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The Best Ways to Get Rid of Mice in Your House and Garage

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If you build it, mice will come. Sooner or later, you'll probably need to get rid of mice or rats. Fall is prime time for an increase in mice in your house, as they look for winter protection, but mice and rats can move in at any time. While small, mice and rats can cause big problems. They chew on everything, causing property damage and potential fire risks when they gnaw on electrical wiring and build tinder dry nests in dark corners. Rodents can spread disease, on their own, through the parasites they carry (their fleas carried the Black Plague) or through their droppings (such as hantavirus).

get rid of mice

How to Tell if You Have Mice in Your House

It’s probably more common to see mouse droppings or mouse damage before you see the mice themselves, as they are nocturnal. When I was a kid, the little buggers would drive me crazy at night running around up in the attic. Thankfully we didn’t get rats in the house, but they would sometimes show up in the outbuildings around the farm.

Identifying Droppings and Urine

Killum Pest Control offers an excellent online guide to interpreting rodent signs. Please visit their site for more information, but I’ll just share briefly their comments on dropping and urine identification.

Rodent (Mice and Rat) Droppings

Fresh droppings of feces usually are moist, soft, shiny and dark, but in a few days they become dry and hard. Old droppings are dull and grayish and crumble when pressed with a stick. The roof rat’s droppings are up to 1/2 inch long, spindle shaped and curved in contrast to Norway rat droppings which are about the same length but comparatively blunt. Mouse feces are small, averaging about 1/8 inch long, and are pointed on both ends.

Rodent Urine

Dried rodent urine will fluoresce bluish white to yellowish white. Commercial black lights often are used to detect rodent urine, however observing fluorescence is not a guarantee that rodent urine is present. Numerous items will fluoresce under a black light, including optical bleaches found in many detergents and lubricating oil. Of course, if there's a glowing track of pee, odds are you have mouse movement.

Mice commonly mark their trails with urine (yes, I know, you probably didn’t really want to know that…) so that other mice can follow their tracks to food sources. One source I read said that they produce 50-60 droppings per night – ewwww… Once you’ve found their way into your home, you need to block it, otherwise they be right back in via the pee track highway. They can climb, too – like mini rodent ninjas.

Rodent Food and Nests

You may also find food stashes and nests in out of the way corners. I remember finding a mouse nest in the back of an old school desk in my room. Gnawing damage is another dead giveaway. My mom had a cardboard box of old cooking magazines inside a wooden cabinet, and the mini rodent ninjas still found their way in and chewed the edges of the magazines.

How to Keep Mice Out of Your House and Garage

To keep these critters out and keep your family safe and your goods protected, follow these simple steps.

1. Remove Food Sources

Bird food, pet food and other edible odds and ends (even cardboard) that tend to pile up in garages are like mouse nirvana. Crumbs under the couch are a gourmet treat, and a cookie lost by toddler is a mouse family buffet. Seal all food (for pets or humans) in solid containers, not just in bags. (Rats can and will chew through plastic bins, so be warned. You need to use metal containers to keep rats out.) Plastic garbage cans or Rubbermaid tubs will generally keep mice out.

Clean, clean, clean! Gaps between appliances like stoves or refrigerators and cabinets can collect crumbs where they are difficult for you to clean, but handy for mice to dine. Remember, if they can get their heads into a space, their bodies can get in, too.

2. Seal Openings

This is the probably the toughest but most effective way to keep mice out – seal openings. As I mentioned above, if a mouse can get its head though, the body can go through as well. The little pests only need about a ¼ inch (0.6 cm) wide opening. They can jump – up to 18 inches (I told you – mini rodent ninjas), travel upside down (you bet), and crawl along an electrical wire (piece of cake). If you can stick a #2 pencil through a hole, a mouse can probably use it to get into your home.

When you find holes, you want to try and seal them as strongly as possible. The Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management recommends:  Steel wool, copper gauze (stuff-fit) or screen wire packed tightly into openings is a good temporary plug. For long-term or permanent repair, mix a quick-drying patching plaster or anchoring such as Fixall® into a wad of Stuf-it® before pushing the material into the hole, and smooth over the outside. If steel wool is used, rust stains are likely to result. Holes 3 inches (8 cm) or more in diameter should be covered or backed with 1/4-inch (0.6-cm) woven/welded hardware cloth prior to filling with a good patching compound. One of our readers has also had good results with GREAT STUFF Pestblock 12 oz Insulating Foam Sealant. They specifically include a bitter ingredient to make the foam unappetizing to pests.

3. Reduce Outside Habitat

If possible, reduce the amount of mouse habitat outside your home to reduce the number of mice inside your home. Trim trees and shrubs away from the home. Clean up debris, brush piles, and other hiding spots where mice may take cover. Keep your compost bin(s) as tidy as possible (opossums and rats like to raid the compost, too). I saw one site recommend moving wood piles 100 feet from the house and raising them one foot off the ground. Obviously they don’t live in Wisconsin. The mice will have to stay in the wood pile – their nests make great tinder.

4. Set up Barricades with Kitty Litter and Peppermint Essential Oil

One of our readers shared her experience:

I used peppermint oil dropped on plain kitty litter. I put a small bag of litter (5lbs.) in a container from dollar store added 4 oz. Peppermint oil. Put lid on and shook it well. I left it over night. Then I put about a tablespoon of the litter in a small piece of old sheet or cloth whatever you have lying around. tie it into a little bundle or sachet.

Place these around your house outside about every 2 feet and in garage and basement areas along walls. Lasts longer than spraying the oil and you don’t have to worry about woodwork. Remember mice have a keen sense of smell, after all they can find a lost potato chip behind a cabinet. So even though the smell decreases it's still working. All I do is add a fresh drop of the peppermint oil to each little sachet every 6-12 months. Its been over two years since my mice disaster so it is working well for me.

Click here to buy 4 ounces of peppermint essential oil.

Best Ways to Get Rid of Mice that Are Already in Your Home

Your three main options are cats, traps and poison. I’ve come to love my kitties, but it’s not practical for everyone to have a cat or cats in the house, and not all cats are good mousers. (I’ve had friends tell me about their cats who watch the mice run right past them.)

Poisons

Poisons do work, but not immediately. The mice will crawl off and die somewhere and potentially smell really nasty, plus who wants mummified mice sitting around their house? Poisons can also be a danger to children and pets. I remember when my eldest found some ant poison I had put in the back of the closet when he was a toddler. He was fine – Terro is not toxic in small amounts – but it gave me a good scare.

Traps

Your basic wooden trap is cheap and readily available, but can sometimes be hit or miss. A friend of mine was complaining recently that her mice kept stealing the bait but not getting caught in the trap. Two new trap types that look promising to me are Jawz Easy To Set Plastic Mouse Trap and Kness SNAP-E Mousetrap.

We bought a set of Snap-Es, and they are much easier to set than the standard wooden traps. Humane traps are also available, but one site states that you need to take your mouse at least two miles away to make sure it will not return. I am not a mouse chauffeur, and I don’t think it’s right to share my mice with my neighbors.

My mom’s favorite bait was peanut butter, which they can’t grab and carry off. Others suggest tootsie rolls as another “stick tight” option. When you’re placing traps, try to put them along walls where you believe mice are moving. Block their path with a buffet of your choosing instead of letting them into your cupboards.

Two traps side by side are better than one, as they will have a tougher time escaping both (remember – mini rodent ninjas). Set the traps perpendicular to the wall (see photo). Check traps daily, empty and reset as needed. Odor from one mouse may help attract the next mouse, but having a deceased mouse hanging around doesn’t do anyone any favors.

setting mouse trap

Bucket Mouse Trap

Another option that our readers brought to our attention is the Rolling Mouse Trap. It uses a bar, a bucket and peanut butter. The advantage is that it resets itself. The rolling trap can catch multiple mice per night.

This can be a live trap or filled partly with water to kill the mice. An alternate rolling trap is the PAWMATE Rolling Mouse Trap which has a wheel in the center for the peanut butter.

There are numerous YouTube videos on how to build your own if you are interested.

How to Safely Clean Up Mice and Mouse Droppings

Because of the risk of hantavirus and other illnesses, care should be taken when cleaning up mouse droppings/remains, especially in quantity and/or in enclosed areas. (Information adapted from Environment, Health and Safety Online.)

  • Wear gloves, either rubber gloves or work gloves you can wash in hot water
  • Spray the droppings first with 3% hydrogen peroxide, then with white vinegar. This will kill 99% of bacteria. A bleach water solution or disinfectant is also an option.
  • Wipe up droppings with a paper towel, throw towel in garbage
  • Clean area with disinfectant solution or hydrogen peroxide/vinegar combo
  • Wash hands with soap and water before and after removing gloves

If dealing with large amounts of droppings, you may need professional help. At the very least, please wear a face mask or respirator. Please be careful! Your county extension office may be able to provide more information on any known rodent related disease outbreaks in your area.

