As autumn approaches, mice look for warm homes with food and water in which to hunker down for the winter. Don’t let one of those homes be yours! At a recent NAPO-GPC* meeting, pest expert Dr. Dion Lerman shared tips on how to prevent, eliminate and clean up after those little rodents. Here are answers to questions you might not have known you had:
Are mice a health concern?
- Mice are a health concern because they contribute to allergies and asthma
- 83% of all homes contain mice allergens; 95% of low-income homes
- The allergens are found in their urine
How do the rascals get in?
- Under doors if there is a gap that is ¼” high (if a pencil can fit under a door, a mouse can fit)
- Through holes in the exterior of the house (if a hole is the size of a dime, a mouse can fit)
- Inside in corners, floors, closets, basements, openings around pipes, etc.
Where in the house do the critters live?
- Mice generally nest 30 to 50 feet from food and water
- They can live in wall voids, cabinets, under sinks, attics, basements, sheds … you name it
- You can detect them by their droppings (or by the behavior of your pets)
How can one prevent them from coming in?
- Install door sweeps on doors with gaps
- Stuff openings with steel wool or copper pot-scrubbers as tightly as possible and seal with silicone caulk
- Eliminate accessible food and water
- Keep the home clean and decluttered
- Use plastic bins with snap lids for storage (bins containerize items and makes clean up easier, should they enter)
What’s the best way to get rid of mice?
- Use snap traps with peanut butter as bate
- If successful, wear rubber/nitrile gloves, put dead mouse in resealable bag, then in plastic grocery bag and put in trash. Disinfect surrounding area and trap if you want to reuse it.
- Do NOT use poison in the house! Avoid sticky pads.
What’s the best way to safely clean up after the critters?
- Wear rubber/nitrile gloves, mist mouse droppings and urine with a 1:10 solution of water and bleach; let soak for five minutes
- Wipe up with paper towels and dispose of them
- Wipe again with a disinfectant or bleach solution
As with most things in life, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.