You’ll recognize them by their long scaly tails, beady eyes and pointed snouts. If you see anything that fits this description running through your house, I’m sorry to tell you that you’ve got mice! I’m not referring to those domestic ones that your kids bring home from school, or from the pet shop; oh no these are much different. And, when they start invading your home it’s very difficult to get rid of them.
To make matters worse, once these horrid pests get inside your house they contaminate surfaces, gnaw at your food and leave feces everywhere. They carry salmonellosis, Hantavirus, and other diseases, and to make matters worse, once they start to breed it is extremely hard to contain them. It is important that if you see signs of mice in your home you act on it immediately!
Health Risks Of Mice
The problem is not just that mice can chew through your pipes, eat your food and leave disease filled droppings throughout your house, it’s much worse than that. Other than the inconvenience and fear that comes with a mice infestation they carry disease and bacteria that can pose major health risks. Some of these include:
- Salmonella – This disease lives in the intestines of rodents and can be passed on to humans when they come in contact with feces. Some of the signs and symptoms include fever, nausea, chills, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches and in some cases, you might even notice blood in your stool. These symptoms can last from 2-7 days depending on the extent of the salmonella infection.
- Lyme disease – The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention says there are over 30,000 reported cases of Lyme disease yearly in the United States. However, the number is far greater when you consider the cases that remain unreported. The disease is often transmitted by the bite of an infected tick. When mice are bitten by these ticks, and then bite humans they can pass on the disease. Some signs of Lyme disease include a rash and flu-like symptoms which may occur within a month of being infected. If left untreated joint pain, impaired muscle movement and severe fatigue might also occur.
- Hantavirus – This viral disease can actually be fatal, and is carried by rodents such as mice. It lives inside rodent feces and once mice are present in your home the disease can be passed on through mere inhalation.
Mice can also cause other problems such as asthma in children, and expose them to a variety of different allergies.
Fill All Holes As A Preventative Method:
Mice are limber little rodents that can squeeze themselves through the smallest of spaces. I don’t know how they do it, but they do. You need to search your home with extreme care and eliminate all the possible entry points whether in your wall, floor, pipes, vents everywhere. Keep in mind that their tiny teeth can bite through wood, rubber, and even plastic so if you live in an area that’s prone to mice you need to consider using high-quality materials while building or renovating your home. The number one rule to remember is that if you see a hole or crack that can fit a pencil, it can also fit a mouse. So if you see a tiny space anywhere around the house your best bet is to get it covered up or filled instantly.
6 Home Remedies That Work
You don’t need to resort to using toxic chemicals or expensive professional services to get rid of your mice problems. There are natural and cost-effective remedies that work well and won’t harm you, your children or your pets in the process.
The cat is a natural predator for mice so if you notice these nasty rodents hanging around your home it may be time to get a feline friend to help you. You really can’t get a better mice deterrent than this; their mere presence will help keep these nasty rodents away. However, if mice are still brave enough to venture into your home cats will hunt them down and get rid of them in short order. It’s important to note that not all cats are natural mice hunters. Breeds such as Bengal, Abyssinian, American Shorthair, British Shorthair, and American Polydactyl seem to be the best for hunting. Speak to a pet specialist for more detailed information about this.
2. Peppermint Oil
Peppermint oil is the holy grail of natural mice remedies; it repels mice like no other. This oil works by keeping mice from entering your home. However, if they are already inside it won’t drive them out! It is more of a preventative method.
You need 100% peppermint oil which you can get at your local pharmacy, any health food store or online here. You’ll also need some cotton balls as well. Soak the cotton balls with peppermint oil and place them at all the entry points where the mice are likely to enter your home. Don’t skimp on the oil, you need the mice to smell this from miles away so it deters them from even getting close to your home.
Peppermint doesn’t just keep these rodents out with its aromatic scent, it also masks the pheromone trail that these rodents always leave behind. These trails are often in the form of droppings or grease marks and they signal other mice to the area. If you notice any of these tell-tale marks place some peppermint soaked cotton balls in these areas as well.
Use this peppermint oil method in other areas of your house as well to keep mice out. For example, you might have seen some droppings in the kitchen, but you should also place the peppermint soaked cotton balls in the bathroom, kids’ bedroom (out of reach of children obviously) and other areas to keep them from ever entering these spaces. If you use enough peppermint on the cotton ball (at least 5 drops) it will remain effective for up to a month.
3. Organic Pest Repellants
Not all store-bought repellents are toxic; there are actually some organic products on the market that work just as well including:
- Fresh Cab – is a botanical rodent repellent made from oils and plant fibers. These are available in different sized pouches for the average home and for large-sized spaces such as barns and warehouses. All you need to do is place one pouch in the infested area and it covers 125 feet. The pouch last for about 90 days.
- Shake-Away – comes in the form of granules and also contain a variety of natural oils. It works by irritating the nervous system of the rodents and all you have to do is sprinkle the granules around the areas where the mice tend to frequent. This method is safe to use around your children and pets.
4. Fabric Softener Sheets
Mice can’t stand the smell of fabric softener so use the sheets to keep them away. You’re really getting a ‘two-for-one’ with these because they’ll have your home smelling like a fresh summer day, and it’s also keeping mice away. Stuff the sheets near your garbage bins, in holes and cracks, in drawers and throughout your home and these rodents will stay away.
5. Barn Owls
Barn owls are not something you see very often depending on where you live, but if you reside in the country area your rodent problems will be over in a jiffy. Owls have long since been a popular source of rodent control for organic farmers since they have quite an appetite for mice and other rodents. They can reportedly consume up to 3-4 rodents per night during their nesting season.
If you don’t have large trees in your yard where owls can comfortably nest, you’ll need to create a nesting box to attract them. You can make your own or even purchase one online. Owls enjoy warm, snug spaces away from noise. Place the boxes at least 10 feet from the ground but not so high that you’re unable to get to it. You’ll need to clean the nest occasionally. Always wear protective gear when doing this because owls can also transmit health risks.
6. Moth Balls
Moth balls have a strong, familiar scent that mice hate. Place them in cupboards, drawers, closets, attics, and basements to keep mice at bay. Replace the balls about once a month to keep this method effective.
More Prevention Tips
Don’t create nesting areas outside your home
This is not done deliberately of course but, keep in mind that pile of leaves, chopped wood, and even compost can become nesting areas for all types of rodents including mice. The problem is that once they are outside in these warm nesting places, and it rains or gets too cold they will search for warm spaces, and this will drive them inside your home.
Disposal of dead mice
How you handle the disposal of rodents is extremely important because they can cause so many illnesses. Wear protective gloves (rubber or plastic) to remove any dead rodents from your home and place them in a tightly sealed bag. Double up the bag before placing them in the trash bin outside.
While still wearing protecting gloves clean all areas that had any signs of mice with bleach and disinfectant. It’s best to then discard of the gloves used during clean up, then wash your hands with soap and warm water. Remember, mice are dirty creatures and you can never be too careful!