Treat nesting materials and dead mice similarly. Always wash hands thoroughly after touching contaminated materials.

You may also find these other posts from our Green Home Series useful:

get rid of mice

Originally posted in 2015, updated in 2021.

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176 Comments

  1. One method that does work to control mice and most rats is spearmint or peppermint. The oil of either (sometimes called essential oils) is available from your favorite supplier. Both mint oils are also a commodity, government regulated. If you know how to buy it, a quart of commodity grade peppermint oil can cost little more than those cute boutique bottles of essential oil.
    The other method is to plant either or both mints around your house. The rodents won’t crawl through the mint barrier gladly.
    I mix one part peppermint oil to six or more parts ammonia and put it in a spray bottle. Spray along the outside walls and in the attic. Over time it seems to stop the infestation almost permanently. If you hear the critters at night, spray again.

    1. Mint! I know it is good at keeping spiders and ants away, but mice and rats too! Love it. Will be planting. Thanks for all the information Daryle.

      1. Cats do tend to be very sensitive to essential oils, so if you wanted to use EOs in a household with cats, I’d recommend the other method with mint EO and kitty little packets spread around the perimeter rather than a surface spray.

    2. All,
      Do any of you go about buying peppermint oil in bulk — e.g. by the quart. We just saw a big mouse in our basement and want to take care of business! Thanks!

    3. a cheap and easy clean way to catch mice is with a 5 gallon bucket. Mice need water. Fill the bucket up 1/3rd with water and put near an area where they can climb up next to. Once they get in, the walls of the bucket are too slick so they drown trying to get out. I have caught many mice this way in my warehouse.

    4. I have the plastic traps in the picture. I glue gunned peanuts into the bait cup so they cannot steal them and run off. Also, if they try to pull them out it increases the pressure on the trip device. I have caught 12 mice since Xmas. We live way out in the country.

  2. Must try these tips, especially from Daryle. Rats are attracted to the macadamia nuts which fall from our tree. They are very clever to avoid the traps!

  3. I had mice in my laundry room which is located in a different storage shed. I would go to do laundry and there would be about 2 or 3 partying around my washer. I got traps, put peanut butter on them. I tried both crunchy and smooth. I tried this three times and three times they tripped the trap and had a meal. Grrrrrrr. I finally had to get poison which they devoured, all three boxes and within two days, no more mice, rats, whatever.

    1. Sometimes it takes stronger measures to deal with the problem. I have found that the Snap-E traps seem to be more reliable than our old wooden ones, maybe because the bait goes into the little cup and they have to work a little harder for it.

      1. I used “crunchy” peanut butter & forced a delectable chunk of peanut firmly into each orifice of the curled metal trigger on our old style wooden traps. Top off with a small creamy offering. Works like a charm. They get the easy creamy taste then throw caution to the wind & start to gnaw on the nut bits. End of problem.

        1. I have lots of luck adding a few drops of anise oil to my bait, In don’t even have to change the bait after I catch a mouse, just add some more anise oil to the bait each time, they seem to love the smell.

      2. where do I get peppermint oil in bulk. I need a lot. Also, will it stain wood? I need to treat wood that is visible

          1. Peppermint oil is available at any health food store and may be in some drug stores in Canada. I am not sure where bulk may be purchased. Chinese stores?

      3. I bait my mouse traps with a sun flower seed. I push the seed into the hole where the peanut butter would be put. It never drys up and the mouse can not get the seed easy and trip the trap.

          1. No shell. I stick a couple in a dab of creamy peanut butter. Works great. I’ll try just the seed too.

      4. These traps are excellent. Unfortunately I just caught two by the tail though, one of which got away when I tried to kill it. I should have set it perpendicular to the wall as shown. I AM SO SICK OF BEING INFESTED WITH MICE. I could sell this house. I’m so sick of it. I can’t tale it anymore. They were here when we moved in and no matter how many I kill they’re still here. I think the problems in my foundation, the holes really need to be addressed as mentioned.

        1. Bad infestations are extremely difficult to beat. Don’t forget to check the attic, too. I still vividly remember hearing the mice crawling above my head back our old farmhouse. Good luck with clearing them out.

          1. I have rats in my attic. Their droppings ate falling out of my air conditioning vents and onto my carpet in my bedrooms. What is the most nontoxic way to get rid of these rats? Thank you

          2. You can try the options listed in the post for mice, but rats can be tougher to eliminate. It sounds like there is a serious waste issue that should also be cleaned up. It may be time to call a professional, especially due to the risk of disease.

        2. they now make some expanding foams the have repellents in them. you’d have to research where they can be used, etc. I used one of the first of the to stop mice along a waterline where they kept removing steel wool etc. For 5 nights I heard them gnawing and squeaking with in anger as they tried to chew through 1″ plywood. They were SO angry! Perharps one of the foams could be used in your basement situation.

        3. Mixing a bit of oatmeal with peanut butter , along with some dental floss, in the trap, has been a game changer. It works on even the craftiest of rodents

          1. I live alone, and recently had an 8 month stay in the hospital, when I got out and home, I was overrun with the little critters. I took a 5 gallon bucket, drilled two small holes in the rim opposite each other. I then used a plastic tobacco can (also drilled cover and bottom with small holes) put a length of coat hanger through it, and extended both ends on the coat hanger across the bucket to the two holes on either side. (Makes a little spinning barrel across the 5 gallon bucket) I added 4 inches of water to the bucket and circled the tobacco container with a ring of peanut butter. Then set the unit in a secluded place in the kitchen, following morning I had 4 mice to dispose of (they drown) over 1 week I trapped 15 mice, they are now gone, and I may catch 1 every month or two. It works!

      5. We used Snap-E style (the ones made by the reliable old wooden trap company), and used a generous dab of peanut butter to glue down half a honey roasted peanut. Between those and the cats we pretty much solved the problem long enough to patch the holes in our patchwork foundation.
        I do have to say that our larger kitty man seemed rather offended that we humans were catching mice!

    2. What kind of poison? I am trying to get rid of them in our garage. They keep eating the bait but have not gone yet. Just want them gone.

      1. The laws have changed, at least here in Canada. We need a farm or other license to buy anything other than perhaps a small cube in a hard plastic casing for $5 a pop. It’s hard to get kill ’em dead stuff anymore. According to my supplying rancher friends they’re making products that don’t kill right off. The friend said they think it’s so any animal accidentally poisoned can get treatment.

        One brand I used to buy wasn’t working anymore. I phoned the company. They said if I had mice inside I must keep them inside for a minimum of 7-10 days and they needed to eat off of it exclusively during that time. It turned out to be now be made with corn husks.

        The only product I have any left of that I know has worked is bromadilone. They eat it, die and dry up. Diphacinone eventually will kill them but they also can eat some, find other food source, get sick, maybe crawl off somewhere – like in your best whatever – eventually die and you have to put up with the stink until the flies and insects have laid their eggs. It can be a real mess. I found one in the back of closet shelving rotted in between the shawl my friend had made from wool she grew and another shawl. IT was one of the grossest things I ever had to deal with. I could smell if for 3 1/2 days before I was able to find it.

        I copied the names of 2 other available products (on Reservation land) but haven’t had time to research them. It sounds like, even if you have a farm license, it will soon be impossible to buy anything strong enough to quick kill.

        If my [bleep bleep] neighbors would quit feeding wild pigeons and buying cheap bird seed that none of the nice birds eat I’m sure my problem would be less bad. It’s getting out of control. They even ate the shoulders out of clothes hanging in my closet. They love rayon more than cotton. They chewed my cashmere dressy gloves to bits.

        BTW, I found a rotted mouse that died on carpet. It stained the carpet. I’d had a similar incident some years ago and it left a bit of a stain. Since I’ve been using 3% peroxide as kitchen disinfectant if figured I’d poor peroxide on it for starts. BINGO. Not only did it sterilize it, the stain totally came up. I poured on, went off to look for a scrub brush, came back with paper towels, blotted it up a few times and the stain was completely gone.

    3. You need to put gloves on before touching the traps because you are leaving your sent on them so they will avoid them. Another trick is put peanut butter on the traps but don’t set them, let the mice eat the peanut a couple of times then set it they won’t be expecting it

  4. I live surrounded by woods. I keep the mice under control by using a solid cheap poison from Aardvark in Jaws traps as mentioned by Laurie N. The traps are placed in my attic on the wall edge and accessed from the outside by opening the soffit. The bait is rarely gone and I simply have to reset the trap for the next one. I have the traps screw to 2×4 pieces so they can run away. I used to use peanut butter, cheese or you name as bait but it would dry out have to be replaced. I think I will try the mint and ammonia combo as they enter from the ground up underneath the siding corners.

