Getting rid of mice in an apartment building is harder than you might expect since you are not in complete control of the situation. Furthermore, the mice could have also invaded other apartments adjacent to your unit, common areas, or other hiding places that you might not have access to. While you may try as much you can to keep your home clean and secure, your neighbors may not maintain the same standards, so here are a few tips on what to do when you find a mouse or mice in your rental unit.
What to do if you find a mouse in your apartment?
- Alert your landlord
- Trying to determine the entry point that the mouse used to get into your apartment and seal it off
- Keep your apartment as clean as possible so that the mouse won’t have more spots to hide or access to your food
- Set a trap or bait in areas where you notice high mouse activity or where you find mouse droppings
Mice in apartments is a very common concern, and to make things worse, it might be hard to spot one if there is no physical evidence left behind. Even if there is no mouse in your home, there might be one or more in one of the units in your apartment building, which means that there is a high chance that they might gain access to your apartment at some point. Here is a detailed guide on how you can deal with a mouse problem.
Guide on how you can deal with a mouse problem
1. Determining if there is a mouse problem
Mice tend to move around quietly, and it might take you a while before you notice their presence. Here are the signs you will want to look out for.
- Noises – Mice tend to make scratching noises as they move across your floor or through the walls. They also make squeaking noises which you are most likely to hear at night because of their nocturnal activity.
- Smell – If you detect a musty odor in your apartment, there is a high chance that it is mouse urine, and it tends to be especially pungent where there is a high concentration of the mice, such as the location of the nest.
- Holes – If there are holes in the bags of food that you have stored in your kitchen, they were probably made by mice trying to feed on them.
- Droppings – In most cases, mice usually leave droppings which look like pellets around your home. This is an obvious sign that they have found a food source.
- Gnaw marks – You may also notice gnaw marks on your furniture or clothing made by the teeth of mice as they chew.
2. Identify the entry points
While getting rid of a mouse you find in your apartment is a top priority, if you don’t know how it got in, you will probably have a mouse problem for a long time. Mice are known for their resourcefulness, and they easily find a variety of entry points using their sense of touch and sight. A mouse is also very flexible, managing to squeeze in through even the smallest crevices. Some of the common entry points that mice use include:
- Sledges and sills on your windows and doors
- Gaps in the plumbing and the air conditioning and heating systems
- Roof vents
- Electrical wires
- The fireplaces
- Openings in the ceiling
- Electrical wires
To find potential entry points that mice might use, inspect your apartment thoroughly. Look for any holes and crevices and weak points that can easily be burrowed through.
3. Mouse proofing your apartment
Once you have identified the entry points, you can then install barriers to prevent more mice from entering your apartment. Some of the materials you can use to keep out mice include:
- Steel wool – You can use steel wool to cover small gaps and crevices around your apartment. If the steel wool rusts too quickly, you can switch to copper wool which is sold in rolls and is easy to cut to the size that you need.
- Door sweeps – If there are gaps under your doors that are a ¼ inch or more in size, consider installing a rubber door sweep to keep it securely sealed and prevent mice from entering through these spaces.
- Sealing caulks and foams – Sealing caulks are best applied to windows and doors. Just remember to replace them often since mice can chew their way through them over time.
- Mesh – You don’t want to completely seal your heater or air conditioner, so using a mesh may be the best solution for these entry points.
4. Clean your apartment
Other than sealing the potential entry points, another way through which you can keep mice out of your rental unit is by maintaining a clean and tidy environment. Here are the steps you can take to keep your apartment clean and mice-free.
- Declutter – If you have items that you don’t use too often lying around in your apartment, mice are likely to find hiding spots in such areas. Ensure that you get rid of clutter in the process of cleaning.
- Keep food in airtight containers – Don’t leave food items such as crackers, rice, and coffee grounds lying around since this will only attract mice. Instead, place any food that you don’t plan to refrigerate in air-tight containers to prevent mice from accessing it.
- Take out your garbage – Always keep the lid on your trash can to keep mice away. Ensure that you also take out your trash on a regular basis so that the trash can does not overflow and attract mice and other pests.
