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The House Mouse is a common pest because they like to live in, well, houses. That certainly includes the attic of the house. Once inside the home and attic, mice cause the following problems:
Yes, mice definitely prefer to live in the attics of homes. An attic is perfect shelter for the house mouse - a warm, safe, dry place in which to live and create a nest of baby mice. But there are several problems that come with mice. First of all, they breed prolifically. Just one pair of mice can result in hundreds of mice in a year. Your home or attic can become infested with mice if they have enough resources. Like all rodents, the House Mouse is a chewer, and it can chew on electrical wires, which can cause outages or a fire risk. The mouse can also chew on PVC piping. They also spread disease and can enter the house and contaminate food.
If you don't take care of the problem, you can end up with considerable damage in your attic or home, such as seen in the below photographs. To prevent this, follow the five steps that I've outlined below. This work can be very difficult for beginners. It took me over a year, and several dozen mouse removal jobs, before I started to really get the hang of it, so if you're having trouble doing it yourself, you may want to hire a professional off of my directory to help you. Don't wait too long, because a mouse problem only gets worse with time. And please, under no circumstances should you use poison to try to get rid of mice in the attic. It will only kill a few mice, and the rest will keep going, but the mice that the poison does kill will rot and stink, and you'd be amazed at how this small animal can create such a big odor! Trapping and removal, as discussed below, is the far better option.
How Do You Get Mice Out of the Attic? Follow these steps:
FIRST: Inspect your entire house or building, and find all the open holes and gaps that mice are using to get into the structure. This can include vents, eave gaps, roof lines, etc. Check from the ground up, and definitely the entire roof. You need to look for VERY SMALL areas, like a quarter of an inch, or a hole the size of a dime. It takes great attention to detail. You can use a blacklight to see the mouse urine at night, which can help you find popular entry points. Once inside, a mouse can scurry though any part of the architecture, the walls, the ceiling, and get into the attic, where they like to live and nest.
SECOND: Seal up all of these entry holes, using steel, which mice can't chew through. I bolt the steel in place. Use a sealant to block off all air flow, and to discourage mice from trying to get inside (they can smell air coming through a gap). This is an essential part of the mouse removal from the attic process.
THIRD: Only AFTER everything is sealed should you bother to trap and remove the mice. Set mouse snap traps. They are definitely the best type of trap to use - on the mouse runways in the attic. Mice are pretty fearless, and easy to trap. If the numbers are really high, you can use a repeating trap, like the Tin Cat, but I like to use a lot of snap traps for mice. Read the guide How to Trap House Mice.
FOURTH: Remove the trapped mice until you hear no more sounds in the walls or attic. That's how you know all the mice are gone from the house.
FIFTH: Clean up the crawl space afterward. You want to remove all of the droppings. Click here for photographs of mouse poop so that you can identify it. Learn more about the attic cleanup process, including methods and products, in my attic cleanup page.
Go to my mouse removal page for more info on how to solve the problem.
Customer Mouse Email: Hello. We have had a rodent in our attic since October. We have had mice every winter. We have been in this house for 3 years. Unfortunately they reside in an inaccessible part of the attic where no person can go. The rodent guy we have is unable to figure where they are getting in from the roof as we have a tile roof. So he had a roofer come out (extra cost) to lift up the tiles so he could see under and discovered a vent. After putting some mesh on that vent ... we still continued to hear noises. Not crazy ones like the mice were trapped ... just the same kind we have been hearing. There may be some where else they are getting in from ... but where? All your advice on your web page refers to when you can get to them from the inside, or you can visibly see where the mice are getting in from the outside. What would we do in our situation? Please help ... I am frantic now! Tazeen
My Response: Yes, barrel tile roofs cause the biggest problems. It can be very challenging to solve. Simply put, you need a good expert with tile roof experience, to find the openings. Where do you live?
Customer Mouse Email: I do not know your name, but I figured I'd ask for your help. Some pest control trappers I hired came to my house and sealed it from the mouse problem we were having in the attic. The bill was $400. It was not successful. He returned and sealed a few more places with foam. Again, the problem persisted. I put out poisoned bait...my mistake...and had to hire the trapper again to find the dead animal in the rafters. He was not successful, but the bill was still $160. I have called a few times to try to get someone to come out and re-inspect the house as the pests are still getting in somewhere. His website says he guarantees his work, ("We offer repairs of animal entry points and animal waste cleanup and we guarantee our work") but I cannot get anyone to come out and finish the job. I have been told that if hire independent contractors and the original pest control company no longer works, that I will have to pay again to have someone come out. That is unfortunate, but not my problem. A guarantee is a guarantee and I want someone to come out and finish the job or I want my $400 returned so I can hire another company. I do not want to have to contact my brother, an attorney who deals with fraud, but I feel I am being left with no choice. As I sit here at my computer I can hear something crawling in the walls. I want the problem fixed, as per his guarantee. Please contact me as soon as possible so we can resolve this matter. I just want the problem fixed. Thank you.
My Response: That's really unfortunate! What a bad company you must have hired. Any company that offers a guarantee should honor it. Also, I wouldn't charge a customer if I was unable to find the dead animal. I'm sorry you had a bad experience with a pest control company. I don't know how I can specifically help unless I know the person you are talking about, but in the end it's up to that company to do good work and honor their guarantee. As for me, I do my best to provide educational materials online, and I try to refer good companies myself, but I can't be responsible for the actions of any other company other than mine in Orlando.
