Mice: A Big Problem in a Pint-Sized Package
You see a shadow move from out of the corner of your eye. Then, you start noticing droppings along your baseboards, in the pantry, and maybe even on the kitchen countertops. You might as well face it: You have a mouse in the house—and probably more than one! Once you get over the "yuck" factor, there are some simple, no-nonsense steps you can take to get rid of mice in the house.
Quick Guide to Getting Rid of Mice in the House
- Choose the type of mouse trap or bait station that best fits your needs.
- Put mouse traps or bait stations in places where you see mouse droppings or other signs of activity.
- Store food in sealed containers and don’t leave crumbs lying around.
- Don’t leave out bowls of pet food.
- Seal up all cracks and openings that lead outside.
How to Get Rid of Mice: The Details
Use Mice Behavior Against Them
Mice are creatures of habit—they like to take the same path to and from their nests. They're also very curious, so they'll check out any new thing along the way. Those two behaviors will help you control your mice problem. Put your traps or bait stations in several places where you see mouse poop. If you don't catch a mouse within two days, move the trap or bait station to another spot.
Keep Food Away from Mice
Mice need a nice, warm place to live. Your house will do just fine. They also need only a little food, and not much water—the moisture in their food is enough. Make sure you store your grains and cereals in sealed containers. You should also store your fruit, potatoes, and other perishables in your refrigerator. Sweep or vacuum up any crumbs, and keep your garbage can lid on nice and tight. A tidy home will help reduce a mouse’s attraction to it!
Put Pet Food Away
If you leave a bowl of food outside for your dog, you're effectively hanging out a sign on your home that says "Mouse Café". If you leave some food in a bowl inside, it can compete with bait you’ve put out for rodents. So if you want to get rid of mice, put the leftover food away, especially at night, once Fido has eaten, to help avoid a mouse infestation.
Make Your House Less Inviting
Mice can find a way into your house pretty easily. They can fit through a hole the size of a dime. That's why it's important to seal any cracks or openings around your foundation, windows, garage, or anywhere else. If you have rough siding on your house, such as brick, they can climb right up to the second floor or roof area without any problem, so be sure to check for openings at that level as well. This is a great project to tackle while the weather is still nice, because once winter comes mice start seeking shelter indoors. It’s better to keep them away than wait until there’s a mouse in the house.
See the article Rodent-Proofing Your Home for more information.
How to Kill Mice: Traps vs. Baits
The method you choose to get rid of mice depends on your own needs and preferences. Tomcat® offers a wide range of rodent solutions to fit your individual scenario. Can you stand seeing the mouse once it's caught? Do you want to see evidence that it's dead? Fortunately, you have options. There are products that take advantage of a mouse's natural curiosity and need to scavenge for food.
Traps can be baited with peanut butter or Tomcat® Attractant Gel to lure the mouse in for capture. They provide evidence of an effective capture or kill to track behavior as well. There are several different kinds of traps, and each provides unique benefits for rodent control. If you don't want to see the mouse after it's dead, try the Tomcat® Kill & Contain® Mouse Trap. If you don't mind seeing the mouse once it's dead, try the easy-to-use Tomcat® Press 'N Set® Mouse Trap. If you prefer a catch-and-release option, use the Tomcat® Live Catch Mouse Trap. All of these traps are extremely effective when it comes to getting rid of mice in the house.
Bait stations come in 2 forms: Disposable, for smaller problems, or refillable, for large infestations. The good news is, each 1-oz. bait block in a Tomcat® Mouse Killer bait station kills a lot of mice* (up to 12)! With either option, mouse bait is placed in a bait station where the mouse enters, nibbles on the bait block, then leaves, and usually dies in its nest within 1 to 2 days. (It will not remain in the station.)
Bait stations are available in child- and dog- resistant options, like the Tomcat® Mouse Killer Disposable Bait Station - Advanced Formula, and the Tomcat® Mouse Killer Refillable Bait Station - Advanced Formula. They can be used indoors or outdoors and positioned horizontally or vertically for maximum coverage.
*Based on no-choice laboratory testing
Our guide to determining the best type of rodent control will help you decide which method is best for you and your home.
Where to Put Mouse Traps & Bait
Up your chances for successfully removing a mouse infestation from your home by placing traps and bait where they already roam. Mice rarely travel further than 50 feet from their nests to search for food, and they use their whiskers, memory, and keen sense of smell to safely move around in total darkness. They fear the great wide open, so keeping traps and bait close to walls and doors will likely catch more mice.
Look for signs of activity and place mouse traps and bait stations nearby. Put down whichever type of control you prefer next to baseboards, in cabinet corners, and in out-of-sight areas, like behind the fridge or under the stove. Position the entry hole for bait stations and traps in line with the wall to create a runway that lures them inside.
Space multiple mouse traps no further than 10 feet apart.
For more insights, watch our video on where to place mouse and rat traps.