Winter is here, which for some people means; they'll soon have mice. It's the time of the year when mice migrate indoors to find warmth, shelter and food. This can present a real problem because once they establish themselves in the home they are difficult to get rid of.
Mice can cause a lot of damage and cost homeowners a great deal of money in the process. They may not eat all that much, but they tend to contaminate much more than they eat. Between their droppings, urine and gnawing, they can necessitate the need to throw out a significant amount of food and clothing. And they can cause electrical problems and fires by chewing through wiring. They are also vectors for such diseases as salmonella and the deadly Hantavirus. So while having mice may not seem to be as bad as having rats, in reality, mice cause far more damage. They're just not as scary.
You may have a large infestation of mice and not realize it for some time. They generally are nocturnal, so you may not see them; you have to recognize their presence through the signs that they leave. The most obvious are their droppings, which are (1/4") dark little logs. Seeing these some place in your home is a sure sign that you have mice. You may also hear them running or squeaking in the walls of your home, or notice where they've been and what has been damaged.
You can catch mice with traps but they must be placed in the right location and baited with the foods that mice prefer. There's little point to placing traps where mice will never encounter them, or using bits of food that won't draw them to the trap. You need to put traps and baits in the places where mouse activity has been detected. Though mice are curious creatures that will investigate new objects in their paths and territories, they tend to stick close to walls when traveling. So place traps and baits where you know they've been or where they're known to travel.
Mice will eat a variety of foods and will nibble at many different types. They especially like high-fat and high-protein foods like nuts, bacon, peanut butter, and sweets. Their favorites though are grains and seeds. The first places you see evidence of mice may be where these types of foods are stored.
There are a number of options available to the homeowner to use to control mice. There are mousetraps, poisons and toxic baits and glue boards.
Toxic baits known as rodenticides contain seeds or grains to attract the mice so they will eat the bait. They are best placed in numbers close to the spots where mice live. Care must be taken with placement though since they are potentially toxic to children and pets. The active ingredients in these bait kills by preventing the mouse's blood from clotting, and causing internal bleeding.
When there is concern over the use of poisons, glue boards are a safe alternative to use. When mice run over a glue board they are stuck to it, which eventually causes their suffocation. There is no real danger for children or pets from a glue board because even if they become stuck to one it can be removed with minimal difficulty.
Traps are another safe alternative to poisons. There are 2 common varieties. The spring-loaded snap-traps and the multiple catch type. The spring-loaded snap-trap can be baited with a mouse food favorite. But the newer expanded trigger varieties don't have to be baited, just placed in a known mouse pathway. The multiple trap type of mousetrap can catch a number of mice before it needs emptying. A big advantage of traps is that you won't have the odor of dead and decaying mice coming from the walls.
When you catch or kill a mouse, take precautions when disposing of it. Wear gloves and bag the mouse, to prevent coming in contact with any of the diseases they carry.
Stephanie McIntyre has been a Platinum eBay Powerseller, an eBay Trading Assistant as well as an Educational Assistant trained by eBay. Her company, eSales Unlimited Inc. specializes in training small business owners in using eBay as an additional revenue stream. She maintains a site with information on selling on eBay.