What To Do If You Have A Mouse Infestation
If you hear suspicious noises behind your walls, bits of chair cushions are missing, or you are seeing moving shadows out of the corner of your eye, don’t panic! Your house isn’t haunted. A family of mice may have just joined you instead.
The good news is that mice infestations are easy to get rid of, but the damage they leave behind can be expensive. You may need to repair wooden frames, replace electrical wiring, or replace drywall and insulation.
If you’re ready to stop playing “hide and squeak”, this post:
- Shows you how to confirm you have a house infested with mice
- Helps you determine the severity of the mouse infestation
- Shares the dangers of a mouse infestation, including what not to ignore one
- Provides solutions to get rid of mice and mice infestations
- Gives you the tools to prevent future mouse infestations
Confirming You Have a Mouse Infestation
There are two easy home tests you can do to confirm if you have a mouse infestation:
- Pour flour on the floor where you think the mouse highway is, and check how many tiny footprints you can distinguish from one another.
- The footprints look like dots spread out on the floor and will be very close to each other.
- The more dots; the bigger the infestation.
- Mice love easy snacks, so leave a cookie out for the night. In the morning, check to see if it has bite/gnaw marks or if it’s even there anymore.
- Mice will gnaw on the cookie until they are full where rats will take the entire cookie with them.
Now that you know you have mice, it is time to determine how bad the mouse infestation is.
How to Tell the Severity of a Mouse Infestation
The severity of your mouse infestation is easy to determine based on the amount of nests, smudges and feces that you find.
Mouse feces are found near feeding, breeding, and nesting areas. Their droppings are black, cylindrical, about 1/4 inch in length, and almost look like grains of rice. One mouse will leave between 50 and 75 pellets each day, so depending on how many you find can help you determine how many you have.
Pro-tip: Do not sweep or vacuum mouse feces. Disturbing feces will release bacteria and virus particles into the air, so they need to be carefully picked up vs. knocked around.
Strange Scratching In The Walls
You may think you are hearing strangers in the night, but they are only the mice crawling in your walls. Since mice are capable of fitting through openings much smaller than their bodies, they can travel between the joists to get from one part of the house to another.
Smudges Along The Floors And Baseboards
Mice are creatures of the night and creatures of habit. They will run along your walls, and the dirt from their fur and feet leaves smudges along their path. You most likely will also find small patches of urine/droppings along their rodent highway too.
Signs Of Gnawing
If there are signs of gnawing in your bedding, clothing, insulation, or any other materials, you probably have a new mouse roommate. They will even chew small holes into the bottom of drawers, cabinets, and even furniture!
Mice will make a nest to keep warm and to raise their babies. Their nests are made of all the things you are seeing gnaw marks on. Every nest you find means even more mice in your house.
Pro-tip: Mice can have 30-70 babies per year. Those babies become mature at six weeks and have their own babies, so you want to get rid of those nests quickly!
Because mice have long teeth that need to be filed down frequently, you may also notice small teeth marks on hard, inedible materials like wood, plastic, cables, and electrical wiring throughout your home.
A Musky Ammonia Smell
Mice smell like stale urine. That distinctive, musky ammonia smell helps them mark their territory and is very noticeable in enclosed areas like pantries, cabinets, and drawers.
Holes/Tears In Food Packages
Mice like the same food we do: cereals, grains, seeds, nuts, fruits, meats, chocolate, candy, etc. Also like us, they really like foods high in fat like bacon, cheese, and butter. One adult mouse eats 3-4 grams a food a day and will make up to 30 visits to a food source!
You See A Mouse
If you think you saw a mouse, you aren’t alone. Nearly 15 million households reported seeing rodents in the last year! However, if you see a mouse (dead or alive), you most likely have a severe mice infestation especially if it’s in the daytime as mice are nocturnal.
Dangers Of A Mouse Infestation
There are a lot of dangers with mice infestations, and they are not limited to your floorboards. Mice infestations can cause sickness for your family, your pets, and even cause your home to catch fire, so do not ignore a mice infestation.
Mice will go everywhere in your home. They gnaw on everything and will make their nests everywhere, so nothing is safe. And they’ll continue to destroy your home until you remove them.
If mice gnaw on electrical cords and/or wires, they can cause a power outage or worse, a fire. According to the National Fire Protection Association, rodents are responsible for as many 25% of all residential fires!
Diseases can spread directly and indirectly from mice to people too. Diseases that are spread directly by mice are:
- Lassa Fever
- Lujo Hemorrhagic Fever
- Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis (LCM)
- Omsk Hemorrhagic Fever
- South American Arenaviruses
- Sylvatic Typhus
There are certain diseases that can be spread from rodents to people through indirect contact too. This occurs when people are bitten by ticks, mites, fleas, and/or mosquitos that have fed on infected rodents. Diseases that can be indirectly spread by mice include:
- Colorado tick fever
- Cutaneous leishmaniasis
- Eastern equine encephalitis
- Flea-borne (Murine) Typhus
- Hymenolepis diminuta
- La Crosse virus
- Moniliformis moniliformis
- Powassan virus
- Scrub typhus
- Tick-borne Relapsing Fever
- West Nile virus
Mice also don’t travel alone. They bring fleas, ticks, lice and other mites into your home and create another infestation you’ll have to deal with!
