How To Get Rid Of Mice In Your Attic?
Eeeeek! Mice! Have you heard the scratching sounds of tiny feet in the attic? Have you spotted visible signs of mice in the attic?
Signs of mice infestations does not mean your home is not clean, it just means that mice have found a way into your home.
Many homeowners have discovered mice in the attic, so you are not alone. In the United States alone 21 million homes have had rodents in the attic.
Do you want to get rid of the mice in your attic? You are in the right place.
In this article we will show you how to:
- Spot entrances.
- Seal up entrance holes and gaps. This needs to be done otherwise the mice will keep coming back.
- Set traps around the attic and home.
- Cut back trees and bushes to prevent a climbing route into your home.
A rodent infestation carries health risks, in attic spaces mice can spread Hantavirus, which can be inhaled by us and can be fatal. Feces and urine can get into the air bringing on asthma and other allergies.
They carry bacteria and are known for spreading diseases.
Other health risks from mice are they can carry Salmonella and can contaminate your food.
Mice can carry up to 200 human pathogens.
Mice are also able to bring in other pests with them for instance fleas, ticks, mites and lice.
Mice can breed very quickly, a female house mouse can have up to eight litters a year. A litter can have up to 6 mice. A female house mouse may look cute but she can cause havoc in the home, and reproduce quickly.
With this in mind, it is time to get started on dealing with this mouse infestation.
What does a house mouse look like?
There are many species of mice in the world, but the one most likely to be in your home is the house mouse, it has been given this name because of its liking for being indoors in attics and between walls.
The house mouse is also able to adapt to harsh weather conditions.
The house mouse is light gray in color and is 2.5 – 3 inches in length.
Mice have a pointed nose and rounded ears, mice have a long hairless tail that can be 4 inches long and is used for balance.
The lifespan of a mouse outdoors is 6 months to a year, mainly due to predators like snakes, cats and birds of prey, however, inside the home, the mice can live for up to 3 years.
Mice are very good at climbing, jumping and swimming.
Mice do not like bright lights.
Mice are territorial, and a dominant male will live with several female house mice and their young.
Think of a dime, that is how small a gap a mouse can crawl through.
Mice have large appetites and will feed up to 20 times per day.
Mice eat plant matter mainly but are omnivorous and will eat their own feces to gain the nutrients they need.
Mice typically come into the home between October and February to avoid the cold. But do not be surprised if mice come indoors outside of these months.
The house mouse is the most common mammal in the United States.
The house mouse has been kept as a pet in peoples homes and used for studies in laboratories.
Mice are afraid of rats, why? because rats will kill and eat mice.
Do mice come out of the attic?
Mice do tend to be more active at night, however, mice are still active during the day if the house is quiet.
Generally during the day mice will be curled up in their nest of shredded paper, and other soft materials.
Do mice leave on their own?
Mice will not leave while there is a nice supply of food, water and warmth.
Mice may relocate as the weather warms up to somewhere cooler, this could be your basement.
Mice will keep coming back unless you secure the entry points to your property.
Will mice leave if there is no food?
Mice rely on food more than water, mice can survive for up to 4 days without food, if mice cannot find any food they will leave.
Signs of a mouse infestation
- You may hear noises at night.
- A strong smell of urine. The strong smell of ammonia is an indication of mice infestations. Mice will also drop tiny amounts of urine as they travel around the home.
Visible signs of a mice infestation
- Mouse droppings. Mouse droppings measure around 0.125 – 0.25 inches long and are rod-shaped. Mice can produce up to 50 – 100 droppings a day.
- Nests are made of fabric and shredded paper and insulation materials.
- Grease marks left along walls. The oil from mouse fur gets rubbed off onto the walls as it scurries along the wall.
- Chewing marks on the wood, electrical wiring, clothes, and paper goods.
Seal all entry points to the home
Mouse proofing your home is a must. Mouse proofing your home will work if it is done properly. It is time-consuming but well worth the effort.
This is the most important step to getting rid of mice in the attic. It is no good setting traps if more mice can get into the attic.
Mice can get into the attic through gaps only a quarter of an inch! They will chew electrical wires which can become a fire hazard.
