/ Home & Energy

There’s a mouse in my kitchen! What would you do?

An empty mousetrap outside a mouse hole with tiny footprints leading away

With the recent drop in temperatures, I’ve been warming up my house for the ensuing winter months. But it seems I’ve inadvertently created a nice cosy space for some uninvited guests…

Last week I saw a mouse dart out from behind the fridge and across the kitchen floor, quick as a pinball. My heart sank.

I’ve had to deal with rodents in most houses I’ve lived in, but I thought I’d solved the problem last year. I bought an ultrasonic deterrent that emits high-frequency sound waves heard by rodents, but not humans.

I try to live by the principle of no harm to living things. Finding a device that you simply have to plug in seemed like the solution after years of bloody battles with Micky and friends.

But, alas, it appears that after several months, the mice adjust to the sound. So, it’s back to the old dilemma: how to get rid of them in an effective yet not horrendously cruel way? I’m currently approaching the kitchen with loud stomps to make sure any crumb-seeking mice have fled before I enter. But it’s not a particularly relaxing – or hygienic – way to live.

Of mice and men… an uneasy relationship

When living in a house-share a few years ago, my friends resorted to the dreaded super-sticky mats, after poison failed to get rid of our furry little housemates. I used to walk into the kitchen to find the poor things quivering with sheer terror on the mats. There they would remain until someone with a stronger stomach killed them. Never again will I go down that route.

Many people swear by traditional spring-loaded mouse traps – with peanut butter overtaking cheese as the bait du jour. And it’s true that they’re the quickest – and thus potentially most ethical – device. But my brother’s tale of finding a half-dismembered mouse hopping helplessly around his flat with a trap on its back isn’t really an endorsement for this method either.

Poison seems ineffective. Humane, live-catch traps are something of a pain (mice have a homing instinct, so you have to release them miles away). So what’s the solution?

Is there such a thing as a mouse-free life?

For now, I’m going to buy another ultrasonic repeller, in the hope that it will work at a frequency the mice haven’t yet adjusted to. And I’ll attempt to keep the house scrupulously clean – ‘a single crumb can keep a mouse going for days,’ a pest-control professional once told me (which means the average toaster provides a feast).

But this all-too-familiar dilemma is making me think that, while a new-build apartment isn’t as romantic as the Victorian house I currently live in, perhaps a lack of cracks is the only real solution to a pest-free life? It’s either that or convince my landlord to let me get a cat. But do I really have to go to these extremes to make my house rodent-free?

How do you remove mice or rats from your home?

I kill them with traps or poison (60%, 1,033 Votes)

I don't have any mice or rats in my home (19%, 322 Votes)

I use humane traps and set them free (13%, 221 Votes)

I have a cat (9%, 160 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,738

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George Biswas says:
3 December 2012

We get mice in the loft sometimes and the garage, but having 2 dogs, one a Jack Russell, they never dare venture in the house, I’m not sure if the Jack Russell would be quick enough to catch a mouse, but no self respecting mouse would chance it with a feisty little hunter like a Jacko.

They are expert at dealing with rats too!

Peter Gale says:
3 December 2012

For three years we have succeeded in trapping, releasing, retrapping and rereleasing (further away) the timid little creatures caught in our humane traps – patience was all that we needed. Until we found that the mice were getting quite aggressive, namely eating their way out of the plastic traps we had purchased and reused. Perhaps it was the sugar boost (excessive amounts of honey, then blackberry jam). But we’ll buy some more traps and feed them less well in future.

V. Healy says:
30 March 2013

I caught a wood mouse in one of the humane box traps using bird seed as bait as advised.No sugar rush there!! They love these seeds!

John says:
3 December 2012

Peanut butter is working in my mouse traps! I use The Big Cheese quick click mouse traps. One push and they are set with no chance of snapping shut on your fingers. Best of all they snap shut enclosing the mouse’s head so you only see the rear end of the dead rodent. One click and the mouse falls out.

Simon says:
3 December 2012

These are the best mouse traps I’ve ever had:
Much better than the Little Nipper ones where you have to touch the metal bar (which after one or two mice will have become encrusted with gore).

Similar can be bought in some larger Poundland / 99p stores at a fraction of the £7 Amazon price.

The battery-operated electrocution devices do work, but you need a few of them and they’re expensive.

