Mouse scurrying on floor

The Expert Guide on How to Get Rid of Mice Yourself

Discovering mice in your home can be an unsettling experience. These unwelcome guests aren't only a nuisance, but can cause significant damage, and pose health risks due to their ability to spread diseases. As such, it's crucial to tackle the problem head-on, fast and effectively.

Although some third parties such as pest control service companies and your local authority may provide pest control services, they often charge hefty fees for this. With the right products and expert know-how from, you can address your mice situation yourself in a fast and cost effective way.

This expert guide on how to get rid of mice yourself provides a comprehensive, step-by-step approach for everything you need to know. From recognising signs of a mouse infestation, to choosing the right DIY mouse control products you can deploy immediately.

Are Mice Dangerous?

Although some people consider them cute, mice pose a real risk to human health, and can also cause damage to buildings and property. Here's some of the most common risks to humans posed by mice:

Disease Transmission

Mice can carry harmful pathogens and diseases. Through urine, droppings, dander, saliva, and from carrying fleas or mites, they can quickly spread diseases like hantavirus, leptospirosis, salmonella, and even bubonic plague. It's crucial to think about the health risks that these pose, especially in homes with young children or the elderly.

Allergy and Asthma Triggers

Mouse droppings, urine, and dander are potent triggers for allergic reactions and can significantly exacerbate asthma symptoms. Regular cleaning can help to some degree, but you may need to do more to mitigate these health concerns.

Food Contamination

Mice have little respect for human food supplies, and once they infiltrate a pantry, they will not only eat but also spoil your food. Beyond the immediate waste, the potential ingestion of contaminated food can lead to food poisoning and health issues.

Electrical Hazards

Mice have compulsive gnawing habits to maintain the length of their constantly growing teeth. This makes them more than a mere nuisance. They are experts at chewing through electrical wires, which can damage household systems and pose a significant fire risk. They can also chew other utilities including gas pipes and water pipes, impacting supply and causing leaks. Addressing an infestation quickly reduces the chance of such dangers and disruption.

Structural Damage

These critters don't stop at electrical wires; they can chew through insulation, wood, and even soft concrete, compromising the integrity of a building. The cost of repair can be steep, making early intervention and learning how to get rid of mice effectively both financially and structurally sound choices.

Five risks to humans from mice

Types of Mice

There are several species of mice in the UK, but the most common are: 

House Mouse

This is the most familiar species, often found living alongside humans in homes and buildings.

Wood Mouse

Also known as the long-tailed field mouse, this species is common in woodlands, gardens, and fields. They are more suited to living outdoors, but may try to move indoors in the colder months.

Yellow-necked Mouse

Similar to the wood mouse but distinguished by its yellowish fur band around the neck. It's less common and mostly found in the south of England.

Harvest Mouse

The smallest of the UK mice, known for its unique prehensile tail which acts like a fifth limb, helping it climb stalks of long grasses. It's widespread but more common in the south.

4 common types of mice

Mouse Behaviour

It's crucial to understand mice if you want to deal with these unwelcome pests. A good way to build the mindset required to outsmart these tiny home intruders is to put yourself in their shoes and study their behaviour. In doing so, you will see how their search for food and shelter leads them to invade our homes in the first place.

Why Do Mice Enter Our Homes?

Mice have certain behaviours that lead to them to becoming pests and entering our homes. Mice are not nocturnal so their constant search for warmth, shelter and food sources drives them inside our homes and flats, especially during the colder winter months.

How Do Mice Enter Our Homes?

With agile bodies and flexible bones, these tiny creatures can squeeze through gaps no more than a pencil's width or around 5mm. The most common entry points include gaps in foundations, roofs, doorways and garages. They can easily climb vines, branches and trellises to access the building.

If a neighbouring property has an infestation, then this can spread quickly into your home or business unless you take action.

Where Do Mice Live Inside Our Homes?

