Mice are small commensal rodents that are well adapted to urban living. They know where to find the easiest access points to your home while having a knack for invading attic spaces.
In this article, our pest control experts will show you:
- How To Get Rid of Mice in Your Attic
- How To Keep Them From Returning
- How To Tell the Difference Between Rats and Mice
- How To Know if You Have a Mouse Infestation
If trying to get rid of mice on your own becomes too challenging, we recommend Orkin, Terminix, and Aptive. These exterminators have some of the best-trained professionals that can use traps, baits, and other chemically treated solutions that are often more effective than standard DIY methods.
For Terminix quotes, you can reach them at 866-577-5051 or with this form.
For quotes from Orkin, call 866-701-4556, or fill out this form.
For a free quote from Aptive, call 855-521-7075 or visit the company’s website.
Ed has been working in the pest control industry for years helping 1,000's of homeowners navigate the world of insect and rodent management. He manages Pest Strategies now helping homeowners around the world!
Table of Contents
How To Get Rid of Mice in Your Attic
DIY homeowners can handle their mouse problem quickly if they know what steps to take in the process. In this section, we show you what those are and how to implement them right away.
The first place to look for signs of a rodent infestation in the attic is within the fiberglass insulation. This soft material may seem a bit scratchy for humans, but mice love it. Besides, it provides warmth during the cold winter months.
It’s also worthwhile to look at other areas of the home as well. Having mice in the attic could mean they’re in different locations around your property. These include:
- Pet areas
- Water heater
- Outdoor locations, including storage sheds and barns
Once you’ve confirmed that you have an infestation, it’s vital to know what rodent species you’re dealing with. For example, mouse droppings are much different in appearance than that of rats.
Also, their nesting habits are not quite the same. By correctly identifying the rodent problem, you know what materials you need to conquer it.
Trapping is the best way to perform a cleanout of mice in confined, indoor spaces. There are several types to choose from, such as:
The best mouse traps to employ are snap traps. They’re pretty easy to set, and they kill the mouse instantly and humanely.
Placing the trap can be a bit tricky the first time. Try following these steps to achieve the best results:
- Bait the trap with peanut butter, but only use a small amount. Also, try not to get any peanut oil on the trigger arm assembly, which could cause it to become slippery, making the trap difficult to set.
- Set the trap to a sensitive setting, ensuring the mouse will not be able to steal the bait.
- Carefully place the trap perpendicular to the wall. Be cautious when sliding it. The slightest vibrations can set the trap off.
- If the trap goes off prematurely, do not worry. It happens to even the most experienced professionals. Try again following steps one through three. You’ll eventually get the hang of it.
Once you catch a mouse, it’s not worth it to save the trap. Instead, throw the whole thing away. Snap traps are relatively low-cost items, and it becomes too messy to separate dead mice from them.
Glue Board Traps
Glue traps are by far the easiest to use. You just fold them into a box and set them in place.
You can also lay a glue trap flat, which often works better. To make it even more effective, place a small dab of peanut butter in the middle to attract a mouse faster.
Live traps are available for mice. They allow you to release them after they’re trapped, which appears to be a more humane way of managing rodents.
The main drawback is that these traps are confined spaces that heat up quickly. That means the rodent can die from dehydration before you have a chance to release it, defeating the purpose of live-trapping.
Several electric shock traps are available for mice and rats. They’re typically box-shaped devices that kill the rodent instantly. You can use your favorite bait to attract them, and it’s a fairly simple matter to empty the trap.
Some electric traps work better than others, so it’s a good idea to do your homework. Also, read the product reviews carefully to make sure you are getting the best value.
After you’re confident you have removed the bulk of your mouse infestation, it’s time to clean the attic. Follow these steps to make things easier for you:
- Replace contaminated insulation. It’s best to spend a few extra dollars than to have rodent feces embedded in the insulation.
- Remove contaminated storage boxes and set them outside. Take inventory of everything in the box. Empty everything out and thoroughly wash stored items. Also, you should replace cardboard boxes with new ones.
- Wash all stored blankets and linens. This goes for jackets, shoes, and other clothing items as well.
- Vacuum leftover fecal material. Use a crevice tool to get into tight spaces. Afterward, replace the vacuum bag immediately.
- Clean all attic surfaces using a solution of bleach and water. To remove urine trails, you may need a blacklight to locate them.
It’s advisable to wear an OSHA-approved respirator when cleaning up after mice. This is because they transmit diseases through dried fecal material, and all you have to do to become infected is breathe the dust from it.
