How Are Mice Getting In My Basement

Once inside, mice will quickly search for an isolated spot in your home, but ideally one that is close to a food source, such as your kitchen or dining area. This is why you often find mice nests behind kitchen appliances and at the back of your refrigerator. It’s also quite warm there as well.

Rodents will climb ladders, scale walls, walk across wires and swim through sewers (yes, they can come up through your toilet!) to get inside your home. So, how can you keep them out?

The truth is mice are adaptable and they are relentless in their search for food, warmth and shelter and your home can support all of their basic needs. In the fall and winter, these needs become more acute, hence their desire to get inside.

If you feel that you have a problem with mice around your home, then contact the Ehrlich mouse control specialists who can help you remove the current rodents and prevent a return infestation.

Nonlethal traps are widely available, inexpensive, and easy to use. Sold in hardware stores, as well as in PETA’s catalog, they consist of a boxlike plastic or metal trap with a springrelease door that closes behind the animal once he or she enters the trap. Check the trap every hour, and if you find an animal, simply release him or her in a suitable location outside.

Nonlethal traps are widely available, inexpensive, and easy to use. Sold in hardware stores, as well as in PETA’s catalog, they consist of a boxlike plastic or metal trap with a springrelease door that closes behind the animal once he or she enters the trap. Check the trap every hour, and if you find an animal, simply release him or her in a suitable location outside.

You also must make your home less attractive to mice. Start by doing a thorough sweep of your house. Make sure there is no food left in open places or in cardboard containers, which mice can eat right through. Keep garbage in tightly covered containers. Remove mice shelters by keeping storage spaces orderly and keeping stored items off the floor.

Next, deny mice a way to enter your home by sealing holes around the bottom of walls—even small ones, since a mouse can wriggle through a hole no larger than a quarter. Seal holes in exterior walls, as well.

With a little bit of effort, you can live mousefree without cruelty!

While you might have field mice in the house, they do not always remain indoors. Preferring overgrown grass, sheds, and barns, these pests usually come inside seeking shelter during poor weather or to find meals. You may also hear scratching and chewing sounds at night when there are field mice in the basement.

Could You Have a Field Mouse in the Basement?

Field mice commonly hide in the basements of homes or businesses. Several pests like to live in secluded areas of buildings, but these rodents can be especially troublesome. It’s easy to confuse one for a house mouse, but a field mouse has larger eyes and ears, as well as a white belly and feet.

Behavior

While you might have field mice in the house, they do not always remain indoors. Preferring overgrown grass, sheds, and barns, these pests usually come inside seeking shelter during poor weather or to find meals. You may also hear scratching and chewing sounds at night when there are field mice in the basement.

Dangers of a Field Mouse Infestation

Since field mice enter and exit frequently, these pests could bring in fleas and ticks. These parasites can transmit harmful bacteria, such as those that cause Lyme disease. You can also contract hantavirus, a dangerous respiratory infection, if you inhale the dust particles from dried droppings and urine.

A field mouse in the house can cause damage, too. This pest often shreds insulation, furniture, or cardboard to build nests. They may also chew on electrical wiring, creating a fire hazard. Plus, field mice sometimes move into kitchens and break rooms where they eat and contaminate food.

Prevention

There are a few things you can do to deter field mice. Fill holes where pipes and cables attach to buildings. If you store food in the cellar, make sure all packaging is air-tight and sealed. Unfortunately, when there is one field mouse in the basement, the odds are that you have more, so call the experts at Western Pest Services for a consultation or contact us online.

What kind of traps are best used to get rid of mice taking up residence in your ceilings?

Mice Out of Your Ceiling

If mice are in your ceiling, they are likely in your attic too. And you probably will have to venture up into the attic to successfully eradicate them.

Mice like to hide under insulation in corners and eaves or make their nests alongside ceiling joists. This gives them extra protection, they think, but it’s up to you to prove them wrong.

But don’t think mice in your ceiling will just stay there. Click here to find out about how mice can climb, to better understand how they get into your attic/ceiling and may be able to climb down to forage and back up again.

