How to Get Rid of Field and House Mice
KNOW YOUR ENEMY
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 ARE THEY 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 are condemning it to certain death from predators because 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 which will quickly result in it becoming dinner for the many predators out there looking for an easy meal; or it will die from starvation, exposure or stress. Catch and release is not a humane option).
Trip Trap Live Capture Mouse Trap
Trapper Clockwork Live Capture Mouse Trap
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.
The Snap-E Mouse Trap or the Trapper Mini Rex 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.
Snap E Mouse Trap
Mini Rex Mouse Trap
Rodenticides: (Poison baits)
For the control of an established mouse population by non-professionals, 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 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.
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)
SX Euro Bait Box
Protecta Mouse Bait Box
RTU Mouse Bait Box
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.
Mouse Proofing Paste
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.
Summary of the four best ways to get rid of mice:
- Lethal Traps
- Live Catch Traps
Prevention is better and cheaper than cure.