Semi-attached neighbor has mice. How do we protect ourselves?
August 14, 2021 6:56 PM   Subscribe

We are in a block of townhomes. Family in the next unit has a plague of mice. We haven't seen or heard any...yet. What steps should we take now to prevent an overwhelming mouse invasion?
posted by rednikki to Home & Garden (18 answers total)
Best answer: We have been dealing with this. There's very little that you can do to keep them out of the walls but you can seal openings that can get the mice into your living space.

The first piece of that is anywhere there's a pipe going into a wall, ceiling, or floor. Water and gas pipes, dryer vents, steam pipes for radiators. We also had some gaps around baseboard molding and fireplace surrounds. Finally, I put some aluminum window screening over the air conditioning duct entrances.

This is going to be an ongoing battle. Try to keep an eye out for any signs of mice, especially droppings and nibbled things, and if you see a mouse try to follow where it's coming from and going to. We haven't seen one in our unit in about 6 weeks and never put out traps or poison, so fingers crossed.
posted by goingonit at 7:18 PM on August 14, 2021 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Any kind of fresh food, or food in cardboard packets, should go into the fridge or sealable glass/plastic containers. The same goes for bins.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 7:25 PM on August 14, 2021 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Under the sink- stuff steel wool into all the openings around your pipes

Put allllll the food into sealed plastic boxes

Put some humane traps out now, baited with peanut butter (you can get little clear plastic tunnels that have a see saw mechanism inside that traps them without injury) and make sure to check them every day!
posted by nouvelle-personne at 7:30 PM on August 14, 2021

Oh I should mention sealing = ideally steal wool, we have also used this stuff.
posted by goingonit at 7:31 PM on August 14, 2021

does your garage adjoin at all? seal it up as carefully as you can with steel wool and/or rodent foam.
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:43 PM on August 14, 2021

Agree with all above, esp. about sealing holes. Also, it sounds trite but make sure to clean up all crumbs, etc. every single day and all the time. Our mouse issues went dramatically down once we got a Roomba and committed to mopping a lot.

Also, a cat! Honestly, we haven't seen a mouse since we got one and he's the greatest.
posted by heavenknows at 8:46 PM on August 14, 2021 [6 favorites]

Yeah, I don’t know if cats are allowed/practicable where you are, but if it’s an option…we’ve always had cats, and we’ve never seen a live mouse on the property.
posted by armeowda at 9:50 PM on August 14, 2021 [4 favorites]

Seal up every opening you can with steel wool and rodent foam.

Strong smells like peppermint oil annoy them and help cover the food odors that can attract them. We have a porch that constantly smells like listerine from all the peppermint but no more mice.

Pick up every bit of food and keep all food in sealed containers. That includes people and pet food. Keep cabinets closed and sealed as much as possible (check for holes in these too). Also make sure you don't have a ton of water out as water can also attract them. Wipe down any food prep with cleaner to get rid of crumbs and odor.

Live traps are great to keep baited- place them in dark covered areas along a wall on the floor. Rodents travel with their whiskers touching the wall when they can so place your baits and traps in their path.

Get rid of any potential habitat for them- reduce any clutter in which they can nest and hide. If you can't reduce these areas check them often and disturb any nests and safe spaces if you can.

Cats are... less than useful in a lot of cases. Partly because the cats don't do much to catch or prevent them and partly because it involves leaving out tasty dishes of food for cat/rodents. I wouldn't run out and get one if you don't have one already, but maybe if you do yours will end up being an employed pest control agent. Needless to say, don't let your pets play with or consume any rodents as they can have poison and disease even if you don't see any visible signs.
posted by shesaysgo at 10:33 PM on August 14, 2021

Best answer: Although there was skepticism from other mefites, ultrasonic repellents worked perfectly in this house. That was two and a half years ago, and they have never been back.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:35 AM on August 15, 2021 [1 favorite]

You can preemptively call an exterminator.
posted by Hypatia at 5:37 AM on August 15, 2021 [3 favorites]

Don't forget that part of being scrupulous about cleaning up all crumbs and sealing all food up is that you also have to make sure that there is no food they can get at through plastic bags, such as rice in the bag it came in, or the garbage bag full of old crisp packets and the liner from the cake.

Not all cats are good mousers. Our current cat once was a serious working cat but having become a senior now does all her hunting only in her person's room, on the floor level below the kitchen. This sufficiently limits the number she catches that there will either have to be an additional cat or exterminators in my future soon.
posted by Jane the Brown at 5:52 AM on August 15, 2021

I also had neighbor mouse problems and they noped right out of my side once I got a cat.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 7:13 AM on August 15, 2021

Seconding Fiasco da Gama. All grains, breads, seeds, or loose items like flour/rice go into sealed containers in the fridge. Keeping the scents away will make the kitchen less attractive.
posted by JoeZydeco at 8:34 AM on August 15, 2021

Mice exterminator's first line of action is to find and seal all the entrances, so seconding the advice to go ahead and call them. Some will even give you a warranty of 6-12 months.
posted by slidell at 9:10 AM on August 15, 2021 [1 favorite]

If you don't have pets already, I've successfully used the plug-in sound things to get rid of a pair of mice that took up home in my rented flat a few years ago.
posted by Cheerwell Maker at 11:58 AM on August 15, 2021

Help them trap them. Victor traps, set against the wall (snapping toward the wall), peanut butter bait. Bag them and toss together, traps are cheap don't reuse.

For kid-accessible areas, live traps but someone will need to empty and kill daily. Not fun.
posted by flimflam at 2:04 PM on August 15, 2021

The plastic traps similar to the Victor M070 are way better than the wood-and-wire ones, though more expensive. We have cats and still have to put out a few traps in the fall. I guess I am not as far along the Great Path as some posters, but I wonder where you can release a live-trapped mouse an be sure it won’t come back in.
posted by Gilgamesh's Chauffeur at 4:56 PM on August 15, 2021

In my experience all a cat gets you is dead mice everywhere instead of live mice everywhere. Granted, dead mice are easier to catch up with for disposal purposes - but they are extremely gross. My cats are messy eaters, and a half-eaten mouse is not a happy thing to find under your bed.

We called an exterminator, who sealed up some minor cracks in our exterior foundation and some obvious "hunting spots" (where the cats would lurk hungrily) inside. Haven't seen a mouse since.
posted by invincible summer at 9:41 AM on August 16, 2021

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