To rid your ceiling of unwanted mice, set traps in the attic along ceiling joists, in abundance and often side by side or end to end. Set traps next to each other facing opposite directions to catch mice while they’re “coming or going.”

Put traps at any obvious ceiling entry points, near pipes, and inside ceiling voids or drop ceilings.

Check traps once a day or as often as possible. Get rid of dead mouse carcasses only while wearing gloves since mice carry harmful diseases.

Add new bait as soon as old bait is gone, or, is just getting too old and stale to attract mice anymore.

Best Ways to Get Rid of Mice in the Ceiling

What kind of traps are best used to get rid of mice taking up residence in your ceilings?

While preferences vary, here are 4 key points to keep in mind:

  1. Poison baits and bait stations aren’t best for ceiling mice. Why? Because you don’t want dead mice to be decomposing somewhere in your attic or inside your ceiling – but you can’t find them!
  2. Snap traps are the most popular method for killing ceiling mice. And they do work well. But there are other options too, so don’t limit yourself.
  3. Live catch traps often come in shapes that would be hard to place along ceiling joists and are too expensive to put there in large numbers. But homemade live-catch 2 liter bottle traps could work.
  4. Small electrocution traps that kill suddenly are humane and easy to use in attics. Some brands are inexpensive enough to use in quantity too.

A mouse in the house is always a problem, but when they are hidden away in tight, hard to access locations like attics, ceilings, walls, under floorboards, or under the house in the crawlspace, it’s a bit more challenging to get rid of them.

See also:  How To Get Rid Of Mice In Attic And Walls

But don’t give up. The same basic methods used to catch or kill mice anywhere are still used for ceiling and basement mice and the like. It may take venturing into a little-used attic, basement, or crawlspace, and it may take a little longer to get rid of the mice and verify they’re really gone.

But it can and often has been done. It just takes a little effort, ingenuity, and patience.

You can find further details of Mice Control here.

Photo by Mark Hooper

Depending on where you live, you may get a drop-in (or burrow-in or slither-in) visit from one of these:

Skunks: These four-legged stink bombs will easily burrow under your patio slab or stake out territory in your garage, crawl space, or basement. Hire a pro to trap them live and transport them elsewhere.

Bats: Given the opportunity, they’ll happily take up residence in your attic for the summer and leave behind potentially disease-ridden guano as a present. Seal off their entranceways with a double layer of insect screen and hardware cloth, but only after you evict them first (Bat species are protected nationwide). Call in a pro to erect a «bat flap,» a layer of screen that lets the bats crawl out but blocks their way back in.

Birds: In spring, starlings and sparrows have a knack for building nests in hidden, difficult-to-reach openings in a house. The louvered vents for dryer exhausts and the openings behind roof fascia are perennial favorites. Bar them from entering with hardware cloth. Take down the bird feeders that are attracting them to your property.

Raccoons: The masked marauders of the animal world, they’ll barge down chimneys and into open garages or attic vents. Best captured with a live trap baited with peanut butter, suet, raw eggs, or dried corn on the cob. To keep them from coming back, cap your chimney, keep basement and garage doors closed, eliminate bird feeders and outdoor pet bowls, and lock down trash lids with bungee cords.

Snakes: In the fall, they’ll work their way into openings around basement doors or cracks in foundation mortar, looking for a place to hibernate. They’ll leave of their own accord when the weather warms up in spring. Seal those openings behind them.

Opossums: You’ll occasionally find these nocturnal fruit-and-insect eaters camped out under your deck or blundering into open garages, basements, and crawl spaces. They won’t stay, unless they think you’re going to feed them. As with skunks, you’ll need a pro to capture them and ferry them out of the neighborhood.

Check out some of our best pest control resources to keep rodents out of your home.

Q: For the first time in my life, I have mice. I had thought that I dreamed the scratching and skittering sounds I heard coming from the walls and ceiling, but then I eventually found the quarter-inch droppings. So far, these critters seem out of reach—I’ve only seen one scurry through the kitchen—so what’s the best way to deal with mice in the walls?

