the hole, patch it with the applicable material.
Remove the food supply
The first attraction mice find on their way into your home is a food source outside. Natural food sources such as fruits, nuts, grains and seeds need to be removed to avoid attracting mice.
Other food sources mice forage include pet food and garbage bins. It is best to restrict the time feeding bowls are left for pets. Close garbage bins with tight fitting lids.
The kitchen is a hot spot for attracting mice. Mice easily ravage food kept in boxes. To deter mice from sharing your food 🙂 seal your food in suitable containers. Glass and metal containers work best, followed by plastic.
Keep your floors and cabinets free from spilled food and wash the dishes as soon as possible.
Trap existing mice with a live trap
Now that your house is sealed, you need to get rid of the mice in your home. The best way is to trap and release them. To humanely catch mice you need to use a live mouse trap.
Setting mouse traps can be perfected to an art. Helpful tip: set several traps where mice are active. Read our article: best mouse trap guide on how to use mouse traps to their full efficacy.
A live mouse trap, also known as a no-kill mouse trap enables you to trap mice without harming them so they can be released outdoors. When using live traps it is important to check the traps daily for trapped mice, especially in the morning. Otherwise your well-intentioned trap will turn into a starvation coffin.
Glue traps/boards: Just to be clear, glue boards do trap mice alive. However, they are the most horrific and inhumane type of trap. Mice struggle frantically and violently to get free from them. Many trapped mice end up breaking or chewing off limbs in an attempt to get free. Mice suffocate and starve on these traps. Glue traps should be made illegal in all states. It classifies as animal cruelty. Online petitions to ban glue traps can be signed here.
What humane mouse traps do we recommend?
1The Mouse Hotel
- Traps mice unharmed.
- The easiest to use.
- Includes instructions.
- Ventilation gaps prevent mice from suffocating.
- Releasing trapped mice can be done without touching them.
2The Smart Mouse Trap
- Endorsed by PETA (animal welfare organisation).
- Includes instructions.
- Ventilation gaps for breathing.
- No mouse contact release design.
Use a mouse repellent
Natural oil: Balsam fir oil from the tree Abies balsamea is an US EPA approved non-toxic rodent repellent. Balsam fir oil is used as the active ingredient in a non-food use biochemical pesticide. It repels rodents in non-living spaces indoors (such as attics, basements and pantries) and in enclosed spaces outdoors. Balsam fir oil repels rodents by emitting an odor that is offensive to rodents but not to humans.
Ultrasonic devices: Numerous scientific studies show commercially available sonic pest repellers to be an ineffective long term solution to repel mice. Only marginal repellency effects of 30-50% have been observed with a rapid habituation after 3-7 days. (The effect is lost after this period).
Natural predators: Unexpectedly, cat urine2 lead to aggressive behavior in male mice. The pheromones secreted by combatative males increase their attractiveness to females. Hence natural predators only act as a deterent by eating mice.