The places where our homes were constructed were once the natural home of mice. Those open fields, filled with vegetation and water, were all that was needed to attract mice. Therefore it is not any surprise that mice wish to return to these places in search of shelter and food sources.
Mouse activity in most areas can be extremely high during cold temperatures. This is when they are out looking for shelter and ways to keep warm. Unfortunately for homeowners, the place mice frequent the inside of their garage, particularly if that garage is not used or cleaned often.
Another place mice love to find nesting material is in empty boxes. They find these empty boxes in most people's garages, attics, and basements you want to learn more about catching mice, pest control mice, and how to prevent mice, read on.
Why are mice attracted to my garage?
Whether you realize it or like it, mice and other rodents have acclimated to the existence of humans. Our garages and homes not only provide us with shelter and protection, but they also do likewise for small animals.
Mice have small bodies that require guarding against predators, rain, winds, snow, sleet, and other weather conditions. In addition, things we don’t consider a food source are often what mice love most. Such as that grass or bird seed you have stored away in the garage or shed until springtime.
If a garage has sufficient nesting materials, a single mouse will use these materials to make a mouse nest large enough to raise their babies. One litter of pups created by that single mouse can be the start of a mouse problem. And this problem that arises will now be a challenge for you to get rid of those mice in your garage that can soon enter your home.
How do you know you have mice?
Because of their tiny size, a primary mouse activity during their waking hours is eating. Bags of lawn seed, bird seed, or dog food left open is an invitation for rodents to help themselves. One way to verify these critters are present is noticeable holes in these bags.
Mice have a keen sense and can squeeze underneath a garage door threshold that is not sealed tight when closed. Mice also will chew through bags to allow them an entryway inside to feast.
In addition, garage mice are messy, so it is important that you quickly get rid of them to stop early infestations. Another telltale sign of their presence is seeds spread out all over the garage floor.
What does a mouse look like?
Mus musculus is a popular U.S. house mouse species. This species grows approximately 3 to 4 inches in length. Its nose is pointed, brown in color, and has a long tail. Other popular species are field mice from the Apodemus genus.
There is also the Peromyscus genus of deer mice. This species is commonly called a house mouse and is known for infesting outbuildings, garages, and homes. All of these species are like the standard house mouse. The only difference is these mice have a belly that is white instead of a coat of solid coloring.
Mice leave behind a distinctive type of feces as verification they have visited your garage. Mouse droppings are brownish or black-colored and look similar to rice grains. A single mouse can leave a lot of mouse droppings inside your garage.
Mice crawl along the edges of a wall. Therefore, it is highly unlikely to see one running across the room.
Ways to keep mice out of your garage
The best way to get rid of or prevent mice in your garage is to create an environment that does not attract mice. To do this, you can take the following steps:
- Utilize bins or sealed containers to store bird seed, dog food, and grass seed in.
- Maintain an organized, clutter-free space.
- Ensure your garage door has all gaps and cracks sealed.
- Make sure, if you have a tree near the house, the branches are pruned not to touch the garage roof.
- Keep the lids of all trash cans sealed tightly.
- Any firewood should be stacked and stored as far as possible from the house and garage.
Seal all entry points
It is imperative to remember that in order to prevent mice from coming into your garage, all entry points should be sealed. Holes the size of a dime will not prevent mice from squeezing through. Therefore, never make a lesser assessment regarding the tenacity of mice when it comes to trying to get inside a building!
In addition, keep in mind the mice may still be present even though you are unable to see them. Also, mice reproduce rapidly. A single mouse can create as many as 60 offspring in just one year!
More ways mouse proof your garage
A mouse’s innocent appearance and small size make it difficult to harbor feelings of hostility toward them. These little creatures look much like the popular white mice we see in pet stores. It is true. The mice in your garage and the pink-eyed, white pet mice in the pet store belong to identical species.
Truth is, mice in the wild are vermin pests and are hunted by animals that are predators, such as owls, foxes, hawks, coyotes, and even your favorite housecat. If these predators are non-existent, an infestation can quickly become uncontrollable and invade the entire house.