Customer Mouse Email: to whom it may concern: my name is shawn I have a mouse problem in my attic or crawlspace and I work out of town so I cant control the problem. it has been going on to my knowledge for about a month maybe longer. I have a close by neighbor who has a key. I need an estimate of removal, and clean up (if you offer it.) Could you give an estimate as to approximate cost of eradicating the mouse? You may contact me by email.
My Response: I'd be happy to help with your problem with a mouse in the attic. There are likely many mice. I will need to do an inspection in order to provide a proper estimate for the job, because I'll need to seal the house so that no more mice can get inside.
For more information, you can go back to my main mouse removal page.
An attic is usually dark and warm with no direct sunlight or any other light source entering it regularly. It also has minimal use for the house’s inhabitants, so there is little or no intrusion for house mice activities up there. These conditions are just perfect for the mice and they do not hesitate to take advantage of it when an attic is accessible for them. They live there freely and breed copiously while at it.
It is however, not a commensal existence as it may appear because these small creatures are very destructive while going about their activities. They litter the attic with food, urine, faecal droppings and litter. They chew paper, cloth and wire (which may lead to a fire outbreak); they make irritating noises capable of keeping you awake all night and they are capable of infecting humans with a host of diseases. It is thus important to get those house mice out of your attic as soon as possible.
Steps to getting house mice out of your attic
You should move fast, no matter if the mice up there are not more than two yet. There are several practical and cost effective means of getting house mice out of your attic. These include the steps below:
Be certain that you got a house mice infestation - A lot of people are paranoid about house mice and as a result, raise false alarms about mice infestation when there was actually none. Be absolutely sure house mice live in your attic. Their presence can be ascertained through their annoyingly audible noise, blackish faecal droppings and urine traces, chewed books, wires and cloth, debris, smell and, in rare cases, physical sightings.
Find and seal off their entry and exit points - Carefully search for all openings and cracks through which house mice could have entered into your attic, usually on the roofline, windows, soffits, etc. and use sealants to block them off. Leaving off to block these openings after getting rid of the mice may result in new mice coming in even while you’re trying to get rid of the ones inside.
If you plan to use a one way exclusion trap though, you should leave one opening unsealed as it will be useful when excluding the rodents.
Do not use repellents or poisons to get house mice out of your attic - Repellents are ineffective in the long term, so using them will only be waste of time, effort and money. Mothballs, ammonia, bay leaves, peppermint, ultrasonic sound emitters and baking powder are some of the repellents regularly used by people.
Poisons, on the other hand, will kill off the house mice, but will bring a lot of unpleasant consequences like foul odour that could permeate the whole house and area, new infestation by other rodents and insects, and possible outbreak of diseases. Therefore, use neither poison nor
Set some mouse traps - There are two types of mouse traps available, and they are live and lethal mouse traps.
Live traps, such as box house mouse traps and glue traps, are useful in getting mice out of the attic without killing them. These traps are baited with food bits, which lure mice into the cage and the trap door shuts after them. Afterwards, the mice are relocated far away from the house and set free
Lethal traps on the other hand, catch and kill the mice instantly. This is mostly done in a painless and quick way. Snap traps and electronic house mouse traps are commonly used for killing mice.
One way exclusion funnels- are also useful in removing mice from your attic. To use this funnel, leave one opening unsealed and position the funnel over it. The mice will be able to leave the attic through it but will not be able to get back in; until they’re all gone. Then you clean up
Carefully get rid of the mice- After trapping the mice, either dead or alive, you need to get rid of them from your attic. Properly dispose of the carcass while wearing rubber gloves to avoid being infected.
Cleaning Up your attic-It is important that you clean and tidy up your attic after removing all the house mice to make it unattractive to other rodents. Replace damaged wires and chewed woods.
Mice are one of the most common rodent infestations that are to be found in the United States, and while many people will view these furry little creatures as cute, they can actually be quite the opposite. They are known for transmitting diseases, and when they urinate or defecate on food or in water they can contaminate this supply for any other people or animals who may use that water source. Mice are also naturally inclined to gnaw, so as well as being a pest they can also cause some significant damage too if they are allowed to remain in the attic.
Trapping The Mice
The wooden based snap trap has been used to catch mice for well over a century, and this is still the best way to remove mice from the attic, and it is also a fairly inexpensive method too. These traps should be laid in locations where the mice are known to be active, and can be baited with foods such as sliced hot dog, small marshmallows or peanut butter. Despite what you may see in cartoons, mice are fonder of sweet foods than they are of a nice piece of cheese!
Can Repellents Work Against Mice?
When you go to your local hardware store you will see that there are plenty of products available that are said to drive mice from your attic, with both chemical and audio repellents available. Although this might seem like the simple choice, these devices are largely ineffective and will certainly not be able to repel an established population of mice in the attic. The additional problem is that while you are trying to use these repellents, the mice can be causing more damage that will need more work to repair once the infestation is removed.
Sealing The Attic
Having dealt with the mice themselves, there are also several steps you should take to prevent future infestations and make the area safe to use for maintenance and storage purposes.The first step is to try and locate all of the holes that the mice were using to get in and out, and these can lead to other parts of the house or the exterior, and then seal them. Once this is done, the whole attic should be sprayed with an antibacterial solution that will kill any spores or parasites left behind by the mice, and prevent any health complications that these can cause.
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