Rodent infestations are tough to deal with and quickly spiral out of control without proper care and caution; the only thing worse than one uninvited guest is 20 uninvited guests. Learn how to decode the signs of mice infestation and activity around the house, and give yourself the chance to stay one step ahead.
A mouse or rat is not an uncommon sight in homes across America. Species like the Norway rat, roof rat, deer mouse, and even the humble house mouse are prolific in North America. Even mice that aren’t native to the U.S. have become a problem due to international travel over hundreds of years.
Rodents are a threat to public health because infected rodent feces has the potential to spread Salmonella and even Hantavirus. A female mouse can produce up to six young every three weeks, averaging 35 per year – proper pest management is more critical than ever.
Learn the Signs of a Mouse Infestation
Learn how to identify and prevent a nasty mouse or rat infestation with this in-depth guide to rodent control. Learn about keeping your home safe, and discover a few helpful mouse control tips.
Be on the look out for chewed wires or small bits of fabric in your house. There are many different materials rats can chew through. Noticing these signs will help you treat the infestation.
Suspicious Noises in the Night
Most mice species, including house mice or deer mice, are curious and regularly investigate their environment. Suspicious sounds in the night, such as scratching, scurrying, and nibbling noises, are all indicators of a possible rodent infestation.
Mice are usually more active in the evening and use that time to travel through the house searching for food, looking for mates, or plundering your clutter to use as nesting material. Keep your ears open at night for these furry invaders.
Mouse Droppings in the House
One of the surefire signs of a mouse infestation is mouse droppings around the house. Rodent droppings are typically found lying near high-traffic areas where nesting, feeding, and breeding activities occur.
Mouse and rat droppings look like little black cylinders, about ¼ inch long, and appear almost like black rice grains. Start your search near potential nesting spots, like areas with exposed insulation or clutter for nesting material.
Mouse droppings can be very harmful and are capable of spreading Salmonella and Hantavirus. Always wear protective gear when cleaning mouse droppings; use gloves and a dust mask.
Disturbing the rodent feces is dangerous; never vacuum, sweep, or otherwise agitate the mouse droppings because it’s possible to release virus and bacteria particles in the air.
Pick the mice droppings up carefully, put them in a sealable plastic bag, and dispose of them in your outside garbage, not in the kitchen garbage, for health and safety reasons. Disinfect the space with a powerful cleaner, and don’t allow pets or children into the area until every surface has been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.
A Distinctive Odor in Enclosed Spaces
Mice have a very distinct musky smell. Some people report that it smells of ammonia and stale urine. Rodent urine is pungent because they use it to communicate with each other, and it’s not uncommon to see small puddles in heavily frequented areas.
The smell of rodent urine might not be noticeable in the open, so checking enclosed spaces like the pantry, under the sink, or in food storage drawers is vital. The microscopic urine particles are capable of causing allergies in children and adults and require thorough disinfecting immediately.
Always wear your safety gear when cleaning up after mice, and never dispose of urine-soaked cleaning materials indoors; take them outside immediately. Then, follow our guide to remove the smell of rat urine to completely get rid of the stench of rats.
Look for Rodent Roadways
Rodents are true creatures of habit and tend to travel the same routes day after day. Think of how many mice need to travel that route daily to create those kinds of dirty streaks. These paths are called rodent roadways and are very common in large infestations.
Oily rub marks help coordinate mouse activity through scent and are another one of the clear signs of a mouse infestation. Look for dirty smears and smudges along baseboards and flooring material or feces and urine puddles that appear in unexpected areas and persist even after you clean thoroughly.
Try enzyme cleaner to help disrupt scent markings lingering your house. Enzyme cleaners are relatively inexpensive and available at most big-box stores and your local grocery store. These cleaners work well against biological matter like urine and rodent feces and may help disrupt your mouse infestation.
Chew Marks on Cables and Furniture
Mice and rats have unique teeth that grow continuously; they enjoy chewing on hard material, including plastic cables, wooden baseboards and furniture, and exposed wiring. Chewed-up electrical cables are a tell-tale sign of a rodent problem, especially if you don’t have any pets.
Vulnerable areas of your home that have exposed wiring, like the attic or garage, must be surveyed frequently. Rodent damage to cables and wiring is a serious concern and poses a risk of fire hazard, and it’s prudent to perform regular checks. Electrical wiring is dangerous – call a professional to repair chewed wiring immediately.
Missing Food Could Mean a Mice Infestation
Adult mice eat about four grams of food per day, which may not seem like a lot, but it adds up when it comes from your pantry. Mice like many of the same foods we do; high-fat foods like nuts and seeds, cheese, and butter – remove those temptations by implementing a pantry plan. Paper and plastic packaging and crumbs attract mice in your house, so you have to remove these temptations.
Scan your pantry regularly for ripped or damaged packaging, leaking cereal boxes, or torn pet food bags. Unfortunately, mouse nibbles contaminate your food supply by spreading dangerous diseases. Food touched by mice is unsafe for consumption and must be disposed of immediately.
Get a bunch of food storage containers for your cereal, grains, and nuts. If you live in an area of America that is prone to mice infestation, consider sealing cupboard items. Eliminate the food source, and your home isn’t as appealing to pests.
Mouse Control Tips for Prevention
Mouse proofing isn’t as tough as it sounds; it just requires consistency and clever solutions – try to use fragrance to keep mice away or airtight packaging instead of plastic bags for storage. Discover some fantastic mouse control tips to help prevent mice from gaining a foothold in your home and taking over.
Start with a thorough search of your house; look for small entrance holes. Mice squeeze through access holes as small as a dime. Fill gaps between the wood with steel wool or silicone-based caulk to prevent them from gaining access.
Make a peppermint essential oil spray to spritz around your home’s foundation. While this is not a homemade spray to kill mice, it will send them packing, as they don’t like the scent.
Set up a simple mouse trap or two for an existing mouse problem. Get a few inexpensive snap traps and set out some bait, like peanut butter. Never use glue traps on mammals; they’re incredibly inhumane, even by pest control standards. To prevent the spread of disease, always use gloves when disposing of a dead mouse or a dead rodent.
You can also use a variety of household products that kill mice, including boric acid. Diatomaceous earth is an excellent deterrent.
We hope learning about the signs of mice infestation in the home was informative. Rodent problems are daunting, and disease control is more important than ever. Practice diligence and consistency when fighting pests.
One of the best ways to stop mice is to keep your food sealed, sweep the floors regularly, and clean the counters of cooking scraps; no readily available food means no rodent problem. Fill access points with a silicone-based caulk, and always wear protective gear when handling rodent feces.
Founded in 1933, the National Pest Management Association is another fantastic resource. They do integrated pest management, pesticide regulation, and environmental health. The National Pest Management Association has excellent additional information if you’re struggling with rodents in your home.
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