Once inside, mice like to build their nests from soft materials they find around the house. They prefer to live in hidden spaces close to food sources. This may include voids in the walls, under the floor, in the attic, in cluttered rooms, in furniture voids, under cabinets, or in the bases of kitchen appliances. As nocturnal animals, mice spend their days asleep and nights scavenging for food and building their nests.

Mouse nest

What Do Mice Eat?

Mice are opportunistic feeders with a primarily omnivorous diet. They are sporadic eaters who enjoy nibbling on a variety of food sources rather than repeating the same one all the time. They can easily make 20-30 trips per night to visit food source, taking a small amount each time.

In the wild, their diet consists of a variety of foods including seeds, grains, nuts, fruits, and insects. However, when they enter homes, their diet expands to include whatever is available. This often includes scraps of food, crumbs, pet food, and even food stored in pantries or cupboards. They get their water from the moisture that exists in food.

Mice have a particular fondness for high-calorie and high-nutrient foods, such as nuts and seeds, but they will eat almost anything they can find and contaminate foodstuffs.

Mouse eating seed

Why Do Mice Gnaw So Much?

Mice constantly gnaw to file their constantly growing front incisor teeth. This often results in them chewing on non-food items like boxes, wood, paper, and plastics. If they stopped gnawing the teeth would eventually grow to an extent that they would no longer be able to eat.

How Long Do Mice Live For?

The lifespan of a mouse can vary depending on the species and living conditions. In the wild, mice usually live for about 12 to 18 months due to predators and harsh environmental conditions. However, in protected environments like homes, they can live up to two or three years. Factors such as availability of food, absence of predators, and a warm shelter can significantly increase their lifespan. It's important to note that while mice may not live very long, their ability to breed rapidly can sustain their population over time.

How Quickly Do Mice Breed?

Mice are known for their rapid breeding capabilities. Under ideal conditions, a single pair of mice can produce a large number of offspring in a very short time.

A female mouse can become sexually mature as early as six weeks of age and can give birth to a litter of approximately 5-10 pups after a gestation period of about 20-21 days. A female mouse can go onto have 5 to 10 litters per year, each time giving birth to 5-10 pups, that's up to 100 mice.

This rapid reproduction rate is one of the reasons why you need to act fast. A small mouse problem can quickly escalate into a full-blown infestation if not addressed promptly. 

Adult mice with pups

Identifying Signs of a Mouse Infestation

If you've noticed an uninvited guest scurrying across your living room or heard mysterious movements at night, the chances are you might be facing a mouse infestation. Let's review some clear indicators that these tiny intruders are in your home.

Mouse Droppings

Little, dark pellets are a tell-tale sign of a mouse problem. You’ll typically find these near food sources or along walls.

Mouse droppings

Strange Noises

Squeaks, scratching, and rustling in the walls, especially at night when mice are most active, could indicate their presence.

Gnaw Marks

Mice have sharp, strong teeth. Look for chewed wires, furniture, or even food packaging as evidence of their gnawing habits.

Mice gnaw marks on cardboard

Smear Marks

Mice can leave dark grey marks on surfaces such as skirting boards, which they come into repeated contact with. This is caused by the oils in the mouse fur.

Nesting Materials

Shredded paper, fabric, or plant matter tucked away in quiet corners can be nested to house their young.

Odd Pet Behaviour

If your cat or dog is fixated on a particular area in the house, they might be sensing mice.

Dog reacting strangely to mice

Foul Odour

A stale smell could be caused by the ammonia from mouse urine, or worse, a deceased mouse decomposing within your walls or floors.

Gaps and Holes

Mice can fit through spaces the width of a pencil. Inspect your home's exterior for entry points they might be using.

Preventing Mice in Your Home

Once you have identified a mouse infestation, or if you aim to prevent one in the future, it's crucial to ensure that your home is mouse-proof. Identify their entry points, maintain cleanliness, and manage your outdoor space effectively. Such actions, will prevent further mice from getting into your home.

