Mice are common rodents that infest humanmade structures such as residential homes and commercial buildings. They have become well adapted to living beside humans as they find food, water, and shelter that we unknowingly provide. Mice are nocturnal, so you may not know that you have a rodent infestation until you find evidence of their activity. Mouse infestations are an issue for residents in the Central Valley and the Bay Area year-round, but more frequently when the temperature drops in the winter. Dips in cooler weather can push mice indoors as a means of survival, which results in heavy infestations.
How can I tell if I have mice in my home?
Gnawed Open Food Containers– Mice are attracted to food that’s easy for them to get into. This isn’t just limited to fallen crumbs. Chew marks and holes can show up on penetrable food containers such as cereal boxes, disposable cookie sleeves, thin plastic bags, and even grass or bird seed where mice have fed. It’s much easier to eat food from your pantry than search for food outside in the elements.
Droppings – Mice constantly eat while they are awake at night, resulting in large amounts of poop. Droppings are left behind and will appear to be black or brown in color and the shape of a grain of rice. Urine leaves stains and can puddle.
Light Scratching Sounds – If you hear scratching sounds around your home or within your walls at night, it could be mice. Mice are nocturnal creatures that live in large groups. As they move throughout your house in search of food, their tiny nails can cause faint noises.
Mice – You may actually see mice at night. They crawl along edges of walls so you probably won’t see them running through the middle of a room.
How did mice get into my home?
What many homeowners don’t realize is that mice can squeeze through holes much smaller than their body size, making it possible for them to into your home through even the smallest of holes on the exterior of your home. Mice can actually fit into holes as small as a dime and can quickly slip into your home unnoticed. When weather cools in the winter, mice follow warm air currents that flow out of your home to find small openings for easy access. This allows them to get into your walls, attic, garage, or living spaces. Mice can enter within small openings near electrical, gas, water or even air conditioning connections that lead into your home. If you take a walk around the exterior of your home and notice any openings, no matter how small, that could be a point-of-entry. There may also be gaps that aren’t easily visible that are covered by siding or moldings that can allow rodents to get in.
A mouse’s food source isn’t limited to what humans perceive as a food. Mice have been known to get into bird seeds or even grass seeds, so if you have those readily available in your garage, you should use it up or store it in a heavy-duty container to keep the mice out.
Nests can be found pretty much anywhere within a home or on the property. The most common hiding places for mice nests are:
- Wall Voids
- Under Refrigerators
- Under Stoves
- Under Dishwashers
Secure and protected areas with little activity that provide close access to food and water are ideal locations for mouse nesting.
Should I be worried about the mice in my home?
Mice aren’t just a nuisance. Because they leave droppings wherever they travel as they actively graze at night, sanitary concerns come along with an infestation. And it’s not just a dropping here and there. Mice leave large amounts of rice-shaped droppings every night. When keeping in mind that mice live in groups, it’s easy to see how this can quickly build up. Not only do they leave droppings, but they also urinate just as frequently. Small, sticky, smelly puddles that appear near droppings are an indication of a serious rodent problem. Salmonella bacteria from rodent feces makes food poisoning a real concern when they get into your kitchen. Simply preparing a meal in the kitchen will be risky. Mice are excellent climbers. Once they claim your home as their own, mice and climb through holes between floors of your home and show up in living room all in the same day. Their oily bodies leave what are called “rub marks,” that can stain frequently used entry points.
What DIY options are available?
Mice have collapsible bodies that can fit through even the smallest of spaces, so homeowners need to seal up any obvious gaps around entry doors, garage doors and utility penetration points that are a ¼ of an inch or larger. This includes gaps around utility pipes, torn screening in windows and external vents, and cracks in the foundation of your home.
How can I prevent a mouse infestation?
Begin by conducting a visual inspection along the exterior perimeter of your home followed by an interior inspection. Pay special attention to any broken vents, gaps around utility lines, cracks and crevices leading from the exterior into your home, and any other small openings. Also, be sure that no gap exists at the base of garage doors and entry doors into the home because mice will follow air currents in to find their way into your home.
Mice are attracted to your home because they have found a food source and are not being disturbed, allowing them to multiply quickly. Preventing mouse infestations can be as easy as using the following tips.
Visual Inspection – Perform visual inspections in mouse-prone areas. Do you see mouse droppings? Are you hearing scratching at night? The sooner you act on the problem, the sooner it can be resolved.
Food – Make it a habit to sweep up crumbs in your kitchen and transfer pantry items such as cereal that comes in boxes into sealed plastic containers.
Entry Points – Seal cracks and crevices around the exterior of your home. Older homes often have vulnerabilities that aren’t as obvious such as builder’s gaps and broken vents that can lead mice indoors.
If you are still struggling to control the mice in your home or if the infestation is getting out of hand, call AAI Pest Control for professional rodent control.