The use of a spring trap is a great way to get rid of mice in the garage. These mouse traps are designed in a manner that utilizes a bait tab to trigger and loosen the metal spring bar to snap onto the animal as it eats the bait. To keep mice out of your garage, you need to choose the best food to put on a mouse trap. But typically, a piece of cheese is used on a spring trap. However, any type of food source will work well. Some people use a spoonful of peanut butter generously placed and considered the best bait for mouse traps.
Ensure to place the spring traps in places where you have noticed signs of mouse activity. Put traps in areas where you have seen their droppings or nesting materials--all signs of frequent activity.
The concept behind spring traps is that they will quickly snap onto the body or neck of the animal they trap. From a humanity standpoint, this technique results in suffocation and is typically rapid and painless.
Contrary to what most people believe, these traps do not crush the animals. However, there are instances in which the trap snaps down on its tail or leg. In this case, you would need to take care to release the live rodent.
Make sure the traps are checked often. If a mouse is left dead in one of these traps long, you will soon recognize the unpleasant smell of decay. When you deal with it on a daily basis, you can avoid this awful odor.
If you are looking for the most humane way how to get rid of rodents, then you will want to choose live mouse traps. However, you are not really getting rid of mice problems in your garage. You are just relocating them elsewhere.
A live trap comes in a variety of types. Most are designed with bait stations to entice mice inside. With a live trap, mice come inside, and the hatch or door is then tripped, capturing the mouse without harming it.
Once you capture a live mouse in your trap, the next problem that poses itself is where you should relocate it. If released in a residential area, you are dumping your problem onto others. Left in the country, rodent control of a potential mouse problem is up to the farmers.
The best option when live-trapping is to set the animal free in a wildlife area or the woods.
Bait for rodent control
When attempting to kill mice, there are many poisons one can use. Unfortunately, these techniques are often inhumane, as they contain warfarin, an anti-coagulating substance. Warfarin behaves in a manner that results in the animal internally bleeding to death over a period of several days.
Besides the obvious pain the rodent must be feeling while this is happening, your children or fur babies might discover the bait stations, pellets, or tabs. Should they be ingested, it can result in extreme sickness and even be fatal.
Often many of the poisons utilized for exterminating rodents and stopping mice are just as deadly to humans and pets. Therefore, if you have children and pets, using this as a method for rodent pest control is not a good option.
Because poisons can be carried outdoors, these toxic substances should not be used in the garage. Often the small predator wild animals such as owls and foxes will locate them and accidentally ingest them. As a word of advice, it just isn’t a smart choice to use poison as best bait for mouse traps to get rid of mice in the garage.
Using sticky traps
A sticky trap is usually the option for rodent control for people who feel a spring trap is inhumane. These traps have a waxy glue that entraps the mice inside when they happen to walk upon it looking for something to eat.
Although some believe it to be less inhumane than the spring traps, the opposite holds more truth. A mouse might be stuck for hours, in some cases, even attempting to chew at their feet to free themselves. In addition, you are then left with the only option of killing it yourself, as it is nearly impossible to free a stuck mouse.
Get a dog or cat
Because homes with domesticated pets have pet food stored away, the chance of having mice live nearby increases. However, not all dogs or cats are skilled when it comes to hunting and killing rodents. Dog breeds, such as the terrier, are often excellent at hunting small critters. In addition, if you have an aggressive, youthful kitty, they, too, make great mousers,
Just plan a few nights a week to let your cat or dog spend a few hours in the garage to hunt, as they might be able to help you get rid of pesky mice. If your domesticated pets are skilled hunters, the mouse population will begin to disappear.
What surfaces can mice climb up?
Mice are able to climb up most surfaces--this includes furniture, stairs, countertops, landscape features, and even most surfaces that are vertical. As long as the wall has something for them to grip their tiny paws onto, mice can scale up.
Mice are skillful at jumping and climbing. Mice will climb anything that has a rough surface. This means walls made of stucco, wood, or panels.
Likewise, can mice climb walls? Surfaces that are vertical but smooth don’t allow the mouse the opportunity to grip onto anything. This poses an issue when they attempt climbing up the wall. Mice will use ropes, wires, and pipes as aides in climbing up these smooth surfaces. Even that beautiful vine plant you have climbing up the side of your home presents an open invite to mice. Mice are persistent when trying to get indoors, taking advantage of any rough areas. They also see crevices or cracks in garage doors.