  5. We got Intruder traps and really like the easy way they set, with no risk to fingers, and very reliable snap. I checked their website, and they look a little different than the ones we ordered last year. We were planning to order more, and the price is (somehow!) lower this year. Hope this also means just as good or better.

    http://www.intruderinc.com/collections/better-pest-control-solutions/rodent-mouse-control

    I concur with the recommendation about peppermint oil. What I read was that farmers used to block every entrance to the barn but one, spray some peppermint oil around inside, and stand guard at the remaining exit hole where they would nail the rats and mice as they fled.

    My guess is that the pungent odor stung a little and blocked up their olfactory perception to a painful degree.

    The constant rain and constant cloud cover in our part of Wisconsin has slowed and interfere with the wild nut and berry bushes that abound in our area. I have been wondering if the increase of seeds from the gloriously lush weeds may not be able to satisfy the critters in the woods, and we may see more mice seeking shelter and food this year. Our local newspaper editor commented that the heavy rain is the reason why there are far fewer mosquitoes this year.. The logic? He says there are also more frogs, and I guess he is right! I have also seen a lot of young (small) snakes in my garden this year, and wonder if their predation on my toad and frog buddies will be made up for by the prospective feast of mice. Once again I am amazed and humbled by the majesty and wisdom of Nature. Here’s to an other exciting, and maybe mouse-free fall! Sandy

  6. Thanks for the article, and Daryle, for your advice! I will definitely try that out. I have a very unpractical phobia: rodents. Dead or alive, they give me the heebie-jeebies so I can’t even walk past a dead one. And I’m a pretty tough woman. So in the fall, I wake in a cold sweat when I hear them running around…
    at the same time, we’ve stopped putting poison out, after I read a few articles on the impact on wildlife (http://www.nature.com/news/killing-rats-is-killing-birds-1.11824), so now we have traps, instead. We bait them with chocolate, which doesn’t dry out so fast, and is mighty popular with the mice.
    I’m just going to have to learn to empty them… and spray lots of peppermint around!

  7. Eighteen months ago we moved into a lovely Victorian terraced house on the edge of our largest town. When we first moved in there were some small signs of mouse activity, but nothing was ‘fresh’ so we presumed that the mice had left when the building was being restored. We didn’t see anything else for about six months, then one morning I was sitting in our lounge when I thought I saw something move near the fireplace. We have a cast iron wood-fired stove and that requires logs and kindling to be placed nearby. I sat very still and eventually I saw a small furry face peep around the logs and look at me. I keep pet rats so I’m not scared of rodents so I just sat watching the cheeky beggar to see what he would do. I didn’t have long to wait before he came out of the log pile, sat in front of the fire and began nibbling at some crumbs that my other half had dropped when he was making toast! Over the next few weeks we discovered that we had grey field mice ( a large family of! ) some common house mice ( larger and browny coloured ) and a small rat that had got into the house when our new electricity meter was being fitted ( the fitters had left a hole leading to the outside underneath the meter! grrr! ) We set all kinds of traps, with numerous baits and it was only the humane traps that worked for us. We live near a large park and not far from the local landfill and recycling centre ( classy area!! ) So we would take a trip out in the car each morning, loaded up with various rodents, and we would take them to the far side of the peninsula on which we live… a distance of twelve miles or so. We haven’t had any problems since, thankfully, because we have repaired all of the possible access points and our local council have completely cleared the area to the rear of the houses that we think they came from originally. This area is now landscaped and full of flowers and interesting plants, and is being used to educate the younger members of the community about respect for the environment and gardening. We’ve kept the traps, though…….just in case! 🙂

  8. A kind way to be mouse free is to put food in an empty aquarium… the mouse can jump in but can’t get out… then empty the mouse out of the aquarium far away in a safe place for the mouse.

    1. Ha! My son kept pet white mice in an aquarium. When he wasn’t home the mice got lonely and came and got in bed with me during the night!

  9. Had farm rats that 3 cats could not control. I spoon sugar, I spoon bicarb, I spoon flour. Mix dry, put in tuna tins. They eat, go home and it sets in the stomach like concrete = NO RATS NOW . . .

    1. Hiya, are u saying you mix dry ingredients then add to tuna in tins, or put in empty cleaned tuna tins, or in tins that have been emptied and left to dry with tasty fish oil still inside?

      1. I believe he means dry used tuna cans with dry mixed ingredients. Once they eat it and drink anything the mix sets hard. I assume he meant bicarbonate soda too. I’ll try it.

    2. maybe great if vermin are out in a barn but stinking up my place while they rot and get maggots somewhere inside my home is not acceptable. no thanks. i use traps and poisons that dry them up and occasionally am forced to endure the smell when one eats enough to get killed but not enough to dry up. a couple years ago it took me 3+ days to find one in the bedroom. It had crawled up the closet shelving, into a back corner inside the wool shawl a friend made with wool from her black sheep. the scene was more than disgusting. I will save this recipe for critters that don’t or can’t get in my home.

  10. We had a terrible mouse problem this past winter. We used Tootsie Roll candy for bait. Hands down was the best bait; and because it is sticky they couldn’t grab and go like other things.

    1. sticky yicky. sounds good. they love sweets. I discovered a funny pile while deep cleaning under some shelving. they’d piled squares of a missing chocolate bar supported by poison pellets. wonder if they ever would have come back for a snack. ROFL

  11. We only recently started using vinegar to control the mice in our home, and it’s worked wonders. Our dog hates the smell of it, and the mice seem to avoid it. Vinegar really has become the all-purpose wonder-spray in our house!

  12. Poisoned mice are a danger to wild animals and our pets. I had a terrible mouse infection last year. I emptied about 3 traps almost everyday. I did use tootsie rolls as bait. Then I found Earth Kind Fresh Cab Natural Botanical Rodent Repellent. Best natural repellent ever. Worked wonders and fast. Its all natural made with Balsam Fir oil a natural pesticide and 100% guaranteed. I found it at Menards and you can also find it online.

    1. Be careful when using the poison packs. The poison causes the rodents to have a strong desire for water and they will even chew through the water lines under your house or in your attic. We had a problem a few years ago and used this stuff and the rats chewed into the water pipes and even into the sewer line under the house. The plumber that repaired the damage said he has replaced all kind of water lines (plastic not copper) but he had never seen a rodent chew into the sewer line like in our case. I will never use that poison pack crap again.

  13. I had mice in my garage and tried all kinds of things to get rid to no avail … quite by accident I was running the engine of my diesel van while parked close to the garage, the garage filled with fumes which made me feel sick, this gave me an idea … I backed the van closer to garage closed the door down to near the exhaust pipe and let it fill the garage for a while … it worked a treat every single mouse left.

  14. I really appreciate you pointing out the different kinds of foods that will attract mice into a home. My wife and I just found out the other day that we have a mouse problem and we honestly weren’t sure where they came from and why they are even here. After reading this though, I realized that we have both bird feed and dog food in our garage and I’m willing to bet that they go through some of the openings in our garage and began eating them that way. We will move the food, seal the openings, and call in a service to get rid of them.

  15. Whenever I need mousetraps I always use parmesan cheese and peanut butter. I mix them together and put it on the traps and it seems to work really well, we have a mouse in our house now and are trying to get it out, the cheese and peanut butter has seemed to work really well before, so I’m hoping it will this time. Good luck everyone that is trying to catch mice 🙂

      1. It may be the peppermint oil (there’s a wide variation in quality), or it may be the now minty fresh mice (rodents are tough and adaptable). Another more aggressive method of control may be required.

      2. Yes, I did essential mint oil too on cotton balls. They chewed the cotton! Also chewed on bits of Irish Spring soap! They loved it!

  16. Push 1/2 of a jelly bean on the metal bate bar, then top with a little dab of peanut butter. They can’t get the bats off without tripping the trap.

  17. My family recently moved to a small acreage this last Oct and could not believe how bold these little critters were. We found them in everywhere around the property including my husbands truck! but with traps and keeping it clean (as well as we can with a toddler) we seem to have kept them at bay from getting back into the truck with the help of a peppermint soaked bit of felt that we hang in there like a tree freshener . As for the rest of the property, especially the garage and sun room, I have a less humane way of dealing with them. i get a 5 gallon bucket and put about an inch of antifreeze in it, its like a drug for them that they can’t refuse and it actually tastes sweet to them (same with any other pet so be careful. but if a pet does get into it just feed them greygoose vodka. it happened to a friends dog and it worked) just set the pail in the room with a way for them to get in and empty it when it starts to get full.