Q: For the first time in my life, I have mice. I had thought that I dreamed the scratching and skittering sounds I heard coming from the walls and ceiling, but then I eventually found the quarter-inch droppings. So far, these critters seem out of reach—I’ve only seen one scurry through the kitchen—so what’s the best way to deal with mice in the walls?

Lure them out.

Mice will emerge from your walls in search of food, and that’s your best window of opportunity to catch them. Bait multiple traps with peanut butter or cheese, and place them wherever you’ve found mouse droppings, especially under sinks, inside drawers, and behind furniture. (Whether you prefer to catch and release with a live trap or solve your problem with several snap traps is a personal preference.) Then, check the traps daily—twice a day, even, if you’re using a live trap, in order to release it as soon as possible.

When you find a mouse in your trap, pull a pair of gloves on and proceed as follows:

  • Traps with live mice should be put into a heavy-duty plastic bag (cage and all) and carried to a forest or park at least 500 feet away from the home so that they cannot find their way back.
  • Dead mice can be deposited into a plastic bag to take out with the trash or directly into the outdoor garbage can. If you’re too squeamish to undo a snap trap to release the dead mouse, you can also dispose of the whole snap trap at once. Fortunately, the wooden spring traps are affordable enough to be disposable.

Of course, it won’t often be one-and-done: Keep your guard up and continue to check the remaining traps for a couple of weeks following your first catch.

Use rodenticides with caution.

If you choose to proceed with poison, place pellets in a tamper-resistant bait station (typically a large black box with one entrance and the poison deep inside) to prevent any accidents. Locate the station nearest to potential food sources for the mice and still out of reach for domestic animals and children.

Remove any distractions from your baited traps.

To help direct the mice in the walls toward your trap, take away any other potential food sources. Keep trash can lids closed tight, clean up spills in the kitchen and dining room immediately, and make sure all food is stored in airtight containers. Stop leaving fruit, candies, and any cardboard-encased snacks out on your countertops, of course, but also consider your pantry. It’s best to follow the same practices behind these doors, or—at the very least—inspect the cabinets to make sure they’re totally inaccessible.

You can put smells to work outside the home, too: If you have a cat, sprinkle some of Fluffy’s used kitty litter around the exterior edges of your home once a month or so to frighten mice away with the scent of a predator.

If you notice mice scurrying around your food supply, get in touch with a pest management professional as soon as possible. He or she can take charge of eradicating the mice from your home, as well as advising you as to which food you may have stored could be contaminated with feces or could have come into contact with the mice.

It’s a mid-winter evening and all through the house, not a creature is stirring — except wait, is that a mouse?

Whether it’s a furry flash dashing across your carpets or the sound of tiny paws click-click-clicking just under the rooftops, mice can seriously dampen your spirit in the wintertime. Rather than letting your winter be ruined by these unwanted invaders, here’s a look at just where you might find mice hiding in your home when the snow starts falling — and what you can do to make sure they don’t get too comfortable.

Attic & Insulation

Mice looking for a hiding place in your home during the winter will often look for spaces that are least likely to bring a lot of traffic. In most homes, that space may just be the attic, where the only other occupants are probably some old decorations and dusty clothes. This is also where mice stand the best chance of setting up a nest that may not be noticed for months — and that can mean plenty of sickness-spreading droppings and urine can build up long before you even spot a single mouse.

In most cases, mice make their way into your attic through an opening somewhere along your roofline, often where insulation is missing or not completely sheltering your attic from the outside. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a pest management professional fully inspect your attic for missing patches of insulation. By filling these gaps, you can remove that easy access and prevent mice from setting up shop right above your head, all while keeping in heat to last all winter long.

See also:  How Do Micelles Work

Basement / Crawl Space

Mice, like many other pests, tend to seek out dark, warm spaces with plenty of access to food and water — and, because water tends to find the lowest point in any home, many homeowners end up finding mice living in their basements and crawlspaces. Whether mice set up a nest near your heater, in a dark crawlspace, or around cracks in your home’s foundation, basements and crawl spaces can make for perfect hiding spaces for mice and their litters.