How small of a hole will a mouse fit inside?
Believe it or not, a mouse can actually squeeze into an area no larger than the average pencil. Therefore, as you inspect your home or office for probable entry points, keep this fact in mind regarding their flexibility.
The tiniest openings in utility and plumbing lines or door edges can become a place mice frequent. The best way to inspect your home for these small openings is at night. Ensure to turn on every light indoors. This makes it easy to recognize any small cracks by the light that comes through.
Another favorite entry point into your home is via the roof. They will come through chimneys, air vents, dryer vents, and even the conduit of your HVAC system. Block off these areas using steel wool, a hardware cloth, wire mesh, or silicone caulk.
Being aware of where the smallest spaces are around your home is the first step to putting an end to a mouse infestation.
Does a mouse have bones?
This might appear like a silly question, but some people believe a mouse is able to collapse its skeleton. Or that their body is not made up of real bones. However, the answer is yes. Mice do have bones. They just are so tiny it gives them an advantage when attempting to invade a home.
Mice are no more than an ounce in weight. They are around five to eight inches in length (this includes the tail). The largest part of a mouse's body is its skull. If the head fits, the body will follow. The mouse’s collarbone or clavicle is sloping. This allows them to squeeze through those tiny areas with ease.
Mouse depends on their whiskers and sense of feeling and smell to make their way through the trickiest of places. Mice always go into an area using their nose and whiskers as their lead; this is because the whiskers can sense if there is room for the rest of their body.
What to do if you hear mice in the walls?
If you hear any noises that sound like gnawing, you could be hearing mice in the walls. Mice make these sounds when they are chewing on wood, insulations, and even electrical wires. You might hear their squeaking, scratching, scurrying, or scampering sounds as they move about within the walls.
Because mice reproduce rapidly, you need to take action to get rid of them as soon as you are aware the mice are present. But the first thing you must do is determine whether what you are hearing is truly mice within the walls. When they are chewing on things inside the wall, such as wires, insulation, and wood, they create a gnawing noise. Also, you might hear their squeaking sounds or the scratching and scurrying sounds they make as they scamper around.
Any of these sounds that emit from within your home or garage walls--usually after sunset or before sunrise--means you probably have a mouse infestation. You can rap gently on the wall to see if the noises cease. If this happens, it means the mice have stopped moving around, fearing they are being threatened.
Just because you don’t hear them does not mean they have disappeared. They are sneaky little creatures, lying low till you leave the room, or go to sleep.
Next, you need to verify the obvious clues that mice are in the area. These signs can be seen in their droppings, chew marks on the corners of walls, to smear marks. All of this is clear proof you have a mouse issue--and usually, it is within the walls.
What attracts mice to nest in the garage or basement?
The primary attraction mice have to your basement or garage is the accessibility to shelter and warmth. Typically a garage door is not sealed very well, or the foundation has cracks. Both are excellent ways for a tiny critter, such as a mouse, to squeeze in.
Mice begin collecting items to build their nest once they get inside. These nesting items can be anything from old newspapers, cardboard boxes, and any other debris you may have stored away.
As long as the environment is warm and cozy, get rid of them early, as these mice critters will hang around in your garage as long as you let them. Additionally, a garage normally has plenty of food sources in it, such as pet food, birdseed, and grass seed will keep them sustained throughout the winter.
Clues to warn you to have an infestation of mice
Mice are typically most active after dark. For this reason, they are able to avert disclosure of their presence. However, there are several signs you can look for that might give them away and alert you to their existence.
Mice normally stay along the walls and sides of a room as they move from food sources to the nest. This is called a runway; over time, you will recognize prints, droppings, and even rub marks along their course. In a garage, you will notice dirt, debris, and dust gathering in the corners or edges of the room.
The feces of mice is the number one clue to prove you have mice present in your garage or basement. The way to identify a mouse’s droppings is how it looks. It is normally about a quarter of an inch long and looks like dark brown/black grains of rice. You will also notice spots of urine near the droppings. How much depends on the number of mice you have in your garage infestation. The smell of mouse urine leaves an odor similar to that of ammonia.
