When temperatures cooled down in early September, mice started house hunting. They will close on a new place before Halloween.
Cute or not, mice reproduce at a rate of 5-10 litters a year with an average of 6-8 little ones per litter. No one thinks 30 mice are cute. Getting rid of mice early is the most humane thing to do. Once they nest happily in your house, you have the choice of exterminating a few or exterminating many.
Domestic cats are not always good mousers. Exterminators say that the presence of a cat does not deter mice. The wild mice have figured out that domestic cats do not pose a threat to them, if the cat is not the mousing-type. I don’t know how they know (the exterminators, or the mice).
Cats who are good mousers will keep mice from nesting in your house, especially if the cat has free run of the basement. However, cats who hunt mice are also known to bring “presents” home for the family. Some of these are living mice, that the cat will bring in for you. Oh! Joy.
The good news is that it is fairly easy to efficiently get rid of mice with traps. Most people do not hire an exterminator. Some traps are more humane than others. Here is a site that shows you the options.
House hunting for people who hate mice
When I am with buyers in a house, I point out these common signs of mice:
- Mouse traps. Sometimes the traps have been in the basement for ten years. If they are dusty, the mice have been gone for years. If the traps look new, the problem may be ongoing.
- What is euphemistically called “mouse dirt” or “mouse droppings” in basements, garages, attics, or the dark corners of kitchen cabinets. It looks like rabbit dirt, just smaller. ‘Nuf said.
- The little furry guys like to nest in fiberglass insulation. Look for little tunnels in the insulation. You’d think they’d get itchy from it, but they don’t seem to mind it.
- Signs of mouse-prevention measures in houses. Sometimes I still see the steel wool under sinks or in corners near where heating pipes come up. Steel wool is an old-fashioned way to block mouse entryways. This attempt to block entry means that the mice have been getting in.
Prevention work is outside
Common places where mice get into house should be sealed before autumn. Walk around the outside of your house and check these things:
- Anywhere that pipes or wiring enters the house should be sealed, or resealed, during the summer.
- Check that your siding is solidly attached. If you have different materials on your house, check where they are joined.
- Check corners of vinyl siding, these corners are hollow and provide a highway into your attic.
- Garages make easy access for mice. Check around the door jambs and the bottom of the door.
I frequently run into buyers who cannot abide mice. Just the thought that a house may have mice is enough to send them scurrying away. (The people, not the mice).