Updated: Nov 2
Can you get rid of mice or rats in your Southern Maine home? The short answer is yes! Mice and rats are no strangers to entering Cumberland County and York County homes in Southern Maine. As the temperature drops and Mainers hunker down for the winter, rodents have similar ideas. In residential areas, mice and rats rely on human beings for their survival, entering your home in a variety of ways through openings which look much smaller than their bodies. Did you know a mouse can squeeze through a dime-sized hole? Though it can be overwhelming in the beginning, ridding your home of mice is all about educating yourself on their habits and creating a plan for their extermination.
Find out where the rodents came from
At Green Shield Pest Solutions, we take the role of mouse detective very seriously. Here are a few quick facts that we know to be true about mice which can aid us in their removal:
1.) Despite what you see in children's movies, mice are not adventurous explorers. They live, breed, and eat within a 20 foot area. Do you see droppings? Hoarded dog food? Torn-out insulation? Walk 20 feet or less from there and you’ll find the culprits.
2.) Mice also aren’t social with humans. They fear us and are typically hiding in undisturbed parts of your home such as voids behind cabinets, basements, crawlspaces, insulation, and attics.
3.) Though your nose may not be as good as our K-9 friends, you can often trace rodents smelling their musky smells and urine odors.
4.) Even better, pay close attention to your pet if he or she is interested in any activity behind the walls. Unless they are elderly, their ears work better than yours too!
5.) Equally as disgusting is the grease found on the coating of a mouse’s fur, called sebum. They leave this substance behind wherever they go, and if you look closely, you can spot this grease in high traffic areas.
6.) Look for shredded supplies like the interior of coats or paper. They will often use these to build nests.
7.) None of these signs above? Try sprinkling some baby powder or baking powder where you suspect them and check for footprints a few days later.
Safe extermination (baiting and trapping)
At Green Shield Pest Solutions, we prefer natural pest prevention measures, but extermination is often necessary. Unfortunately, mice can carry over 35 different types of diseases and can cost you thousands of dollars by chewing electrical wires, and in some cases, starting a house fire. There are a number of different ways to exterminate. Here are our favorites in order:
1.) Outdoor bait stations – These are placed outside the home against the home’s foundation to catch mice traveling along the exterior walls of your home. They each contain eight ounces of rodenticide. Each ounce can kill up to 12 mice, which means 96 mice can be effected by one exterior bait station.
2.) Indoor Mouse Bait Stations – These are like the outdoor bait stations only smaller. They contain only one ounce of rodenticide and can impact up to 12 mice. Like the exterior bait stations, these come with a lock and key so that your pets cannot access the rodenticide.
3.) Snap traps – We use snap traps and attractant for mice who have invaded your home. We can place these in boxes if you have pets or small children or place them on ledges in the basement or in out of reach places.
4.) Sticky traps – These can be used on extreme occasions, but are not a quick kill, so we try to avoid them as much as possible.
I don't want rodents dying in my walls!
Worried about rodents dying in your walls with baits? Though this is possible, we get surprisingly few complaints about odors after a rodent job. Mice typically decompose in two weeks, so even if you do smell something, it won't last long. The reason we prefer baits over traps is based on their effectiveness. As stated above, while a trap catches one mouse, an indoor bait station that is the same size can impact 12 mice. Multiply this by 8-10 traps on serious jobs, and the effectiveness is multiplied significantly.
Making sure they don’t return (excluding them)
You can bait and trap all day, but if your house is unsealed from invaders, they may keep coming. We use a combination of steel wool, caulking, and foam to seal openings. These openings are usually located:
1.) On the corners of houses
3.) Where the siding meets the foundation
4.) Utility chases and pipes
6.) The corners of the garage door
The final step is to keep your home as clean as possible. Keep your pantry clean and organized so that there is no loose food that isn’t in a sealed container. Dog food is the number one rodent attractant, so keep your pet’s eating area clean and take note if there is any nearby pet food stored in a hiding place. Also, since mice need water, make sure to fix any leaky faucets.
If you do not want to tackle this on your own, Green Shield Pest Solutions are excellent mouse detectives and local pest control experts. We are able to find where rodents are coming in and seal these entrances to avoid future problems. If you have a pest issue, feel free to contact us here or reach out at (207) 314-9763.