Areas that show signs of chewing
The incisors of a mouse are continuously growing. Therefore, they must manage them by chewing on things. For this reason, it is not uncommon for you to discover cardboard boxes and plastic containers with marks created by their incessant gnawing.
Mice will chew on anything if allowed. This includes the insulation and drywall, and if you store furniture in the basement or garage, it, too, may end up being a gnawing target.
Hearing odd noises and scratching
Besides using your sense of sight to see the signs of a mouse infestation, you must also use your sense of hearing. Your eyes can view the droppings and signs of a mouse infestation which includes their course of travel. However, the ears can disclose what the eyes cannot. Such as noticing the scratching sounds and other noises mice create.
Your ears can also help you in learning where the mice and sounds are coming from. Some of the noises your ears are hearing come from within the voids of your walls and ceiling. Both behave as a superhighway that aids in food foraging. You might be kept awake at night when you hear the noises of mice constructing their nest above and behind the drywall of your home.
Sometimes it may be difficult to locate exactly where the bad smells of a mouse infestation are coming from. One of the many reasons could be due to the offensive odors attacking your nose.
One obvious explanation is you might be recognizing the scent smell of dead mice within the walls elsewhere. Another is the excess waste products the mice have created. A couple of mice can create a lot of droppings. If there are several mice, then the ammonia-like or distinctively musky odor will be greater.
Strange behavior in pets
Your four-legged family members also have rather acute senses when it comes to recognizing a mouse infestation. This is because of their innate smelling abilities, and they are able to notice aromas we normally cannot. Pay attention to how your fur baby acts. If they become fixed on a certain area, don’t be alarmed if you begin to recognize other clues of mice activity.
Mouse vs. Rat: What is the difference between rats and mice?
The most typical rodent you will find invading your garage or basement is the mouse. However, there is another rodent that might also be present, and that is the rat. If you are dealing with rodent problems in your home and wondering how to get rid of rats in house fast, it's important first to know the difference between the two. Are you familiar with recognizing how to differentiate mice from rats? Here are some of the easiest distinctions between these two rodent species:
- The droppings of a mouse are around one-fourth of an inch long, rice-shaped, and the ends are pointed. A rat’s droppings are much larger, and the ends are more blunt.
- Mice are more fearless, despite their lesser size, than rats are. When seeking food items, mice are more apt to travel out of their safety zone.
- When in search of water and food, a mouse will trek out as far as fifty feet away from the next. However, rats are known to forage for food more than five times the area a mouse does.
How do I keep mice out of my garage in the winter?
From a distance, a field mouse can appear cute and innocent. However, in reality, mice are capable of creating lots of chaos. One of the biggest issues is that a mouse is a disease carrier. Rodent urine, nest materials, and droppings spread diseases such as listeria and salmonella, to name a few.
Besides being a disease spreader, mice are also extremely catastrophic. They will gnaw and chew everything that comes in their path. From cardboard boxes to baskets, fabric, even electrical wiring, and anything else their incisors can get a hold of.
Mice are also capable of constructing rather large nests in places like tractors, lawnmowers, and cars. Any place that is large enough to provide them a place to hide and reproduce. In addition to the chaos a mouse can create within your garage, this damage is often rather costly to fix.
Ways to keep mice away
As with any technique that works well--the best defensive strategy begins with an even better offense. This theory goes right along with the best ways to keep mice out and away from your garage. The best defense for averting mice is to form as unappealing of an environment as possible. In addition to making it almost impossible for the mouse to infest your garage and make it their home.
So, what makes the best offense when it comes to rodent aversion? It means you need to have an efficient plan of action should you get invaded by these little critters. If you ensure your offense is as effective as your defense, you will avert the mice, and they will cease to be an issue.
Mice are afraid of cats because they are natural predators of mice. If they smell kitty litter that has some cat urine in it, this will act as a natural mouse deterrent.
The following are some of the best measures to get rid of and prevent mice from coming inside the garage or your house.
