How to deal with a potential mouse infestation

FOR some people, seeing a mouse is no big deal.

For others, it’s akin to a nightmare come to life.

If you fall into the latter category, follow these tips, from Health Vic, to prevent and reduce mouse numbers in your home.

Prevention is better than a cure

In some ways, mice are just like us – in that they require food, water and shelter to survive.

However, unlike us, they thrive in clutter and can squeeze in gaps as small as 8mm (for those of you bad at maths, that’s less than a centimetre!).

Therefore, to help prevent mice, it is important to:

  • maintain high levels of hygiene

and remove:

  • clutter
  • excess foliage in the garden
  • plumbing leaks
  • food scraps
  • potential nesting sites and shelter – these can be a wide range of materials, such as cardboard, paper, straw and rags

Remember, any small gap or hole can be a passageway for a mouse – block it up to cut it off early.

Know your enemy

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, mice will still find their way onto your property and into your home. This is because they are cunning and sneaky. Therefore, it’s important to recognise the signs you’ve just gained a new housemate.

Clues include:

  • signs of damage caused by gnawing or feeding
  • holes
  • smears
  • droppings
  • crumbs

If you’ve got holes of up to 20mm in diameter in your walls, partitions or floors, there’s a fair chance there’s a mouse. But if the hole is about 80mm, you might have just found the entrance to a rat’s nest – literally.

What to do next?

If accommodating your new freeloading house mouse isn’t on your to-do list, don’t worry – there are other options.

There are various types of traps available, including snap traps. There are also other, more complicated multiple-mouse catching devices.

These are suited to when chemical pesticides are not accepted, such as food premises, or where chemicals could be dangerous to family members or pets.

However, these are used less frequently by pest controllers, who tend to prefer chemical methods.

Rodenticides can kill a mouse or rat with a single dose or through multiple doses.

Safety precautions

It’s always better to be careful. Health Vic recommends these safety precautions when using rodent pest control methods:

  • read the product label before use and only apply pesticides in accordance with the label directions, including any safety information
  • wear appropriate personal protective equipment when handling pesticides
  • do not place baits in areas where they can be accessed by children, pets, wildlife or livestock, or use lockable bait stations
  • place baits only in locations from which they can later be retrieved
  • keep a record of bait placements
  • inspect bait stations regularly and remove baits if the rodent problem ceases, ensuring appropriate disposal
  • notify all occupants of the building about the use of pesticides
  • do not place baits or tracking powder where they can contaminate food or food-handling areas
  • do not eat, drink or smoke when handling pesticides
  • always wash personal protective equipment such as gloves, clothes and boots after pesticide use
  • store pesticides in their original containers and ensure that the label remains intact – do not transfer products to alternative containers