Mouse traps fly off home center shelves around this time every year as property owners try to halt the annual fall invasion. But trapping (or worse yet poisoning) just provides temporarily relief from the symptoms of the problem. If mice are getting into your home or basement, you've already lost battle.
The only real, permanent solution to mouse-proofing a home is to do a careful inspection for holes and cracks where mice are getting in and to block those openings with the right materials. One of the best times to do this is when replacing windows, doors, siding and addressing attic insulation problems.
How Mice Get Into Your Home
Mice typically squeeze into homes where pipes and vents go through the siding because the hole is always a little bigger than the pipe. If you had a new furnace installed in recent years, check around the vent in the siding. Mice have thin, flexible bones that allow them to wiggle through openings as small as a dime. Furnace installers are notorious for leaving gaps under vents. Another prime entry point is under the bottom course of siding. When close to the ground, these holes are practically impossible to see without a lighted inspection mirror on an adjustable arm.
Weatherization usually is associated with lowering energy bills and improving personal comfort. But it also is an important part of any home defense strategy against mice. Gaps in window weather stripping and door sweeps invite mice to winter indoors.
Block foundations and open attics enable mice to range undetected from one end of the house to the other. Think of the block walls as a honeycomb overlapping hollow cells. Once mice get into the wall they can pop up anywhere along the sill. Meanwhile, they will create their own tunnels in attic insulation. Sadly, the Owens Corning pink panther is no match for a motivated mouse. Mice like to live under concrete stoops so be especially vigilant about sealing gaps near doors.
Choose Your Weapons Carefully
It’s not enough to find the access points and fill them. You need to use material that mice won’t yank out or chew through and stuff that won’t disintegrate or corrode copper pipes. Professional pest companies typically use copper or brass wool around copper pipes. Unlike steel, these materials won’t cause a galvanic reaction and corrosion. Professionals also choose stainless steel rather than ordinary steel wool for larger gaps because it won’t rust when wet. And forget about blocking mice with expanding foam insulation. It’s no match for pointy teeth and sharp claws.
Don’t Expose Your Family To Disease
If you think trapping mice each fall is no big deal, consider this. Mouse droppings, saliva and urine carry all sorts of bacteria and virus, including the potentially lethal hantavirus. When handling a sprung trap, wear disposable gloves. Never vacuum or sweep dropping, which can send dry particles airborne to be inhaled. If you must clean up a mouse nest, wear a cartridge style respirator and disinfect the area thoroughly.
More Prolific Than Rabbits!
While rabbits are known for being prolific, mice may be even worse. A rabbit can have a litter (or kit) once a month. Mice can have new litters of up to six babies every 21 days and their offspring are ready to breed in just 10 weeks. That’s a lot of mice. If your property has a history of mice, be sure to tell Hoffman Weber when you request a free quote for siding, windows or attic insulation. We will make extra sure that gaps and holes are properly sealed.