If you notice mice in your basement, or if you’re concerned about them in your low-lying areas, it’s a good idea to have a pest management professional perform a thorough inspection. He or she can identify noticeable entry points to your basement, including cracks in your foundation or gaps in your plumbing and ductwork, that can give mice an easy entry. By sealing up these entry points, you put one more barrier between mice and your home.

Garage

A pest management professional can help secure your garage from mice in two distinct ways: removing mice there already, and helping to prevent mice from making their way inside in the first place. By keeping your garage neat and orderly, sealing off any entrance points, and thinking proactively about where mice might want to make a nest, you can keep your garage rodent-free all the way through until spring.

Inside Walls

Hear that scratching sound coming from somewhere, but you just can’t figure out quite where? The pitter-patter of little feet scurrying across above you, leaving no trace behind? That might just be a sign that mice have taken up residence somewhere you’re least likely to catch them — inside your walls.

Ducts

Few things are more comforting than a winter afternoon when the weather is cold and the heat is on — until, that is, you start to smell some nasty scents coming through the ductwork. This can be a sign that mice have infiltrated your ducts, making their way around through one of the most convenient tunnel systems built into your home. In most cases, the only way to fully remove mice from your ductwork is to call an experienced pest professional.

By identifying the location of the nest, as well as any droppings and dead mice that may be causing the smell, your pest professional can clean and repair your ductwork to keep mice out and heat in for the winter ahead, and well into the spring. Regular, preventative pest management can also help keep your ducts clear with regular inspections, helping you avoid the struggle — and the potential for sickness to spread through your ductwork — before mice ever even get a chance to get inside.

Cabinets / Pantry

If there’s any space in your home you should be most attentive to when hungry mice come sniffing around, it’s your pantry and kitchen cabinets. Although these are vulnerable spaces to mice just about any time of year, the lack of readily-available food outside makes your food-storage areas particularly attractive to mice looking for a place to make a nest. This can quickly spread disease and sickness to those in your household if not taken care of.

If you notice mice scurrying around your food supply, get in touch with a pest management professional as soon as possible. He or she can take charge of eradicating the mice from your home, as well as advising you as to which food you may have stored could be contaminated with feces or could have come into contact with the mice.

Don’t Let Mice In Your Home For The Holidays

In the heart of winter your home should be an inviting space where you, your friends, and your family can gather together and enjoy the time spent inside and away from the cold — not a time you want to be fending off mice and other rodents.

Rather than waiting until it’s too late, get in touch with a pest professional today and make sure your home is secured from invaders and ready to take on winter mouse-free.

Bait stations (or bait packages) are sealed packets containing meal or pellets. They typically come in plastic, paper or cellophane wrapping, allowing the mice to easily gnaw through and get at the preserved, fresh bait. The mice feed on this bait and die. While helpful in getting rid of mice, these products are best handled by trained pest management professionals to ensure the safety of you, your children and your pets.

Mice can survive on just 3 to 4 grams of food per day, so a few crumbs here and there are all they really need. Vacuum your floors and be sure to wipe down counters, eliminating residue, crumbs and any access to food sources. Store food in glass jars or airtight containers. Don’t forget about securing your garbage. Mice have sharp incisor teeth so they can chew through just about anything, even concrete if the mood strikes them, so plastic bags are no match for hungry rodents.

Remove debris around your home where mice can hide. Keep weeds to a minimum and destroy burrows and nesting areas as you find them. Lining your home’s foundation with a strip of heavy gravel is a good way to prevent nesting and burrowing. The less debris and clutter around your home and property, the easier it is to spot signs of rodent activity and stop mice dead in their tracks.