We’ve found that the best answer currently available are the ready-baited bait stations — small plastic boxes in which the bait is already inserted and into which the mice enter and exit via a small opening. Safe, in that there’s no ready access to the bait for humans or domestic pets, and many of them are suitable for outdoor use, as well as indoor.

Even in our holiday cottage — which has few hiding places for corpses — we only rarely find a corpse in the spring when we open the house up again. Effective, easy and economical. What more do you want?

Paul says:
9 December 2012

My experience of mice, living in the country is I’ve just have to live with them and on a weekly basis keep an ever watchful eye for intruders and leave bate traps strategically placed. My principal misgiving about this is the local owls of which we have plenty of tawny (screetch) owls and an occasional barn owl. Mindful they eat mice and voles I am ever fearful of their catching a mice sucumming to poison and of the same product entering the gut of the owl, rather like the fiasco of DDT. Does anybody know about this?

A mouse has a collapsible skeleton and because of that can squeeze through a gap no thicker than a pencil. Consequently they are impossible to seal out of you home. I’ve also found that they have a recurring knack to repopulate ones house using the same accesses as if following a scent trail of their deceased forebears.

Humane mouse traps are a con. Why? Well a mouse needs water or some moisture every 2 hours. If deprived of that they die a very painful death. A humane trap put out overnight can depending on when the mouse visits result in a dead or tortured mouse by morning.

Mouse traps are probably the most humane means of disbatch, if you have the time, I don’t and instead have 4 baited traps running 365 days per year but only one of those is in the house – the loft which they populate first. They eat bait like it’s Christmas dinner.

There is no easy way but priority must do to our health and hygene so sorry mice, your not welcom here.

I get mice in my old, holey Victorian house every winter. Except for this one, as I’ve blocked up all the holes with wire wool.

That could provide encouragement for others, Lisa. Well done.

I don’t think many will like my reply. Because of the local “buy to rent” landlords modifying their houses by making the rooms smaller to rent out even more rooms – the regular disturbances cause the mice and rats to move home – into my home.
However my three dogs are very fast and have excellent noses – so they pursue, chase and catch the animals on the run – instantly break their backs with a shake of the head – then present the dead trophies to me with pride. So the invasion lasts just a couple of days – and I get instant notification of any new invasions – Blocking holes with wire wool hasn’t worked in my very old house..
This is so much better than cats or traps – The dogs don’t play with the mice or rats before killing them – it reduces the over- population of rats and mice – The dogs are excellent companions that actually obey you – do not defecate in other people’s gardens – AND are excellent enthusiastic keep fit companions that insist on daily walks – A win win win situation.

I had some little visitors last year, discovered their presence when I went to top up the bird feeders with peanuts. They’d chewed their way through a large tupperware type box and also helped themselves to the dogs food and treats. Until then I or the Mutt hadn’t noticed their presence, only after did we find their trails.
First off I removed all food stuffs that they could possibly get at and asked them very nicely to leave.
They refused. A visit to Screwfix and Amazon kitted me out with the necessary equipment. Being an animal lover I could not bear to hurt them, or those awful sticky mat things.
I must admit to using a plastic trap thing with a block of poison in, they like the challenge of weaving through the maze and take the poison back to the nest. I felt not quite so bad that I’d slaughtered them because like a bomber pilot I couldn’t see the ‘enemy’! Perhaps when I move I may find skeltetons somewhere.
Also I used the humane traps spiced with peanut butter and Nutella and two of the modernised old fashioned killer traps. I hated them, having to see the dead bodies in the traps upset me.
However, the result was I caught and released 16 mice alive and 4 dead. Haven’t seen any since or signs of them since, but I did ask them nicely to leave after I’d cut off their food supply.

Darren says:
3 January 2013

Being a pest controller I see all levels of infestations of mice, I also do proofing, which if done correctly will keep them out long term, so yes, there is such a thing as a mouse free home. Mice can only get in if there are holes.

[Hi Darren, please note we’ve removed the link from your comment as our T&Cs don’t allow advertising. Thanks, mods.]

Deborah says:
17 July 2013

Use a mouse trap. It is quick and less cruel than leaving it somewhere strange especially in the winter. If you insist on trapping and releasing then the animal needs to be released at least 3 miles away. You can then leave it in a strange cold place to fend as best as it can. I have tried all methods including using my mouser(cat). The instant death trap is the least cruel. Life is about balance. Being overrun with mice is not maintaining a balance. If no one killed mice we would be in dire straits. Poisoning is really horrible but unavoidable sometimes.

