Mice present a difficult problem in a rural environment. Mice will exploit any food sources that may be available. Therefore, keep all food in the refrigerator or in other mice-proof containers. Mice will eat crayons, candy, chocolate, nuts, dog and cat food, meat, and just about anything else that contains sugar, fat or protein. They also will make nests out of paper, burlap, rags, cloth, and other materials they can chew and shred.
The front teeth (incisors) of mice grow throughout their lives, so mice must gnaw to keep these teeth worn down and sharp. Therefore, they will gnaw on wood, furniture, plastic, electric wiring insulation, PVC pipe, and other hard materials available to them.
Mice can enter the house by gnawing holes, climbing, jumping or swimming, in other words, whatever it takes to gain entrance. Therefore, when attempting to mouse-proof the house, metal sheet, steel wool or welded, galvanized 3/8-inch screen should be used to plug holes or make exclusion barriers. Dog and cat food and feed should be kept in metal trash cans with tight, secure lids.
For control in the house, I would suggest snap traps baited with peanut butter. For the garage and other “out” buildings, bait traps can be used. The reason I suggest this is that baits do not kill instantly, the mouse may travel some distance from the bait station before dying, and you do not want dead mice inside the walls of your house if this can be avoided.
Finally, mice in the house under any circumstances are not desirable. Besides the common house mouse, we also have deer mice on the Central Coast. Deer mice are reservoirs of hanta virus. This virus can be deadly and can be transmitted to people by contact with the mice, handling carcasses, droppings, urine stains, nests or inhaling dust in areas where these items are found.
If you have a mouse problem, you really should get several of them identified to make sure what species you have in your area. Handle carcasses with deposable gloves and put the carcass in a plastic bag for transport. State of California Vector-Borne Disease Section can be contacted to aid in identification of mice.