We recommend you seal the following entry points into the home:
- Power line.
- Vent covers.
- Network cover.
- Hose bib.
- Power meter.
- Gas line.
Take a walk around outside your property and check for any possible entry points and seal them to get rid of a mice infestation.
Check the chimney for damage and entry points, also check the power lines that lead up to the roof, mice can find entry points along the dormers and eaves so take a look at these also.
When sealing a hole it is best to use steel wool, a mouse will hurt its mouth trying to chew through the steel wool and will give up. It must be steel wool or steel wool scouring pads, or hardware cloth, caulk is not enough.
If you discover holes and possible entry points in the foundation they should be filled in with concrete mortar, or covered with sheet metal.
Check the gables, roof overhangs and fascia. Mice commonly enter a house through damaged gable vents, so take a close look for damage.
Loose-fitting doors and windows will attract mice, ensuring that loose-fitting doors are adjusted the same with the windows.
Cut back trees and bushes
Follow our simple tips to be free of rodents.
A good way to mouse-proof your home is to trim trees and bushes, mice are great climbers and will use them to access your home.
Keep bushes trimmed back at least two to three feet away from the house. Bushes can hide rodent activity as well as woodpiles and other garden waste.
Try to keep trash cans off the ground and closed shut properly.
We recommend you do not store firewood outside of the house less than 20 feet from the property. Again mice will hide in amongst the logs.
Keep garages and sheds clutter-free and if you store food for pets or dried grain for birds keep it in glass jars or sealed airtight containers, preferably made from metal.
You could place traps in the garage as a form of pest control, it can help get rid of a rodent infestation.
Cats vs. mice
Many farms own cats to keep a mouse infestation out, some dogs may even catch mice, but this form of pest control is not reliable as some cats and dogs just cannot be bothered to chase and catch mice.
If you were thinking of getting a cat anyway, give it a try, you may end up with the best mouse catcher around.
Choose your mousetrap
The most effective ways to get rid of mice are mouse traps and poison.
As the attic is cut off from the rest of the house you can poison and trap as much as you like, as children and pets are not usually around in the attic space.
What are the best baits to use for pest control?
We recommend using peanut butter or chocolate to attract mice.
On snap traps, the house mouse needs to nibble at the peanut butter meaning it has to spend more time and effort to get its tasty morsel.
Chocolate is great for bait traps as it has to be nibbled off, which gives the trap more chance of sitting off.
Potato flakes are known to kill mice, when the mice eat the flakes they will need to drink water, the water causes the flakes to swell in the stomach killing the mouse.
This is an old style of pest control snap traps to get rid of mice that have been around for a long time, a homeowner probably remembers them as being made of wood.
Snap traps are powerful and successful, the drawer back is your fingers could be trapped if you are not careful.
You may need to handle the dead house mouse to remove it from the trap, always wear gloves for this. If you do not want to handle the house mouse you can throw the mouse and trap away together.
Check the snap traps regularly to get rid of the mice, if after a few days the trap doesn’t show results try repositioning the trap.
As well as putting snap traps in the attic, put them in your home at the same time. Mice may leave the attic and venture to the rest of your home
If you do not like the idea of snap traps as a form of mice removal then try live house mouse traps.
Live house mouse traps are a more humane form of pest control, compared to snap traps.
Live traps work in a similar way to snap traps, you will need a food source to entice the house mouse, but the mice are caught alive.
Some live traps available to buy can catch up to 12 mice in one go!
You will need to check the traps regularly for a house mouse and release them into the wild once caught. You would need to take the house mouse at least 3 miles away from your home otherwise they will return.
Glue Board house mouse traps
A glue board is a plastic base covered in strong glue, the house mouse walks over it and gets stuck to it.
This type of mice removal is not for the faint-hearted, you may find one stuck and still alive and you will need to put it out of its misery.
It is possible to apply oil to the glue and free the mouse outside.
For effective mice removal, place along walls.
This form of pest control involves cubes or blocks that mice love the taste of. The majority of bait blocks contain an anticoagulant which causes internal bleeding in mice.
This type of pest control is very fast-acting compared to other poisons used for a rodent infestation.
