How to Keep Mice from Coming Inside
LESLIE: Alright. Our next caller has a question that I’m happy to answer over the phone but will not go see in person. William in Delaware has mice. What is going on over there?
WILLIAM: Yeah, we recently – back in March, moved into our Habitat for Humanity home in downtown Wilmington. And for the first, I’d say, four or five months, we had no problems with mice or anything else. But the last three or four months, man, we’ve been getting mice coming in from the basement. I think that’s where they’re coming from.
We’ve caught like 25 mice in the last 3 or 4 months. That’s why we’ve got sticky traps out. Going around and putting little standing foam in skinny cracks I can find and basement-penetration stuff but I don’t know where they’re coming in other than that. And I was wondering if you had any ideas or what next – what to do next.
TOM: Well, why don’t you get a cat and a snake? Problem will be solved.
WILLIAM: Right. Well, unfortunately, my family is allergic to dogs and cats, so I can’t do that.
TOM: Well, look, have you tried bait yet?
WILLIAM: Oh, yeah. I had some bait traps outside but they’re still coming in.
TOM: OK. So, is it – getting rid of rodents is sort of a management problem, alright? You know, they’re so small they can squeeze into the space the size of a nickel. And so you’re doing all of the right things.
Now, outside the house – and since this is a newer house, this may not be the case but we always tell people to store firewood away from the house, not store garbage against a house to make sure that there’s no areas where mice can sort of linger around the outside of the house. Inside the house, you want to make sure you don’t have any kind of food source. So if you had a pet that might be – the dog-food bag or if you have a pantry that might be the – not keeping the cereal boxes on the bottom shelf where they can be chewed into by mice. Those are all the normal things.
Beyond that, it’s a maintenance issue where you’re going to make sure you keep some baits outside. I would put bait inside. What I would do is – is this on a basement or a crawlspace?
WILLIAM: Yeah. So, it has a basement.
TOM: So I would – and the basement is not finished?
WILLIAM: No, it’s not.
TOM: So what I would do is I would get some bait stations, put it up on the ledge between the concrete block and the bottom sill, where the framing is. That’s sort of the highway that the mice will use to crawl all around the outside of the house. So put your bait stations right there so that they can have some of that delectable poison and then go outside and die.
WILLIAM: Hopefully, that’s what – well, that’s what I was a little leery about. I’m afraid that if they eat bait, they might die inside the house someplace where I can’t get to them.
TOM: Nah. Occasionally, you can find one inside the house but it’s unusual. Normally, they’ll go outside. The thing is, as the weather gets colder, they go inside because they like a nice, warm house, as well. But you’ve got to prevent mice from coming inside in the first place by sealing up all the gaps and putting out bait stations.
WILLIAM: OK. Well, I’ll try more of the bait stations outside then.
TOM: Not outside. Put the bait inside, on that ledge, OK?
WILLIAM: Oh, OK. Yes, I will.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that problem.
WILLIAM: OK. Thanks.