Best Way to Get Rid of Mice in Walls

Are you hearing scratching in the walls or are you going crazy? Could it really be that mice are in your walls and how can you sleep soundly at night with that happening?

You need to first distinguish if what you are hearing are mice because they can wreak more havoc than you know. Hearing something in your walls is NOT normal and should be dealt with immediately.

Let’s go over step-by-step you can figure out what is going on inside your walls and how to get rid of potential rodents.

How do you tell if mice are in your walls?

Now that you’re aware of how dangerous mice can be, you may be wondering if you have any of these pests crawling around in your walls. There are a few ways to assess your situation. 

  1. Listen. Beware of any odd noises. Sounds that typically indicate the presence of mice include scratching and scurrying sounds. Sounds will tend to be stronger and more consistent near the nest, so keep your ears peeled for that.
  2. Smell.  A dead rodent gives off a very distinct, awful smell. The sudden appearance of a new, bad smell in your home or a specific room in your home may indicate that you have mice living out of your line of sight.
  3. Observe. If you happen to see a mouse out and about in your home, follow it closely and see where it goes. Chances are it will eventually make its way to a hole in your wall, and if it does, you likely have a mouse problem behind your drywall. 
  4. Contact. Pest control experts can use more advanced and intrusive techniques to assess and diagnose your situation. 

Signs Of Mice Infestation

Unsurprisingly, mice infestations typically stem from within walls where nests are hidden and protected. Therefore, it is incredibly important to understand some of the ways to identify a mouse infestation in order to prevent a situation from getting out of hand and to minimize the damage one could do to your home.

Common signs of a mouse infestation include spotting droppings (resembles dark grains of rice), hearing odd noises (scratching and gnawing sounds), smelling something awful and persistent (particularly concentrated in one area), or actually seeing one or more scurry about.

Are mice in walls dangerous?

The walls of a home are often popular nesting areas for mice due to their dark and enclosed features, but unfortunately, mice in your walls may be doing more than just nesting. 

The most dangerous issue with mice inside your walls is the possibility of an electrical fire. Mice (and rats) have four incisor teeth in the front of their mouths that continually grow throughout their lives. In order for these teeth to remain sharp and filed down, mice must constantly chew and gnaw on various materials, such as woods, aluminum, plastics, vinyl, and copper—if they do not do so, their teeth would grow so long that they would not be able to eat and would eventually die of starvation. As a result, when mice in the wall come across electrical wiring, they may decide to gnaw on them, potentially causing the wires to short circuit and start a fire in your home. In fact, a 2012 report from PestWorld claims that rodent damage is believed to be the cause for up to 25 percent of fires in cases where the cause is unknown. 

In addition, a mouse in your walls can be dangerous due to the mere consequences that mice nests can have on your home. Essentially, finding a mouse in your walls is never good news. If not dealt with properly, they will nest and begin to reproduce, which is the start of a serious mouse problem. A mouse infestation can be incredibly dangerous due to the many health risks that mice pose on humans—these health risks include the spread of illnesses, such as Hantavirus, Salmonellosis, and rat-bite fever. Walls only increase these health risks because mice nests located in them are often very difficult to find, yet alone get to, which are often necessary steps to destroy them.

How do you get rid of mice in walls and ceilings?

The best way to rid your walls and ceilings of mice is to quite bluntly, kill them all. In fact, there is really no other effective solution. Once mice deem a location suitable for nesting and do go on to nest there, it is incredibly difficult to drive them out without keeping them out. Therefore, it is usually necessary to use some form of deadly force to effectively control the situation. 

The first step in this process is to assess the situation and identify the entry points. 

The second step is to deploy a trapping strategy. I personally recommend using a physical trapper, such as a snap trap or humane reusable trap, for not only are they highly effective, but they allow you to dispose of the dead mouse, whereas alternative solutions such as rodent poison can often result in mice dying in your walls, and thus rot and decay out of reach.

Inspection – Entry points

Inspecting the many possible mouse entry points inside your home is an essential step in this process.

If you have already seen a mouse or two crawl into an entry point into your wall or ceiling, then you should already have a good idea of where to place your traps. But if you have no clue where the mice entry points are, start by doing a quick walk around the perimeter of your home and look for small holes greater than or equal the size of a dime. Entry points may also not be so obvious.

Some hidden entry points include gaps in radiators, gaps in the foundation, and holes below sinks to name a few. If you don’t find any noticeable entry points, place traps in areas you are suspicious of for other reasons, such as rooms with bad smells or an abundant amount of droppings. If you find many noticeable entry points, you should place traps near all of them and over time you will see which ones receive more activity.

Snap Traps

The snap trap is the most common and best-selling kind of mouse trap of all time. They are cheap, easy to use, and highly effective when placed properly. I recommended buying in bulk so that you can set many at a time, and while it is possible to reuse one after a kill, it is not recommended due to the leftover blood, urine, droppings, and hair on the traps, all of which can pose serious health risks. Furthermore, snap traps are not a very humane method, for sometimes mice get trapped by one of their limbs or tail and therefore suffer before they die.

