Ridding a house of mice

I have some mice in my house. I can hear them in the ceiling above my head in the bedroom. I hate that sound.

Every winter since i’ve lived here, we seem to get a small family of what I believe are field mice in the attic. I have no idea how they get in there.

Here are my questions:

I would like to try to end this problem once and for all, so I need to find the openings the mice access to get into the house. So, where do i look? Do mice have the ability to crawl straight up the side of a brick house, and enter in a small hole in the roof area, or do they get in on the ground floor and work their way up into the attic through the walls?

I have NEVER seen any signs of mice in my kitchen or anywhere else in my house (The only evidence of mice are the carcasses of the three or four dead mice i remove from the attic traps every year.)9 I have lived in other homes where this is the first place I see evidence that mice are in the house. But these field mice seem to ignore the food in the kitchen. While I appreciate this, it does seem a bit strange. But I’ve looked, and no open boxes, no droppings, no food of any kind is out or chewed through. There are also no droppings against any walls, or near any openings, like under the dishwasher or refrigerator.

Could they be bringing food in from the outside? Or is it possible that what i am hearing are chipmunks or squirrels and not mice? I set normal mice traps every year, and after a few days, they have been tripped and no more mice sounds. But the truth is, I’ve always wondered if the mice are just collateral damage, and the real pests are still up in the house, eating nuts they’ve stored over the winter.

As they don’t seem to get any food from my kitchen, i can only surmise that they are eating natural edibles found outside.

Based on my description, does anyone have any opinions as to what is up in my attic, and how to find the openings they are using to enter the house? I have never seen anything but small mice in the house, and only in a trap. They like to camp out near the duct work which gets nice and toast when the heat turns on, so i know where to place the traps every year. Problem is, I already placed the traps for this year, and after killing Mickey and his family within the first two days, it seems another family has taken their place.

Thanks for any help.

If you can hear them skittering, you might have squirrels. Mice are pretty quiet.

I have had squirrels in a small attic space over my front porch, and they definitely brought their own food. I found enough hickory nuts to fill a bucket and entire ears of corn!

If it is squirrels, your best bet is to figure out the path they use to get into your house and set some Havahart traps for them. Keep the traps out even after you think you’ve got them all, I had 7 squirrels making their home in my home!

I had a steel roof installed on my house, so I’d like to see those bastard try to chew their way in now!

Did you ever consider investing in a cat? :slight_smile:

Not necessarily - I suppose it depends on the material under their feet. We had a squirrel try to take up residence in my garage and it was very obvious fairly fast. Squirrels can do a lot of damage in a short amount of time. Plus, squirrels are not nocturnal.

We had mice in the space between the basement ceiling and the ground floor and could hear them skitter around at night. Completely by accident, my wife found where they were getting in while gardening along the foundation. There is an electrical line from the house to the garage (detached garage) and whatever was used to seal around the line at the hole had either worn or been chewed away. I patched it tight with quickcrete and never a mouse again.

It can be very difficult to determine how mice gain access. Had we not found our little hole, I would have called in the professionals. It can cost a few hundred dollars, but once all the access points are addressed, you’re good to go.

Did anyone mis-read the OP as “Riding a Horse of mice”?

You could have roof rats.


You’d have to be really inattentive for that. :smiley:

You may or may not have a mouse infestation but it sure sounds like you have a rodent problem. It is not at all uncommon for some rodents to overwinter in a home because it offers warmth and protection.

I would start with the local home improvement store and get some rat/mice bait. I like the blood thinner stuff because they exit the house in search of water before they die. Here are some common brands that are sold OTC but to be clear I am not endorsing any of them as IMHO they are about the same and they will attract and kill most furry pests(keep away from your pets). Rats in particular are creatures of habit, they enter and exit the same way and will ignore “New” things around them for a while, so patience is required.


I would wait a week or two before the next step to let the critters die and leave.

You need to find their entry point, for mice this can be darn near impossible because like most rodents they can fit through any opening that their whiskers can fit into. The larger rodents leave a telltale sign, a grease mark. This happens as their fur rubs against the entry point, often the original hole will be widened a bit and have rounded edges. These entry points must be closed, caulk, wire mesh etc. will do it but be aware that the little buggers may just rip it out and go on in, they can be little pr*cks about this. A combination of genocide and denial of entry will eventually make them go elsewhere.

Before next winter check the outside of you house for entry points, seal as many as possible and bait your attic. This will cut down on the likelihood of you having this problem next winter although there are no guarantees.

Good luck and happy hunting


If you decide to use poison I have found the brand **Just One Bite **to be the most effective.

Get better ones than mine; they’re useless. I swear the mice hunt them.

We live in the forest, and along with the “interesting” visitors like deer, bears, bobcats, and the like, we get mice and rats. We escalated for a long time with home remedies, but they never seemed to last for very long. The cedar-shingle roof doesn’t help, either – it’s basically a little mouse door for every shingle.