  18. Thanks for all the helpful info. I’ve lived in my two story condo for 10 years with no mice problems EVER. I have 3 cats that wander the entire condo except for the laundry room in the basement due to access to the crawl space above the finished room in the basement, which contains wiring and such. Months ago, I left a bag of old cat food in the laundry room and forgot about it. I started hearing noises in the ceiling of the finished room in the basement and confirmed it was not the cats making the noises. I then realized/found/removed that bag of cat food aka Miller’s Diner to many mice. Oh what a mistake I have made!!! I grabbed some traps and have literally caught 10 mice in 3 days. When I get home this evening, I will likely have 4 more. Its alittle overwhelming to say the least! They just keep coming!! I’ve never seen any mice/droppings on the main or second floors but that’s probably because that’s where the cats are. My plan next is to use a black light to find their urine trail and hopefully the entry point; fill any holes found; clean/disinfect like crazy; apply peppermint oil/spray; keep trapping/disinfecting/spraying; and possibly purchase ultrasonic mouse repeller, if necessary. Geez. My concern is what if they are coming from my neighbor’s condo into the crawl space that I can’t get to? Hopefully now that the food is gone, the vanishing of the urine trail and the added peppermint smell will be enough to keep them at bay. As long as they keep coming, I’m going to keep trapping them. Good grief, what have I gotten myself into… life lessons… gotta love them

  19. It’s interesting to know that you will probably see mouse droppings and damage before actually seeing the mouse. Thanks for the tips for identifying droppings and things. I think I would rather have mice than rats.

  20. I’m scared of cleaning up the droppings. There is a lot (like A LOT) under my fridge and this area on my basement steps. How can I safely go about this as I’m freaking out!

    1. From the CDC website, “Cleaning Up After Rodents“:

      Before cleaning, trap the rodents and seal up any entryways to ensure that no rodents can get in. Continue trapping for a week. If no rodents are captured, the active infestation has been eliminated and enough time has passed so that any infectious virus in the rodent’s urine/droppings or nesting material is no longer infectious.

      Before starting clean up of the space, ventilate the space by opening the doors and windows for at least 30 minutes to allow fresh air to enter the area. Use cross-ventilation and leave the area during the airing-out period.

      First, clean up any urine and droppings

      When you begin cleaning, it is important that you do not stir up dust by sweeping or vacuuming up droppings, urine, or nesting materials.

      Wear rubber, latex, or vinyl gloves when cleaning urine and droppings.
      Spray the urine and droppings with a disinfectant or a mixture of bleach and water and let soak 5 minutes. The recommended concentration of bleach solution is 1 part bleach to 10 parts water. When using a commercial disinfectant, following the manufacturer’s instructions on the label for dilution and disinfection time.
      Use a paper towel to pick up the urine and droppings, and dispose of the waste in the garbage.
      After the rodent droppings and urine have been removed, disinfect items that might have been contaminated by rodents or their urine and droppings.

      Next, clean and disinfect the whole area

      Mop floors and clean countertops with disinfectant or bleach solution.
      Steam clean or shampoo upholstered furniture and carpets with evidence of rodent exposure.
      Wash any bedding and clothing with laundry detergent in hot water if exposed to rodent urine or droppings.
      Lastly, remove gloves, and thoroughly wash hands with soap and water (or use a waterless alcohol-based hand rub when soap is not available and hands are not visibly soiled).

      Dead rodents or nests

      Wear rubber, latex, or vinyl gloves when cleaning up dead rodents or nests.

      Spray the dead rodent or nest and the surrounding area with a disinfectant or a mixture of bleach and water.
      Soak rodent, nesting materials or droppings in solution for 5 minutes before wiping up with a paper towel or rag.
      Place the dead rodent or nesting materials in a plastic bag and seal tightly. Place the full bag in a second plastic bag and seal.
      Throw the bag into a covered trash can that is regularly emptied.
      Remove gloves, and thoroughly wash hands with soap and water (or use a waterless alcohol-based hand rub when soap is not available and hands are not visibly soiled).

      1. A mask is also a good idea. Filtering the droppings, bleach etc , from being inhaled is always a good idea.

  21. Oh goodness I discovered mice had been living in my garage for a long time, probably a year and had made a nest in a bag of flour which they emptied. They also moved an entire bag of grass seed from the bag to 1 foot away in a storage cabinet.
    I freaked and put 6 bait stations out. These were emptied in a week. I also found droppings under my kitchen sink and in a drawer. I took everything out of the garage and SWEPT it .there is carpet on the floor and I used my vaccum! Oh nooo. Do I have to tho it away? There were thousands of droppings. How do I disinfect the carpet?
    I’m still fighting them. Sabine in my kitchen and he went under the electric eye on the stovetop. This house is not level, cracks everywhere, I am also a renter. I’m so upset !

    1. I’d look for an enzyme based cleaner for the carpet, such as BUBBAS, Super Strength Commercial Enzyme Cleaner-Pet Odor Eliminator. That will address the feces/urine better than a simple odor or stain remover. It’s also good for hard surfaces, too. Be sure to wear a dust mask when you’re dealing with large quantities of dried feces/dust. Clean or replace whatever filter you have on your vacuum and wash the rest of the vacuum as best as you are able.

  22. I had a mouse problem two years ago that was just terrible. They were tricky critters. What finally worked for killing them with the traps was the tootsie rolls. Peanut butter, jelly, dog, cat food they stole everything off the traps except the tootsie rolls.
    After they were gone the clean up began. I am a nurse and work in infectious disease. The main concern is HantaVirus. It infects humans by breathing it in. So as CDC recommends you want to make sure you don’t stir up dust. I used bleach water in a spray bottle wet the area before cleaning up. Wear gloves and if you have lung problems like asthma wear a mask. If you are immunosuppressed or compromised please consider having someone else clean up the droppings to further protect yourself.

    How I have kept them out. I used peppermint oil dropped on plain kitty litter. I put a small bag of litter (5lbs.) in a container from dollar store added 4 oz. Peppermint oil. Put lid on and shook it well. I left it over night. Then I put about a tablespoon of the litter in a small piece of old sheet or cloth whatever you have lying around. tie it into a little bundle or sachet. Place these around your house outside about every 2 feet and in garage and basement areas along walls. Lasts longer than spraying the oil and you don’t have to worry about woodwork. Remember mice have a keen sense of smell, after all they can find a lost potato chip behind a cabinet. So even though the smell decreases its still working. All I do is add a fresh drop of the peppermint oil to each little sachet every 6-12 months. Its been over two years since my mice disaster so it is working well for me.

    Good luck

    1. I love this idea! What kind of Kitty litter did you use? In you mixture did you use all 4 oz of the peppermint oil? Thx!

  23. be aware its not just food that attract mice.. rodents are weird and will eat the sulpher ends of matches. they eat just about anything.. we keep our ’emergency’ matches & candles in glass jars tp prevent them attracting/getting to them.

    1. When I was a child we had a fire that started in a kitchen cabinet where mom stored matches. A mouse chewed on the matches and a fire started. Mom put it out with buckets of water, but what a scare. I’m 68 years old now, and I still remember it. After that mom stored the matches in a sealed mason jar.

      1. I’ve heard of plenty of problems with mice in the kitchen, but never any that involved matches. I wonder if it was after the minerals, or what else may have prompted the chewing?

        Thanks for sharing your story.

  24. Follow up

    I used plain, unscented clay cat litter. Cheap clay litter. Don’t use the scoopable, clumping, or odor trapping litter. I think I bought it at the dollar store, Dollar General. Little five pound bag and yes I added the full 4oz. bottle of peppermint oil. I put it into a sealed container for 24 hours so all of the litter absorbed the oil fragrance. Then I just cut squares of an old sheet, any kind of thin material, they were probably 4 inches by 4 inches, added a spoonful of the litter to the square and tied it into a little bundle. I will tell you the peppermint litter is strong smelling so you may want to do it outside or well ventilated room. At first your garage will smell like peppermint gum but the smell fades, to us, but not to the mice.

    Really check outside for any openings to figure out how they are getting in. We determined our mice got in through an old dryer vent to the outside. Previous owner made one of my upstairs bedrooms into a laundry room. They didn’t remove the dryer ductwork when laundry room was moved back downstairs. Even though there was a cover on the old vent outside it wasn’t flush with outside wall the mice managed to squeeze through this small space into old vent and right into my basement and garage. Needless to say that vent was sealed up tight. If they can get their head to fit they can get into building.
    Make sure if you have bird seed, dog/cat food, bulk food keep it in a sealable hard container like Tupperware, metal bin (like you get from popcorn at Christmas), glass anything they can’t chew through.
    I keep all of my bagged items, like sugar, flour, rice, in a large plastic pantry cupboard, it has two doors and three shelves inside. I bought it at Lowes, or Home Depot. They didn’t get into any of my boxed or bagged pantry items because it was safely in this “cupboard”. It has been worth every penny.

