Mouse in the House: Identifying & Solving the Problem








If you live in a cold winter zone like mine (Zone 5) the cold weather is really starting to settle in. Like everything else this time of year the mouse is seeking to escape the winter cold, and unfortunately many of these mice decide to find refuge from the cold in our homes!  Mice that find comfort in your home will invade your food pantry, contaminate your food, create annoying messes, and they’ll drive your pet cat totally NUTS!

So, all of that said I decided to put together this post with some mouse info, problems they cause, and how to avoid or remedy those problems.  Hopefully by the end of the post you’ll be able to identify a mouse problem and know how to take care of it.

Mice in a Nutshell 

There are roughly 200 different species of mice. Mice are extremely small, and need only an opening the size of a dime to enter into your home.  Female mice reach “adulthood” in about 20 to 30 days, and have eight to ten litters of four to six pups yearly!  The little rodents can and will eat 1/10th its weight in food a day.  So as you can see a mouse infestation can be a huge problem to say the least.

Identifying a Mouse Problem

Mice are nocturnal creatures by nature, so you will rarely, if ever, see one in your house which makes identifying a mouse problem a bit difficult sometimes.  However, there are tell-tale signs of a mouse and they’re easy to identify.  First, you will start to see elongated black droppings in places where food and/or garbage are stored.  Second, mice tend to urinate all over everything and the smell is easy to identify.  Third, you may start to see where the mice are chewing on your cupboards, books or anything paper, fabric, etc…as they will chew to get in but also collect the material for nesting.  Lastly, and perhaps the most creepy, you’ll start to hear them scurrying about in the ceiling and the walls!

Preventing the Problem

There are many different solutions for getting rid of a mouse in your house, but it’s best to try and prevent the problem before it starts.  First and foremost keep your kitchen clean!  Be sure your garbage is covered, there’s no “loose” food in your cupboards, and all food such as crackers, pasta, or anything in boxes should be secured, as mice will chew threw the boxes.  Holes around plumbing or holes in the house in general all should be filled or blocked.  Many people use steel wool to bock or fill holes, but you can also find many products on the market such as expandable foam that will harden to fill the holes.  Little warning on the expandable foam, if your mouse is especially tenacious he/she will chew right threw it!  And finally, be sure to keep the perimeter of your home clean, and fill all the holes on the outside of your house as well.

Remedy your Problem

As I said before there are many different solutions for getting rid of a mouse in your house.  There are a plethora of traps & poisons available, and there are also plenty of home remedies that have proven effective in certain situations. It’s up to you to decide which best suits you.


Most people feel traps are the best solution to ridding themselves of mice. Most of the time a trap will kill the rodent instantly, which probably makes them the most humane way to kill them. Traps allow you to locate the mouse once it’s dead, rather than having to follow the foul smell of decomposition to find it. There are a few main kinds of traps, spring loaded, glue “board”, and catch & release.  Spring loaded traps tend to kill the rodent instantly, glue boards rely on the mice starving to death, and catch and release catches the mouse live to be released.  So again, it’s up to you to decide which best suits you.


For me poison is just a bad idea, but it is an option.  There are a few reasons why poisons aren’t a good idea. Poisons pose a health risk for households with pets or small children.  You cat can lose one of its 9 lives by getting ahold of even a dead mouse that’s eaten poison. And if you’ve got a baby crawling around or a curious toddler on the bound, you definitely don’t want poison lying around. Also, mice die immediately after ingesting poison, they usually make their way back to the nest which can be in your walls or attic, and die there, so it can be hard to locate the mice once they’ve died.  Most of the time you won’t find them until decomposition starts, and the smell is strong enough for you to track them down.  So now you know why poison is just a bad idea, but an option.

Home Remedies

Peppermint oils, mothballs, ammonia and onion have been known to keep mice at bay. Some people even use some types of wild urine such as fox, but gross! Peppermint oil sounds ok, but when it’s -10DF outside I’m not putting my trust in peppermint oils.  My cats seem to keep them contained, but obviously unless the mouse peeks its head out cats can’t catch them.

So there you have it.  You can now how to prevent a mouse problem, identify a mouse problem, and rid yourself of a mouse problem.

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