Know your enemy
Before you can know how to get rid of field and house mice you need to know what they are. Field mice are closely related to house mice, in fact only being recognized as a separate species in 1894. The field mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus) is slightly larger than a house mouse (mus domesticus) and has a longer tail. It is a sandy brown colour, with a white underside, as opposed to the house mouse, which comes in a variety of colours and coat types.
House mice exist in the wild in every part of the world except central South America, Africa, Antarctica and The Arctic. The most obvious difference are the bulging black eyes of the field mouse and its large bare ears.
The Field Mouse is found predominantly in Southern Europe, but also Scandinavia and Britain.
Where they are found
Usually found in the fields, hedgerows and woods. During cold weather they will occasionally invade homes and buildings in search of food and shelter. Once established however, they can do a great deal of damage through chewing, spoiling food, urinating and defecating.
When in domestic houses, they are most commonly heard moving about in the loft or cavity walls. There may be signs of them in the kitchen and particularly under the kitchen sink where pipes may enter the building.
Being good climbers they frequently take up residence in lofts and are common within garages and outbuildings.
How to tell you have mice
- Generally a rapidly moving small brown object caught in your peripheral vision is the first sighting.
- Frequently in the evenings as you sit quietly watching TV.
- Mice are nocturnal and if the infestation is well established they are likely to be seen in the house foraging for food.
- Frequently found in kitchen cupboards, loft or garage.
- Small, black and the size and shape of rice.
- Scattered around the mouse’s territory as it defecates about eighty times a day and urinates as it moves around.
- Mice and their droppings have a distinctive urine smell, particularly near to their nest, which may be in a box, under the floorboards or any other small warm space.
- Gnawing wood, pipes, insulation, cables, lead, plastic and anything else they can get their teeth round.
- Rats also leave a vast amount of debris from their explorations so check for any droppings to help identify the culprit.
There are three basic methods of control.
Live Capture Traps
If you only have one or two mice that have recently moved in, then live capture traps, such as the Trip Trap Mouse Trap or the Trapper Clockwork Mouse Trap may resolve the problem. If you have an established colony then you are most unlikely to eliminate the problem with live capture traps due to the very rapid breeding ability of mice and the fact that some mice never enter traps.
Unlike rats, mice quickly accept new objects in their territory and will use carefully positioned live traps within hours of placement.
If you do decide to use live capture traps for subsequent release of the mouse, be sure to release it at least half a mile so more from home or it will quickly be back. Please check the trap at least twice a day.
(Be aware that by releasing the mouse into a new and unfamiliar area, you may be condemning it to death from predators. It will not be allowed to share the territory of existing mice in that area and will be forced to find inadequate food and shelter; or it will die from starvation, exposure or stress. Catch and release is nota humane option).
Trip Trap Live Capture Mouse Trap
Trip Trap Live Capture Mouse Trap is a very efficient and ‘stylish’ single live-catch mouse trap. It has a simple but efficient one way door.
Trapper Clockwork Live Capture Mouse Trap
Trapper Clockwork Mouse Trap is a multiple-catch mouse trap that holds up to 15 mice. It is a winding trap with a clear view top. Simply wind the knob and place the Trapper in areas where mice travel.
As with live traps, several newcomers can quickly be caught, but if you have an established colony then you will be most unlikely to eliminate them with kill traps.
Snap E Mouse Trap
The Snap-E Mouse Trap will be more than up to the job, baited with some specially formulated mouse attractant, or with a small dab of peanut butter
Trapper Mini Rex Mouse Trap
Trapper Mini Rex is an extra strength mouse snap trap. A smaller, mouse-size version of the powerful T-Rex Rat Trap,Trapper Mini-Rex embodies the most up-to-date snap trap design and technology.
Provoke Mouse Attractant
Provoke Professional Mouse Attractant, even the most finicky mouse will have a hard time resisting Bell’s new mouse attractant,. Developed by the same experts that formulate Bell’s highly effective baits, new PROVOKE is the first and only mouse attractant specifically developed for mice.
Rodenticides: (Poison baits)
For the control of an established mouse population by non-professionals, mouse poison bait is the most effective option.
The advantages of poison baits are:
- Modern rodenticides are carefully formulated to kill mice swiftly and humanely thus eliminating the problem quickly, completely and efficiently
- After consumption of a lethal dose, the rodents typically return to their nests before the effect is fatal
- By following the advice given, an amateur is able to achieve a similar level of mouse control as a professional but for a fraction of the cost
- By using the recommended mouse bait bait boxes, such as the SX Euro Mouse Bait Box or the Protecta Mouse Bait Box, the bait is protected from other birds and animals, greatly minimising the risk of poisoning non-target animals
- The active ingredients of the anti-coagulant baits we sell are either Bromadiolone or Difenacoum and both act by disrupting the normal blood clotting mechanisms, causing an increased tendency to bleed. Death occurs as a result of internal bleeding and consequently the mouse is completely unaware of its predicament and succumbs peacefully, generally in its nest.
