I think we can all agree that mice are a real pain if they decide to set up a home in YOUR home. Mice in your ceiling, mice in your walls, or even your light fixtures are definitely unwanted guests. Apart from carrying over 35 diseases, these small creatures can be extremely destructive and difficult to eradicate.
Fear not avid DIYers, for we have some easy and low-cost solutions to get rid of your mice problem: especially in a ceiling with no access!
We will show you how to claim your home back from these unwelcome, disease-ridden rodents with practical solutions such as:
- Peppermint oil
- Ultrasonic and strobe light repellents
- An array of traps
- Plus other easy remedies.
But first, let’s start with the basics:
How Do You Know You Have Mice in the Ceiling?
There are several tell-tale signs that you are under attack by mice:
- At first, you’ll hear noises in the ceiling at night such as scampering or scurrying, squeaking, and gnawing sounds.
- You will see droppings or stains in your attic space, the older the droppings the paler they become.
- Have you noticed cardboard storage boxes with missing corners or nibble holes?
These are all signs you have a family of mice living in your ceiling. The size of the nest depends on the severity of these indicators.
Here, an exterminator talks about the different sounds you might hear:
Other signs to look for are scratch marks on furniture or around your walls. As the mice venture from the ceiling in search of food during the night; it’s not uncommon to also find mice in these other places.
If your infestation is on the larger side, you will begin to see nests being established in your ceiling or hollow cavities above you and an offensive smell throughout your home.
Types of Ceilings Mice Like
Mice in ceilings are like peanut butter and jelly: they just go together.
Why is this?
Mice love to make nests in insulation and use the ceiling joists to travel because it offers them protection. Your ceiling’s dark and dry environment is perfect for these breeding machines. This is crazy but mice can produce up to 10 litters each year, especially during the winter months.
Drop ceilings (a.k.a. false ceilings) are a favorite due to the ease at which they can travel. There’s not joists or supporting beams to block them.
Attic spaces, basement ceilings, bathroom ceilings, kitchen ceilings; in fact, any ceiling cavity offers mice a plethora of nest-building material and protection from predators.
How to Get Rid of Mice in the Ceiling with No Access
Sometimes, actually quite often, we have ceilings that are inaccessible:
In a ceiling without an attic, cathedral ceilings, a ceiling between floors of a 2-story house, an apartment ceiling, a finished garage ceiling, an RV/trailer ceiling, camper, and car ceiling are plenty of scenarios that make it difficult to get rid of a mouse and its family!
Can’t access your ceiling space? Don’t worry, follow these easy steps:
Locate the entrance points both inside and from outside your home. You may have heard that mice can squeeze through a hole as small as a dime. Seal up these holes, and set traps at their transit points.
Read on for more details for just how to do this!
Oh, and speaking from experience, ignoring the ominous tones of squeaking in your ceiling won’t do you any favors. You need to face this ‘mice in the ceiling’ syndrome head-on to avoid an uncontrollable plague.
There are several steps you need to take before commencing your eradication process:
Step 1 — Map it out
Dressed in long sleeves, gloves, a mask, and goggles, check around dark corners inside and around your ceiling space for entry points and evidence. Sketch out a quick map of these locations.
You are looking for droppings, pieces of insulation that are shredded, and dirt marks along the tracks they use. Mice are creatures of habit and will use the same pathways to commute to and from your ceiling.
After locating entry and commuter points, block them off. This can be done by repairing any holes.
An ideal way to block holes, especially in difficult to reach places, is with Pest Block Insulating Foam. By spraying the expanding foam into the holes, the foam will expand and seal off the entry.
You could also block these holes with steel wool as mice can’t eat through metal, and the material is super easy to mold into the size and shape you need.
Step 2 — Clean it up
Clean all surfaces, especially in food preparation areas.
Mice looking for shelter andfood will be attracted to your ceilingif there is a buffet of food provided to them elsewhere in your home.
Countertops, pet food bowls, and crumbs on the floor are food sources for mice.
Mice only need aboutone-tenth of an ounce of food daily, so removing any food source will encourage them to move out of YOUR ceiling and into someone else’s in search of food.
Tip — If you clean these surfaces using a peppermint fragrance, the mice will be naturally repelled by the scent!
Step 3 — Action time!
