Discover everything you need to know about mice in our guide below.

mice guide
house mouse

What Are Mice?

Mice are small rodents that are members of the genus Mus. They have slender bodies that are less than 12 cm long, tapered ears, narrow hind feet, and thinly furred tails. While there are more than 38 species of mice worldwide, the house mouse (Mus musculus) is the most common indoor pest. 

If you have mice in your home, you’ll need to rely on an assortment of pest management approaches, including trapping, exclusion, and sanitation, to get rid of them. 

The Behavior, Diet, and Habits of Mice

All species of mice are native to Africa and Eurasia, but they spread around the globe via trade and cargo ships. Today, mice live on every continent except Antarctica and can be found in grasslands, forests, deserts, and urban areas. 

Mice are social, primarily nocturnal creatures, although some individuals will forage for food during the day. Most mice are ground dwellers, but some species are good climbers and jumpers. Most mice are even capable swimmers. 

To create shelter for themselves, some mice dig elaborate burrow systems, complete with chambers in which they birth and rear young, store food, and live. Most species of mice also build nests, which they construct from fiber, scraps of fabric, or other materials they can source from their environments. 

In the wild, mice eat various foods, including grains, seeds, fruits, and nuts. Like rats, mice are omnivores, which means they’ll hunt small lizards and other animals and may even resort to cannibalism when food is scarce. 

mice behavior
damage mice cause

What Damage do Mice Cause?

Mice can cause significant damage to structures through their chewing, gnawing, and nest-building activities. Mice can chew through insulation, drywall, ceilings, and other building material in homes, apartment buildings, and offices. 

They can also damage electrical appliances and wiring by chewing through wire insulation or building nests in breaker boxes or against heating elements, causing short circuits, fire hazards, and other expensive issues.

When their populations grow out of control, mice can destroy stored items in garages, basements, and attics. Finally, mice carry diseases like hantavirus, leptospirosis, salmonellosis, and tularemia, which can spread to humans via bite wounds or exposure to mouse feces or urine. 

How to Get Rid of Mice

You’ll need to employ a multi-faceted rodent control approach to get rid of mice in your house. First, we recommend focusing on sanitization and exclusion. 

  • Remove all food sources, storing grains, pet food, and dry goods in rodent-proof glass or metal containers. 
  • Pick up pet food, remove bird food, and promptly clean up all spills and messes.
  • Make sure your trash and compost are stored in rodent-proof bins and that you wash and dry dirty dishes promptly. 
  • Get rid of or securely store all potential nesting materials, like cardboard, paper, fabric, rugs, blankets, and other soft items. 

Next, focus on exclusion. Use caulk, weather-stripping, and door sweeps to your home to prevent mice from entering, and seal all gaps ¼” or larger in your foundation and siding and around your windows and doors.

Finally, set some traps to control existing mouse populations.

Visit our mouse control page for a full breakdown of how to use traps and other control methods to get rid of mice. 

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Mice will avoid strong smells like peppermint and clove oil. Soak a cotton ball in one of these essential oils to keep mice away and place it anywhere you’ve noticed mouse activity.

We don’t recommend using bait stations to eliminate mice. Baits are dangerous, expensive, and inhumane and may be illegal or heavily regulated in some areas. Instead, contact a professional pest management company for help resolving your rodent problem.

Mice are attracted to homes that offer three things: shelter, food, and available nesting materials. By removing food and nesting materials and blocking all gaps and cracks that are ¼” or larger, you can prevent new mice from entering your home.

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