Mouse exclusions take patience, the right tools and perseverance. At times it can take months to find every last entry point on a building. As you can imagine a small mouse can squeeze down and get into the tiniest of places to find the most hidden spots, so when completing a mouse exclusion, you will need to get low and have a good flashlight to see all the dark corners. A proper exclusion will have three steps that must be repeated. First, trap the rodents on the inside, then seal the building on the outside and finally follow up until the problem is solved. We add a fourth step, the application of an all-natural mouse repellent throughout the fall and winter months which has proven to discourage new rodent activity.
A mouse exclusion should always start with a proper inspection. An inspector will have a bright flashlight (headlamps plus a hand light work best), a probing tube (long screwdriver), thick disposable gloves, a face mask and goggles. Rodents are experts at finding holes, so a good inspector will expect to get into the tightest and dirtiest spots. A rodent inspector will be looking for evidence of rodent activity. These include droppings, chewed food, destroyed insulation and holes.
Once activity is spotted, placing traps in the right location is key. Close to nesting sites or along runways are where you will find droppings, which are the best locations to place the traps. Other key spots are below the tub, under the stove and in the couch. When you find a good spot for the traps, a good bait is next. There are many baits for sale on the internet or even at your local home store, however we have found a natural peanut butter to work best on the mice. Rats prefer peanut butter or junk food like Oreo’s and Doritos, which will get them to respond the quickest. Check the traps as often as possible, replacing the bait and traps as needed. Always remember to wear gloves and a mask when exploring areas like the attic or crawlspace and when removing dead rodents.
Once you have done a proper inspection & placed your traps in the right locations then it is time to start sealing the building. For this stage you will need a sealant such as foam, meshing material such as copper mesh, knee pads, flashlight and a poking tool like a screwdriver or utility knife. Pick a corner and start there working around the building in one direction. Mice love to climb but prefer to be shielded from the elements and predators. For homes with vinyl siding the corner pieces almost always are completely open allowing rodents and other pests to easily enter. To begin sealing the holes, loosely fill the hole with the meshing material. Insert the foam nozzle into the meshing and inject the foam, pulling the nozzle out as you fill the hole. Be mindful of expansion sizes for your chosen foam. This method will provide a strong bond that will cut the teeth of any rodent chewing their way through. This causes most to give up quickly.
Now the waiting game begins. Over the next 72 hours the rodents will need to move around and search for food. The appropriately placed traps will start catching the invaders as they rummage around. It’s important to check the traps weekly or more until the population stops. After an initial run of mice living inside the building, if new mice can get in they should get caught in the closest trap. This activity initiates another search for new holes or ones to reseal. Remember perseverance is the most important part of a mouse exclusion.
If you need help with any stage of a mouse exclusion, we are always happy to help. Go to our contact page and send us a shout. For more info check out our Facebook page. While there give it a like and follow.