To properly use a snap trap, first place your bait of choice on the trapping plate–peanut butter is somewhat of a mouse delicacy and has been proven to be highly effective! Then place the snap trap perpendicular to a wall (peanut butter side facing the wall) near an identified entry point or in a room suspected of high mouse activity. And if you also suspect mice are in your ceiling, place traps above your ceiling tiles if the tiles are not fixed in place. Repeat these steps for multiple traps. The more you set, the better. But keep track of where you place them! You do not want to forget where one is, for if it traps a mouse, an awful smell may suddenly appear and the mouse will begin to rot and decay inside your home (which can cause a handful of other issues). 

Finally, constantly check your traps. If one has a victim, dispose of the body immediately. If one has not been successful for a few days, relocate it.

Humane Reusable Trap

Humane reusable traps are ideal for people who prefer not to kill any mice, but rather capture them and free them elsewhere. These traps have been proven successful at times but have received mixed reviews due to a mouse’s ability to relocate its nest. Therefore, be warned that if you choose this trapping method, dispose of the trapped mouse FAR away from your home (at least a few miles away). If not, your captured mice may wander back into your home and you may never know. 

It’s also worth noting that while these types of trappers are more expensive than other mouse traps, you can wash and reuse them, so you only need to buy a couple.

Electric Mouse Traps

Electric mouse traps kill mice by striking a high-voltage shock to them. This method is highly effective and is also more humane than snap and glue trapping methods, for the electric shock instantly kills the mouse. These traps come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and styles, and some even have smartphone compatibility. Furthermore, many models have no touch and no view features which allows completely separates you from the killing scene.

Glue Traps

This is probably the least humane type of mouse trapper. You place one of these traps (usually just a sheet of incredibly sticky glue) near a mouse entry point or an area of high mouse activity and wait for a mouse to crawl across it. That’s it. If a mouse gets stuck, it will remain stuck until it ultimately dies of starvation, dehydration, or exhaustion. It usually takes three to twenty-four+ hours for them die.

How to get rid of dead mice in the walls?

Unless you have some usually entry way into your walls, the only way to get rid of dead mice out of them is to cut through into them. Even if you choose to cut into them, it can be very difficult to locate where exactly you should cut, for any rotten smell you may notice can travel throughout the home and does not neccessarily indicate where the smell is originating from.

Alternatively, it takes a dead mouse about 2 weeks to decompose so you may instead opt to use some type of air-freshener.

We had one rodent die in the ceiling of our garage. We noticed one day when hundreds of flies start appearing out of nowhere and were devouring the carcass. We decided it was best to leave it alone and after a few days, all the flies left for their next meal. In this case it was NOT worth us digging into the ceilings to find the dead rat or mouse.

How much does it cost to get rid of mice in walls?

The answer to this is completely situational. The process will often involving cutting into your walls, and thus costs will vary and depend on the type of construction you have, the amount of work you need done to your walls, and the hourly rate your business/worker of choice requests.

However, for reference, below are the average costs of a mouse exterminator service (includes consultation, traps, sealant, and a follow-up):

  • national average cost: $525
  • average range: $450-$600
  • minimum cost: $250
  • maximum cost: $1000
  • average wall treatment: $450-$600
  • average ceiling treatment: $300-$400

How do exterminators get rid of mice?

Professional pest controllers and exterminators use well-thought-out trapping strategies to eliminate your infestation. These strategies commonly include identifying hidden areas of high rodent traffic and using rodenticides (if safe and applicable for your household) around the perimeter of your home.

Some exterminators take a more invasive approach, while others take a more passive approach. It all depends on your specific needs and the exterminator’s specific methods. For more information, contact your local exterminators.

How to Help Keep Mice Away From Your Home

This topic is so packed with strategies that it could be the subject of its own article. Here a few sure-fire methods:

  1. Clean up your kitchen and make sure all food sources are properly stored. Mice are always in search of food so do not give them a reason to enter your home.
  2. Get a cat and a dog. The presence of both a cat and a dog has been proven to scare mice away.
  3. Use rodenticides around the perimeter of your home.

FAQ

Can you hear mice in the walls?

Yes, it is possible to hear mice in walls. Noises you will often hear are scratching sounds, crawling sounds, and gnawing sounds.

Can mice chew through walls?

Yes, mice can chew through certain types of walls, most notably thin drywall. Always be on the lookout for new holes and openings, and keep your ears open for constant scratching/gnawing sounds in specific locations.

Do ultrasonic pest repellers work on mice?

The short answer is no, they do not work. The high-pitched frequency will often irritate mice at first, but mice are both resilient and adaptable. After a few days, mice will either become accustomed to the sound and/or will avoid the device by using alternative routes away from it. You are far better off spending your money on trapping methods.

Can mice scratch through walls?

No, they cannot. They defer to their razor sharp teeth for cutting through materials.

What do mouse droppings look like?

Their droppings most similarly resemble black grains of rice, although they are generally just a tad smaller than grains of rice.

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