Forming the best defense
The primary step is to get rid of all products that are paper or paper-related. A mouse will chew its way through a cardboard box like it is nothing. The result? Confetti-like paper shavings make the ideal material for nesting their baby mice. That familiar ammonia smell you recognize is because the cardboard is soaking up their feces and urine. Therefore, step one in forming the best defense against mice is to get rid of those cardboard boxes that are stocked in your garage storage!
How to store pet food, dog food, and seeds
The best option for the storage of dog food, cat food, bird food, garden, and grass seed is in plastic bins that have tight-fitting seals. This type of container works great for protecting your precious seeds and keeps the scent of the item inside, making it less attractive to mice!
Sealing off all points of entry
If you want to get rid of rodents and keep mice out of your garage, you need to make it hard to get inside. This means sealing off any holes and gaps along with the siding of the garage door. As we mentioned earlier on, mice can get through the tiniest of holes, so make sure everything is sealed.
You can use weather stripping along the gaps of a garage door to form a tight seal to keep mice from squeezing in. Also, verify there are no holes in the area where water pipes and electrical units enter the building. If there is any space, they will find a way to wiggle in.
If you have any outbuildings, sheds, or barns, ensure to inspect the exterior as well as the interior carefully. Use a foam that expands, a board, or caulk to seal off any cracks or gaps you notice during the inspection. In addition, check the seal on any windows and garage doors. You can use steel wool to seal any large cracks before covering them with caulk.
Ensure the bottom of the garage door has a tight seal and that it is in proper operating condition. During the beginning of the autumn and early winter months, mice live in areas underneath doors that are not properly sealed.
In addition, if not being used, always keep doors shut! An open door invites one mouse inside, which can turn into an infestation quickly.
The best offense for halting a mouse infestation
You have sealed the garage door as well as all other buildings on your property as a way to get rid of mice. Likewise, the dog food and other seed supplies are safely stored in air-tight plastic containers. Hence, you have handled everything on the defensive side; now it's time to plan a strategy for an offense.
Forming an offensive strategy is just in case a few mice make it past your defense. The use of natural repellents is a safe method of keeping mice away. These types of repellents for mice are particularly interesting to those with young children or domesticated pets nearby.
The best natural repellent available may be right in your kitchen pantry or hall closet. It is cinnamon oil and peppermint oil. Rodents, particularly mice, have a strong dislike for either one of these scents. The aroma of both peppermint and cinnamon oils remains long after applying it. In addition, if you have any dryer sheets lying around the laundry room, these make great offensive tools.
For safely repelling rodents and mice, electronic pest repellents do a superb job. These devices operate by simply sending sound waves that drive mice insane, yet, humans cannot hear them.
Excellent devices for other pest control
Besides repelling rodents and mice, electronic devices work great for getting other pests to stay away as well. Small insects, roaches, and spiders will hear the sound waves, alerting them danger is near and to beware!
How do you get rid of mice in walls and ceilings?
One of the most popular pests in American households are garage mice. These tiny pests will infiltrate their way inside our sheds, garages, and even homes. Eating any food left out and unattended, and gnawing on our important paperwork and property. After wreaking havoc on our stuff, they leave behind unsanitary droppings as a telltale sign of their presence.
The biggest question is how does our home or garage attract mice? The primary attraction mice have with your garage is warmth. Also, having plenty of food items along with a warm, safe place for them to nest is the biggest attraction.
In order to make their way through your home, mice must utilize the darkest spaces. These spaces include attics, crawl spaces, air ducts, and, yes, even walls. It is so simple for mice to acquire accessibility inside your home and garage.
You are aware of how quickly mice can get inside your home or garage, therefore, what you must figure out is how to get rid of them.
Getting rid of mice in the walls
Because mice stay within their nests during the daylight hours, they are often not noticed. Therefore trying to control them once they set up their nest inside your garage or home seems like an impossible task. However, it is possible to get control over a mouse infestation if you follow these simple steps.
First, you will need to gather the following supplies when strategizing a plan to get rid of mice in the walls:
Traps with the scent of food
- A cardboard box
- Clear plastic wrap
- An electric or battery-powered drill
Using the electric drill, form a tiny hole in the wall a couple of inches from the floor. Now, duplicate this process on the side of the cardboard box. Put the food-smelling trap inside the box and place a piece of clear plastic wrap over the top.
