It's Spring. Why Do I Still Have Mice In My House?

Brown mouse

You'd think that with everything coming back to life, that mouse would want to be back out in nature where he belongs. But mice are commensal creatures. Unlike a parasite which lives in its host and does harm, commensal creatures live along side their host, deriving benefits from being in proximity. That means they are motivated to stay around you. So, the real question is, "Are you being a good host?"

House mice are basically freeloaders. Living in nature is too much of a downer, dude. That means they live in houses, not nature. It just happens to be your house they're living in at the moment. But it doesn't have to be. All you have to do is be a lousy host and your guest will leave.

How to be a lousy host for guest mice:

  1. For crying out loud, don't feed them. No freeloader is ever going to leave if you give them three square meals a day. Mice are rodents, so there is really no shelf or cabinet that you keep food in, that they can't chew their way into. The safest place for food is in the fridge, a freezer or hard plastic containers. This is especially important for food that is in cardboard or paper packaging.
  2. Don't give them snacks. Some unwanted guests may even stay if there are snacks around. Be sure to clean up crumbs around the toaster, jelly off the counter and all of the tiny things stuck to the kitchen table. Clean floor and rugs regularly. Don't leave food dishes or have beverages laying around the house, especially overnight. And don't leave a dry stack of dirty dishes on the counter. Stick those dishes in soapy water. If mice can find a snack, they'll stick around.
  3. Don't offer your unwanted guest a drink. If you have a leaky faucet or pipe, you'll be creating a puddle that mice will enjoy. More often, mice will go to the rotted place they chewed their way into the house and get a drink from the liquid there. If you have mice in your house, it is important to address the conditions that brought them in. Make sure your gutters are undamaged and unobstructed. And, make sure they channel water away from your house--not down your walls. A wet wall will have rotted areas. Moisture is the death of a home. Mice could be the wake-up call you need to get motivated on those important home repairs.
  4. Spend a little time on the exterior of your house. Check screens for rips, make sure vents are not broken or loose. Look around at your foundation, cable wire entry points, and doors and windows for gaps and cracks. Weatherstripping can go a long way to fixing any gaps around the doors or windows and simply caulking the holes around where your cable wire and other utilities come into the home is a great help. If you have a chimney, be sure that it has a vent cover as well. Mice are fantastic climbers and can typically fit in a hole the size of a nickel.
  5. Make sure that your firewood and debri are at least 20 feet away from the house. This is a great hiding spot for any rodent opportunist waiting for you to leave that door open long enough for him to slip through. A mouse is perfectly content to wait it out in your wood box outside your door or in an accommodating bush that is growing to close to the house.

No one likes an unwanted guest. If you take away the food and water they need to survive, mice will find another house to live in. You may want to also consider getting a pest control company to do an inspection and give you some insight. The conditions that brought mice into your house could bring other damaging pests, like termites and carpenter ants. Don't let pets steal the equity you have in your home. Do the maintenance that is needed to retain the value of your home.

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