- Wash dirty dishes – Washing dishes is an enjoyable task, but leaving your dirty dishes to pile in the sink is one of the quickest ways to attract mice to your apartment. As soon as you finish using your utensils, clean them to reduce the chances of an invasion.
- Maintain tidiness – Ensure that you put away shoes, pick up any clothes that may be lying around, and vacuum your floors on a regular basis to get rid of food crumbs.
5. Methods you can use to get rid of mice
There are several methods through which you can get rid of mice. To determine which one best suits you, take into consideration how serious the mouse problem is in your apartment, the method poses danger to unit occupants, and how much effort it takes for the method to work. Here are some common methods you can use:
- Mouse traps – Using a mouse trap does not require a lot of work to execute. There are different variations of mouse traps available.
- Snap traps – This is a chemical-free method of getting rid of mice that comprises of mechanical jaws which snap shut on a mouse when it triggers the trap. Although snap traps are effective, they can only kill one mouse at a time, and you have to be careful setting the trap so that you don’t hurt yourself.
- Live traps – Live traps make use of bait to attract and trap mice alive. Once it catches a mouse, you can release it in an area that is far away from where you live. Live traps can only catch one mouse at a time, and you have to get rid of the trapped mouse away from your building, which can be tiresome.
- Glue trap – This is a trap that is designed to trap a mouse that walks across it using glue boards. This leaves the mouse unable to move until you can get rid of it as you see fit. Pet owners and families must be extra careful when using a glue trap since anyone that comes in contact with one can become stuck to it.
- Poison – Poison is another common option you can use to get rid of mice in your apartment. Most mouse poisons are anticoagulants, which means that they work by thinning the blood of the mouse and causing internal bleeding. There are different types of poison available on the market, with some coming in the form of pellets and others in liquid form. Mouse poison can kill many mice within a short period of time if strategically placed. Liquid poison is generally considered to be more effective because it can be used on small holes and cracks. If you opt to use poison, remember to be careful since it can be harmful to both pets and children when ingested. You might also want to avoid using poison in places that you won’t be access afterward- it is important to dispose of the mice you kill as soon as possible or they will leave a lingering smell.
- Natural mouse repellants – If you want to avoid using chemicals, you can try repelling mouse populations using natural oils. You can use peppermint oil on its own by soaking cotton balls in pure oil and strategically placing them around your apartment. If you want the peppermint scent to be retained for longer, you can use diatomaceous earth instead of cotton balls, and when the mixture dries out, simply add more water to reactivate it. For a DIY mouse repellant, use pure peppermint oil combined with witch hazel or water in a spray bottle. You can spray the mixture in areas that mice might frequent, or in places where you suspect that there are mice nests.
- Pets – Pets such as cats and rodent hunting dogs such as terriers can be useful when it comes to catching and killing mice in your apartment. Furthermore, it is likely that mice will be more cautious if they sense that there is a predator in your home. However, although pets can catch mice out of instinct, many of them are not bred for this task. Nevertheless, having a pet that is known to hunt mice doesn’t hurt, and it will either have a neutral or positive result on a mice invasion.
6. Calling in a professional
Although there are various methods that you can use to get rid of mice on your own, they can at times backfire, and the mouse population can simply relocate to another location that you may have a hard time accessing. If you are not successful in getting rid of mice in your apartment, you could use the services of a professional.
In some states such as New York, regulations require that a landlord has a licensed exterminator apply the required pesticides in occupied apartments. Even if your state does not have these stipulations, you could still let your landlord know if you find a mouse in your apartment rather than applying your own measures. If you are lucky, your landlord might call in a professional to get rid of a suspected infestation.
Even without your landlord’s help, you could still contact an extermination expert on your own if you see the telltale signs of infestation. Keep in mind that even with the help of a mouse control expert, you can’t get rid of infestation if you don’t heed their advice. If the exterminator uses poisons or traps, you will still have to take their advice to store food properly and seal up tiny holes and crevices.
While having to deal with mice in your home is hardly appealing, there are different measures that you can apply to resolve an infestation as well as prevent it from re-occurring in the future. You also have every right to request your landlord to handle mice infestations as soon as you spot any signs of their presence. By applying the various measures and seeking the help of exterminators, even a chronic mouse invasion can be controlled.