While you may not "hate those meeces to pieces" as Mr.Jinx the cat in the classic cartoon shorts does, they can be extremely annoying. You may not even see an actual mouse before you start to notice tiny mouse droppings along walls and the borders of cabinets, or food containers that have been chewed open, allowing their contents to spill into cabinets or onto counter tops.
Mice, like other household pests, are attracted to your home by the availability of food. There are also many possible access points through which mice can contort their already small bodies to enter the home.
Once inside, it may be difficult to remove mice, but not impossible. You don't usually even need to kill them except as a last resort.
Keeping food safe from mice
Our homes are filled with food items with packaging that is easily destroyed by sharp little mouse teeth, so prevention depends on storing food wisely. Investing in glass or steel containers that can be sealed tightly will not only protect your food but also seal in the scents that attract mice in the first place.
Heavy plastic containers may be used for items that are used more quickly, such as snacks. Long term storage in plastic containers may not keep out mice, or especially their rat brethren because any plastic is susceptible to chewing and eventual breaching on the container.
Keeping mice out of your home
Your first line of defense is to keep mice from entering your home through access points such as holes along the foundation of the home. They can also squeeze into small openings created by pipes or other protrusions through walls. Exhaust fans or dryer vents can also be used to gain entry to your home.
Expanding foam or other insulating products will not keep them out. They will patiently chew through any thickness of insulation. You need to cover any openings with heavy gauge wire cloth (thick screen), which is available in home improvement stores.
Their keen sense of smell can also be used against them by scattering small swathes of cloth dipped in essential oils along the perimeter of your home. However, they will need t obe replaced periodically as the smell dissipates over time.
Removing the mice that are already in your home
While not as successful in the short term as killing, no-kill traps and contraptions will eventually catch your squatter mice. The easiest option is a spring loaded trap, which is a small cage that snaps shut when a mouse enters to take food bait.
You can also place food bait into a waste basket that are sprayed along the sides with cooking spray. Leave the basket along the edge of a counter, and when the mouse drops in to get the food, it cannot climb or jump out because of the slippery cooking spray.
If you have no real compunctions about killing mice, you can buy a more user-friendly version of the spring-loaded mousetrap that snaps down on the mouse when it activates a lever that is baited with food.
The new style is contained within a closed plastic shell, so you don't need to see the dead mouse. You simply throw the entire trap into a trash receptacle (outdoors, or the smell will be horrid within a few days if the trash isn't removed on a timely basis.
Speaking of smelly dead mice, poison is very effective in killing mice, but they may crawl off to die in an inaccessible area of your home and decompose slowly and with a lingering smell.
If you're desperate enough to consider trying poison, try a professional exterminator instead. Your nose will thank you later.