Mice may be cute, but a mouse infestation isn't. Wild mice that find their way into your home can chew through just about anything that your home is made of, including wiring, wood, plumbing and even brick walls. Tolerating these creatures can eventually cost you a lot of money in repair costs while also exposing you and your loved ones to some very nasty diseases. But exactly how should you get rid your rodent problem? Here are some critical considerations that should influence your final course of action.
Trapping and Relocating Wild Mice Can Be a Bad Idea
While the animal lover in you may wish to trap your furry visitors, transport them 3 to 5 miles from your home and then release them into the wild, there are several compelling reasons not to go this route. First and foremost, wild mammals are known to carry potentially deadly diseases, either through their bite or through the fleas that they harbor. Mice (and rats) are infamous for spreading bubonic plague, but they can also transmit rabies, Hantavirus, lymphocytic choriomeningitis, and a bacterial infection called tularemia. Handling these creatures is best left to professional exterminators or animal control authorities. Additionally, there's a very good chance that transporting your wild mice may be against some state or municipal laws. You should never try to relocate a wild animal unless you've already confirmed that such an act is legal in your area.
Poisons Can Allow Mice to Die Inside Your Walls
As unappealing as it may be to look at or handle a freshly killed mouse, having to endure the odor of a mouse that died days ago is worse -- especially if you can't get at the mouse to remove it. Unfortunately, this is often a problem for homeowners who rely on poisons to solve their mouse infestation. Baiting relies on attracting the mouse with blocks of "food" that are actually a potent poison. But the poison may not work right away, giving the mouse time to wander off before dying -- possibly inside your walls or some other invisible part of the house.
If you're determined to use bait traps, check out modern products that actually cause the mouse feces to glow in the dark, making it easier to find those final hiding places. If your household includes children or pets, you must be extraordinarily careful as to what kind of poisons you leave out. Use only tamper-proof bait stations that completely enclose the bait. This ensures that only tiny creatures such as mice can access it.
Traps Are Clean and Efficient (Usually)
If you don't like the idea of having poison lying around your house or dead mice in hard-to-find locations, then you'll probably find traps a more palatable alternative. These devices literally stop the mouse in its tracks; if you want to know where the mouse is, simply look inside the trap.
Different traps have different advantages and disadvantages. The classic spring-activated mouse trap is cheap and usually quite effective, but there's always a chance that it might not kill the mouse, instead causing unintended torment. Electronic traps are more elaborate, but they convey an electric shock that kills the mouse instantly. Non-lethal "live-catch traps" spare the mouse's life completely, but then you're back to the problem of what to do with your prisoner. Whatever kind of trap you choose, at least that trapped mouse is longer roaming freely.
Exterminators Are Worth the Money
Mice extermination isn't as easy as you may think. It can take considerable time and effort to figure out what traffic routes your mice use most regularly, check the bait stations or traps on a regular basis, and then remove the dead mice as they accumulate. During this trial-and-error period, the mice are increasing your family's potential exposure to disease. Handling the mice (alive or dead) only heightens the risk of flea-borne disease transmission.
The fastest, safest and most effective way to end your mouse issue is to hire a professional exterminator with the necessary training, skills, and tools to do the job right. Average prices can range from less than $100 for the first round of extermination to approximately $300 for a multi-month contract -- and you could be saving much more money in the long term by sparing your home significant damage. For more help, consider contacting a professional like those at Godfather's Exterminating Inc.