A Mouse in the House

By Kate MacNeil, Education Coordinator,
Ottawa-Carleton Wildlife Centre – www.wildlifeinfo.ca
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Each fall, when the cold weather begins, it is normal for mice to seek out shelter in houses. Just as predictably they often move to a more natural setting in the spring.

It is very difficult to keep mice from getting into your garage, attic or between the walls, but the good news is you can keep them from getting into your house proper or living space.

About 6 years ago I found this out first hand. I kept noticing white crumbs under my kitchen sink, next to the garbage container. I would clean it up and they would appear again. Finally after three days I took everything out and realized the crumbs were from a hole in the bottom of my garbage pail, compliments of a mouse. It was the perfect set up, she would enter through a hole in the drywall where the plumbing pipes for the sink passed through and have a snack. It was easy access to food and kept her safe from meeting either of my cats. It was like a drive-through window!

I was not crazy about my new visitor, like most people, but I was excited because I knew just what to do to solve my problem. In fact I had given this detailed advice to hundreds of people who had the same problem. If I had taken my own advice in advance I could have avoided the problem altogether!

I got busy animal proofing the access points using metal lath (sometimes referred to as diamond wire), which can easily be bent and forced into holes or nailed to flat surfaces. In spaces too small for metal lath, waterproof stainless steel or copper scouring pads can be used. Never use steel wool as it rusts and disintegrates quickly. In addition to under your sinks, also animal proof where services enter through the wall. Under doors leading from a garage or basement, you can use weather stripping but make sure it extends the full width of the door. The proofing worked like a charm, the drive-through window was closed.

Lethal control methods are never recommended for obvious humane reasons but also because you risk the likelihood of killing a mother leaving dependent young dying and smelling in your walls. For more information, including a picture of the animal proofing check out www.wildlifeinfo.ca.

Next week we will be talking more about general animal proofing around your home to deter other wildlife that may be seeking shelter for the winter.

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