Spotting a mouse running across your floors at night is a disturbing encounter that would send chills down many homeowners’ spines, and for a good reason. Mice often carry disease and can cause extensive damage to our homes. On top of this, they can threaten our lives through food contamination and eating through wires in our homes, which can be a serious fire hazard.

You can take many measures to eradicate mice, but depending on how severe your infestation is, you may need the help of a pest control company to keep them from coming back. For example, if you have a colony of mice that has many entry points, you’ll likely need professional intervention. Read on to learn more about identifying a mouse infestation and getting rid of mice in your home. 

Signs You May Have a Mice Infestation

So, how do you know if you have mice in your home? For starters, if you spot a rodent in your home, know that it’s highly likely that you have more nearby due to their ability to breed rapidly. Mice are nocturnal, so it’s rare to see them. However, they do leave many signs indicating that you may have a mouse problem: 

  • Mouse droppings look like black, rice-shaped pellets and are typically found near walls, baseboards, or holes. These are a strong indication that you have a mouse infestation.
  • Holes, scratch marks, or gnawed wood, alongside interior or exterior walls, are also signs that you may have a mouse problem. 
  • Musty odors, typically from mouse urine or droppings. 
  • Strange noises. If you notice scratching or scurrying sounds coming from your walls or crawl spaces, you likely have some kind of rodent infestation hiding out in your walls. 
  • Finding nests created from shredded paper or insulation. These nests will often be hidden behind or underneath furniture. 
  • Small footprints found in dust.
  • Chew marks on electrical wiring, wood, or food containers. 

Identifying Mice

Many people struggle to identify mice, especially when differentiating between rats and mice. Typically, rats have larger heads, while mice have smaller heads. Both mice and rats leave behind similar signs of infestation, but rats have more prominent bite marks and longer, thicker, and hairless tails. In contrast, mice’s tails are thin and hairy. 

Three primary types of mice will live inside human homes: house mice, deer mice, and white-footed mice. Each has its own unique characteristics and look, with different treatment needs, so it’s vital to establish which type of mouse you have first before beginning treatment. 

  • House Mouse: House mice are smaller and commonly found in homes and near people. They have gray-brown hair and a notably longer tail than their body.
  • Deer Mouse: Deer mice are more easily spotted than other mice because they frequently travel away from their nest, unlike house mice. Typically, they have gray-brown or red-brown hair with a white belly and feet. Their tails are shorter and usually half the length of their body.
  • White-footed Mouse: White-footed mice look similar to deer mice but are much larger. Like deer mice, they will travel away from their nests. 

The Best Ways to Get Rid of Mice 

Seal All Entryways 

Mice are notorious for squeezing through small spaces, often needing only a ¼ inch opening to enter your home. Start by sealing all entry points so that new mice can’t enter your home. Look for cracks in your home’s foundation, wall openings, and gaps between your door and floor because mice will frequently squeeze underneath doors. Steel wool, cotton balls, and caulking products are effective ways to seal off entry points because it eliminates the hole or deters the mouse from chewing or gnawing their way through. Double-check your door is sealed tightly and add a weather strip if there is a gap. 

Remove Food

Mice thrive on human food and will eat just about anything. During the winter, rodents are especially interested in coming into our homes to find shelter and food. To prevent this, ensure that you remove all food by keeping your counters and tables clean, food in sealed containers in the pantry, and other food in your refrigerator. Don’t leave food or dishes out as this can attract mice and many other pests. 

Set up Mouse Traps

A common way to get rid of mice is mouse traps. Today, many varieties of mouse traps are available on the market that can effectively eliminate your mouse problem.

Set up Classic Wooden Mouse Traps 

Classic wooden mouse traps, or snap traps, are what most of us think about when we think of mouse traps. Most wooden mouse traps have a simple spring-loaded bar that will immediately crush the mouse. However, sometimes the trap will fail to kill the mouse and will only injure the mouse instead. You’ll also have to deal with the dead mice and frequently clean up to keep killing more mice.

Another thing to note is that these mouse traps may not be a good idea around pets or children, as they may get too close and injure themselves or find an injured, angry mouse near one. 

Use Glue Mouse Traps

Glue mouse traps are strips of paper with a sticky adhesive on them. When a mouse runs across a glue board, they become stuck to it and cannot flee. While a glue trap doesn’t necessarily kill the mouse, you will still have to dispose of the live, trapped mouse, which can be unpleasant. 

Set up Plastic No-Harm Traps

Consider a box or live trap if you’re interested in options that don’t kill the mice but trap them. Plastic or metal box traps are designed to catch mice without harming them. Typically, you place a bait, such as peanut butter, in the box trap, set it, and wait for a mouse to be caught. 

Then, you’ll need to relocate the mouse at least a mile away from your home to prevent it from coming back to your property. While this method doesn’t harm the mouse, it can be slow going and often won’t keep up with the speed that female mice can breed. This trap is better suited for the occasional mouse that finds its way into your home rather than a large infestation. 

Use Bait Stations

These traps contain poisonous bait blocks, which attract mice inside and outside your house. Once the bait station is consumed, the mouse will usually return to its nest and die. 

