September is the perfect time to prepare for the mice that want to enter your home when the weather turns cold. A few simple steps can go a long way to stop the influx of rodents and in some situations stop them completely.
Impossible you say? Not all. Here is what you need to do.
Carefully seal all cracks and crevices large enough to allow mice to enter your home. This means you must close every opening 1⁄4-inch or larger. Crevices less than 1⁄2 inch can be caulked with the appropriate sealant. Larger openings should be filled with copper or stainless steel mesh and then made air-tight with appropriate sealant. Your hardware store can help you choose the right caulk or sealant for the particular surfaces and areas you are planning to secure. Your inspection should concentrate in and around doors, vents, foundation sill, and areas where you have seen mice in the past. Don’t forget that mice climb too. Sometimes they enter homes through roof vents and soffits. Be careful when climbing ladders. Don’t feel overwhelmed. Any effort you take will help no matter how small you think it is.
Make your property less attractive to rodents. Remove or modify bird feeders, trash cans, and other sources of food. Mice need only a 1/10 of an ounce of food each day. So what looks like a little to us is a feast to them. The more food you make unavailable the less mice can live your area.
Remove places where mice can hide. Wood piles, tall grass, debris and clutter provide excellent alternative homes for mice. Remove those and you will make your property less attractive for them. The more your property is manicured the more risk a mouse takes to enter the area. Mice need places to hide as being out in the open makes them vulnerable to predators.
After those three steps are accomplished, prepare to handle any mice you encounter in your home. Have a dozen snap traps and/or some bait
stations on hand for immediate use if mice arrive in your home or garage. Mice can reproduce rapidly so quick action can go a long way to resolving the problem before it gets out of hand. Implement these steps and you will not only reduce the presence of mice but also lower the damage they have on wires, insulation, and food sources.
We have several NebGuides that provide additional information on various aspects of mouse control.
Controlling House Mice, University of Nebraska
Rodent Bait Stations, University of Nebraska
Rodent Exclusion in Structures, University of Nebraska Rodent Exclusion in Drains, University of Nebraska