“If you put them in areas where they’re running, you’ll catch them,” said Flanagan.
For do-it-yourselfers, there are many kinds of traps available. There are the “old-school snap traps,” as Flanagan calls them; peanut butter works as an effective bait. For the more squeamish, there are snap traps in a plastic housing, so you don’t actually see the mouse when it’s caught. You can also purchase electronic traps and glue traps.
Flanagan uses snap traps. When he returns to check them, “That gives me more of an idea of the population, how many we might have.”
After removing any dead mice from the traps, he’ll set up bait stations inside and out to try to prevent further infestations. He’ll also try to seal up areas where he thinks mice are getting in and around the house. That might include putting copper mesh along the dishwasher line, a frequent way that mice get into the kitchen.
And he’ll recommend that homeowners remove shrubbery or ivy close to the foundation, pulling it back at least 15 feet from the structure.
The CDC also recommends picking up pet food and water bowls overnight, using thick plastic or metal containers to store grains and pet food, and placing bird feeders some distance from the house.
“Pest control is based on science, not magic; remove the conducive condition, reduce the population and maintain it,” Flanagan said.
Many pest control experts recommend against starting with bait stations. Dead, decaying mice can leave an odor, so it’s important to know where they are so you can get rid of them.
Mice left unchecked can cause problems by chewing on electrical wiring and insulation.
In addition, the CDC says mice and rats spread more than 35 different diseases globally.