Ongoing Prevention Techniques 

Finding and Sealing Entry Points

Mice are agile animals and can squeeze through gaps the width of a pencil. Keeping mice at bay begins with finding and sealing their access routes into your home.

Common entryways include gaps in walls, window frames, door frames, and even where pipes enter your house. Bear in mind that mice are most likely to enter low level gaps. Check the gaps below exterior doors as door sweeps may be necessary to prevent mice from entry.

Regular and meticulous inspection is necessary. Block any gaps with materials such as steel wool, caulk, wire mesh, or specially designed seals to save you a world of trouble.

Tracing the paths mice take can seem like you’re in a detective story. Look out for tell-tale signs like droppings, greasy marks along skirting boards, or nibbled food packaging. Keep in mind that a mouse can squeeze through the smallest holes, so scrutinise every nook and cranny with a keen eye. 

Sealing gaps from mice

Tidy Storage Areas

Keep basements, attics, and garages clutter-free, as these can be inviting nesting spots. Store items in plastic bins with tight-fitting lids instead of cardboard boxes.

Food Sanitation and Waste Management

Mice love food waste. Regular housekeeping – involving the storing of food in airtight containers, frequent sweeping and disposing of food waste – reduces the appeal of your home to these pests. Simply ensuring kitchen counters and floors are crumb-free, and food stored away in containers at night is particularly effective.

Ensure rubbish bins have secure lids and are emptied regularly. Mice are attracted to food waste so keeping this tidied away is crucial in learning how to get rid of mice.

Bins carrying home waste

Importance of Outdoor Maintenance

Your garden can either be a deterrent or an invitation to mice. Keep it tidy by removing potential nesting sites. This may involve cutting back overgrown areas, disposing waste appropriately, and clearing woodpiles away from your house, and trimming branches that might hide or help mice into your home. An orderly outdoor area could significantly decrease the likelihood of a mouse problem.

Regular Inspection and Maintenance Tips

Quarterly Checks

At the change of each season, conduct a thorough check of your property. This includes assessing for any wear and tear that could become potential entryways for mice.

Trim Vegetation

Keep shrubbery and branches trimmed back from your home's exterior to remove highways for mice to travel and hide.

Trimming vegetation to deter mice

Keep an Eye on Pipes

Plumbing and electrical conduits can be express lanes for mice to enter your home. Add escutcheon rings where pipes enter your walls.

Community Involvement and Neighbourhood Cleanliness

Talk to Your Neighbours

Share tips with each other and report any significant rodent sightings to local authorities. Sometimes, an area-wide problem is best tackled together.

Neighbourhood Clean-Up Days

Participate in, or organise, community clean-ups to help reduce overall pest attraction within your neighbourhood.

Mouse Control: Catching Mice With Traps

Let's have a look at the various ways of trapping and removing mice in your home. We shall cover the different types of traps, when you might want to use them, and some tips you can employ to effectively catch mice.

Different Types of Mouse Traps

Snap Mouse Traps

Snap traps are what most people think of when they hear the term mouse trap. They are set up close to where mice are known to roam, using bait like food or nesting bits to lure them in. Once the rodent sets off the spring, a metal bar quickly snaps down, killing the mouse.

Well built traps that work properly are very effective at killing mice quickly and painlessly, and therefore can be considered humane, however some cheaper traps are less effective so you must pick carefully.

Snap traps are the most simple to use, non-toxic and cost effective mouse trap solutions. They also have the advantage of being reusable, however many people prefer to throw them out with the mouse, creating waste.

The main drawbacks of snap traps are the fact that they can trigger when you set them up causing injury. For this reason, people with pets and young children need to be extra cautious. To counteract this, you may wish to consider using a lockable bait station that has space to accommodate a snap trap.

Snap traps also have a reputation for misfiring, sometimes injuring rather than killing the mouse.

