If you find you have an infestation of mice, then you may be considering poison. A lot of people prefer not to use this but there are times when it is the best way to stop, and prevent a real problem.
Using poison to kill mice must be done properly and with the right safety precautions. This guide will take you through each step so you can eliminate the problem as quickly as you can.
How to use mouse poison
There are many varieties of mouse poison available and they are all designed to kill rodents. If they are accidentally ingested by pets, a veterinarian will be able to help if they are taken there as soon as possible. Mouse poison should always be used with caution and can be used in a bait station or as place packs.
1. Bait station
A bait station comes as a disposable or refillable option. They are an excellent way of keeping the poison out of reach of other animals and children.
- A disposable bait station can be unpacked and sited without you having to fill it. Once the bait has gone it can be thrown away.
- A refillable bait station has a sealed tray which you can fill as often as you need to, to help keep mice at bay. It can be reused over a longer term in case mice return.
A bait station is a plastic box which has a hole on one side. The bait is locked inside and the mouse will smell the bait, go inside and eat the poison. They won’t die straight away so you are unlikely to open the lids and find a dead mouse. They often return to their nest and die there. If they are nesting, they will take the poison back to the nest, where it will be eaten but other mice.
A refillable bait station has a lockable lid which you can open and fill with poison as often as you need to. Its big advantage is that it can help prevent any future infestations and it is safe and easy to move if you find an infestation on another part of your property.
2. Place packs
These are bags which have poison inside. You do not need to open them as the mice will smell the poison through the packaging. They will nibble their way in to eat the poison, or drag it back to their nest to be eaten there. Place bags can be put in areas where there is an infestation, but ideally in lofts and areas where pets will not have access. They can be used in bait stations but they may be a bit large to fit comfortably.
Dos and don’ts when placing mouse poison
- Always wear gloves when handling poison. Not only does it protect you, but it will stop your scent from getting on to the bait station or place packs. Mice have an excellent sense of smell and if they pick up your scent they may avoid the bait.
- Never scatter loose pellets anywhere. If you use a place pack, these do not need to be opened.
Where to use it
If you can, try to identify where the mice go before you place any trap. Look for tell tale signs of droppings or gnawing. Mice usually follow the same path, so if you find evidence of them, that’s a good place to put your bait.
- Inside: Bait stations should be placed against walls and in dark areas such as the loft. The entrance should be closest to the wall so the mice will be more encouraged to go in.
- Outside: Bait stations can also be used outside against fences and walls, in outhouses, against woodpiles and in garages.
You can place more than one bait station if you have a serious problem, but regular use of them can help control the mice over the longer term. While they are safe for use where there are pets and children, you should still try to make sure that neither have access if possible.
When to use poison
If you spot one mouse, it won’t be on its own so the sooner you get rid of them, the better. Mice breed very quickly and they like to stay within easy distance of their nest, so if you see one, that’s a good place to put some bait.
If you use poison you may not see results immediately.
- Mice are naturally inquisitive, but they may not eat the poison on the first night.
- Once they eat it, they often return to their nest where it can take 12 hours to 5 days to work.
- In some cases, particularly if they are nesting, they will take the bait back to the nest where it will be eaten.
- If you see the bait has gone from your bait station, replace it with fresh and keep replacing it until none has gone.
If you know you have mice and you find that your bait is not being touched, try moving your bait station. It may be in the wrong place. You can also try a different poison as the one you are using may not be the right one to entice your mice.
How long should you use it
Once your immediate mouse problem has been resolved, you may need to plan ahead to prevent another one. The advantage of a bait station is that you can leave it in place and keep it baited for as long as you want to. If you notice the bait has gone, refill it. It means the problem has returned and the bait station has done its work.
If you intend to leave the bait station in place, check the bait every few weeks. If it looks mouldy or decayed, change it for fresh bait. It needs to be enticing to the mice or they won’t go near it.
- At first you may need to put more than one lot of poison down before you kill all the mice, so check daily and top up as necessary.
- Depending on how big the infestation is, it can take up to 10 days to get rid of all nests.
- If you find you still have a problem after a couple of weeks, and your bait is being eaten, try a different type of poison.
- To help prevent further infestations, seal all holes where mice can gain access.
- Store any poison safely, out of the reach of animals and children and away from cleaning materials. The smell of these can taint the smell of the poison.