By Sharon Omahen
University of Georgia
That's not black riceMost homeowners don’t know they’re harboring mice until they find evidence of mouse droppings, which resemble black grains of rice. Another telltale sign is chew marks on food containers and packages. The first thing to do to rid your home of mice, he said, is take away their food source. Keep garbage cans covered and food items stored in tightly sealed containers. This includes pet food. Next, remove any weeds, trash, boards, firewood or other debris located near the exterior of your home. “These objects provide excellent cover for mice in the winter and snakes in the summer,” he said. Make sure all doors seal tightly and window and door screens are in good shape. Use caulk to seal cracks around pipes and utilities where mice can slip into homes.
Avoid using baitsDon’t use baits unless you feel you have to. “Baits can pose a threat to small children and pets,” he said. “Besides, mice will consume the poison and die behind walls and in other unreachable places and cause a terrible odor.” The best way to get rid of mice, he said, is still the old-fashioned mouse trap. Traps should be placed next to walls, under furniture, in the pantry or behind the stove. “Always position a trap so the trigger is next to the wall,” he said. “This way you get them from either direction if they’re running along the baseboard.” Use cheese or peanut butter to bait the trap and check and reset traps often. Crawford’s advise this year comes from experience. He recently gave chase to a mouse that escaped down a floor vent. “I stapled some dental floss to a baited mousetrap and lowered it very slowly into the duct until it disappeared from view,” he said. “I tied the other end of the string to the leg of the nightstand. Sure enough, the little varmint was hungry.”
(Sharon Omahen is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)