Hilary says:
27 February 2014

I am currently suffering from the same problem you are. I feel like I’ve used everything from mouse traps to mouse poison. Nothing seems to be working, the little “guests” always come back! I have a feeling I might need to hire a professional.

[Link removed as we do not allow advertising. Thanks, mods.]

A professional will use traps, poison, or a combination of traps and poison. Unless you have a horrendous infestation you might as well make an attempt yourself, first.

As far as my own experience goes, there’s little to better the modern ready-loaded bait stations. The mice just go away and die elsewhere, outside. Many of them are even suitable for use outside. Reasonably priced, as well, from any number of different suppliers. Clean and even safe with children and pets around. It’s worth a try.

Hazel says:
24 August 2014

How do we get rid of mice in the kitchen who are too clever to go in the mouse traps we set with chocolate that they love and seem to enjoy the poison we feed them with 3 times a day! Are they super mice? It is getting very frustrating. Why won’t they use a mouse trap?

Hi Hazel
We have used the first one in the set of 4 pictures very successfully for years.

They are available in many pet shops. The ones with the rounded corners don’t seem to work as well.

Put some peanuts in the back with half of one just outside the entrance and in they go. The traps are quite light so put something heavy on the back of them like a small paint tin so the mice can’t move them.

Release the mice in a woody area at least 10 miles from home so they don’t come back. Ours have to cross a river and a town so hopefully they don’t make their way back.

I have discovered a new humane mousetrap that works much better than my previous suggestion.

It is called a Multi-Catch Mouse Trap by Big Cheese.

A search for STV177 finds it although my local pet shop ordered one for me.

Made of aluminium with 2 entrances and a see-through top, it is much better designed. It also catches up to 10 mice at a time. Record is 2 in the loft so far.

Would anyone have any advice and humane ways of keeping cats out of my garden and to stop them ‘messing’ everywhere?

Yes, most advocate that you simply catch them and waste you r time taking them to the local state animal welfare shelter where they simply sterilize them and bring them back to your street to be reabandoned to live out their miserable wretched lives..but with the added benefit that they won’t reproduce.

Alison says:
1 November 2014

Paul, I have 9 cats and am anxious they shouldn’t annoy my neighbours. To minimise the problem of waste all over your garden, try dedicating a small area that they may use for a latrine. It doesn’t have to be expensive, just a safe space, ie it needs both privacy and an escape route, with some cheap top soil and baited with existing waste so they know what it’s for. Walkways might also help to move them around your space without molesting plants.

To try and keep them out you’ll need the help of your neighbours – assuming your garden is enclosed by fencing with no overhanging trees. Your neighbours would need to put up netting angled at about 45 degrees upward around the outside of your fence or wall. The theory is that from ground level cats see a barrier above their head that they can’t jump over, leaving you with a cat-free garden. Good luck.

Incidentally, one of my cats brought a live mouse in last week and it’s living under my bed with room service and a sock to sleep in…

Alison says:
27 November 2015

for mice, get electronic rat traps. the mouse ones are no good. they used D size batteries and kill the mice with an electric shock. use peanut butter to bait.

Personally I believe that ultrasonic nuisance generators are only good for emptying your wallet as I have never seen heard one to actually work (as described). A little red led works to remove mice about as well as giving an expensive gold chain to a monkey. These…humane “traps” are just as useless because it is not correct to pass ones rodent problem to an unsuspecting mark and is also illegal. Poisons do not discriminate betweenn mouse or pet or child they are not meant for. Besides, why make it more difficult to locate the missing mouse? Removing mice is not a hobby or a pass time to undertake for the evening when one has nothing better to do while waiting fo happy hour to commence. It is a job which must be treated as such to be successful. It is a simple task
It seems to me that many desire to be rodent free but lose heart.

shirley hardy says:
15 March 2017

Humane trap has been the most successful in catching mice our cats have brought in. A piece of cake to tempt them works every time, then release outside.

Raymond Harwood says:
17 August 2020

Humane mouse traps are a con because they die a painful death if left without water for 2 hours! Well, duuuuuuuuh! How about leaving some in the trap then! Talk about stupid!

A few years ago i used poison. Now i feel pity for them and use some safe traps (like these https://www.bestadvisers.co.uk/best-rodent-traps )