As they say, the best offense is a solid defense. You’ve cut off all possible points of entry into your home to prevent more mice from getting in. Next you have to deal with the ones that are already nice and comfortable inside by setting traps . This part the cartoons got right, but mouse traps are a little more complicated than that. Here are a few things to consider:

Do not be fooled by their cute and fuzzy faces: Mice are not creatures you want in your house. It’s one thing to see a little field mouse scurry down a path in a park, and another thing entirely when they’re chewing your furniture, leaving droppings all over the kitchen or gnawing electrical wirings in your walls. Not to mention that rodents in general are harbingers of many diseases. They’re also clever, resourceful and difficult to get rid of.

My parents’ house has recently become the unfortunate host to these abominable critters, so we’ve been dealing with this nightmare first-hand. The experience has taught me that any home can become potential nesting grounds for rodents. They’re just looking for a safe spot that offers warmth and food. While that’s great for them, it’s frustrating and unsanitary for us. Here’s what to do about it.

Build a Self-Resetting Mouse Trap

We’ve covered many mouse traps over the years, but they all need to be reset once you’ve caught a

Confirm that you have a mouse problem

Mice are like tiny, four-legged ninjas who make themselves scarce, but when you have a potential rodent problem, you might spot one scampering away out of the corner of your eye. Once you see one inside your house, you should immediately suspect you have a nest somewhere—in your walls, in the attic, in the garage, wherever.

Most people don’t even realize they have mice until things get really bad. The most obvious signs of a mouse problem are droppings, which look like this. (I’ll never look at chocolate sprinkles or caraway seeds the same way again.) Though it’s temping to just wipe them up, make sure you take extra safety precautions when doing so , such as wearing gloves and a mask. Disinfect the area afterward, and throw away food that might’ve been contaminated. The last thing you want is to get sick at the same time you discover an infestation.

See also:  How Many Mice In A Nest

You may also find chewed up food packages or pieces of your wall at floor level from the mice having drilled through them. You may hear scratching in your walls or attic or the pitter-patter of tiny little feet at night. And if all that isn’t gross enough, you may also find pillars comprised of body grease, dirt and urine , which build up into small mounds up to two inches high and half an inch wide. And yes, they smell bad.

Any or all of these signs means you’ve got a potential infestation on your hands. The good news is that getting rid of mice is simple in principle. The bad news is that it could take a lot of work or money.

Start by “mouse-proofing” your home

Getting rid of mice is not easy. Mice entered your home because it’s cozy, has food in it and ,most of all, is easy to get into. Contrary to what you see in cartoons like Tom & Jerry, mice don’t need a gaping half-circle of a hole in your baseboard. They can squeeze through tiny cracks and gaps that are smaller than the circumference of your pinky finger. Basically, if you can fit a pencil into a hole, a mouse can probably fit, too. They are very skilled contortionists.

The first step is to inspect the outside of your home to find possible places mice can squeeze through. Check stairs, the foundation, the corners and any place that might hide small crevices. When you find anything that can possibly be an entryway, close it off with wire mesh . For inside the house, you can use steel wool and caulk to plug up any holes you find.

Mice can chew through practically any material except steel. In my experience, using a wire mesh wherever possible has been most effective. You’ll need to do this for anything resembling a hole. That includes cracks and gaps along the ceiling and even those high up on a wall. Just assume that these tenacious creatures can reach anywhere in your house.

Make a No-Kill Mousetrap with a Jar and a Nickel

We’ve shown you one no-kill mousetrap before, but it required strategic placement and a large drop…

Set traps around the house

As they say, the best offense is a solid defense. You’ve cut off all possible points of entry into your home to prevent more mice from getting in. Next you have to deal with the ones that are already nice and comfortable inside by setting traps . This part the cartoons got right, but mouse traps are a little more complicated than that. Here are a few things to consider:

If your traps haven’t caught anything in many days and you still see signs of mice, there are two possible reasons: First, traps are only helpful in eliminating the shitheads that are already in your home, and won’t do anything to deter more from coming in if you have yet to properly seal up entry points from the outside. The second thing is that you sometimes have to move the traps around to different places, as mice try to avoid traps, especially if you’ve caught a mouse in the same area before.

