Many homeowners live with one or two mice and never even know it. However, these tiny breeding machines produce on average more than 30 offspring each year. If you don’t take the proper steps to waylay their welcome, you may wind up with a full-blown infestation before you know it. Unfortunately, mice harm your home and can take a toll on your family’s health, particularly with individuals who are allergic. Here are a few things you should know about what to do if you suspect mice have invaded, and how to eliminate the evidence of their existence.
If you think you have a problem, call a professional!
Self-pest control is rarely a good idea. You can easily over-or under-estimate the amount of chemicals or traps you need, which can create even better conditions for unwanted pests. Even if you only see a single rodent romping through your rec room, it’s best to find an exterminator to verify the extent of the intrusion and to send the mice packing. Angi’s mice and rodent exterminator search tool can help you find a highly-rated provider in your area.
Clean up after they are gone
Mice are not only annoying, with their scratching and squealing in the walls, they can also carry diseases and bacteria. They leave this behind in the form of feces. While it is tempting to grab the vacuum or broom, the CDC specifically recommends that you do not use either of these tools. Instead, spray contaminated areas with a strong disinfectant, allow to soak for about five minutes, and then wipe clean with a paper towel. Take precautions to keep yourself safe throughout the process by wearing rubber gloves and a mask to prevent breathing in minute particles.
Once the worst areas have been cleared, you will need to disinfect each room. Using a bleach solution, mop any tile or vinyl floors thoroughly. Wipe down kitchen counters and any other surface that mice may have come into contact with. Carpets should be thoroughly steam cleaned, and any clothing or bedding in the rodent-filled room should be washed before use.
Dispose of the dead
In the days and weeks following your pest control company’s visit, you may find the odd straggler, which will likely be caught in a trap your technician left behind. Victor, a rodent control product manufacturer founded in 1898, explains that you will also need disinfectant and rubber gloves to dispose of dead mice. Spray the body and trap and then seal it in one or two plastic bags before placing it in the trash. If you have used humane traps and wish to release live rodents, you will need to travel at least two miles from home to an uninhabited area.
What’s that smell?
Sometimes, you will never see the result of your pest control conquest. But you will smell it. According to Orkin, it is not common for rodents to die within the walls or the rafters of your home. This can leave behind a very distinct odor, which can take several weeks to dissipate. Your only real options are to wait it out or to contact a professional service to cut the walls to remove the carcasses. If you choose to wait, leave the windows open as much as possible, since ventilation is the most effective way to reduce odors. Odor neutralizers and air fresheners may also help.
Returning your home to normal after rodent infestation takes time and attention to detail. Talk to your pest control company to see if they have any additional advice and suggestions on how to prevent further pest penetration. Mice may be cute, but they are certainly not cuddly, and alive or dead, they can be a hazard to your health. Once they are gone, cleanup is crucial so don’t take any shortcuts and stock up on disinfectant.
This article was kindly contributed by Lisa Walker, at Neighborhood Sprout, which has articles that will help homebuyers, renters, and homeowners.