Mice are small and so are the signs of their presence in your home. The most obvious signs of a mouse problem are their droppings (feces that look like chocolate sprinkles). Mice don’t concern themselves with sanitary conditions, thus they defecate regularly and often. You’ll will most likely find droppings along the very walking path they use to get around your house.
Mouse infestation – What to look for:
- Rodent droppings.
- Gnaw marks, holes in stored foods, piled papers, insulation
- Food scraps or wrappings left behind, especially in out-of-the-way places, such as inside shoes or boots or in the corners of closets and cabinets.
- Family pets acting up.
- Rodent runways—narrow pathways where dust and dirt have been swept clean
- Nests or piled nesting materials.
- Scampering or scratching sounds coming from wall, ceiling, or floor cavities.
- Foul, musty odors.
Why does a mouse want into my house?
Mice are adaptable and they are unyielding in their search for food, warmth and shelter. Your home provides food, warmth and shelter for you; why not for a mouse as well?
In the fall and winter, as temperatures drop, mice seek shelter from the cold indoors. Your garage, attic, and interior walls provides a perfect getaway from the elements and for starting a family.
If you leave food out, drop scraps and crumbs on the floor, or leave home repairs unattended then you are making it easy for rodents to access food and water. Rodents are scavengers and will invade any home in search of food and a safe place to raise their young. A messy, unkempt home, makes the perfect house for a mouse and is also a risk for infestation.
When the temperature outside drops, the rodent infestations inside go up. Once a mouse colony enters your home, and finds it to be safe and warm, they rarely venture outside again.
Mice reproduce quickly and populations may exceed 100 rodents within a matter of months. The pace at which mice reproduce also means they are constantly seeking out shelter that can act as a potential nesting site for their young.
What do mice eat? They like to eat fruits, seeds and grains. In nature, mice will eat almost any type of vegetation including plants, fruits, corn, oats, mushrooms, roots and even tree bark. They are omnivorous, which means they eat both plants and meat, and the common house mice will eat just about anything it can find. They’ll eat roaches, meat, peanut butter, chocolate, worms, snails … the list goes on.
How does a mouse get in my house?
There are hundreds of ways that a mouse can enter your house. Mice are small, and they can squeeze through holes and gaps as little as a ¼ inch in size. If the opening it too small they’ll just chew around it to make it bigger. Or you could just leave the garage door open and save them the trouble.
Mice would make great four-legged ninjas. They can jump more than a foot high and they use electrical wires, television cables, and ropes as their own personal cross-fit studio. They can run, they can swim, and they can climb all types of vertical surfaces. There are few obstacles that get in the way of a mouse that wants to get in your house. The least we can do is provide you with a list of common entry points.
- Gaps between foundation materials
- Unplugged holes around old or new piping
- Roof vents, air conditioning, and conduits
- Structural defects – damaged flooring or roofing
- Air vents – especially in and around the roof
- Plumbing and rain pipes
- Sills and ledges on windows and doors
- Tree branches
- Fence rails
What do I do if I have mice in my house?
Mice may look cute, but the reality is they can carrry disease, do damage to your home and generally do not make good housemates. Removing them from your home is highly preferred, but how?
The most common Do-It-Yourself (DIY) methods rely on mouse traps (snap traps), poison pellets and bait stations. Traps, pellets, and bait should be placed near areas where mice were detected. For best results, use peanut butter instead of cheese.
Check the traps daily and wear protective gear on your hands, mouth, and eyes. Dead mice should be put in a plastic bag and placed in the outside garbage immediately.
The DIY approach is usually a matter of convenience for most homeowners. Traps and baits are easy to acquire at the local hardware store. But what if you have a mouse infestation? How many traps will that take to defend against? The more mice you have, the great the danger.
Mice feed on human food sources and destroy common home materials to make nests for their young. The urine, saliva and feces of some mice may contain viruses and bacteria, such as salmonella and hantavirus.
It is therefore necessary to exterminate any mouse infestation immediately. Mice multiply quickly and become extremely difficult to remove once they’ve taken over your house.
The most efficient mouse extermination methods are those administered by trained pest control professionals. Contact your local expert to arrange for an inspection and consultation.
Habitat reduction is the easiest way to prevent the mice from coming inside. If there are no mice living nearby, you have drastically reduced the chances of having a mouse problem in the first place. We don’t always have the luxury of total control over our environment, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to make sure mice don’t get in our house.
The first step is to inspect the outside of your home to find possible places mice can squeeze through. Check stairs, foundation walls (where it meets the house), corners and any place that might have small crevices. Close those areas off with wire mesh.
Cut loose brush and keep grass neatly trimmed. Get rid of any debris and garbage you have lying around and remove food and water sources that rodents may find convenient in your yard.
Next, inspect the inside of the house and apply steel wool and caulk to plug up any holes you can find. Also check the pantry and kitchen for food storage sources. Make sure food is kept in metal or glass containers with tight lids. Trash cans also be sturdy and sealed.
- Install door sweeps – all exterior doors should have a door sweep installed and make sure to repair damaged screens.
- Doors and windows– If the frames of your doors and windows are poorly sealed, buy some sealant and start filling the gaps.
- Plumbing pipes– Holes around your pipes can be patched up using concrete or mortar.
- Vents– A house needs to breathe, so cover these areas with wire mesh. Do not block completely.
- Eaves and foundation gaps– Eaves and spaces between materials like brick or foundation should be addressed with cement, caulk, or plaster, or you can cover them with steel wool or sheet metal.
- Boxes, bags, totes – Inspect items such as boxes, grocery bags and other packages brought into the home.
- Firewood – Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house and keep shrubbery trimmed and cut back from the house.
Nobody wants mice in their home, but if you want to control mice, you must think like one. Rodent control methods followed by preventative measures can help ensure that your rodent problems will be taken care of once and for all!
Preventing and treating rodent infestations requires a combination of eliminating access points these pests use to enter your home, removing food sources, closing/sealing shelter options, and using traps to get rid of existing rats and mice in or around your home.
Using a multi-tactic approach to manage rodents decreases the risk of an infestation getting larger, and eliminates the risk of future infestations.