Make a No-Kill Mousetrap with a Toilet Paper Roll

Don’t like mice in your home but don’t want to kill them to get them out? You can make a…

When you should call a professional

You can only hold off on calling a professional for so long. Sure, you can try to find every single hole, then plug them up and trap the remaining mice, but the real question is: Is doing so worth risking your energy, sanity and, most importantly, your health?

Before you call a professional, make sure they specialize in dealing with rodents specifically, and ask about their success rate. Most professionals should do a thorough inspection of the outside of your home to see where the mice might be getting in. This article goes over some great tips on finding and talking to a professional.

Be wary of companies that recommend poison from the get-go. It may be initially effective, but it doesn’t guarantee success. It might kill off the mice (and other things, sadly—if you choose to use poison, you must be careful to safeguard your own pets, and be aware that it could kill neighborhood animals and other wildlife around your home), but that means you might wind up with rotting mouse carcasses around your home, in your walls, under the floor or in the attic.

No, the only tried-and-true way to evict these freeloaders is to prevent them from entering your home in the first place. A good company will offer to keep coming back out to check if the infestation has been resolved.

Even after a professional has visited, a mouse infestation isn’t a problem that goes away overnight. However, if you don’t find fresh droppings after a week of watching and waiting, it’s a good sign your furry guests are taking their leave. To reduce the likelihood they’ll visit again, always make sure you tidy up, avoid leaving garbage out and keep your food in airtight containers.

This story was originally published in September 2016 and updated in August 2020. Updates included checking and refreshing links, adding a section about humane traps and performing a copy edit to align the content with current Lifehacker style.

Where in your home should you start to look for the signs of mice and damage they can cause? Mice are agile and are inquisitive creatures, able to use their flexible skeletons to squeeze into the tiniest spaces, so you need to be pragmatic and check a building for mice from the very top to the bottom, inside and out. Here are some common places you might find mice hiding within a home.

Where in your home should you start to look for the signs of mice and damage they can cause? Mice are agile and are inquisitive creatures, able to use their flexible skeletons to squeeze into the tiniest spaces, so you need to be pragmatic and check a building for mice from the very top to the bottom, inside and out. Here are some common places you might find mice hiding within a home.

Weatherization usually is associated with lowering energy bills and improving personal comfort. But it also is an important part of any home defense strategy against mice. Gaps in window weather stripping and door sweeps invite mice to winter indoors.

How Mice Get Into Your Home

Weatherization usually is associated with lowering energy bills and improving personal comfort. But it also is an important part of any home defense strategy against mice. Gaps in window weather stripping and door sweeps invite mice to winter indoors.

Block foundations and open attics enable mice to range undetected from one end of the house to the other. Think of the block walls as a honeycomb overlapping hollow cells. Once mice get into the wall they can pop up anywhere along the sill. Meanwhile, they will create their own tunnels in attic insulation. Sadly, the Owens Corning pink panther is no match for a motivated mouse. Mice like to live under concrete stoops so be especially vigilant about sealing gaps near doors.

Source
http://www.jcehrlich.com/mice/why-are-there-mice-in-my-house/
http://www.peta.org/about-peta/faq/there-are-mice-living-in-my-basement-i-dont-want-them-there-but-all-i-can-find-at-the-store-are-glue-traps-poison-and-mousetraps-do-i-have-any-other-options/
http://www.westernpest.com/blog/field-mice-in-basement/
http://pestkill.org/mice/in-basement-and-ceiling/
http://www.thisoldhouse.com/pest-control/21014855/how-animals-are-getting-into-your-house
http://www.bobvila.com/articles/mice-in-the-walls/
http://www.jppestservices.com/blog/heres-where-mice-hide-your-home-during-winter
http://www.terminix.com/blog/diy/the-eight-best-ways-to-get-rid-of-mice/
http://lifehacker.com/what-to-do-when-mice-have-invaded-your-home-1786347063
http://www.westernexterminator.com/mice/signs-of-mice/
http://www.hwconstruction.com/blog/blog/2013/10/14/keep-mice-out-for-good
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