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How to Get Rid of Mice Without Them Dying in Your Walls

Kate Zimmerman

Mice can get into homes easily and destroy belongings and food. If uncontrolled poisons are used to get rid of them, mouse carcasses may become inaccessible within walls and cause horrible odors in the house. Know how to spot mice indoors and trap them properly.

  1. Detect mice in your home. Several methods are used to spot mice inside a home. First, look for mouse feces, which are dark and about ¼-inch long. These may be found around food, under cabinets or behind appliances. Second, search for holes in the walls. Mice can fit through holes as small as ¼ inch in diameter. Finally, the New York State Department of Health suggests sprinkling a thin layer of baby powder or talcum powder on any area mice are suspected to travel across. After 24 hours, shine a flashlight across the powdered surface to look for tiny tracks. Use these travel routes to determine where to set traps.

  2. Protect your home from further infestation. Seal all holes large enough for mice (¼ inch and larger). Next, place bagged and boxed food in a safe location, such as a plastic tub or well-sealed cabinet. Also, clean or clear dirty dishes of food. Mice find food sources you may not consider. Keep pet food stored in a secure container, collect pet food dishes when they are not in use and thoroughly sweep floors for loose food.

  3. Trap mice instead of using poisons. Poisons may take several days to kill a mouse, allowing it to die within a wall. A variety of traps are available, including live-catch traps, glue traps and box traps. The same, simple snap traps that have been used for decades, however, tend to work best. Use almost any food as bait with traps, but peanut butter, apple, potato and bacon have worked for homeowners in the past. Orkin, a pest and termite control company, suggests baiting traps without setting them for a couple days. Traps are more effective if mice become comfortable with them. After you see bait disappear for a couple days in a row, set the traps. In cases of heavy mouse infestation, professional extermination may be necessary.

  4. Prevent mice from getting into your home in the future. After mice are killed, follow the same measures used earlier to protect your home. Check old holes for penetration, search for new holes, and follow a few additional steps to keep the pesky creatures out for good. First, place mothballs under your mobile home, beneath your porch or around your house's foundation. Mothballs repel mice, rats and other rodents as well as unwelcome bugs. Use pest-control plug-ins to frighten away rodents. These devices create a high-pitched noise that repels not only rodents but also unwelcome insects. Also, clean surfaces where mice traveled with a solution of 1 part bleach and 10 parts water. This sanitizes the surfaces from diseases and washes away mouse scent. In addition, continue to monitor areas where signs of mice were found in the past.

  5. Warning

    The labels on mouse poisons claim the products kill most indoor populations within a week. Poisons should not be the first choice for killing mice for two major reasons. First, they do not kill mice in a controlled area, which allows mice to die within walls; the putrid smell of a dead mouse within a wall is hard to eliminate. Second, children and pets can consume the poison, which could cause illness or fatality. Pets may eat a poisoned, dead mouse and become poisoned as well.