The house mouse is well adapted to living in your home with you, and sometimes you may never know you have a problem with them until a serious sign of infestation develops. These mice reproduce quickly, with females having sometimes up to 10 litters of five or six young each year. The mice are nocturnal and naturally skittish, leaving you to rely on investigative work to know if you have them. A good mouser in either a cat or a dog can help your situation immensely, although it may not help large infestations.
There are many types of traps available to consumers. Among the oldest and most widely used design is the snap trap, which uses a metal snap and hammer to break the mouse's neck. These traps are not humane or always effective; sometimes the mouse is trapped on the board with the hammer across its muzzle, abdomen or a leg. Live traps are much more humane and often effective. The live trap works by attracting the mouse with a bait you have placed, typically peanut butter, gum drops or seeds. There are single- and multi-catch traps made of either plastic, metal or other material.
Glue boards are another sort of trap, but also highly inhumane. The mouse runs over the strong glue and gets stuck, often left to die of dehydration or suffocation if the mouse accidentally puts its nose on the glue.
Poisons, while effective, are not ideal for getting rid of mice. Many dogs, cats and wildlife can be poisoned by either ingesting the poison directly or by eating an infected mouse. Dogs, especially, will try to seek out the poisoned bait and eat it. Rodenticides can hurt people as well, particularly children. If you decide to use a rodenticide, follow the instructions clearly and place the bait out of reach of children, pets or other animals. Another drawback of poisons is that once the mouse eats it, it will go to its nest or hiding place and die, sometimes in a wall of your home, an appliance or somewhere you cannot easily get to.
The sanitation method not only refers to cleaning, but also to how you store items the mice are attracted to. Mice can chew through almost anything, but storing your seeds, grains and cereal products in glass, metal or heavy-duty rubber containers can help prevent them from eating those items. Also, clean up any pet food at night, as well as doing your dishes.
One of the first signs many people notice of a house mouse infestation is mouse droppings. Mouse droppings are small and look like black or brown seeds. You may also notice holes chewed in boxes or other materials. Sometimes, the first sign of a mouse is the smell of a dead mouse. Mice die in their hiding places, such as appliances, furniture or inside walls.