    Hope this helps

  25. We had a mouse infestation recently. We panicked and while trying to act quickly and remove insulation from the crawl space walls we disturbed their nest. They scurried everywhere and over 2 weeks we chased them around every room and 3 levels of the house. They went places and chewed on things they might never have got to if we hadn’t stirred up their nest. So my advice is lay your traps and poison around the nest and in the room they are found in and don’t start the clean up till you feel you have got the problem under control. Traps are good and we had great luck with a borrowed cat and 5 gallons buckets with a bit of grain or food in them so they drop down in and can’t crawl back out.

  26. I had a mouse in my garage that I named Super Mouse. I tried the spring loaded mousetrap, peppermint oil spray and baggies, sticky paper and better grade plastic mouse traps and the contraption that you plug in that is supposed to hurt the mouse’s ears. I was not successful with any of these products, even after spending a good $65 or so. Finally, I read that the electric shock mouse/rat traps were second to none. I bought one and it was about $45 dollars (Victor electronic mouse trap) and I took it home and put the batteries in and baited it with some peanut butter and turned it on and placed in my garage. I also took one of my Nest cameras and placed it a few feet from the trap to see what I was up against. As soon as it got good and dark in the garage, I got notification from my Nest camera that their was movement detected. I watched the video and saw this mouse take a good 20 minutes or so totally checking out the new mouse trap, without committing to it. Finally the mouse entered the trap and their was a quick one to two second zap and that was it, the mouse was gone. I went into the garage and turned the trap off and dropped the mouse into a plastic bag and disposed of it.

    I wish I had tried this electronic mouse trap the first time and saved my money. It does exactly what it is supposed to without any bait disappearing. A+ for sure.

  27. I’ve been dealing with mice in the garage and house all winter. I’d trap a bunch of them with the peanut butter and wooden traps, although a lot of times I had to re-bait the traps. Then a month or two would go by and I’d see no mice around. Then they would reappear in a trap or two. My friend informed me that they will be back because a new litter of mice will be showing up every few weeks. I’m going to try the tootsie rolls, and be more careful with the big bag of sunflower seeds I had on my deck for the birds next winter. It’s going into a garbage can. I just had a couple of old traps that were sitting catch mice again. So, it’s on to war with the new bunch of mice. You need to be vigilant! I tried peppermint oil on cotton balls, to no avail, and lavender air freshener in the car, but still they came into the car. An exterminator said they run in your heat ducts, so put traps into them, too. I’m going to try the cat litter/peppermint oil method next. Hadn’t tried that before.

    1. It’s frustrating how determined they can be, but you’re absolutely right that you need to stay vigilant. Free food and cozy home are far too tempting to small critters with such a strong survival instinct.

  28. Lots of good tips here Laurie. There are cheap and easy ways to solve the issue of getting rid of mice.

  29. Many years ago there were rats in our apartment I set traps that costs $1. each baited with different sandwich meat or cheese. When the exterminator finally came he asked what I used I told him he said “why didn’t you just make them a sandwich?” He instructed me to nail rat trap on the wall and bait with cotton and sugar syrup. Rats are stronger and will pull away from a flat trap or take it with them *.* Just sharing…we moved so I’m not sure how they handled it. Here at my new home there are mice in the garage..I’m going to try the peppermint method you speak of.

  30. Mice are a major problem for me. Have been for over 35 years. I’ve tried everything I’ve ever read about. Still my best solution besides patience and the current no hanta in this area deal is first off, spring the money and get your furnace ducts cleaned. Mice love warm places. Essential oils are only good while they are fresh. The smell of mint nauseated me. Freshly ground clove didn’t seem to keep them away like I read, but it did really help remove the odor after one died from poison or of their pee smell- which is how their scout tells the new mice where to go. It’s a myth that they only run along walls. They will go anywhere and can climb up in places you would never think they could get to. I swear sometimes they can walk upside down. They seem to be able to climb walls. People talk about 1/4 inch openings. I say less. The babes just out of the nest are super tiny and get into places you’d never think of.

    I have gone back to the traditional old wooden traps after trying many others. The trick with them upon setting is to make sure the wire that slips under the catch is free and clear to allow the bar to spring down on them. It’s easy to get it tangled or into the hole instead of free and clear. I use NEW traps. I believe they can release pheromones when they die. If they die quick enough, perhaps not, but I’ve never caught near as many in old traps as fresh, new traps. I’m poor and always wanted to reuse. Now, when it comes to mice I spare no expense. I use commercial strength poison – I get it from a farmer because it’s not legal to buy without license where I live. I also always try to use the kind that dries the mice up. Sometimes if they get enough poison to die but not dry up they rot. It’s the kind of smell you can identify quickly if you know it. One took me 3 1/2 days to find – UP on the 3rd shelf in the closet at the very back of a shelving case, under the bottom shawl which my best friend knit with yarn she grew. The smell lingers.

    A product I found helped a lot but I can no longer find. It it a spray disinfectant, no chemicals, made with the oil of thyme. The other is my new find: freshly ground cloves – not old stuff from a bulk bin. It’s pricey but really takes the smell away. Sprinkled, the clove smell will last a day or two – your house smells like you’ve been baking – and when it’s smell goes so does the mouse odor. I’ve tried sprinkling it all around the rooms when the wildfires were happening. Summer isn’t usually time for mice but they were wicked and relentless trying to get away from the smoke. I’m not sure that it helped a lot and after a time I worried about it staining carpet and things. A friend suggested borax. I still had troubles but it wasn’t convenient to have it sprinkled all over everywhere all the time. It might deter them. Borax is great 50:50 with white sugar for getting rid of silver fish! Mice run across my living room in the evening. I bought sticky pads and line up a whole bunch across the hallway entry at night. Sometimes I forget and walk on them. NOT. I put them and traps near the wall next to the furnace. They can crawl out from somewhere. I can hear and smell them in the wall sometimes. They also like water so I set a trap and poison near the opening to the back of the bathroom waterlines. There’s an expanding foam that has a vermin repellent. I know it works. I removed the steel wool that blocked an area and filled it with foam. For the next 5 nights I could hear them trying to gnaw their way through 1″ plywood cupboards and floor. They were MAD but gave up.

    They will nest inside your sofa if they can. They will get into pretty well everywhere. If you wear wool gloves, don’t put your best ones back in the drawer if you have worn them. They seek out anything that has the slighted hint of food or flesh. Same as moths. NEVER put worn things, especially woolens in cupboard or drawers. [I now have lots of hooks and basket for hats and one for gloves] Mice will steal the part of the chocolate bar you didn’t eat. Put it in a jar. They don’t like eating glass. THink! The tiny bits of flour that spill on the side of jar or canister are, or can be, a full meal to a little mouse. I sprung the extra money and bought a little bottle of mouse bait. I love it! Baits dry up and mice won’t eat things. You can rebait with this stuff without touching or resetting the trap if you are careful. If you are buying poison, be sure you are getting real poison. The brand I was using switched to processed corn husks. I didn’t know poison had been banned for home use. The company told me it will kill mice IF they eat EXCLUSIVELY on it for a minimum of 7 days. They told me to be sure the mice stayed indoors. In the meantime – TWO years – I was about to burn my place down they got so bad.

    Check unsuspecting areas. I discovered they were able to get into the bathroom along the toilet water line. The open space as only about 1/8th inch. I foamed it. A year later the foam shrunk and fell out. Unless it’s the only option, forget the steel wool I have had them chew it out. How much wood they ate and how much steel I’ll never know but they were able to remove it in several areas. Check where water and power lines come in = like near the breakers or fuse box. Tiny holes are all they need.

    So, aside from attempts to keep things clean which isn’t possible in the real world – or mine at any rate. Ducts, entryways, tiny spaces. Try to keep them out. I use a combo of poison, traps, sticky pads. Oh, the foam can dry up and needs to be checked periodically. I use mostly old fashion NEW traps, SOME brands of sticky pads are junk. With some the mice get away and leave a bunch of fur – maybe they go away bleeding???), and real, commercial strength POISON. If you have the vertical space, bucket traps work good but need to be checked regularly. We (myself and farm friend) find we like the poison that comes in the little bags. She told me they like to think they are getting into things and I think she’s right. I get better results with it than with blocks of the same type of poison. Good luck everyone. May you have a vermin free season.

