Things You'll Need
Unscented talcum powder
Metal or heavy-duty plastic containers
Mice are smaller than rats, but they can cause just as much destruction to property. They can infest attics, garages, storage sheds and even the interior of houses, destroying valuables, food, insulation and wiring. Mice gnaw into storage boxes and nest there. They can fit through crevices less than 1/4-inch wide, making them hard to control. Steps can be taken to prevent a mouse invasion, and to eradicate mice once they've taken hold, according to the New York State Department of Health.
Clean up all clutter around storage boxes. Make it hard for mice to find nesting material or food. Store all food or stored valuables in metal or heavy-duty plastic containers with tight-fitting lids.
Eliminate all water leaks and sources of condensation near boxes. Mice look for sources of drinking water.
Watch for mouse droppings and nests, especially around boxes in storage areas. Mice usually use shredded paper or cloth as nesting material. Dust suspected areas with a light dusting of unscented talcum powder. Mice will leave tracks in the powder.
Eliminate access to areas where boxes are stored. Seal all cracks, spaces around vents, pipes and wires with concrete or knitted copper wire mesh. Screen fans and chimneys with 1/4-inch wire mesh. Screen all doors and windows with tight-fitting metal screens. Fit all exterior doors with a tight-fitting door sweep. All openings to the house need to be addressed. Mice can jump one foot in the air and can climb electrical wires and the sides of buildings.
Trap mice that have already invaded your box storage space. Traps are effective and generally safer than poisons. Poisoned mice die in hard-to-reach areas and can leave a bad odor in your home.
Remove dead rodents. Always wear rubber gloves. Mix detergent and 1/2 cup bleach to a gallon of water and spray this mix on dead mice, traps, droppings and the area where the trap was set. Do not sweep droppings until you have disinfected them, as vacuuming or sweeping could spread viruses through the air. Place disinfected rodents and droppings in a sealed plastic bag and place it in the garbage can.
Deborah Whistler began writing professionally in 1978. She has been published in “The Los Angeles Times,” “Heavy Duty Trucking,” “Truckers News” and “RoadStar” magazines. She is currently special projects editor for “FleetOwner,” the leading trucking industry business publication. She studied journalism at California State University at Fullerton.