Nothing can kill your zen quite like hearing a mouse scurrying behind couch or in your kitchen cabinets. Mice in apartment dwellings are a common problem. If you've noticed the tell-tale signs of a mouse infestation, like mouse poo under the kitchen sink, you can use these strategies to keep your apartment mouse free.
Set traps, catch mice, repeat
Place traps strategically, in areas where mice like to hide. Mice spend a lot of time under furniture, in cabinets and cowering in sheltered, dark places. The kitchen is the biggest attraction in your apartment, and should be well fortified. For best results, place traps behind the refrigerator, near the stove and inside the cabinet under the sink.
There are a number of traps on the market. Clap traps, classic in design and function, are the traditional option available at hardware stores and pharmacies. Just like in cartoons, this type of trap must be set with bait. Cheese is one option, but peanut butter works just as well, if not better. Note that clap traps don’t always kill their target; sometimes a fast mouse will grab the bait without getting caught, while others may end up caught by their tail or leg.
A more modern option is the glue trap. Some glue traps are designed like giant sticky pads, while others look more like shallow tubs of glue. You can try both kinds to decide which one works best for you. The advantage of these sticky traps is that you need only lay the trap down in a location where you’ve noticed mouse poo or seen other evidence of mouse activities. No bait is necessary; mice run over these traps without hesitation. The disadvantages of glue traps: they don’t actually kill the mouse. A trapped mouse will begin to thrash and make loud, panicked noises—usually in the middle of the night. This can be disquieting, and of course you’ll need to find some way to dispose of the mouse.
There are also humane traps on the market. Shaped like little boxes with one-way doors, these traps allow mice to wander in but not back out. Humane traps have the advantage of being relatively harmless to the mouse, but in order to work, the traps must be checked daily. Mice that become caught in the trap and die in there will eventually begin to smell (eww).
In some cases, mice are inevitable. They can enter your apartment unnoticed when you open your front door, or through cracks and crevices in your walls that you aren’t even aware of. You can minimize your chances of an infestation, or a recurrence of an infestation, by taking these steps toward prevention.
- Steel Wool. Mice cannot chew through steel wool. Search your apartment for openings in the wall, especially in the areas where pipes enter your walls, and stuff any gaping holes with steel wool.
- Clean, clean, clean. Don’t leave dirty dishes in your sink, ever. Sweep or vacuum beneath your table after eating a meal. Become sensitive to crumbs on your counters and floor.
- Keep a lid on your garbage can. The garbage is a source of interest to mice, as well as other pests. Also, empty your food garbage daily if it’s an option.
- Put all boxed and dry food in a hard, plastic container. Mice won’t usually enter your fridge, but they will find ways into your cabinets. Assume that anything in a cardboard box or a bag is a potential food for a mouse—this includes items like tea bags.
- Never open your windows without a screen in place; buy a draft stop for your front door. During times of extreme temperatures, like in very hot summers or very cold winters, mice will try to enter your home through cracks beneath your front door and through open windows. Keep your apartment secure with screens and draft stops.