Racan Paste Bait
A pack of 24 x Racan Rapid paste sachets formulated with patented microencapsulations technology to ensure mice hit a lethal dose from as little as a mouthful.
Rodex Whole Wheat Mouse Poison
Rodex Whole Wheat Mouse Poison comes in 150g sachets of whole wheat containing 0.0025% w/w bromadiolone. They are ideal for throwing into inaccessible places
Roban Cut Wheat Mouse Poison
Roban Cut Wheat Mouse Poison comes in 40g sachets of cut wheat, containing 0.0025% w/w difenacoum, specifically designed for the control of mice.
The disadvantages of poison bait are:
- Rodenticide inevitably results in the rapid death of the mouse. (By comparison, using a live capture trap to capture and release the rodent elsewhere you are almost certainly condemning it to a long, stressful and traumatic death either in the jaws of a predator or through starvation, exposure or stress)
- There is the potential for poisoning non-target species such as dogs, cats or birds of prey such as owls. (By protecting the bait in our bait stations, you will greatly minimise the risk of non-target birds and animals taking the bait.)
- Where mice inhabit a house there is the potential for the poisoned rodent to die in the walls or loft spaces, which may result in an unpleasant smell. (Mice dry quickly and are unlikely to cause an offensive smell; rats have a larger body weight and they may smell for a while. We sell SX Oda Blocks, deodorizing blocks with a powerful scent to greatly reduce the potential problem
Read more: What is the best mouse poison?
SX Euro Mouse Bait Box
SX Euro Mouse Bait Box are excellent mouse bait stations have been designed to hold loose bait, sachets, block bait or pasta bait.
Protecta Mouse Bait Box
Protecta Mouse Bait Station is an excellent and high quality bait station that combines the ability to use it as a discreet and safe mouse bait station together with a recess designed to hold a Trapper Mini Rex Mouse Trap.
Protecta RTU Mouse Box
The Protecta RTU Mouse Bait Box is a triangular shaped and holds a single block of bait and fits snugly into corners of a room or cupboard. It measures 5 1/4 long x 1 1/4 high x 3 3/4 wide.
How to prevent entry
The objective is to prevent mice getting into your house. Before you start sealing holes please be sure previous occupants have gone.
First eliminate all the mice in your house, then very carefully and thoroughly search all aspects of your house for potential access points. Go round several times and from different directions. Mice can gain access through holes as small as 1 cm (1/4 inch), but usually they quickly open holes to about 2 cm (3/4 inch).
If you can push a biro pen into the gap, then you know a mouse can get through. If mice are using the hole regularly it will probably have a ‘used’ look about it – clear of cobwebs, dust, leaves etc. Mice like to be able to move quickly and easily around their territory.
Here are some tips to help keep mice out:
- Remove all rubbish from around the house, sheds, garage etc. Mice feel vulnerable in open spaces so get rid of any places they can shelter.
- Keep any vegetation around the building short and tidy. Mice like to use ivy and creepers to access the eaves and roof where they may be able to gain entry to the loft. They are very good climbers.
- Ensure no food is stored to which mice can gain access, inside, outside or in sheds and out-houses.
- Repair broken slates or roof tiles. Pay particular attention to areas where mortar is broken.
- Repair holes in the eaves and search for areas where timber may be rotten or insecure.
- Seal holes around pipes and cables going into the house with Decorators Caulk, Expanding Foam or MouseStop proofing Paste.
- Make sure ventilation grates are not broken. We sell Mouse Mesh Grills, designed for the purpose of covering air bricks.
- Make sure windows and doors fit tightly and are not damaged.
- Seal gaps beneath the garage door.
- Look for holes in the earth around the base of the building as mice sometimes gain access to the foundations and then into the cavity walls.
No Nonsense Caulk
Decorators Caulk is the perfect product for sealing those small cracks that insects can enter in the internal structure of a house.
No Nonsense Expanding Foam
No Nonsense Expanding Foam comes in a large 750ml value for money size to ensure you have enough product for an average house sealing exercise.
Mousestop Proofing Paste
Mousestop Rodent Proofing Paste is an animal friendly non-toxic, hard setting paste that is waterproof and able to be painted over. Perfect for sealing those small cracks that mice can access or gaps around pipes.
This is what mice need to survive; make sure you deprive them of both these elements and you should never again have a problem:
- Shelter – to make nests, raise young and hide from predators so make sure your yard, garage, loft and garden is tidy.
- Food – of just about any description so keep all potential mouse food in sealed steel containers. Mice gain most of their moisture requirements from their food and do not need regular access to water in the way rats do.
We provide a number of products to help you mouse proof your house. It is far cheaper to make sure mice never again get into your house or buildings than it is to try to eliminate them every year.
- Live Catch Traps
- Lethal Traps
Summary of the four best ways to get rid of mice:
- Lethal Traps
- Live Catch Traps
Prevention is better and cheaper than cure.
Read more: Ultimate guide to rat and mouse traps