Next, put the box by the wall making sure the holes in the wall and box are aligned. After catching a rodent, make sure to put in new traps with bait. Keep the box in place until the infestation is gone. Lastly, don’t forget to repair the hole in the drywall when all the dead mice have been removed.
Getting rid of mice in the ceiling
The ceiling offers mice a lot of chewing and nesting opportunities, from the insulation to wires with electric currents flowing through them. When mice chew on electrical wiring, it brings about the danger of a fire. So just like getting rid of mice in the garage, you need to act fast to remove them from your ceiling.
You are going to need the following supplies if you want to remove mice from your ceiling:
- Peanut butter
- A few snap traps
- Caulking- exterior grade
- Stainless steel (coarse)
- Sanitary rubber gloves
Before you get into the ceiling, you need to verify the sections of your home below. This means checking any vents in the foundation as well as the window frames within the basement. Seal off any visible cracks with up to a half-inch of caulking solution that is high grade. If you recognize any big holes, pack them with the stainless steel first, then put the caulk over the top.
Now take two of the snap traps and place them next to each other on the joists of the ceiling. Continue this step until there is a pair of traps along each beam’s end in the ceiling. Use the peanut butter to bait each of the traps.
If your home has drop ceilings, you will need to place traps at any place that poses a potential exit. Use gloves when checking the traps each day to remove the mice that have been trapped and killed.
Non-toxic ways to get rid of mice
When you use poison to kill mice, it can create a smelly issue. The mice ingest the poison, take it to the next and eventually die. However, if that nest is within the walls of your home, you will have deceased mice remaining in there. This can result in an awful smell and the potential for the spread of bacteria and disease.
Instead of using poison, you have the option of humane traps and even a natural mouse deterrent. Some homeowners prefer to use traps that are spring-loaded, glued, and live traps.
To ensure the safety of pets and children, place traps in strategic locations that are out of reach. Traps in the wrong areas prove to be less effective and more harmful.
You can even use certain essential oils as a method of naturally deterring mice. These non-toxic mouse deterrents will also work well in garages and attics.
Peppermint oil or vinegar that has been soaked into cotton balls is an excellent non-toxic method for deterring mice. This will not kill mice. It just makes the environment less attractive to them. It also is a good way to prevent squirrels and other rodents from staying out of your attic, basement, and garage.
All you need to do is soak the cotton balls (as many as you want) in peppermint oil or vinegar. Then place them strategically all over the room you want them to avoid entering. When the scent begins to evaporate, you will need to replace it with new cotton balls.
Mice will be deterred from coming into homes and garages by the scents and smells you place around. However, if the mice have already made their nests in your garage floor, it is going to be much more difficult to get rid of them.
This is when a device such as an ultrasonic mouse repeller comes into play. Although humans are unable to hear the sounds of ultrasonic mouse repellers, they create painful sounds for mice. As long as the unit is operating, mice will stay out.
Removing the smell of dead mice
There may be cases in which you never actually “see” one in your garage or home. However, there is clear evidence they exist, particularly if you begin to smell a dead mouse. The first step is to find out where the stench is coming from and remove the corpse.
If the smell is coming from the walls, you are going to need a tool called a borescope-- a small, camera-like device. The borescope pinpoints where in the wall the animal is, allowing you to cut through the drywall to remove it.
Preventing future mouse infestations
After taking steps to rid of the mice in your garage or elsewhere, you want to ensure they stay gone. The way to do this is to do an inspection of your home foundation as well as any outbuildings.
Verify there are not any openings--remember, mice can get through some of the tiniest cracks and gaps. Ensure the garage door threshold has a tight seal that prevents mice from squeezing underneath.
When it’s time to call the pest control professionals
When you have tried every form of pest control--from mouse traps for catching mice to the use of essential oil to deter mice. It is time to call A.N.T. Pest Control for a free estimate to get rid of rodent activity.
If your efforts to prevent mice with these methods of pest control are failing to rid the garage mice, give us a call. A.N.T. Pest Control knows the telltale signs of a rodent infestation. We know how to catch mice and find their hiding spots. Call today for a free (phone) estimate and find out how we can help end the mouse activity in your garage and elsewhere.