      1. probably should have edited it what I wrote. didn’t realize I’d rant on so – sometimes thoughts just start flowing …. anyhoot, hope it’s help to someone. It grosses me out to think I’ve learned to tolerate and live with them. they disgust me. someday I hope to leave them behind. any solutions for pigeons?
        Cheers

        1. No worries. I do try to be a little less graphic in the post itself for the more squeamish readers, but if someone takes time to read the comments, they’re looking for more detailed info, and mice are messy. Even with living in a concrete house, we still usually get a couple each year. This year we have a bumper crop of walnuts drying all over the place, so two snuck in and thought it was an all you can eat buffet. The cats got one, and we trapped the other. One was bold as brass, walking into the bathroom while we were still up to go drink the water out of the bottom of the shower. (That’s the one the cats got.)

          I added a note about your suggestion to use the pest deterrent foam sealant to the post.

          Where are the pigeons causing problems? That would help determine strategies to reduce the problem. I know they use netting to keep them from roosting in some places, movement triggered noise makers, fake owls or other predator bird kites or mounts that provide a profile high up that they fear. Cats will chase them if they can reach them, as will some dogs. Some folks consider them a delicacy to eat, if you’re allowed to hunt them in your area.

    1. About the poison packets, it’s funny how everyone has their own experience. When we moved into this house and I pulled out the stove to clean, I found several of those unopened, unchewed bait packets in a pack rat’s nest. Haha!

      I have in the past had luck with the yellow bars of poison bait. I think they were eagle brand. I’m trying to avoid poisoned dead mice in my walls this time but may have to resort to it…

      Oh and I caught the rat in an old fashioned wooden snap trap. Had several more set and never saw or heard signs of another rat. So maybe we just had the one, or they moved away… Now we have mice. Smart mice.

      1. Clearing old mail and came across this… I’m still fighting the battle. Locals said the wildfire smoke was bringing them inside for the past 2 summers but no nearby fires yet this year. I’ve reverted back to snap traps because they weren’t taking the poison like they used to. Although the toxic ingredient is supposed to be the same they are nibbling the packets far less often since the brand changed. The rancher who supplies me said they quit making the hot pink stuff that worked so well. Perhaps due to farm kids thinking otherwise? I am assuming the filler is different and doesn’t attract them the same as the old green pellet and the pink. Can’t say for certain as they don’t tell you what else is in it. They keep changing what’s available, where and how you can get it. They do like to chew things though. They ate the shoulder out of my best tie dye tee shirt. I’d used some natural ingredient sunscreen. Guess they smelled the oils and decided to dine on it instead of the bait and traps. I am going to look into the various pee options.

  31. Has anyone had luck with mothballs? My brother’s mechanic recommended this when he found evidence in the engine compartment after his car had been sitting for several months.

  32. My best method is a rolling log bucket. Its pet and kid friendly. We have recently had an infestation in our community of rats and voles. So.e nights I catch up to 5 or 6 at a time in 2 buckets.

  33. Laurie, your knowledge and advice are awesome. I have a new thought I’d appreciate info on, please.

    We do not have evidence of mice in our living space, but they are in our walls and the space between the ceiling and the second floor. We hear them scampering. It’s a cape cod style house with dormers and inaccessible attic triangles. We’ve had Critter Control do their thing – set traps, seal up cracks & holes, install screens behind the crawl space openings, and set poison boxes. We still hear mice.

    I am intrigued by the idea of driving them out from the inside using mint oil. The thought is to punch tiny holes in the walls and ceiling and give a good spray of mint oil, or a solution, into those spaces. If we were to do that all over, then seal the holes, could that make the whole house unfriendly enough to their little noses to keep them out? I’m sure we’d have to repeat every fall, but I’d love to drive them out!

    Any advice along these lines would be appreciated. Thanks!

    1. I give it a firm “maybe”, but the odds are not in your favor. It’d be tough to get enough mint out to drive out the mice without fumigating yourselves at the same time (just because something is natural, doesn’t mean it can’t be dangerous if used incorrectly). I’m guessing you have a stick built home with rolled (or other) insulation between the studs, so it would be really challenging to get good coverage inside the walls themselves. Blocking access points with the pest resistant spray foam in combination with the mint to try and herd them towards traps might increase the odds of success.

    2. I know it’s been a long long time (found old link in mailbox). Hope you’ve found solution to your mice problem. Mine seems to go on and on and is currently driving me nuts. They keep me awake all night. I get a snooze with my morning coffee and that’s about it. I saw a posting by someone who said they bought coyote pee at walmart, that they put it around the outside of their place and the mice stay away. I know people pee can help keep deer away and I’ve personally used my own to keep a bear and neighborhood cat away long ago. I’m going to set up a pole bucket today and consider the pee option.

  34. There are a lot of responses here but thought I’d add as I saw a lot of tootsie roll comments. We cut up a small piece of panty hose and tie it to the metal loop on the trap then cover in peanut butter. No stolen food and gets them every time.

    1. We don’t have a cat but our next door neighbor’s cat will catch anything that moves… If he can get to it. He is indoor/outdoor and comes into our yard, also has a cat friend that visits and we still have some mice right now. Oh, and we have an owl that is always hanging out in our backyard. I think these mice are super sneaky and trap wise.

  35. This will trick the cautious rodents about traps. At the beginning of using a introductory trap for mice, lock the trap open and let them go in there and eat some food. They will think it is a food container. After setting it up that way check it out for a few days. When the food is gone then add more food a few times. THEN unlock the food contained trap. OR at first put just a little bit of mouse food there on the floor and next to the trap. They are cautious to not eat food in the trap if they saw another mouse get trapped, yes!

  36. I have a problem with rats getting into my enclosed and covered garden. They can get through the chicken wire that I used to keep out the squirrels. Ok, so I made a couple traps for the rats using the rolling bottle in the bucket method. I did catch 2 rats that way but I have a large opossum that lives in my yard and he is eating the peanut butter off the rolling cans. Now I need to figure out a way to get rid of the opossum because I’m sure he is getting fat eating my buffet each night.

    Any suggestions on getting rid of the opossum?

    1. found your old post in old mail. Hope you’re critter free by now. I finally bought a proper trap to catch my one culprit. It turned out to be a cat. It managed to get out of the trap because of a faulty latch but it never came back. As for keeping those rats out where they get through chicken wire get some stuff they call hardware cloth… or used to be called… It’s a metal mess available in various sizes such as 1/4″, 1/2″ etc. I also use it for straining old soil from my container gardening, and make a new fat holder each winter for hanging bird fat. I also use it to open the crawl space or summer months by stapling it over where the panels open. (good ventilation is important to prevent mold, mildew and other gross stuff). You can get it at a building supply and sometimes surplus supply and liquidation stores. I’ve even seen some in a dollar store but it was thin and flimsy and not much of it.

  37. Hi , a few days ago I found some droppings behind my couch and next to my stove which made me freak out . I set glue traps with fabs of peanut butter on them and set them up around my apartment . Two I don’t know how they got I go my apartment which is the big issue . I found two mice on the glue traps that were in the kitchen I replaced the traps s d just found that one of the traps I replaced was dragged out of place and had droppings and signs that showed the mouse escaped off of the glue trap .I ordered peppermint oil off of Amazon to make a repellent and will continue to set up glue traps Luckily I’m moving out of my apartment but I am very nervous about any of these guys getting into my stuff since (I am using cardboard boxes) I’m afraid that they will come along with me to my new place . Help what should I do to avoid bringing them along ? ?????? Very terrified

    1. No need to be terrified. When problems come up, we deal with them. Mice where they shouldn’t be is just another problem. You’ve got this.

      You could get a black light to track their trails to get a better idea of where they’re coming in, but if you’re moving, it won’t be your concern much longer, so that’s up to you. Mice only need a very small hole to get in.

      Keep up with the trapping. Make sure to place traps along walls or pathways where you think mice are mostly likely to travel or take cover. Make it easier for them to find your bait than to get into areas where you don’t want them. You *might* have a bold mouse that attempts to build a nest in one of your boxes, but they prefer to make more permanent quarters in areas that are relatively undisturbed.

      Cleaning up to pack may help you to find where they’re hiding out. Make sure to check and dump any boxes or containers as you pack them. (For instance, tip over infrequently worn shoes or boots before packing.) Scrubbing floors and baseboards can help to eliminate their trails. If you have them available, using plastic totes for packing and keeping them sealed when you’re not working on them will protect the items in those totes from mice. (Rats can chew through plastic, but not mice.)

      Trap, repel, clean, eliminate hiding areas, and keep watch as you pack. Those strategies should greatly reduce your chances of bringing unwanted roommates to your new home.

