Rat and Mouse – In the House

“We keep a clean house! Why are these mice coming to visit US?!” Jeff Jackson, Extension Wildlife Specialist, says this question is common each autumn. People who have never seen a mouse in their house suddenly find gnawed cereal boxes and rodent droppings in their cupboards. Why do mice leave their happy homes to come and find you?

The simple answer is that there are too many of them outdoors, so they come indoors to find better lodging. A pair of house mice have several young at a time. The youngsters mature in only two months. From spring to autumn, a mouse population can grow into the hundreds. Once the carrying capacity outdoors is reached, a lot of spare mice are running around looking for shelter and food.

If you have a mouse or rat in your house, traps are the best option. Poisons can be effective but with traps you won’t have them dying in hidden places where their presence is not-so-subtly announced by their strong odor. To use traps effectively, make sure to purchase several. Put them in a room along the base of walls and in cupboards where the animals like to run. Place the traps so that the “trigger” is towards the baseboard. Peanut butter makes a good bait. If they steal the bait, melt a jelly bean on the trigger then cover the candy with peanut butter. Leave the traps in place for a few weeks until you believe you have caught all of those inside. Then you’ll need to close any openings around plumbing pipes, under cabinets and at wall corners where the unwanted guests could enter again.

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