How to Control and Eliminate Mice

Mice can spread disease and cause damge to household wiring.
Mice can spread disease and cause damge to household wiring. (Image: BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Mice are drawn to the home environment because it provides warmth, shelter, food and a safe place for breeding. Once inside, they begin to leave waste behind and gnaw on food, clothing, paper products and even furniture. Mice don't just damage material items; they are also a threat to health and safety. The pests can spread salmonella if dropping-contaminated foods are consumed. They also cause electrical problems and fires by chewing through appliance cords and other wiring. Take measures to eliminate mice at the first sign of an infestation to prevent a long-term and difficult to control problem.

Things You'll Need

  • Snap-traps
  • Peanut butter or bacon
  • Food storage containers
  • Bait boxes
  • Rodenticide
  • Steel wool
  • Rodent-proof screen wire
  • Pruning shears

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Inspect the house to determine which areas the mice regularly frequent. Look for droppings, which are brown or black and less than 1/4-inch long, as well as urine stains and marks from chewing.

Bait snap-traps with peanut butter or bacon. If baiting with bacon, twist the meat onto the trigger with thread. Use care when setting the traps so that your fingers aren't accidentally snapped.

Place snap-traps in areas where signs of mice are noticed. Set traps in locations where they won't be accidentally triggered by human household members or pets. Position the traps less than 10 feet apart, and load them with fresh bait each day, even if they haven't been triggered, as the mice are less likely to be drawn to stale bait.

Eliminate all available food sources by cleaning up messes promptly and placing all foods, including pet food, into mouse-proof storage containers.

Position bait boxes filled with rodenticide, which is a poison designed to kill mice and rats, in areas that mice frequent. Keep the bait boxes away from children and pets, as rodenticide is highly toxic.

Make the home less accessible by plugging all holes more than 1/4-inch in diameter with steel wool.

Repair all damaged window and door screens, and avoid leaving exterior doors open for long periods of time.

Place rodent-proof screen wire over foundation vents.

Eliminate clutter inside the home, especially in areas seldom used, such as the attic or basement.

Trim the bottom foliage of plants growing close to the home so that they no longer provide shelter for mice.

Tips & Warnings

  • Rodenticides are recommended only as a last resort because they are dangerous to children and pets, and wild animals that might eventually consume the affected mice.
  • Mice that consume rodenticide sometimes die in locations that are difficult to access, causing an extremely unpleasant odor when the animals begin to decay.


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