  38. I am so scared of mice and afraid it might be on the baby and myself during the night. Ive tried moth balls, glue traps, poisons.. In one night I’ve caught about 4 mice and tried sealing up the house. I havent seen any downstairs since then (where the kitchen is) that was maybe two months ago… yet I’ve seen one up stairs when it gets quiet or dark. I put down a trap but it got free. I dont know how its getting inside or how to catch it. I’m so terrified..

    1. Keep working to eliminate the mouse problem, but don’t panic. Fear clouds our thoughts and makes it tough to focus and solve problems. Just take one thing at a time and work through the problem.

      First off, odds are there are many more things in your home that are more tempting to the mice than the baby. Clean, clean, clean. Keep eating in specified areas, and clean up crumbs, especially in out of the way corners. Make sure foods are sealed in mouse proof containers. Don’t forget to check attics and crawl spaces. Mice love to hide where it’s not easy to see them. Use masks, gloves and other protective equipment when cleaning up any mouse droppings or debris.

      If the mice escaped one type of trap, try a different type or different bait. You can use the black light to find trails and help see where they are moving around, and use that information to help you place the traps.

      If you’re still concerned, or run into a bigger mouse infestation than you expected, it may be time to call in professional help.

  39. Our neighborhood has had MAJOR problems with mice since flooding here in Colorado in 2013. ☔ You plug their holes with steel wool and they chew a new door right next to it.
    The mice had made an “escape route” around an electrical switch plate in the kitchen.
    I didn’t want to use steel wool near wires, so I opted for cotton balls soaked with peppermint essential oil.
    I placed the 1st ball on one side & made a ball for the other side. I went to put the 2nd ball in, the 1st had DISAPPEARED! I put the 2nd ball in the outlet and watched. Sure enough, out pops a little nose & viola…he stole it & stuffed it into his “other” cheek. ????
    I had invented mouse “peppermint cotton candy”. ????
    Now we use the plastic snap traps. They work really well, are easy to set and empty with arthritic hands. But occasionally they “disappear”! Maybe the mice are dragging them home for jungle gyms? ????
    Poison is NOT an option. Small children and pets in the home.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience, Cathy. Mice breed fast and adapt to many different environments, so I’m not surprised that there are some who are not deterred by peppermint essential oil. We find the plastic traps much easier to set then the old wood and wire traps, too.

      1. Peppermint oil seems to lose its smell quickly. I didn’t find it much use. For holes I discovered they make a foam that has a rodent repellent. I had mice screaming mad for 5 nights as they tried to chew through 1″ plywood and finally gave up. One of the trap companies makes a bait that comes in a little bottle. I found it quite good and they don’t seem to reject as quickly as they reject anything else they were baited and caught by. I also get new traps or wash old plastic ones. I think they can smell fear on already used traps.

  40. I don’t want mice or rats in my house or buildings, but I think snap-type traps are horrible. These are mammals and they certainly feel pain, and it’s a horribly painful way to die; sometimes they chew their feet off. A humane trap is a good idea, and driving them a couple miles away is not a hardship. We all drive just about every day; there are farms/cemeteries/parks where they can be placed and join the other critters around there. The empty paper towel tube with peanut butter inside it, placed on a counter top over a tall bucket they would fall into if they travel into the tube for the treat, works well. I have caught mice that way and transported them away. I love the idea of peppermint infused cat litter placed in sachets around the building. They do not like peppermint.

  41. I tried peanut butter & snagged one. Another figured out how to get the peanut butter without setting the trap. did this twice. Next night I tied pepperoni to the traps. I it tied so they couldn’t snatch & run. Got 3 that night. They got on to that right away. Last night I put a tiny dab of honey to use as glue for a sunflower seed. They must have thought it was fine dining night. Traps were snapping one after the other.

  42. We don’t get ‘houseguests’ every year, it seems just every couple years. I think this year, we have a shrew or vole, not a field mouse. It’s the size of a field mouse, but black, and DH said it’s blind (I haven’t gotten that close a look at it yet myself). Our last houseguest was solo, so we just kind of co existed until it left in the spring. There have been many good suggestions here in the comments, as well as in the post. I have to see if we have any tootsie rolls left over from Halloween, LOL! I also think we will be upgrading from the old fashioned traps.

  43. I used Rodent Sheriff or Rodent Defense and it really works they can’t stand the smell of Mint Oil. I had one in my bedroom and I started to spray he got out of my room I wish I had shut my door he probably would been dead by now, but I will continue using that all also get Repeller Electronic that you plug in your wall to keep them away.

    1. Outdoors, cats and/or snakes are my preferred option to keep the rodent population managed. I don’t know where you are at, how much yard you have and whether or not a cat is an option, but they are mobile and don’t carry the risk of poisons. In spite of their reputation for stubbornness, they are trainable. We haven’t lost a songbird in some time.

      Our yard is large enough that we have a number of natural snake habitat areas (we have purposefully created some, too). We don’t have poisonous snakes in the area, so those that move in are not a threat. Fox snakes are big enough that they can eat mice, but small enough they can follow them right into their burrows. We had pocket gophers attempt to set up a nest below our generator slab, and between the cats and the snakes, they were cleared out in short order. The pocket gophers were a problem in the main gardens early on, too, but again, cats and snakes for the win.

      If cats and snakes are not options, then I’d try traps, placed in tubes (like a section of drain pipe) or coffee cans (or something similar) where rodent activity is highest. You want to keep them covered so they aren’t accidentally tricked by other things or people in the garden.

      Poisons are my absolute last resort. Too easy for them to be eaten by unintended critters, or for helpful critters to eat the poisoned mice.

  44. We bought some property in the Texas panhandle. What passes for a house at the moment is a metal building on a concrete slab. It was already infested with mice when we bought it 5 years ago so we have been fighting them for quite some time now. We removed 2 overhead doors, filled in the exterior walls with metal panels and had a real kitchen built inside that covers half of what used to be a 20’x40’ garage. That helped somewhat. I was worried about Hantavirus but it turned out that isn’t the only problem.

    We have 2 cats who both turned out to be halfway decent mousers. They just couldn’t keep up with the “replenishment of the resource.” Well, last year, one of the cats tested positive for Toxoplasmosis. This is a single called parasite that lives inside mice. It can reproduce asexually in mice, but like most creatures, what it really wants to do is get a little “nookie.” It can only reproduce sexually inside felines. So, whatever “powers that be” that you happen to believe in gave it the ability to change the neural pathways of mice so that they are attracted to the scent of feline predators.

    When a cat eats the infected mouse, the organism enters the digestive system of the cat and gets its little heart’s desire… sex. Now, your cat is infected and only a regimen of antibiotics will kill off the organism, but apparently not completely. The vet said my cat’s “titer count” will always show some residual sign of having been infected. But, affecting the cat isn’t the end of it. The organism, while it is still active in the cat, gets transferred through the cat’s feces.

    If a pregnant human ingests the fecal material, possibly by inhaling dust from the kitty litter or by not washing her hands after cleaning the litter box, the organism can cause birth defects in the fetus. And, if not pregnant, there is some evidence that shows the organism can cause schizophrenia in humans. I don’t know what “higher power” thought this was a good idea, but I beg to differ!

    So…. we think we have just about gotten rid of the mice… finally. My DH went to the hunting supply section of our local Walmart and picked up a small spray bottle of Coyote Urine. He sprays that around the slab outside the house and we haven’t seen or heard much from the mice since he started doing that. He re-sprays periodically and after a heavy rain.

    The mice also caused several hundred dollars of damage to the Jeep by building a nest under the hood and chewing the wire insulation. I bought a bag of Cab Fresh and hung it under the hood. We will see if that keeps the mice out of there.

    In the meantime, plans are in the works for a “real” house to be built – this time with poured concrete walls, slabs and roofs. I am hopeful it will keep out the scorpions and tarantulas as well as the mice. ????????

    1. Thanks for sharing the coyote urine tip. Does it have a significant odor? I haven’t worked with it before, but I know tom cat urine has a distinctive smell.

      I hope the plans for your long term home come together soon.

      1. Since it is sprayed outdoors, I have not noticed any odor from it, but mice have a much more sensitive sense of smell than humans, so it must be enough to discourage them. My DH had thought of spreading used cat litter around the foundation, but since the mice infected with Toxo seek out feline predators, that doesn’t sound like a good idea to me. Plus, you would have to deal with the ammonia odor, something I definitely would notice.

        I am a retired architect but have hired a younger architect to do the hard work on the house. Planning to use ICFs, insulated concrete forms. Also, planning on putting in alternative energy systems and harvesting rainwater for at least some of the water needs. Doing as much as we can to survive off-grid in case it goes down, especially since we are 25 miles from the nearest town.

