House Mouse Control

 Scientific Name:  Mus musculusHouse mouse (Mus musculus) photo by Univ. of California IPM project

Used with permission from Univ. of CA. Statewide IPM Project, J.K. Clark, photographer


  • Capable climbers
  • Can perform a 12" vertical leap
  • Does not hibernate
  • Nocturnal with some daytime activity
  • Incredible reproductive rate
  • Home range ~30 ft


  • Gnaw marks are knife-blade thin. Gnawing occurs on stems, structures;
  • Droppings are 1/4 inch long have longitudinal ridges and squared-off ends. (Use a magnifier). Cockroach droppings are about 1/8 inch. Musk odor may be present in confined areas.
  • Tracks show 4 or 5 splayed toes; Toe Pad Marks on Hind Feet Four...very tiny. Size of Front Feet 1/2 x 3/4 inch; Claw Marks do show.
  • Rub marks inside vertical corners.


Mouse trail in tracking powder
Description: shows how to detect rodents using talc, flour, etc.
Photo Credits: Kirk LaPierre, A1 Saver Services




  • Newly planted seed; Mice may dig and feed on newly planted crops.
  • Stored human and animal foods;
  • Diseases transmitted to humans and livestock
  • Tree Damage Occasionally and particularly during late winter, mice gnaw or girdle small, woody stems.
  • Structural Damage: Mice will gnaw upon wall and attic insulation, electrical wiring, and containers of stored human and animal foods. Stored items may also be gnawed upon.
  • Agricultural Damage: Mice dig up and feed upon newly planted grain. Stored grains can be contaminate with their urine, droppings and hair.


Control Methods

Habitat Modification

  • Rodent-proofing includes closing all openings 1/4 inch or larger. Mice have the ability to jump 12 inches high and can run up any rough vertical surface. Learn mouse proofing strategies at Mouse Proofing
  • Remove harborage, such as tall grass and debris. Sanitation through clean-up of grains, pet or human foods; storage of boxes of foods and potential nesting materials (cardboard, paper, cloth) in plastic containers with tight-fitting lids. Remove or mow weeds and vegetation. Restrict water access.

Frightening Devices

None shown effective in established infestations.

Ultrasound: some research has shown that ultrasound does reduce the presence of mice in certain areas, such as from using open floor space. There is no evidence at this time that ultrasound will drive mice out of a home.


  • No effective ones known, including sonic devices. To learn why repellents rarely "work" click repellents.

Trappinga wide variety of mouse traps. Photo by Univ. of Nebraska

  • Many types of snap traps, glue boards (lethal) and box traps (including multiple capture traps) are used. Place traps in secluded, sheltered areas and along walls, etc where mice travel. Place snap trap triggers toward wall or away from each other in double sets.

A multi-catch trap.
Description: These work well for moderate rodent populations or as a follow-up to rodenticides.
Photo Credits: from U of Florida website

Below left photo: mouse snap traps set correctly in corner with pans against wall. Photo by Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln

snap traps properly placed in a corner. Photo by Univ. of NebraskaTwo snap traps properly set. Photo by Univ. of Nebraska

Above right photo: mouse snap traps set correctly along wall with pans outward. Photo by Univ. of Nebraska


House mouse toxicantsToxicants

  • Anticoagulants, other toxicants in bait station, place packs as needed;
  • Many anticoagulants are registered that may include brodifacoum, bromodiolone, chlorophacinone, diphacinone, warfarin as active ingredients. Many other toxicants may include bromethalin, cholecalciferol, and zinc phosphide as active ingredients.
  • WARNING: Whenever toxicants are used, there are no guarantees on where the mice the will die. The notion that mice leave the building to die is a MYTH!! It is not at all unusual for homeowners to smell dead mice after initiating a toxicant program. To learn more visit Odor.


bait boxes for rodents. Photo by Dallas Virchow

baits within bait boxes
Description: These baits must be kept fresh to be effective.
Photo Credits: Dallas Virchow


Diseases and SafetyDiseases & Safety

  • Health Hazards & Diseases associated with mice or their parasites include: salmonellosis, rickettsial pox, lymphocytic choriomeningitis, leptospirosis, ratbite fever, tapeworms, ringworms, and swine dysentery.

University house mouse publicationsUniversity Publications

House Mouse Prevention & Control--Illinois Dept. of Public Health

House Mouse--University of California

House Mouse Control --University of Nebraska-Lincoln

House Mice in the News

  • Nov 6, 2006. House vs. Mouse. Philadelphia Inquirer
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