Controlling the rodent population has been a concern dating back to the 14th century, when a deadly rodent-borne disease known as bubonic plague (Black Death) killed millions of people across Europe and Asia. While many believe that the plague was eradicated centuries ago, it has never really gone away. According to The Centers for Disease Control, the plague claimed at least 40 lives in Madagascar in 2014. A few plague cases have even been reported in the United States in recent years.
While bubonic plague cases are relatively rare, rats and mice can transmit a number of other diseases that could pose a health risk to you, your family and even your pets. The list includes ominous-sounding afflictions such as Wells syndrome, Lassa fever, Lymphocytic choriomeningitis, rat-bite fever, hantavirus, typhoid and pneumonic plague, to name a few. Depending on the affliction, symptoms can range from rashes, headaches and nausea to severe respiratory distress and renal failure — even death in some instances.
The Telltale Signs of a Mouse Problem
You might think you have a rodent-free home, until you notice little gnaw marks on your cereal box one morning. Other telltale signs of a mouse infestation include tiny paw prints in dusty corners of your home, small, black granular-shaped droppings and a distinct musky odor in certain rooms. You may even hear mice as they scurry behind the walls of your home or catch an occasional glimpse of a rodent scampering across your floor.
Mice have the uncanny knack for squeezing through the tiniest of holes, which makes it easy for them to enter your home. They are also prolific breeders, which means there are probably more mice hiding out nearby if you see signs of one.
How to Create a Mouse-Proof Home
The best way to control mice is to take steps to prevent them from getting inside your home. Take some time to walk the perimeter of your home to detect any cracks, holes or crevices. Seal any openings that could provide easy entry for mice. Proper sanitation is key for creating an indoor environment that is less inviting to rodents.
Keep your kitchen counters clean, and sweep up crumbs and spilled food. Keep open food packages, including pet food packages, in tightly sealed metal containers. Don’t let trash accumulate inside your home — store as much of it as possible in covered metal trashcans outside until it’s time for your scheduled trash collection.
Should You Use Poisons or Snapping Traps to Keep Mice Away?
Products containing poisons and chemicals can be extremely effective for getting rid of rodents. Spring-loaded snapping traps can also efficiently catch and kill mice. Neither option is considered a safe pest control method to use around children or pets. The accidental ingestion of mouse poison could potentially harm a child or animal, and curious fingers, paws or snouts could be injured by a snap trap.
Natural Ways to Get Rid of Mice in Your Home
If poisons and snapping traps aren’t viewed as child- or pet-safe mouse control methods, what kid- and pet-friendly pest control options are available? Some homeowners turn to homemade remedies as an all-natural alternative to poisons and traps. These concoctions typically contain various combinations of pungent substances such as castor oil, Tabasco sauce, garlic cloves and others. Besides being a hassle to prepare and apply, the effectiveness of these potions is inconsistent at best.
Does Peppermint Oil Get Rid of Mice?
Many homeowners have experienced success when using peppermint oil to keep mice away as mice are repelled by the strong smell of peppermint and will avoid any areas where the odor is present. If you’re interested in trying this pet-safe mouse control method, use Victor®’s Scent-Away™ peppermint oil repellents and place them in areas where you have noticed signs of rodent activity. Scent-Away™ can be used in confined spaces where other rodent repellents may not be as practical.
Provide a Sound Barrier with Ultrasonic Emitters
In addition to offering scents that repel rodents, you can increase your home’s ability to keep mice away by strategically placing ultrasonic emitters like Victor®’s PestChaser® models around your house. Safe for use around children and pets when used in accordance with the instructions in the user’s manual, these electronic devices send out pulses of ultrasound at high frequencies that mice find irritating, but which humans and pets can’t even hear. To prevent mice from growing accustomed to the noise, PestChaser®s vary the volume and frequency of their bursts, making your home undesirable in their minds. And all the while you don’t hear a thing!
How to Get Rid of Mice With Kids in the House
If you’re a parent who needs to know how to get rid of mice when you have a baby or small child in the house, you’ll want to choose a trap that won’t harm young children. You’ll also want a product that works quickly, before the rodents have a chance to spread the multitude of diseases they may be carrying.
The Victor® Clean-Kill™ Mouse Trap is a small tunnel-like device that looks like an attractive hiding place to a mouse. When the mouse takes the bait and enters the trap, the specially designed Kill-Gate™ provides a quick, humane kill. You can easily dispose of the dead rodent and reuse the trap, or just throw it away. This trap provides a clean, efficient kill without the use of poisons or chemicals that could pose a danger to young children.
How to Get Rid of Mice When You Have Pets
A great option for households with pets is the Victor® Kill Vault™ Mouse Trap. This trap offers a 100% kill rate, and the kill is fast and humane. The trap also completely seals the dead rodent inside after the kill, preventing contamination from urine, feces and blood.
Rodents are known carriers of disease-carrying parasites such as fleas and ticks. The trap’s sealing action keeps parasites from finding their way out after the kill and latching onto your cat, dog or other household animal. Your pets also won’t be able to get to the mouse while it is caught inside. Simply throw away the trap after the kill — you won’t ever have to see or handle a dead rodent!
How to Catch a Mouse Without Killing It
If you’re not keen on the idea of having dead mice around your home, traps are available that enable you to catch mice without killing them. This is an appealing option if you’re opposed to killing any type of animal, even rodents. You’ll also avoid exposing your kids and pets to a dead rodent that’s caught in a trap.
The Victor® Catch & Hold Mice Trap does not kill the rodent. As the name implies, it captures and holds the rodent in place for future release. Simply set and bait the trap, and check it frequently. Once you’ve caught a mouse, transport the trap to a wooded area away from your home for easy release. You won’t have to come in contact with the rodent during the release process. This is another poison- and chemical-free product that won’t cause harm to your kids or pets.
Tips for Increasing Your Trapping Success
The proper use of mouse traps can significantly increase your catch rate. Here are a few tips that can enhance your trapping success:
Place multiple traps around your home — If you see one mouse, there are sure to be more lurking nearby. By placing several traps instead of just one, you’ll stand a better chance of ending your rodent problem once and for all.
Consider the location — You’ll catch more mice by placing traps in areas where you have noticed signs of rodent activity. Mice are creatures of habit that tend to take the same pathways to and from their hiding places.
Use the right bait — Baiting is essential for luring the rodents into the traps. Victor® traps are compatible for use with favorite mouse foods — mice are attracted to high-protein food such as peanut butter, chocolate, seeds and oatmeal. Rodents are also attracted by nesting materials such as cotton, dental floss and string, which can also be placed inside your trap. If you smoke, also avoid touching your bait with bare hands since the nicotine will repel mice. Follow your trap’s instructions regarding proper bait placement.
Know when to stop trapping — A common trapping mistake is ending the trapping process too soon. Just because you’ve caught a couple of mice, doesn’t mean you have totally eradicated your rodent problem. Keep your traps in place until you no longer see mouse droppings or the other telltale signs of rodent activity.
Keep pets away from the traps — While Victor® traps won’t injure your pets, they can still arouse an animal’s curiosity. To avoid temptation, place the trap inside a closed or covered cardboard box and cut a small opening at either end to allow the mouse plenty of room to enter.
For more information about how to safely and effectively prevent and combat infestations, contact the experts at Victor®.