How to Prevent Mice From Getting In Your Home

Most mice infestations begin in the fall because temperatures drop, prompting mice to look for shelter and food. Try the following steps beginning in the summer to prevent mice from getting into your home: 

  • Seal entryways: Regularly check for holes, gaps, and cracks in your home’s exterior. Mice can easily squeeze through tiny holes, so make sure you are actively patching up holes to prevent mice from entering your home. 
  • Keep your doors and windows shut: Don’t give pests an easy way to enter your home. Keep all your doors and windows closed so that mice don’t reenter your house. 
  • Clean your home thoroughly and regularly: Food crumbs, spills, trash, and dirty dishes are attractive to mice because they are potential food sources. Keep your house clean and food put away to decrease possible food sources for pests. 
  • Get rid of nesting material: If you have leaf piles, mounds of mulch, or paper scraps piled up, clear these out to prevent mice from using these as nesting sites. 

Best Professional Pest Control Companies For Mice Removal

Mice are rapid breeders that can quickly take over a home. They can be challenging to get rid of and threaten human health and safety. If you have mice, you may want to consider hiring a professional pest company for mice control services to ensure the problem is dealt with quickly and efficiently. Hiring a pest control professional is especially important if you notice more and more signs of mice or if they continuously return to your property. An experienced pest control technician can look for holes or entry points that you’ve missed that mice may be using to enter your home. 

Terminix is one of the best professional pest control companies for mice removal and preventative rodent control methods. They start by inspecting your home and creating a custom treatment plan to get intrusive mice out and prevent them from returning. Then, they will complete annual inspections to ensure that no rodents are found in your home again. If they are, Terminix will immediately retreat your home.  

Get a free quote from Terminix by filling out this form or calling 877-544-4104.

Read our Terminix Review to learn more.

Final Thoughts

Mice can be tricky to remove from your home due to their tenacity, fast-breeding, large mouse population, and ability to thrive in most human environments. If you’re struggling with mice, we strongly recommend hiring a professional, like Terminix, to deal with your mouse problem because mice are a human health hazard. Even mice feces can be dangerous to clean up on your own and should be cleaned up by a professional with the proper safety equipment. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Are mouse traps humane?

This depends strongly on the mousetrap. Traditional wooden mice traps are not humane because they typically use a spring-loaded bar to crush the mouse. Other traps, like rodent bait traps, are also designed to be deadly and poison the mouse. However, you can find humane mouse traps, like box traps or plastic traps, designed to catch the mouse without injuring them. In short, it all depends on what you’re looking for. We recommend considering your comfort level with killing the mice and disposing of their bodies. Like the box trap, other traps will require you to release the mouse, which will require safety precautions on your end.

What time do mice come out at night?

Mice are nocturnal animals and are usually most active between dusk and dawn. If you’re trying to spot a mouse, make sure that all bright lights are turned off. If you start seeing mice during the day, this is often a sign of a large infestation in your home because mice typically avoid humans or going out during the day.

How can I get rid of mice without killing them?

Box mouse traps are a good option for catching mice without harming them. You will need to relocate the mouse at least a mile away from your home after the mouse is caught. Other humane methods to get rid of mice include taking strong preventative measures, like using sealants, filling in holes, and removing food crumbs, trash, spills, and left out pet food that may be attracting them to your home in the first place.

What do mice hate?

Mice have senses of smell, so many scents are off-putting to them. Mice hate strong odors, especially the smell of cloves, peppermint essential oil, and cayenne pepper. All three can be DIY mouse repellent to discourage mice from coming onto your property. Mice are also known to dislike dryer sheets, tea bags, bleach, mint toothpaste, cinnamon, and ammonia.

How long does it take to get rid of/catch a mouse?

This will depend strongly on the severity of your mouse infestation, but it will usually take one to three months for exterminators to remove mice entirely from your home. If you have a single mouse that you’re trying to catch, a good mousetrap could get rid of them within a few days of being set.

How does an exterminator get rid of mice?

Most exterminators will start by inspecting your home to determine the severity of your mice infestation. Once they’ve determined this and the type of mice they’re dealing with, they will create a customized plan to remove mice from your property. Some pest control companies may use chemical baits, mechanical devices, or preventative measures.

How much does mice removal cost?

Mice removal costs will vary based on where you live, the size of your property, and the severity of your mouse infestation. Typically, you can expect to pay at least $100 to $500 in more severe cases.

Editorial Contributors
Sam Wasson

Sam Wasson

Staff Writer

Sam Wasson graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in Film and Media Arts with an Emphasis in Entertainment Arts and Engineering. Sam brings over four years of content writing and media production experience to the Today’s Homeowner content team. He specializes in the pest control, landscaping, and moving categories. Sam aims to answer homeowners’ difficult questions by providing well-researched, accurate, transparent, and entertaining content to Today’s Homeowner readers.

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Lora Novak

Senior Editor

Lora Novak meticulously proofreads and edits all commercial content for Today’s Homeowner to guarantee that it contains the most up-to-date information. Lora brings over 12 years of writing, editing, and digital marketing expertise. She’s worked on thousands of articles related to heating, air conditioning, ventilation, roofing, plumbing, lawn/garden, pest control, insurance, and other general homeownership topics.

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