Especially in the cold winter months (but also throughout the year), many mice get lost in the basement and living rooms in search of food and shelter. However, your visit will not go unnoticed for long: at the latest when you discover the first traces of droppings or smears, eat food or you are woken up by nocturnal noises from the pantry, you can be sure that the little rodents in your home are having a good time. The problem with this is that mice breed very quickly, contaminate your food and gnaw on wires – causing expensive damage. Nevertheless, you should not kill the animals, but catch them alive. This article explains which traps and home remedies are best for scaring away mice and why you should stay away from poisoned baits.

Mouse droppings are very easy to spot: the small black droppings are spread everywhere by the rodents on their routes. When these are fresh, they have a soft consistency, but after a few days the droppings will harden and crumble if you touch them. If you only discover the mouse droppings after a few weeks, it is already rock hard. In any case, if you want to find out how soft or hard the poo is, you should always put on gloves first.

Alternatively, so-called smear marks also indicate a mouse infestation: This is a visible mark consisting of body fat and dirt particles from the rodents. It also arises on the daily routes that mice regularly use. If you follow the trail, you might even find the animals’ nest. Setting up a live trap is particularly useful here – and usually leads to a successful result quite quickly.

Mice will chew on just about anything, not just foods like bread, fruit, nuts, or bacon. They also eat their way through plastic, cardboard or wood to get to their destination. But then why do you also find bite marks on cables? In fact, the rodents use the isolation for dental care as their teeth grow throughout life and stay sharp and short by chewing on solid objects. For this reason, chewed cables are also an important indicator of a mouse infestation.

According to PETA, Germany’s largest animal rights organization, poisoned mouse baits are cruel and useless. If the rodents eat the poison, they suffer a slow and painful death by bleeding to death internally. That being said, most human and pet baits are highly toxic, the same goes for wild animals: if they ingest the poison directly or by eating a poisoned mouse, they will die horribly. “In addition, these deadly methods never keep rodents away in the long term and can even have the opposite effect, because killing the animals gives the surviving conspecifics more space and food. Free territories are occupied again in a flash and the losses in the population are increased by a increased reproduction,” Peta expressly warns. Instead, you should rather rely on live traps or tried and tested home remedies. You can find out what these are below.

Live trap If you decide to use a live trap, you should place a bait (e.g. peanut butter) in it as far back as possible – so that the tail does not get trapped. According to Peta, it’s important to check the trap every hour because mice are very sensitive to stress and can die after a few hours from stress or possible dehydration. If you have caught a rodent, it is best to cover the trap with a cloth to avoid stress – and only release the animal after it has been at least 100 meters away from your home so that it cannot find its way back to you.

UltrasoundThere are a variety of different devices designed to repel mice using ultrasound. According to the manufacturer, the waves emitted by an activated pest repellent irritate the rodents so much that they should stay away from your home. The same applies to other troublemakers – such as cockroaches, ants, flies and other insects.

Sealing offIn order to prevent mice from gaining access to your living space in the first place, it is important to find out which holes or cracks could be used as entrances. Check all exterior walls and door crevices, wire ducts, and leaking or open windows. Don’t just watch out for the traces mentioned (as described above), but also seal or seal all possible weak points – for example with silicone or mortar.

FoodRodents have a keen sense of smell and can track their food over long distances. For mice, it doesn’t matter whether it’s fresh waste or stores. It is all the more important to dispose of the rubbish regularly – in such a way that the rubbish bins with the leftovers are as far away from the house as possible. The same applies to compost. And since the animals also eat through paper and plastic to get food, you should always keep your supplies such as pasta in airtight glass or metal boxes.

As with any “pest”, there are of course a variety of home remedies for rodents that are said to be able to drive away mice. Whether these really help cannot be answered at this point. The best known include:

Vinegar is also a proven home remedy for repelling mice. Mix it with water and use it to clean the entire floor in your home.

This article contains so-called affiliate links. Further information are available here.