How did mice get in our house and how do we get rid of them?

Updated February 21, 2017

The pitter patter of little feet in the walls may signal house guests, and not the welcome kind. Mice can invade any house -- they only need a 6 mm (1/4 inch) opening to squeeze into. Even forgetting to close the garage door for a few hours could give the little critters an opportunity. Getting rid of them is important as they can chew electrical wires and cause other damage to structures. There are several options including live traps, snap traps, and poison. These methods, combined with patching up any openings mice can use to get in, will take care of the lightning-fast pests.

Getting in the house

Mice typically start looking for a warm home in the autumn when the weather turns cooler. They find your home as comfortable as you do, so reduce the temptation for mice to move in by patching holes around the foundation with steel wool and caulk. Mice can chew through most materials, but steel wool does stop them. Permanent fixes include using concrete or metal. Make sure all the doors and windows fit tightly; don't leave any gaps large enough for a mouse. Clean up any clutter, newspapers stacks or other hiding places.

Live traps

The house mouse seems a cute little thing, until it chews holes in the food boxes stored in your pantry or leaves droppings in the silverware drawer. If you prefer not to kill mice, obtain live traps at a hardware sshop. Keep in mind that the mice need to be released far away from your house or this method won't be helpful.

Snap traps

Bait snap traps with peanut butter and set lightly. Mice can figure out how to take the bait without snapping the trap, but sticky peanut butter makes this less likely. Put the traps along walls where mice like to run, behind appliances and anywhere you have observed droppings. These traps are inexpensive enough to pick up and dispose of the dead mouse and trap together, saving you the trouble of removing the body and cleaning the trap.


Mouse bait is not the ideal method of getting rid of mice. The poison takes time to work and mice can die inside walls or other inaccessible areas causing odours. The bait comes in packs that rodents will easily chew through or blocks. Read all the label instructions carefully. Use bait stations which are locked boxes with openings for mice to get inside to access the bait. These boxes will prevent accidental poisoning of children or pets.

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About the Author

Kimberly Wilson has been a freelancer since 2009. She also works as a marketing and sales professional. Wilson specializes in mental heath and wellness articles for various websites. She has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Syracuse University.