If you've recently noticed the telltale signs of a mouse in your home -- droppings in your drawers or cabinets, chewed-up book corners, or a tail darting out of sight when you enter the room -- you may be wondering how to rid yourself of a potential infestation quickly. However, you may be reluctant to purchase commercial sprays or poisons if you have pets or young children in your home. Fortunately, there are a number of natural ways to help forcibly evict these unwanted visitors. Read on to learn more about the most efficient and chemical-free ways to return your home to a mouse-free zone.
How do you know what type of mouse is invading your home?
Unlike the house mouse, which is a uniform light brown color with large ears and a pointy nose, the deer mouse often has a white belly or feet and a more rounded face. Deer mice are more likely to be found outside than house mice, but may flee to an accessible indoor space to join their house mouse cousins once frigid winter weather sets in.
It's important to tackle an infestation of deer mice quickly. While most wild rodents (including the house mouse) can harbor diseases, deer mice in particular are often carriers of Lyme disease and the hantavirus. Inadvertently touching mouse droppings or urine and then touching your face or mouth without washing your hands first can be enough to contract one of these serious illnesses -- and in homes with children or pets, preventing unwitting access to the copious amount of waste a single mouse can leave behind may be challenging.
What are the best ways to get rid of your mice without using harmful chemicals?
The first step when dealing with an infestation of any type of outdoor animal or insect is to determine their access points. Just as you can secure your home from burglary by making it worth a potential thief's while to find an "easier" house to enter undetected, you can mouse-proof your home by making entry difficult. While you may not be able to hermetically seal your home against all biological intruders, you should be able to render some easy entry points inaccessible to encourage future rodent visitors to find a more suitable place to stay.
Deer mice are often found in wooded or agricultural areas, and can flee to your home to escape threshing season, avoid capture by hawks, snakes, weasels, and other predators, or find refuge during a cold snap. These mice are natural burrowers, and you may be able to determine where they're entering your home by examining the soil just around your foundation for any signs of disruption. Deer mice won't create mole-sized mounds of dirt through their tunneling, but may breach ground once they hit your foundation and find an entry point nearby.
If a section of your foundation is crumbling or has a few small holes (even if these holes appear much too small for a mouse to pass through), it's likely this is the entry point. Repairing these cracks with plaster or rubber cement until a contractor can come in to determine what additional foundation work must be done should be enough to stop the influx of mice to your home.
After blocking off entry, your next step is to interrupt the mouse life cycle. Because mice breed frequently and mature quickly, a few fertile mice can quickly multiply into hundreds if left unchecked. Cutting off the supply of available food by ensuring that flour, cereal, and other goodies are kept in airtight containers can go a long way toward starving out your mice, as female mice without access to a ready supply of food may not conceive.
There are also several rodenticides that attempt to control the population of deer and house mice without using chemicals. Because most mouse and rat poison contains warfarin (a type of blood thinning medication), it can be dangerous to use in homes where children or pets are present due to the risk of accidental ingestion. However, rodenticides composed of powdered corncob or other nontoxic natural substances can kill through dehydration without posing a threat to other household members. You can also reach out to a pest control company like Garrie Pest Control.