Is it worth trying to get rid of these mice?

I am in the process of moving in to a new apartment. That is, it’s new for me - very old in general. It’s a converted townhouse in Philadelphia’s center city. I’d guess the building is 75-100 years old, and only minimal effort has been invested in its upkeep (the landlord who has owned it since time-out-of-mind is incredibly cheap).

So I’m hanging out in my 3rd-floor apartment, and I start noticing mice. They’re pretty brazen: they’ll just pop out of the gaps in the baseboard and run across the room to a different hole in the baseboard. And in the evening, I can hear them in the walls, tearing paper or running around.

I’ve read up a bit on mouse removal tips. You know; traps, peppermint oil, better cleaning practices, all that. But I wonder if that will help. There are six apartments in this building. If I kill (or otherwise get rid of) all the mice in my apartment today, does that just mean my neighbor’s mice will move in tomorrow? Will anything get rid of these little fellas that doesn’t address the whole building?

Anyone have experience with mice in old apartments?

PS: No cats.

speaking as one who has lived in a philly rowhome since i was born… unless the entire building (and perhaps buildings joining it) undergoes mouse removal, you will always have mice.

check with other tenants and landlord to see if a bulding wide de-mousing can be done.

You can block holes as you discover them to help keep your belongings mouse-free. I don’t think anything short of a whole-building extermination effort will get rid of them, but you can try to keep them out of your belongings.


The landlord will never do it. He’s incredibly cheap. The previous tenants, my soon-to-be-roommates, describe several of his practices that border on illegal. (Example: They never signed a new lease - he just scribbled out the names on the previous one and put their names on it. It still has the rent from 3 years ago, even though the rent has gone up each year. His reasoning? Getting a new lease ($50 at OfficeMax?) is too expensive. When they asked for a new lease, he offered them their security deposit back, saying that he’d find someone else to sign the old one.)

So if any kind of building-wide operation is required, it’ll never happen.

Next question: any tips for cohabiting peacefully with mice?

I’m pretty sure that’s your landlord’s responsibility. The entire building needs to be addressed, you’ll never achieve much otherwise.

I live in an upstairs apartment in a duplex in a double in the Philly suburbs. Me and the people downstairs had a terrible mouse problem this summer and had the exterminator in repeatedly. The mice were finally eliminated when our landlord contacted the landlord of the two apartments next door about the problem. I don’t know for sure but I’m guessing that, after hearing from our landlord, he had his two apartments treated. In any case, I’ve seen no evidence of mice since then.

I wouldn’t just ignore the problem. Mice can carry disease, and they can chew on wires in the walls and start fires.

What’s strange is that, in all the years I’ve lived here, I’ve never seen any evidence of a single mouse before this summer. Then suddenly I was catching one or two a day, as was my downstairs neighbor.

The exterminator says that it is very unusual to have this kind of problem, especially in the summer, but I’m hearing this same story over and over online and off, all over the country. You’re another example.

Maybe something about this summer is causing a mouse population explosion.


There were a few messages posted while I was typing my previous reply. You really need your landlord to do something about this. Maybe you can ask him to do something and then report him to the city if he fails to address the problem. It has to be some kind of code violation.

I live in Chicago and my apartment was last winter overrun by mice. I found I wasn’t able to be lackadaisical about them; I learned for the first time that I hate mice with a passion. I’ve had roaches, ants, etc. before, but none of them ever instilled in me such a visceral response, the feeling of my home being invaded, nightmares ensuing, etc. Part of that was probably due to their brazenness. And their resourcefulness. Those little fuckers can get anywhere and everywhere! And they did! I once remember getting out of the shower and picking up my clean shirt in the bathroom only to have a mouse leap out of it and run away (probably) snickering. I don’t know if he had just been hiding in the shirt or had somehow gotten in there during my shower, but the whole experience left me shaken and angry.
Anyways, many of my friends and acquaintances had had mice problems before and had various suggestions about humane ways to get rid of them. I tried a few of these with no success. I even tried a few less humane responses with no success. I once watched a mouse take the bait from the center of a glue trap and wriggle free.
I remember at one point devising my very own super-villain plan wherein I would gradually set up a sort of mouse-Amsterdam inside a cardboard gate where the mice would be fed and generally provided for. Containment strategy. And then, when they were all feeling safe and secure and trusting, I would set fire to the whole complex. Eventually I deemed this strategy too complicated and mostly unfeasible so I just used poison. Lots and lots of poison. And you gotta use the name-brand stuff. People will tell you that the problem here is that the mice go back into the walls and die and that you then end up with mouse carcasses in your walls that stink up your place, but I never had this problem at all. Lots of poison, one or two dead mice on the floor where I could easily clean and disinfect, and no more mice dared set their dirty little paws inside my home again.

It says “No Pets” on the lease. Booooooo

This is what I’ll probably do. Although, I’ve been abusing my brand-shiny-new westlaw and lexisnexis accounts to find some kind of pest control requiring statute for landlords, and have come up with nothing so far.

That’s not so much my problem. I guess I understand why many people hate mice, but I’ve never had a problem with them. (I used to keep rats as pets.) I get the abstract concept that mice are ‘bad,’ carry diseases, start fires, all that stuff – I get that, but I can’t bring myself to really hate the little guys. They’re just mice.

There’s no statute per se, AFAIK. But having worked with Code Enforcement and the Housing dept (here in CA, YMMV) I can tell you that either/both do not look kindly upon vermin infestations.

Certified letter to owner/mgt. Give them a specific deadline of no more than 30 days to either do something or set a reasonable deadline.

40 days later complain to Housing/Code Enforcment if nothing is done or no reaonable deadline is set.

Be prepared to get a “no cause” 30 day notice.


Seal around the water and sewer pipes. Seal all holes you can find. Put out traps behind places like the stove and such to be sure you killed them all, and will kill them in the future. Don’t leave out food remains, and don’t prop open the door for unloading groceries or such. I found the expanding foam works great. They can chew through it if they want, but they never have done so where I use it. Remember that you can catch respiratory aliments from mouse feces, so don’t stir up the the waste and breath it in. Sanitize with bleach water.

Mice will ruin your food, chew the wiring, carry disease, chew up all your clothing, go into the insulation of ovens, and ruin almost anything.

If you have a fairly large hole to block, use fine mesh wire grate to block it before using expanding foam or whatever. Mice can and will chew through a lot of stuff used to block holes, but chewing on wire is unrewarding.

Use two layers of the wire.