  45. I camp 6 months out of the year. I put peppermint TEA bags with an added drop of the same oil. I tuck it around the inside of my rig to keep mice out. And 6 in the engine compartment. Put fresh ones in when I go to storage, Keeps them out all winter too.

    1. thanks for the peppermint tea bag tips. perhaps the smell will last longer than the oil alone. they have been horrid this year! they’re in everything. they used to be a short pita in spring but it’s july! i keep increasing the number of traps (currently 12). they’re so bad this year they chewed the shoulder out of my best tie dye tee. i had sprayed my shoulders and back with natural sunscreen. guess they smelled the sunflower seed oil that’s in it. argh!

      1. We’re in a similar boat with ants this year. Never ever have I seen so many. Thankfully they are mostly hanging out in the basement inside the house, but I can’t set out duck food anywhere in the yard without it being overrun, and ants are one of the few insects ducks prefer not to eat.

        1. Re ants: common laundry borax works great. I sprinkle it as powder, a friend makes a bait adding it to sugar water. Where I am they banned ant poisons many years ago, if you read the label on most ant poisons you’ll almost always see borax. I think they carry it back to their nests. I’ve put it on large nests under flower and veggie pots and it’s always done the trick – even on the big fat wood ants. I also mixed borax with sugar for use in a closet where there were insects – silverfish I think (not certain as I sometimes find earwigs in the garden). For the most part, unless bugs are doing damage I leave them alone. They are food for the birds. I’ve gotten to where I’m willing to put up with a few scarred plants and know the birds are fed than to try to kill everything. Ticks and mice are definitely on my hit list though.

  46. I simply get four wooden traps for a dollar at the dollar store. The trick in using them is to smear skippy’s Peanut butter on the trigger and especially right under the trigger onto the wood. To get at the peanut butter under the trigger they push it away and they are done. If you just bait the trigger, their tiny tongues just lick it off without pressing the trigger. Trapping is easy and ninety % effective. I run a trap line in my pole barn and feed a local predatory bird that has become conditioned to check out the free meal. I put the mouse belly up in the lawn and it will be gone shortly after I leave the area. This spring I have averaged about one mouse a day.

  47. Timely article. My dryer started making loud, strange noises. When my husband opened it up he found a stash of dog food. I like the peppermint idea over poison and traps. Will give it a try.

  48. Well what I used was a mixture of clorex and peanut butter I had put a low ratio of cloriex and more peanut butter.
    What you could do also is put crushed sleeping pills into the mixture of peanut butter and potentially make rats overdose.

  49. We can tell when we get the odd mouse in the house and we’ll catch it in a live trap using peanut butter and take it far away. But while we don’t have any inside the house this winter, now that we insulated the walls and ceiling, we can hear them living in the walls and attic/crawl space. They never come into the house so we’re not sure how to get rid of them. I’ve seriously thought of getting a snake and letting it loose up there, but the door to the attic is barely big enough to get my head through. (And my husband won’t let me.)

    1. You sound like me many years ago. I would catch the odd one but could hear them all through the ceiling and walls at night. For me, the only option was go to resort to poison. I still use traps but without the poison…

      However, here in Canada they’ve changed regulations. A number of years ago they made the real poisons available only to people with farm or similar licenses. I have farm friends who’ve been supplying me until recently. Bottom line is, even on farms, they are making poisons far less strong (the last stuff they gave me was only 20% as strong as what had been working well). This I learned after they found their way in and literally ate the clothes on their hangers last summer. My friends say they’ve reduced it so as to allow a few days to get your dogs or other living being treated rather than killed. Makes some sense but anyone using poison should have enough brains to know not to put poisons where their animals or kids are going to get them.

      What they provided me last time didn’t kill them and dry them up, it killed them and let them rot. If you’ve never had a rotting mouse somewhere you will never forget the smell.

      After several years I was able to get the brand I liked most. I didn’t work and I had mice all winter. I contacted the one company who told me they had gone to corn husks as poison. The return message came from a lovely voiced woman who told me if they are in my house I need to keep them inside and make their product exclusively the only food the mice would be able to get. She continued on saying it would take about 10 days but it would kill them.

      IMPO, you will need to poison them. They are finding food somewhere – perhaps a neighbour who feeds birds and buys cheap bird seed that has filler seeds the nice birds won’t eat. (If find it stashed in lots of places both in and outside my place, yet only buy what the birds eat all of). Get as much info as possible about whatever poison you buy. Local regulations can vary. Try to get the type that dries them up, not just kills them. Warfarin is one that will let them rot after it does them in.

      Bottom line. I’m an environmentalist, nature lover but there are times where one has to learn to kill. Animals kill to survive and I no longer have any qualms about killing mice, rats or anything else that invades my space. Keep all food in glass jars and when you use their contents such as flour, be sure the jar is clean after use. A bit of flour is a meal to a mouse. I get big jars at a charity shop for very cheap.

      Good luck

  50. I moved into a mobile home that had a history of rodent issues but didn’t know it at the time. The first year or so I would hear sounds in the walls occasionally. I would bang on the wall and it stopped. I left it at that.

    Finally one year my cat started hanging out in the kitchen, just sitting there which he never does. I looked over one night and there was a mouse scurrying along the baseboard. My cat just watched. But he was the reason I knew there were mice inside my house instead of just the walls. I called a pest control company and they gave me some live traps. I caught a mouse in it and felt bad because it was trying to bang its way out of it all night. I set it free in some woods away from my house the next day. Also the company came back the next day and plugged a hole they found under my house under the kitchen sink with 1/4″ hardware cloth. After that, no more mice inside my house.

    However I still heard sounds in the walls and worried they would find their way back in. So I got some snap traps and set them in the crawl space under my house. I took some twine and tied a little piece to the hole where the bait goes and smeared peanut butter on it so they’d tug on that and it worked. I caught several mice over a few days. I used a pet pooper scooper to grab the trap with the dead mouse and toss it in a garbage bag. The wood traps are so cheap I didn’t want to mess with removing a dead mouse and resetting.

    I also got some “natural” type poison pellets, which they seemed to eat. After that no more noise in the walls! Until there was again. I set traps again and this time I saw that the peanut butter was gone but the traps hadn’t snapped. I set out more natural poison and all of it disappeared overnight instead of some. I realized as I looked at the droppings and the traps that kept getting the bait stolen when before it they worked great that I was dealing with rats. That’s when I freaked out. Mice are one thing, rats are in my opinion a much more serious problem. I kept with the natural poison but even after more than a week it kept disappearing and I still heard sounds.

    So I decided to buy “real” poison. I put the poison under my house in the crawl space (where I’d put the traps before) and they ate the piles empty every night for about 4 nights. Then the next day, the pile was untouched. It stayed that way for months, until fall came.

    So I started refilling the piles each night again, and again it worked. Unfortunately one of them decided to die under my house and my bedroom smelled horrible for over a week. I used a diffuser with a four thieves essential oil blend and that helped but I still slept on the couch for a while! Two more died right next to the poison piles so I could use my pooper scooper to get them out from under my house.

    I do not like using poison but it is effective for me. My new plan is to spray regularly all under my crawl space with peppermint oil and around the perimeter (and use the litter trick I read in these comments) but still leave a little poison as an indicator to see if they still visit.

    I haven’t heard any noises in the walls since I started using the real poison so I think they don’t live there but just come looking for food since there are scent trails leading to my house. I’m hoping if I spray peppermint often it will slowly degrade their scent trails and they will not come visit. But if they do, I’ll know because the poison will be eaten and I can continue with that.

    The poison bait I use is called Victors Rodent Killer and comes in a green pellet form. I got it at home depot. It can take several days of large amounts of bait, 2-3 cups, to work depending on how large of a population is visiting. I suppose I could put even more out each night and maybe it would go faster. Maybe I’ll try that next time.

    Unfortunately I have realized I will always have to be diligent where I live. Behind me is a seasonal creek and then a neighbor who has several chickens, geese, and ducks. Several other neighbors have bird feeders and I know someone is feeding squirrels peanuts because I find peanut shells buried some times in my garden. Other than the hole under the sink which was apparently quite obvious it would be too expensive and not a guarantee to try to find all the possible holes under my house.

    I never had to deal with things like this before and it took some time for me to accept the situation and also to “put on my big girl pants” and set traps and dispose of dead rodents. The rats were the worst because they were so much bigger and heavier than the mice. But if I can do it, so can you. I also recommend accepting reality sooner rather than later and taking action because rodents multiply with great speed.

    Good luck everyone!

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