Live mouse trap

Live Mouse Traps

Live traps are perfect for people who are looking for a non-lethal solution to remove mice. Similar to other traps, live traps use food baits to attract mice, triggering a door to snap shut, capturing the mouse inside. After capture, simply release the unwelcome guest into the wild again usually 2-3 miles away to stop them returning.

The main advantage of a live trap is that they are more humane and ensure you can evict a mouse without direct contact or visibility. They are also safer around young children and pets.

The main drawback of live traps is that you can usually only catch one mouse at a time which makes them ineffective during large infestations. Live traps are typically more expensive and require more time commitment. You have to check the trap regularly as it's not advised to keep mice trapped there for a long time to prevent suffering. You will also have to spend time releasing the mice too.

If you're using a live trap, check it often, ideally every few hours. Mice can die from stress or dehydration if left trapped for too long. Release captured mice at least 2-3 miles away from your home to reduce the chance of them returning. Always wear gloves when handling traps to prevent your scent from transferring to them, and to protect yourself from potential bites.

Mouse caught in live mouse trap

Glue mouse traps

Glue traps are disposable thin sheets of hard cardboard with a sticky adhesive substance on one side. The trap is easy to set by peeling off the protective layer. The sticky substance contains enticing bait to draw mice in, who mistake the sticky substance for a meal and become stuck and typically die from dehydration.

This is the least humane option and will be banned from general public use in the UK from April 2024.

Best Practices for Setting Up Mouse Traps

You may find this guide on setting up a mouse trap useful. However, here is the short summary.

  • Wear gloves throughout as mice can detect your scent on traps you've handled and food you've prepared, and may stay away as a result.
  • The right mouse bait can make all the difference. Mice love seeds and nuts, but they're surprisingly fond of sweet treats like nutty chocolate and marshmallows too. Peanut butter or soft cheese are excellent all-round attractants.
  • A pea-sized amount of bait is ideal for snap traps, and any more might allow the mouse to steal some without setting off the trap.
  • Place traps along walls or near potential entry points, since mice usually scurry along edges rather than dart across open space.
  • Place traps at right angles to the wall so they can be triggered from both directions.
  • Set traps every 50-100cm in areas where there's been signs of mouse activity.
  • Set up as many traps as possible on the first night, as mice become more aware of traps over time and may start to avoid them.
  • Remember, safety is key – keep traps out of reach of pets and children. To this extent, you may wish to consider using a lockable bait station that has space to accommodate a snap trap.

    Using Ultrasonic Mice Repellents

    These innovative devices emit high-frequency sound waves that are inaudible to humans and pets but highly disturbing to mice. Essentially, these sounds create an uncomfortable environment for mice, encouraging them to seek refuge elsewhere. The frequencies are specifically designed to target the unique hearing range of rodents, ensuring your home becomes a no-go zone for these pests.

    Rest assured, these devices are deemed safe for use around children and common household pets. Their operational design focuses solely on deterring mice without resorting to lethal or toxic methods.

    To maximise their potential, ultrasonic repellents should ideally be placed in areas of known mouse activity. It's important that these devices have a clear path to emit the sound, as obstructions can limit their range.

    Ultrasonic mice repellents

    Using Chemical Mice Solutions and Rodenticides

    Chemical solutions for mice include rodenticides which are poisons that are specifically designed to kill rodents such as mice; however, they may also kill other animals who come into contact such as squirrels. They usually take the form of bait and are flavoured with enticing flavours to attract the mice. The most important thing is to keep them out of the reach of children and pets.

    There are times when poison or chemical repellents might become the most effective solution:

    • When mouse populations are large or escalating quickly.
    • If mice have become savvy to traditional traps or avoidance measures.
    • In environments where food sources are abundant and difficult to control.
    • To prevent the spread of disease in high-risk areas, such as food storage facilities.

