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How To Keep Mice Out Of Your House

By Chris Williams on March 5, 2015.

mouse sneaking around in houseJohn Maher:  Hi, I’m John Maher. Today I’m here with Scott Winsper of Colonial Pest Control. Scott is a Wildlife Technician, and today we’re talking about keeping mice out of your house. Welcome, Scott.

Scott Winsper:  How are we doing today?

Securing Common Entry Points for Mice

John:  Good. Scott, what are some common entry points for mice in a house, and how can you make sure those points are secured?

Scott:  That’s a good question. There are several things you can look for on the outside of a house. Your AC units — where they come on the outside of the house. Where those lines come into the house is usually an entry point for mice.

Also, if you have a garage that’s attached to the house, those are several entry points where they can get into the garage, and then they can get into the living space of your house.

John:  Right, because the garage might be attached to the house, and so maybe they’re coming in underneath the garage door. Garages tend not to be as closed off as a house is.

Scott:  Absolutely. If you have a CE garage door, when it comes down, you’ve got gaskets on the side of your garage. Right down on the low-end corners, mice usually chew half‑moons out of those. The reason why they’re going in the garage, first of all, is you might have your grass seed in there. You might have birdseed in there.

You might have your garbage barrels in there. There are several things why they want to get in there. First of all, heat from your cars. You go in there, you store your cars in there. Several people have had problems with mice inside their air filters, inside their cars.

John:  Right. Crawling right up into the engine compartment.

Scott:  Absolutely. Garage is definitely an access point. Other things you’ve got to look at, is your corner boards of your house. If you walk around your house, your corner boards are usually open. So what happens is, mice run the foundation, and they use their whiskers to feel the edges of the foundation.

Then what happens is, they go right up the corners. They go up the corner boards, they get entry points to the attic, and they go right in.

Now, several houses are different for mice to get in. You’ve got vinyl‑sided houses out there. You’ve got wooded‑sided houses out there. You’ve got brick‑faced houses out there. They’re all different. You’ve got to look at them at different times, and different areas. If you’ve got a brick house, mice can climb brick. They can go right up, go right into your roof junctures. Now, you’re looking at a whole different area for entry points for mice. They can get into the roofline.

Now, when you’ve got a vinyl‑sided house, mice can’t climb vinyl. They’ll go up the corner boards, so if there’s no outside chimney attached to the house, the mice won’t be able to get to the roof junctures.

John:  Interesting, because their claws can’t just grab onto the vinyl siding.

Scott:  Absolutely. That’s one of the issues. Every house is different, so you’ve got to look at everything differently. When you go out to the structure, you’ve got to look at everything.

What do mice look for when trying to get into houses?

John:  Right. What are some other things that mice look for when they’re searching for a good house to move into?

Scott:  Mainly, when I see a lot of problems is when mice are trying to get into houses, it’s usually they have a good food source in the area, a warm garbage area, and most common is people use bird feeders. Bird feeders are the biggest problem right now with mice.

What happens is you put a bird feeder on the ground, the seeds fall on the ground, and the mice go after the birdseed. Once they find a good seed they like, then they look for the warm area in the house.

Like I said, that could be several areas, corner boards, roof junctures, AC lines. Once they find a good food source, they’re going to find a warm garbage area, and that’s your home.

Are mice more likely to enter your home in summer or winter?

John:  Right. Are mice more likely to attempt to enter your house in the summer or the winter?

Scott:  It’s just like us. We like warm, cold, warm, cold, so mice will tend to go to the attic where the heat rises, or into your ceilings during the wintertime. Mice will also come into the basements where it’s nice and cool, so they can stay in there. Summer, winter, they’re in there either way.

John:  In the summer, they’re looking for a nice, cool place, so they’re going down into the basement. In the winter, they’re looking for a warm place, so they’re crawling up into the attic, that sort of thing.

Scott:  Absolutely, because mice usually produce between the summer months. They’re usually reproductive – they come in time of summer, that’s when they’re mating. Summer months, it’s a good warm garbage area, or a cool area, where they can have their litters, and have their babies, so that’s when it’s going to be. It doesn’t matter if it’s summer, spring, winter — you’re going to have mice in your house.

Mouse Traps

John:  Right. Do you recommend setting traps, even if I’m not seeing any signs of mice, and if so, what trap do you recommend?

Scott:  There are good things about some traps. Glue boards, snap traps, those are all good. Even if you don’t have a mouse problem, those are good tools to see if you do have a mouse problem.

John:  Right. Maybe just lay one down in the basement or the attic, and just see. You might be surprised.

Scott:  Absolutely. Put them in your attic. Put them in your basement. Put them on your silt plates. Put them near your heating areas, anything that you think might be a problem, or you think you might have a problem. Put them there. It’s going to tell you if you do have a problem or not.

John:  Right. Great advice. Alright Scott, thanks very much for speaking with me. For more information you can visit the Colonial Pest Control website at ColonialPest.com or call 1‑800‑525‑8084, that’s 1‑800‑525‑8084.

Photo credit: quinet / Foter / CC BY-SA

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