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mouse in the kitchen

Dealing with mice and rats

Find out what to do if you have mice or rats in your home.

What to do about mice and rats

Mice or rats in your home can be dangerous to your health and your home, so you should try to get rid of them as quickly as possible.

Discover some simple pest control measures you can take if you have a problem with rodents.

  • Spotting the signs of mice and rats.
  • Cleaning up and cutting off their food supply.
  • Getting rid of mice and rats.
  • Stopping rodents getting in.

Are mice and rats dangerous?

Mice and rats can carry diseases that can make you ill, including salmonella. They can also carry fleas and ticks. And they can make existing conditions, such as allergies and asthma, worse.

Rodents can also chew and damage electrical cables causing fire hazards and the danger of electric shocks.

Spotting the signs of mice and rats

Droppings

Mouse droppings are black, shiny and about the size of a grain of rice. You typically find them under fridges and kitchen cupboards, as well as in places such as lofts and gas or electricity meter cupboards.

Holes and gnawing marks

Mice chew food, boxes, wallpaper and furniture. Usually you find little bits of damage in lots of places, rather than a lot of damage in one place.

Smears on surfaces

You might see smears of grease on surfaces left by mice or rats as they walk around.

Sightings

Mice normally feed at night. If you see them during the day, it means they’re short of food – or you may have a larger infestation.

Distinctive smell

A musty smell, like the smell of a pet shop, may mean you have a significant infestation.

Do the talcum powder test

If you suspect there are mice in your home, put talcum powder on pieces of paper in the corners of your rooms. You’ll see footprints or tail marks if there’s a problem and be able to see which rooms are affected.

Is it a mouse or a rat?

Mice are smaller than rats. Adult mice and young rats can look similar, but young rats have smaller ears, and bigger heads and shorter tails relative to their body.

Clean up and cut off the food supply

If mice and rats can't find food or water in your home, they'll soon go somewhere else. There are some simple things you can do to limit their ability to find food in your home.

  • Don't leave out food or packets of food.
  • Don't leave out pet food.
  • Make sure they can’t get in bins or food storage cupboards.
  • Put full bags of rubbish straight in your outside bins.

How to get rid of mice and rats

Mouse traps

There are different types of traps with the more humane ones catching the mouse in a container.

Put the traps against walls and smear them with a bit of peanut butter to attract the mice. Check the traps at least twice a day. Plastic traps are normally more effective than cheaper wooden ones.

Any mice you catch can be let go in fields or wooded areas. However, getting trapped is stressful for mice, so they may die in the trap.

Poisons

Mice and rat poisons are normally coloured granules. Put the poison in small plastic trays against walls behind furniture, so they’re out of the sight and reach of children and pets.

Mice need to be desperate for food before they’ll eat poison, so before you put poison down remove all sources of food. This includes cardboard, soap and even wax crayons.

You can buy poison from most DIY shops. Always read the instructions as they can be dangerous to children, adults and pets.

Sticky boards

Sticky boards traps aren’t recommended as they’re inhumane: the mice struggle to unstick themselves before slowly dying of exhaustion.

Call a professional pest control company

If you’ve tried using traps or poison, or if you think you have a large infestation, you can contact your local council or a professional pest control service.

Find out about local council pest control on the government website

Find a professional pest control service on the British Pest Control Association website

How to stop mice and rats getting in

Block holes

Mice can fit through holes as small as 6mm – about the thickness of a pencil. So, to stop them getting in to your home, you should block any holes or gaps, even if they’re small.

You can block holes with wire mesh or general purpose filler. These can be bought at most DIY shops.

It’s best to block holes after your home is free of rats or mice, so you don’t trap any inside.

Don’t completely fill in air bricks or other vents, as these prevent problems such as damp or fumes. But you can make them rodent proof by attaching wire mesh.

Keep your garden tidy

Overgrown gardens attract mice, rats and other pests and give them good places to nest. So keeping your garden clean and tidy helps prevent problems.

You can also make it harder for mice to climb up and get inside your home by cutting down plants that grow up your outside walls.

How we can help

Although it’s your responsibility to remove pests from your home and prevent infestations, we’ll remove mice or rats from communal areas and also block holes that allow pests in to your home.

Please use our simple online form to report pest control issues.