Mice are pesky rodents that cause havoc in households all over the world. As mice are very tiny, even the most well-built houses are no match for their creativity. Often, owners are surprised to hear mice’s unmistakable sounds crawling between the walls or worse – chewing away at something.
When this happens, it’s too late. At least one (probably more) mouse has found a way to get in your house. Usually, the question is how it managed to do so?
Bad news first, there are way too many possibilities, so you probably won’t ever have a solid answer. But you can still do a lot to much minimise the chances. So, here’s what to do:
It’s about timing
While having mice in your house is generally a year-long issue, there are times when the risk is more significant. Naturally, it’s around autumn, and early winter as the temperatures start to fall. During spring and summer, mice can easily find food in rubbish bins, fields, parks and so on. When it’s colder, these opportunities are much fewer, and as a result, mice tend to look for other options. Plus, the warmth of the houses is also something that attracts them.
So, your “house sealing” efforts should be made before these times. Also, it’s ideal to do them both before and after you’ve done a check for possible house mice in your house and have eliminated them. This way, you know you will have a “clean start” and will have a better idea of whether your efforts were effective or not.
And yes, inspecting your house for possible entry points is something you have to do regularly. At the very least new damage can always occur, or maybe you’ve missed a weak spot during the previous inspection.
How to do a proper entry point inspection
You will need three main things: a torch, a “poking” tool and… time. You also need to be methodical. Start from a certain area and only move on to the next one, when you are sure everything has been checked. Mice can use holes as small as a fingernail to crawl through. Often you may not even see these tiny gaps. And other times they might be looking small, but be brittle enough for the mice to chew on and make suitable for entry.
This is why you should use a torch to have proper light on all surfaces. Focus your attention around the door and window frames, around the pipes, vents, all of the surfaces where the house and the soil meet. Start from the outside and work your way in. Also, check the roof and all of the floorboards and walls.
Next, check if all the doors and windows close properly. If something is crooked and leases a gap, it might be a possible entry point for mice.
Also, check the fireplace and around it. If possible, examine the chimney, too.
Despite your best efforts, assume that there’s always the possibility that a mouse will sneak in. At the very least it can happen as you have the window open to let some fresh air in. So, after the house’s inspection and the main areas, it’s time to focus on the smaller details.
Check all of the cabinets, baseboards, pipes and vents. Also, look behind the appliances.
What to do after the inspections
You can opt for one of two approaches – immediately repair and seal any hole you find or create a list of them and repair them after everything has been checked.
Ideally, you should opt for a mix of both. For sure keep a list of all of the entry points you’ve located. It will come in handy not only for repairs but also for keeping track of what you’ve done and when.
You should also have on hand some materials to fix the easier issues. These materials are very simple – steel wool, epoxy, metal sheets, steel grates, etc. Everything is usually readily available at hardware shops.
The exact type of fix will depend on the hole’s location and size, along with the materials used. Most of it should be reasonably easy. Some trickier bits might be the draining pipes. Thin grates might not be strong enough to withstand the mice teeth while thicker grates might get clogged easier. You will have to opt for a mesh depending on the type of pipe and the amount of water flowing through.
Finally, clean up the garden. Clutter is ideal for the mice to crawl through and hide. Piles of leaves or uncut grass are a natural place for mice to sneak into. So, by keeping your garden tidy, you lower the possibility of mice entering it in the first place and thus – reaching your house.