Mice often use the dark corners of the home – from fireplaces to exhaust vents to attics – as their own personal transit system. Heating and cooling ducts form the core of this rodent highway. The critters take refuge in the ducts after pillaging your food supplies, posing an unsanitary threat to health. They can cause problems with smell when they die in the spaces. Prevent both instances from happening with time-tested trapping methods.
Turn off your heating or central air conditioning system. Allow the heating grates to cool completely.
Remove all grates covering your heating vents. You may need a screwdriver to pry them off or remove screws.
Load snap traps, one for each heating vent in the home, with fragrant baits to stimulate the rodents’ keen sense of smell. Bacon, cheese, chocolate, dried fruit and peanut butter all serve this purpose well. Arm the traps according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Place one trap just inside each duct, sliding it up against the duct’s interior wall with the bait end touching the wall to form “T” shape. Putting traps inside the duct targets duct-dwelling mice specifically and keeps the traps out of reach of pets and small children. Use mouse droppings to determine paths followed by mice and place traps along the paths.
Replace all heating vent grates and run your heat as usual.
Check the traps for mice each morning. Look into the vent slats with a flashlight. If the trap holds a mouse, remove the grate and take the trap out of the duct. Wearing rubber gloves, remove the mouse and seal it in a plastic zipper storage bag. Dispose of the dead mouse and wash your hands with antibacterial soap. Continue to trap and dispose of mice until you’ve eliminated your home’s rodent population.
Block entry points to prevent the problem in the future. Check your roof and wall vents for gaps between the duct and the wall. Secure fine wire mesh over these gaps to prevent mice from entering the heating ducts. Do the same for other common entry points, such as gaps and holes around door and window frames, pipes, fireplaces, wall junctures and roof rafters.
Humane traps are available if you want to relocate the mice instead of killing them. They work like the traps one sets for raccoons and other animals, but are much smaller.
Avoid using poison traps to get rid of mice in your heating ducts. This control method does not kill on contact, leaving mice to die deep in the heating ducts or inside walls, where their carcasses emit extremely foul odors.
Once you catch all the mice inside your air ducts and the rest of the home, we suggest calling a company to clean and disinfect you air ducts. Visit our Business Rating section to easily locate a professional near you.