    Safety Considerations When Using Chemicals

    When considering how to get rid of mice, several methods, including traps and natural deterrents including smells that mice hate, should be considered first. Using poison or chemicals to control mice is not a choice to be made lightly, as they can pose significant risks to humans, pets, and the environment. Here are essential safety tips you must follow:

    Read and Follow Instructions

    Manufacturer guidelines are there for a reason, to ensure your safety and the effectiveness of the product. Follow them to the letter.

    Wear Protective Gear

    Gloves, masks, and even eye protection are important when handling chemicals.

    Safe Placement

    Ensure chemicals are placed in areas inaccessible to children and pets (e.g. using tamper-resistant bait stations).

    Monitor Regularly

    Check bait stations frequently for signs of activity and to discard deceased rodents properly.

    Know the Risks

    Be aware that dead mice can also pose health risks; they may carry the poison in their bodies, presenting secondary poisoning risks to predators.

    Personal protective equipment

      When To Use Professional Pest Control Services for Mice

      While DIY methods definitely can be effective and appealing, the expertise of professional pest control services may become necessary in certain situations.

      The Expertise Professionals Bring

      Specialised Skills

      Trained technicians bring a wealth of knowledge about mice behaviour, habitats, and the most effective ways to remove them.

      Tailored Solutions

      A one-size-fits-all approach doesn't always cut it with mice. Professionals assess your specific situation to implement targeted strategies.

      Safety First

      Handling mice infestations can be risky. Experts use safe methods, ensuring no harm comes to your family or pets.

      When to Call the Professionals

      Recurring Sightings

      If you frequently see mice or signs of their presence, it's a sure sign that it's time for professional intervention.

      Damage to Property

      When you notice gnawed wires or structural damage, swift action is necessary to prevent further harm.

      Preventative Measures

      Even if you haven't seen a mouse, having a professional pre-emptively assess your home can save you from future invasions.

      Professional Pest Control

      Legal Considerations for Mice in the UK

      When managing wildlife and pest control, it's important to follow strict regulations to ensure humane and legal practices. Here are the key rules one must adhere to:

      • Only capture or eliminate animals that are legally permitted for such actions.
      • Employ only legally sanctioned methods when putting down animals.
      • Utilise poison exclusively for the specific pests indicated on the product label.
      • Use only traps officially sanctioned for the particular species you are aiming to manage, and be sure to use them as directed.

      Moreover, certain methods are prohibited in wildlife control, such as:

      • Using self-locking snares.
      • Hunting with bows and crossbows.
      • Deploying explosives, except for approved ammunition in licensed firearms.
      • Using live birds or animals as bait, known as live decoys, without holding a valid license.

      Meanwhile, landlords have a duty of care to their tenants and must ensure that the property is safe and habitable. This includes addressing pest infestations promptly. The Prevention of Damage by Pests Act 1949 requires property owners and landlords to keep premises rodent-free, or if they pose a threat to health or property, to report any infestation to the local authority.

      Final Thoughts

      By following the essential strategies mentioned above, you can achieve a mouse-free home and ensure the safety and tranquility of your living space. Remember to identify and seal entry points diligently, maintaining a fortress-like defence against these unwelcome guests.

      Keeping your home clean and free of food waste and clutter acts as a secondary line of defence, forcing mice elsewhere. Additionally, employing traps and natural deterrents will help you tackle any mice that manage to sneak past your initial defences. Acting promptly is crucial as mice pose genuine health risks and can breed rapidly. If the situation escalates beyond your control, don't hesitate to seek professional assistance.

      Getting rid of mice requires ongoing commitment and vigilance. Incorporate these strategies into your routine to build a solid barrier against pests and enjoy peace of mind. Ultimately, the goal is to have a secure and serene living environment, free from the scurrying and worries of a mouse invasion.

      We go to great lengths to ensure that all our DIY mouse control products are effective, safe & easy-to-use.

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