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Mice in the apartment: the best tips against the mouse in the house

They come through cavities in the walls, devastate the pantry or poke around over our heads in the attic at night: there are many good reasons for mice to pay a visit to the house and apartment. But how do you get rid of it? We give tips on how to prevent mice in the home, shed light on trapping methods with regard to animal welfare law and consider alternative methods of driving mice away.

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We also clarify whether tenants or landlords are responsible for combating mice in a rented apartment.

11 tips on how to keep mice out of the house and drive them away

If you have mice in your apartment or house or are afraid that the rodents might pay you a visit soon, then keeping the small animals away or scaring them should always be a priority. You can try to keep mice away or drive them away with these eleven methods:

1. Eliminate building damage

Mice can make themselves pretty slim. Openings in house walls with the diameter of a pencil are no problem for them. You should therefore properly close cracks, joints or cracks in the door. It is best to use sheet metal or iron wool for this, they cannot gnaw through that easily.

2. Keep garbage bags closed

What applies to holes and cracks also applies to garbage bags. Make sure that you always keep full bags locked. You should avoid overflowing garbage cans, because the garbage smell is an invitation for every mouse.

3. Cut back trees

If the window is tilted, branches that are too long are an excellent way for mice to enter the house. You should therefore regularly prune trees near windows.

4. Have the elevator shafts checked

Elevators are an ideal place for mice to spread out undisturbed and look for a nesting place. Since the small pest rodents are excellent climbers, they can also use the elevator to get to the upper floors. If you have mice on the fourth floor, you should have the elevator shaft inspected by a specialist.

5. Tidy up and clean the pantry regularly

The pantry is like a set table for mice. You should therefore keep open flour bags or loosely packed food in airtight containers. Wire hanger glasses with rubber seals are suitable for this, for example.

6. Store pet food locked

Mice are omnivores, which is why they don't stop at dog or cat food. Here, too, we recommend that you store the contents of large feed bags in lockable feed containers.

7. Keep animal stalls and cages clean

You should not only clean the rabbit hutch or hamster cage regularly to love your animals. Mice can also be attracted to the smell.

8. Keep doors closed in winter

Mice can look for shelter and warmth indoors in winter. So make sure to keep patio doors and basement windows without bars closed during the cold season.

9. Do not flush food down the toilet

Mice, such as the house mouse, are excellent swimmers, which is why they can also get into the house through drainage pipes. If you flush food down the toilet, it can be attracted quickly.

10. Dispose of rubbish and waste properly

Rubbish often accumulates under terraces or low balconies, in which mice can find shelter. You should also clean such areas regularly and dispose of the waste properly.

11. Keep your house or apartment clean

Eliminates food residues and keeps food airtight. Mason jars or those with rubber rings are suitable for this. We generally recommend that you clean all surfaces regularly. A lot of dirt can also accumulate behind the refrigerator, which lures mice into the house.

Catch mice in the home with live traps

With a live trap you can catch mice in the apartment or house without causing them harm. However, for animal welfare reasons, you should keep a few important things in mind when using them:

  • Live traps should be selective, i.e. only catch the rodent species to be controlled. If you catch another animal with it, you should release it immediately.
  • The live traps should be safe for you and other non-target species.
  • Depending on the trap design, the Federal Environment Agency recommends observing appropriate control frequencies of eight hours, as the animals are caught alive.
  • Selects a gentle catching method: Position the life trap in such a way that the captured mouse has a privacy-protected retreat. So she is not exposed to unnecessary stress.
  • Excludes multiple catches among incompatible species.
  • Depending on the type of mouse, the trap should be large enough so that the mouse does not injure itself.
  • Provide the trap with sufficient food and water.

If you have caught the mouse with a live trap, you should ensure that you release it back into the wild as stress-free as possible. Be careful not to injure yourself or the animal. For example, some flaps have a spring flap through which you can release the mouse without contact.

Bringing a cat into the house, does that help?

Cats are natural predators of the small rodents and can be a real help in the fight against mice in the house and apartment. If you are thinking about getting a new four-legged roommate, cats are often advised on the internet instead of tomcats, as they should be more active.

However, cats are not always a guarantee that they will catch all mice in the apartment, house or garden. They like to play with the mice and carry them into the apartment half alive before killing them.

Mouse and rat poison lead to death

Killing mice in the home should only be used as a last resort in the fight against them. Most mouse or rat poisons are food bait, so-called rodenticides (biocides). They contain a blood-clotting agent (anticoagulant) that causes the mice to bleed to death internally. In an interview with Deutschlandfunk, veterinarian Götz Hildebrand describes what sounds horrible at first as a relatively mild death compared to nature.

Nevertheless, we recommend that you leave this task to a specialist or that you inform yourself in detail. Because the Animal Welfare Act stipulates that only someone who has the necessary knowledge and skills may kill a vertebrate (Section 4 TierSchG).

For the good of people and the environment, the Federal Environment Agency provides detailed guides in which you can read everything you need to know about the use of mouse and rat poison:

Use mouse and rat poison safely and effectively (PDF)

Rodent Control with Anticoagulants Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)

Use of snap traps against mice

The classic mousetrap is also known as a snap trap. It is true that the captured mouse is killed when such traps are used, but according to the Federal Environment Agency, this form of mouse capture, if properly designed and used, can be more animal welfare-friendly than the use of rodenticides.

Nevertheless, even with snap traps there is a certain residual risk that the mouse will not be killed immediately and will suffer. You should also check these traps regularly and, in an emergency, kill the captured mouse immediately in an animal welfare manner.

That's why you shouldn't use glue traps against mice

Adhesive traps usually consist of a flat mat with a sticky film on which the mice literally stick. From an animal welfare point of view, this trapping method is highly questionable, as the mice are at the mercy of an agonizing death:

  • The mice are exposed to extreme stress.
  • Trying to break free can cause serious injuries and even pull out extremities in the process.
  • The sticky liquid can make the mouth and water stick together so that the mice can suffocate.

If you use sticky traps in the fight against mice, you can even commit a crime. Because according to the Animal Welfare Act (§ 1 TierSchG) it is forbidden to add pain, suffering or damage to an animal without a reasonable reason.

Do natural means of defense against mice help?

Often one reads in the net about peppermint or mothballs as a natural means of defense against mice. However, pest control experts often describe these methods as ineffective.

Ultrasound devices, such as can be used as a remedy against spiders in the house, are said to be helpful for mice in the house and garden and to drive them away with the help of high-frequency sound waves. However, it has not been scientifically proven whether the device known as the "mouse scare" really drives away the small rodents.

You won't get very far with insect protection windows and grilles in front of the patio door. Mice can easily gnaw through the thin net. Mosquitoes and other insects, on the other hand, can be kept out of the apartment with a good insect screen:

Mice in the apartment: a tenant or landlord matter?

Neither tenants nor landlords want mice in their rented apartment, that is clear. However, such cases often end up in court because it is not clear who is responsible for damage, health and possible costs. Pest control expert Rentokil has summarized a few court rulings on pest control in tenancy law on its website. They also provide a helpful overview of the following topics for mice in the apartments:

  • Assumption of costs
  • Rent reduction
  • Right of termination without notice

If you have mice in the apartment, you should definitely speak to your landlord about this, as costs for pest control may be covered, you can reduce the rent or you even have the right to terminate the contract without notice.

Mice can also become a nuisance in the garden, namely voles. Read in our article "Fighting voles - what really helps with vole control?", How you can get rid of the rodents there.