There are many choices in the pest control sphere, and you must decide which you are prepared to deal with on a practical level: consider whether you will be able to kill a maimed rodent from your ceiling and be prepared to dispose of dead mice.
The most well-known way to catch a mouse is with a trap. Seems like an easy choice, but there are many to choose from:
Tip — Place traps near the ceiling’s access points and along the tracks that you plotted on your map earlier.
Do you want to take a humane approach?
This would involve using a‘catch and release’trap such as theAuthenzo Humane Mouse Trap – see here.
If you like this idea, after catching a live mouse, release it at least 5 miles away from your home, as they are territorial creatures and will find their way back.
A more traditional trap is the snap trap. Add bate and set them in the ceiling area overnight, changing the location every couple of days.
Ideally, these traps will kill the mouse; however, sometimes the trap will snare the mouse’s limb or snout, and you will need to kill it as soon as possible with a blow to the head.
Tip— Peanut butter is a great bate, however, only use a very small amount in the trap or the mouse may nibble and leave without triggering the trap.
Anelectric trap such as Victor M250S No Touchis a little more expensive but effective. It is battery operated, making it ideal for those difficult to access ceiling spaces, and gives the mouse a fatal shock.
Other traps includeglue traps. These work by gluing the mouse to the trap as it passes over, leaving the mouse to starve to death. They are very cruel and not recommended.
The most common rodenticides contain anticoagulant agents which kill the mice from bleeding to death, internally.
They can be dangerous to pets that consume poisoned animals or children who find the bait.
However, poison is very effective when dealing with difficult to access spaces such as your ceiling.
Different techniques used to poison are:
These can be placed in small corners, in hard to access areas, and on tracks frequented by mice.
These can be attached to the wood of roof areas near mice entry points.
These come in single-use or refillable options, and are effective as they contain the dead mouse for easy disposal.
A word of warning about using poison: if mice die in your ceiling, and you live in a humid climate, there can be a lasting smell of the rotting corpse for about 15 days.
Ultrasonic or strobe devices
Devices that emit ultrasonic frequencies or strobe lighting are designed to annoy mice so much they leave on their own accord.
Mice communicate ultrasonically and devices such as thePest Contro PR23 Battery Operated Repeller – see here – are a safe option.
The battery-operated version allows you to set it up within your attic or ceiling space and leave it running.
Advice from pest controllers is to use them for a week at a time as the mice can become immune to the effect.
Having a pet cat or dog works well as a repellant; however, I wouldn’t recommend relying on them to eliminate a large plague. It’s also not easy for these “guard-pets” to get up too high, near your ceiling to really have an impact!
If you have tried the DIY tools we recommended, and you’re still losing the battle, it’s time to call in the experts.
Aprofessional pest exterminator will cost approximately $150 to $500, depending on the severity of your infestation and location.
If you are concerned you have mice in the ceiling, here’s some advice and tips from the experts at Victor’s on how to find mice in your home. It’s worth watching if you suspect a mice family living up in your ceiling.
Prevention is the key:
The trick is to keep mice from wanting to venture into your ceiling in the first place. The following tips will prevent future infestations:
- Cut back shrubs that brush up against your home and store woodpiles at least 15 feet away — blocking off the highway to your ceiling will really help.
- Keep ultrasonic or strobe devices running in your ceiling space or attic.
- Clean up any food scraps or crumbs in you food preparation areas: don’t attract them with a food source.
- Keep any storage items in sealed hard plastic containers, so the mice don’t have any materials to use to make nests.
How are mice getting in my ceiling?
Mice access your home via shrubs that lean up against your eaves and gutters. They can also access via entry points such as air vents and gaps around gas and water pipes.
Can mice eat and chew through the ceiling?
Yes: They use any materials available to build their nests including; drywall, plastic, wood, and plaster.
Can mice fall through the ceiling?
Yes: If they eat a hole to acquire nesting material, this could result in them eating through your drywall ceiling.
What happens if mice die in the ceiling?
There will be a lingering smell for about 15 days. You need to locate thedead mouse, dispose of the body, and sanitize the areato eliminate the smell.
If you can’t access it in the ceiling, you can use odor neutralizers such as coffee grounds or what’s called an Air Spongeand wait it out.
Having mice in your ceiling is a problem you can manage yourself with a few small purchases and a bit of planning.
Follow our DIY plan, and you will claim your home back in no time. Good Luck!