How to Keep Mice Out of Your Attic
The secret to rodent control around your home is preventing infestations from happening in the first place. Here, we show you how to do precisely that.
1. Sanitation Measures
When limiting a rodent’s food source, working from the center and moving out is preferable. For example, starting with the attic, remove stored pet food or other material that may attract rodents.
Next, proceed to the kitchen. Store all food items in sealed containers. This goes for pet food as well.
Lastly, move outdoors to the storage shed. Make sure birdseed, pet food, and other perishable items are kept in sealed containers. Also, all outdoor trash cans should have securely fastened lids.
2. Mechanical Exclusion
Rodent exclusion starts from the outside-in. For example, limit access to your attic by first cutting any tree branches away from your roof. Surprisingly, this one step alone solves the majority of rodent problems in most cases.
Next, it’s essential to seal entryways that provide easy access to your attic. Apply hardware cloth or sheet metal to close holes in eaves and overhangs.
Use steel wool to plug pipe entry points. Rodents are constantly searching for water, so they’ll follow plumbing lines until they find it.
Finally, seal small holes with silicone caulking. This step will ensure that mice will have a hard time finding a way into your attic.
Essential oil repellents can have a limited effect to deter mice within localized areas such as attics and crawl spaces. You can also employ the use of ultrasonic pest repellers throughout your home for added protection.
However, repellents are merely one of many tools you can incorporate into your rodent control strategy. They should never be used as a stand-alone solution for getting rid of mice.
4. Defensive Baiting
Anticoagulant mouse baits should seldom be used indoors. Instead, place bait stations outdoors in these areas:
- Under porches or steps
- Crawl spaces
- Beneath junk piles
- Inside storage sheds
- Along the fence line of your property
The idea is to trap rodents inside living spaces to remove them. Then, lure them away from your house using mouse baits outdoors. This strategy will ensure mice are attracted to areas outside your home instead of inside where you live.
Mice transmit a pulmonary infection known as hantavirus.
They’re also capable of contaminating food, resulting in salmonella poisoning. While it’s unlikely that mice pass on fleas to pets, it’s still possible.
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How To Identify Mice in Your Attic
All rodent control programs start with identification. Here, our pest experts show you how to tell the differences between rats and mice.
Mice vs. Rats
The common house mouse is between four and five inches long. It has gray fur, black eyes, and exceedingly large ears. Also, its tail is about three-quarters the length of its body.
Juvenile roof rats are often mistaken for mice since their appearance is similar. The main difference is size. Roof rats can grow up to four times larger than mice.
Another distinction between rats and mice is their waste products. For example, mouse feces measure only four millimeters long and are tapered at both ends. In contrast, roof rat droppings are 13 millimeters long and are slightly curved.
Damage Caused by Mice
Mice are great climbers, so it’s easy for them to gain access to your attic. Once there, they leave fecal matter and urine trails on just about any surface.
Also, look for chewed electrical wires. Since mice are rodents, they have the ability to gnaw through almost anything.
Mice as Disease Vectors
Mice transmit a pulmonary infection known as hantavirus. They’re also capable of contaminating food, resulting in salmonella poisoning. While it’s unlikely that mice pass on fleas to pets, it’s still possible.
Signs and Causes of a Mouse Infestation in Your Attic
There are several ways to tell if you have a mouse infestation. The following represent the most obvious examples.
Mice have a need to escape the outside cold temperatures. Unfortunately, your attic may be the perfect spot they’re seeking.
Mouse nests can be located anywhere within your home. In attics, they’re most often in boxes of clothing or within fiberglass insulation. Nesting materials include cotton clothing, shredded paper, or even wood chips.
Mouse droppings are probably the most obvious signs you have an infestation. Urine trails are another. Still, they may not be easy to spot without a blacklight.
Dead mice are also an indicator of possible infestation. Look for fresh droppings in the area to confirm it.
Another sign that you may have a problem is the presence of chewed electrical wiring. In addition, there may be oily rub marks along the drywall left by mice.
Mice are noisy little critters. Hearing scurrying and squeaking sounds in the middle of the night are clues you may have a mouse infestation.
One More Thing
Once you discover a mouse problem in your home, it becomes a race against the clock to eliminate them. The reason is, they reproduce so quickly. For example, one female can produce over 50 offspring in less than 12 months.
Provided you follow the steps we have outlined here, you’ll eliminate your mouse infestation. But it will require patience and determination.
For that reason, you may want to hire an exterminator, pest control company, or wildlife professional. If you do, be sure to vet each one carefully since not all are created equal. Above all else, make sure the company you do business with is licensed in your state.