In a perfect world, you’d never hear mice scratching, squeaking, or scurrying within your walls. But it isn’t a perfect world and chances are you will, at some time or another, hear the scritchy-scratchy sounds of the common house mouse. You might see some signs too, like black, pellet-sized droppings, a musty smell, oily black marks on the walls and baseboards, gnaw marks, or chewed-through objects like electrical wires.
So Why Do Mice Get in Walls Anyway?
Most homes have wall openings of some kind, often around utility pipes, gas lines, cable networks, ductwork, and dryer vents, and as long as those holes are at least as big as a dime, mice have plenty of room to squeeze through. Once inside, they discover a warm, dry, safe place—filled with fluffy insulation, no less—that’s perfect for nesting and hiding.
Another reason mice live within walls is because it provides a predator-free zone. They have poor eyesight, so having a safe haven is crucial. They use their whiskers as feelers, and, with edges mice can sense easily, walls provide an ideal corridor for them to run from food to nest and back again.
How to Get Rid of Mice in Walls
It’s eviction time. Do these 3 things to get mice out of walls:
1. Learn Their Habits
The key to getting rid of mice in walls is to understand their habits. First, know that mice are constantly foraging for food, which means' they'll investigate anything new, including mouse traps and bait stations. Second, they're nibblers. On average, a single house mouse will make up to 30 visits to different food sites each and every night. That means you'll have plenty of chances to get them where you want them. Third, mice tend to stick close to their food sources, usually only traveling 10 to 30 feet away. Knowing where they are is half the battle!
2. Set Traps and Baits
Of course, it's important to use the right traps and place them in the right places. Remember, mice stay close to their food sources, so place traps like the Tomcat® Kill & Contain® Mouse Trap, Tomcat® Multi-Catch Mouse Trap, or Tomcat® Mouse Snap Trap, wherever mice are most active.
Mice love sweet-and-sticky tidbits like peanut butter, bacon, raisins, and gumdrops. Or, try pre-mixed, ready-to-use Tomcat® Attractant Gel. Just a dollop of this gel on a mechanical trap attracts curious mice with no mess or fuss for you.
Baits are a popular solution for controlling mice living in walls. A bait station is not a mouse trap. The mouse enters the station, nibbles on the bait block inside, then leaves, likely heading back to its nest to die. It only takes a small amount of Tomcat's bait to kill a mouse, and a single one-ounce bait block in a Tomcat® Mouse Killer bait station will kill up to 12 mice*. Once a mouse nibbles a lethal dose of the bait, it will begin to feel ill and normally dies within 1 to 2 days.
Strategically placing multiple bait stations around your house where you've seen signs of mouse activity can quickly control your mouse problem. Tomcat sells a number of bait stations for mice. Both the Tomcat® Mouse Killer Disposable Bait Station - Advanced Formula and the Tomcat® Mouse Killer Disposable Bait Station - Advanced Formula are designed to prevent tampering by kids and dogs and can also be used outdoors. For large mice infestations, Tomcat also offers refillable bait stations.
3. Place and Reposition Traps & Bait Stations
Always place more than one trap or bait station, even if you think you only have a single mouse. Set them where you've seen signs of mouse activity (think droppings, chewed items, or oily rub marks), such as close to walls, in dark corners, behind objects, and in other out-of-sight areas where mice like to travel. Also, keep in mind that you're dealing with mice in walls, so don't place all of your traps or bait stations at floor level.
If you're not successful after 2 or 3 days, don't give up. Instead, move the traps and bait stations around to other locations where you suspect mouse activity (you may also want to re-bait traps with fresh food, too.) Remember, mice will check out anything new, so relocating a trap or bait station can help pique their natural curiosity.
One last thing: Don't wait to take control of your mouse problem, as a single pair of mice can reproduce continually throughout the year (we're talking 6 to 10 litters.) We're betting you don't want THAT family in your walls!
Keep Mice Out
Once you’ve rid your walls of mice, then it’s time to do a home inspection to make sure they don’t get back in. When you’re ready, read this article to mouse-proof your house.
*Based on no-choice laboratory testing