Q: I’ve noticed mice making their way indoors already this spring. It seems kind of early to see them. What could be attracting them, and how do I get rid of them?
A: Mice typically make their way indoors during the fall, when temperatures drop and they’re seeking shelter and food. But many pest control companies have seen an increase in calls this year to treat for mice, rodents and other pests, primarily due to the mild winter and early warm spring.
You normally need a solid month of freezing to see an effect on most pest populations. Because most of us didn’t get that this winter, pests have made their presence known earlier.
Mice are curious by nature and frequently find crevices and openings to gain access inside. They only need 1/4 of an inch gap to contort their way inside and are adept climbers. The best way to eliminate a mouse problem is through exclusion; making sure all home entry points are sealed.
Mice have a strong sense of smell and are attracted to pet and human food and bird and grass seed. Keeping food and seed sealed in tight containers that can’t be easily penetrated, keeping your lawn trimmed to provide a less habitable area and eliminating clutter can help reduce infestation risk.
Mice can transmit diseases and bacteria, contaminate food and even create a fire hazard by gnawing electrical wires, so be proactive in treating for them. Be on the lookout for droppings and gnaw marks in garages, basements, kitchens, crawlspaces and attics in particular. A licensed pest control professional should offer options to best suit your needs and wishes; including setting traps, using poison bait, which might not be ideal with small children or pets, and live trapping.