Now that you know you have a mice infestation that you want to get rid of, the trick is to use a combination of methods like the ones below to get rid of them for good.
The Best Ways To Get Rid Of Mice and A Mice Infestation
Since you’ve seen the signs of a mouse infestation, you’ll want to remove them as quickly as possible.
Cat vs. Mouse
Most cats love to hunt mice, and adopting a cat is one of the easiest ways to get rid of them.
If getting a cat isn’t an option, you can borrow a used kitty litter box from someone as a deterrent and place it near the infestation. Mice are prey and by placing a used litter box near the infestations they’ll detect the urine and saliva from the cat letting them know their home is no longer safe.
Fun fact: Disneyland has hundreds of feral cats hunting the park at night to help control any mouse infestations.
Lay Mouse Traps Down the Right Way
Mouse traps are one of the best ways to win the fight against a severe mouse infestation.
There are three different types of mouse traps to choose from:
- Snap traps (the classic wood traps that you bait)
- Glue traps (the traps that mice stick to once they wander onto them)
- Electric bait traps (the traps that instantly shock and kill them)
Pro-tip: In a mouse infestation situation, the humane traps that you can use for catching and releasing don’t help very much and can make your issues worse.
Lay the mouse traps perpendicular to the wall with the bait facing the wall. This way the mouse triggers the trap so that the snapping part only strikes them. Otherwise, the mouse activates the trap and can keep going unscathed.
You can use whatever food the mice have been snacking on in your home or some mouse favorites on the traps, and you’ll want to refill the trap with fresh bait every two days. If food isn’t working, try cotton balls or feathers in the trap.
Use Bait Stations to Poison The Mice
Mice are very attracted to food so use that against them. You can buy professional mouse poison packets, and they’ll chew into the packets containing the poison and die.
However, poison doesn’t always work, can take several doses, and is something you may not want to use if you have pets or small children.
Remove All Food Sources
Seal all of your potential food sources in glass or metal containers since mice cannot chew through them. All spills and messes need to be cleaned up right away too.
Eliminate Entry Points
You can defend your home from a mice infestation by eliminating all of the entry points that the mice are using to get into your home. Remember that if you can fit a pencil into a crack, hole, or opening, a mouse can get through it.
Ways to eliminate these entry points include:
- Seal any cracks in the foundation with caulk, duct tape, foam, etc..
- Pack steel wool In the tight spaces mice like to sneak into, since It is unpleasant to chew on.
- Caulk holes around pipes that lead to appliances.
- Check that seals around all exterior lines (TV, cable, electrical) leading through walls are tight.
- Use weather stripping on door and window gaps.
- Make sure that the sweep of the door creates a seal against the threshold.
Natural Mouse Repellents
Since mice have a strong sense of smell, natural mice repellents often work well.
A few to try are:
- Make a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water and spray it around the perimeter of your home as well as indoor access points. You will want to reapply at least once a month.
- Stuff scented fabric softener sheets into entry points to stop mice from coming or going.
- Mix chili flakes, sliced habaneros peppers, dish soap, and water to create a spicy pepper spray and spray the mixture anywhere you’ve noticed mouse activity.
- Saturate cotton balls with peppermint oil and clove oil and put them in all of the areas that attract mice like drawers, cupboards, and by your doors. The smell alone won’t get rid of mice completely but will work with other methods.
Ultrasonic devices will keep mice away, and they are safe for kids, pets, and other animals.
Clean Your Yard
You’ll want to remove any debris and weeds around your house that mice can hide in. The less clutter around your home makes it easier to spot signs of rodent activity and stop mice in their tracks.
Call A Professional Pest Control Company
If you have a severe infestation, calling a professional pest control company can get rid of the mice faster and keep them from coming back.
Preventing Future Mouse Infestations
To keep mice from slipping through the cracks (literally), use these tips to prevent another mouse infestation:
- Keep a clean house.
- Only eat at the kitchen table.
- Store all food items in a glass or metal container.
- Remove pet bowls off the floor after meals.
- Wipe down all cooking surfaces at the end of the day.
- Put wire screens over vents, openings to chimneys, and any other gaps.
- Use a dehumidifier to keep your attic, crawl space, and basement dry and well-ventilated.
- Before you bring in holiday decorations or last season’s clothing, inspect everything to make sure mice haven’t made their home in them.
Pro-tip: If you have rough siding or brick on your home, mice can use that to climb up to your second floor or your roof area without any problems. Be sure that you check for openings on those levels also.
While most of us are gracious hosts, mice aren’t welcome guests. Fortunately, containing a mice infestation and keeping one from happening again is easy with the right combination of tips and tricks after you send them packing. If the mouse infestation was bad and the damage is to expensive to repair, you can sell your house for cash to a home buyer like us by calling (877) 804-5252.
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