LESLIE: Tracy in Alaska has some unwanted visitors in the name of mice. Tell us about the problem.
TRACY: Hey, Tom and Leslie. Love the show. We’re getting dumped on with snow today so it’s quite a picturesque scene but …
TRACY: … part of that – part of that winter, I think, has been pushing some mice inside the house. I don’t know if they’re mice …
TOM: Well, they need a place to live too.
TRACY: Yeah. That’s right. Well, I live kind of in a wooded area. We haven’t really had a problem …
TRACY: … for about the last five or six years but then all of a sudden, bang, here they are and I went looking for traps and everybody in town was sold out so I don’t think it’s just me that’s having the problem. But my question was – I was able to trap five or six in a couple of days and we haven’t had anymore sightings but I wondered if you guys had any experience with the sonic things that you can plug in the wall and they’re supposed to chase them out with sound fields and things like that – just maybe to put in the living area instead of putting down more traps or poison and leaving that around – just something to kind of keep them at bay once they’re out.
TOM: All the professionals that I’ve talked to about this do not use those and say they don’t work. I’ve never personally had any experience with them. However, I have had a lot of experience keeping mice out of the house …
TOM: … and generally it comes down to a couple of things. First of all, trying to identify all of those small places on the outside of your house where mice can find their way in. They only need the space about the size of your finger to squeeze through so if you’ve got …
LESLIE: Even less. Like a quarter of inch.
TRACY: That’s pretty amazing.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, if you’ve got gaps or cracks you can stuff steel wool in those places to try to block them from coming in.
The second thing is to make sure that you are not leaving any food out for them …
TOM: … and you may be leaving food out for them in a somewhat obvious way.
LESLIE: Like a food dish or a container of cereal not being closed properly. You want to make sure everything is in an airtight, sealed container.
TOM: And it may be food that you don’t really think about. For example, pet food is great mouse food because, well, we don’t keep mice as pets but (Tracy chuckles) they certainly love the same food and typically, that’s in a big paper sack on the floor…
TOM: … the way it’s sold at the stores.
TRACY: And we definitely had that …
TOM: This kind of food needs to be kept inside of a sealed container so that it’s metal and it can’t get through it.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And if you leave your pet’s dish out overnight, don’t. Pick it up, get rid of it or even put it back in the bag if you don’t want to waste or go ahead and put some Saran Wrap over the dish of food and leave it on the floor. But don’t just leave it there exposed because they’ll have a field day while you’re sleeping.
TRACY: That’s great.
TOM: And lastly, you could add – pick up some rodenticide, because it’s very effective. If they eat it they’re going to die and that will help rid your home of mice as well. Now, if you use rodenticide you want to make sure that if you have pets you put it in what’s called a bait station which basically is a trap that keeps the rodenticide inside of a container that the pet can’t get access to but the mice can.
LESLIE: One more thing, Tracy. If you’ve got piles of firewood outside – sort of up against the home, against your foundation – get them away. You don’t want anything directly next to the house, because they like to burrow inside that stack of firewood and then while they’re in there they’re chewing through the wall on the backside or finding ways in.
TRACY: Very good. Alright, those are great suggestions. I appreciate it, guys. Thanks for taking my call.
TOM: You’re welcome, Tracy. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.