When placed in attic spaces they do have a downside to them, the attic mice will eat the bait blocks and go to their nest and die if the nest happens to be where they create tunnels in your insulation you may never find the dead mouse. There could be an awful smell in the attic space because of this.
This is a new form of pest control, using electric shock to kill large mice infestations. It is able to kill more mice than a snap trap or live traps.
Electronic traps are more humane than most traps as they are instant and do not allow the mice living in the attic to suffer.
CO2 Multi trap
This type of pest control kills many mice, the mice are attracted to a nice smell inside the trap, and carbon dioxide kills the mice very quickly.
How to get rid of mice in your attic
Here are some simple tips to get rid of a mouse infestation, set mouse traps lengthways along the walls and corners of the attic and crawl spaces. Mice do not have good eyesight and rely on their whiskers to guide them.
You can place traps on ceiling joists and areas where you find evidence of mice, like a nest or mouse droppings.
When you have placed the mouse trap block off the sides so that the mouse has to go onto the trap from the front.
Place a pea-size amount of peanut butter on the trap, mice love it!
We recommend that you do not put mouse traps on top of the insulation, apart from the chances of it getting knocked over and failing you may stop the insulation from doing its job if it is disturbed.
Check the traps daily
A mouse left on a mousetrap for any length of time in the attic will cause a stink, so check them daily, remove the dead mouse and reset the trap.
Dead mice will attract more mice and other pests and rodents in the attic.
If you are catching a lot of mice you are doing a great job!
Sometimes a mousetrap can be set off without catching the mouse so it will need to be reset.
If you find you are not catching mice you may need to move the traps around for results.
Setting traps around the home
Mice may come from the attic into the rest of your home, so put some traps around the home. Be careful if you have family members that are children and pets.
Place traps behind the refrigerator and cupboards, as well as along walls. Place traps behind the cooker, washer, dryer, water heater and furnace.
If you discover a nest or a trap near it, a female house mouse will never venture far from it.
Professional pest control service
If you feel the mice are winning, call in the pest control experts who have the knowledge and products to get rid of a mouse infestation, they will also come back and empty the mouse traps.
Another part of a pest control service is that an inspector will come to the house to take a look around for entry points and give advice on sealing entry points.
When choosing a pest control service company make sure they are insured and licensed.
Also, look at their website. Does it appear professional?
Are there good client reviews, did they do a great job?
Check they have guarantees for getting rid of attic mice.
We came across one company that uses eco-friendly pest control solutions that are safe around pets and children. Check if your chosen company can offer the same when getting rid of attic mice.
Some mice infestations will require multiple visits, it could be to check traps or remove mice.
Find out if after the mice infestation has gone and mice return that the company will come back straight away to get rid of the new attic mice.
How to avoid a mouse infestation
Follow these simple tips to be free from rodents.
Seal entry points.
Declutter the house, clutter can provide hiding places and nesting materials for rodents.
Deep cleaning is a must as a mouse carries health risks and can spread diseases and carry bacteria with their tiny feet and they can contaminate food.
Mice can live on 4 grammes of food a day, so even the smallest crumbs will keep a mouse going. Vacuum the floor often and wipe counters regularly.
Mouse proof food storage areas. Use glass jars for dried grain and airtight containers for food.
Mouse proof food storage areas like larders.
Glass jars and metal containers are difficult for mice to get into.
Remove any water sources.
Keep food put away, food sources are what attracts mice in the first place.
Keep garbage secure to prevent a pest problem. The garbage in your bins will be a great food source for rodents.
We hope you have found this article on how to get rid of mice in your attic helpful and that you have been able to share our advice with other family members about pest problems involving mice and how to get rid of mice.
By following our simple tips you can avoid rodents from returning to your home.
Remember to keep your home well maintained and keep all food sources put away in glass jars or metal containers.
Seal all possible entry points to the attic and home to prevent mice infestations.
Feel free to drop us an email if you have any questions for us on how to get rid of mice, we do our best to reply as quickly as possible.
Why not take a look at the rest of our website where you will find helpful advice and tips on numerous other pests, from bed bugs through to groundhogs.