Eventually, we called an exterminator. They “rodent-proofed” the house for about $500, sealing lots of holes, vents, exhaust pipes and other entry points, and put traps in places I’d have never thought of or been able to get to. We pay a little maintenance to have them come back and refresh the traps every so often, but they completely eradicated the problem and kept it gone. We discontinued the monthly maintenance a while back and had rodents in the house again within a couple weeks, so we’re back on it now. It’s a little pricey, but for us it’s been worth it.

Thanks for all the great advice, all.

I emptied my local Lowes of mouse traps and poison, but I don’t believe it was the one listed here. I’m going to check the ingredients to see if I can find this particular one.

As for finding the entry points, I will probably have to wait until spring before heading up into my attic. The pitch of my roof is so steep, it is hard for me to walk on it. So, sealing will have to come from inside, unless i hire someone. Which, i haven’t ruled out.

I am really curious as to how they are getting in up there, as there are no trees close to out house where they can easily crawl from a limb onto the roof. And. I’ve never seen mice crawling up trees anyway, so they must be getting in Some other way.

Do any of these rodents have the ability to crawl up the wall of a house? That seems kind of hard to believe, but I guess anything is possible. I’d really like to know the answer to this, because ai have searched my house for openings outside in the past, and i haven’t been able to spot any location that would permit entry. There are simply no holes in the house that I can see, and since it is made of solid concrete, i doubt they would have an entey point at ground level. Howevr, there may be a place i’m just not seeing.

Those little buggers can climb just about anything, rats, squirrels and mice that is.

Warfarin used to be the anti coagulant bait of choice but some rodents developed a resistance so new chemicals were developed, just look for the label that says “for Warfarin resistant rats” most of the new generation chemicals will work well.

Good luck,


We had a rodent problem two winters ago. I tried every trap, bait, poison, god-alone-knows-what that I could buy over the counter. Nothing worked until the warmer weather came. Last year (I live in the southern hemisphere, so this was in June) my uninvited guests returned. I wasn’t about to go through the horrors of the previous year, so I got a professional in. Rodent problem solved.

You might be able to buy more effective anti-rodent stuff in the US than we have here in Aus, but I’d never try to get rid of them myself again. Come June, any sign of rodents and I’m calling in the pros again.

Anyone have any suggestions for who to call as far as a professional goes?

If you’ve used an Orkin type service, what has your experience been with them? Any company you’d suggest staying away from?

I think if this problem isn’t resolved with the traps and poisons, it will be time to call in someone.


In our apartment our cat that I inherited from my sister did the trick. A couple weeks of crashing around and carnage and no more mouse problem.

In our cabin (more serious mouse problem) we started off with the black snap-traps baited with peanut butter, followed up by those green poison blocks from tractor supply. So far so good.

The mice in the cabin made nests with:

cigarette filter material removed from the cigarette butts left over from the builders and fluffed out all nice and comfy.

the insulation between the glass stovetop and the oven box. Made for an interesting Thanksgiving one year.

the insulation from my Beato Bags for my drums.

Interestingly they never bothered my sleeping bags (one is down) or bothered much with our quilts and comforters. I guess they were more into the synthetic stuff.

Plus they left little collections of seeds in random (to us anyway) places.

mice can run up walls.


Is there a limit to the size of an animal that can scale a wall? Like q squirrel or rat, for instance. Would they be too big?

They are going down this weekend.

At least I hope. I have had success with a glob of peanut butter on the mouse trap and setting a sunflower seed on top of it,

But if i have squirrels (i doubt I have rats, but i guess you never know), i am also going to put up and bait a few of the heavier rat traps. I assume they can snap a squirrel’s neck just as it would kill a rat. And really, a squirrel IS just a rat with a fluffy tail.

The only thing I dread is going up into the attic. It’s going to be freezing, which is bad enough, but the access to it is terrible. Jist a small hole in a closet, which I have to contort myself up into without damaging the shelving underneath. But the worst part is the fear I have of sticking my head up there and either having a mouse sitting on top of the panel I have to remove, and falling into the house (or worse, on me), or seeing the critters at eye level.

I know they scurry when they hear noise, and I’ve never seen a live one, but that still doesn’t change the fact that I’ll be heebie-ing and jeebie-ing when I open up that little trap door.
Has anyone ecer used one of those sonic devices that supposedly send off a high pitched sound that humans cant hear but it drives rodents out of the area? That seems like snake oil to me, but they are in every store I’ve seen traps and poison.

Forgot to answer this one.

A cat is not practical. The attic is your basic new home construction, where there is no floor. Just insulation blown up in there in between the joists. So walking up there for a cat would be hard. It’s tough for me to walk around up there, balancing in the edge of a 2 by 6.

Get some boards or bits of plywood, etc and place over the ceiling joists - they are much easier to crawl on than the bare joists.

Leave them there for the next time.

I was putzing around with a fence near a large tree; there was a rustling sound, whic was weird because squirrels are usually silent.

Then a rat almost exactly the size of my foot ploped down in front of me.

I was quicker than it.

But yes, rodents are quite good at getting to places they couldn’t possibly get.

Maybe he just finished reading Tom Thumb!