“Did you hear that?”
“I’m sure I heard scratching again!”
Do you find yourself having this kind of conversation with family members time and time again? Here’s a statistic that might comfort you. According to the latest census, 14.8 million Americans saw rodents in their homes in the last 12 months.
So, if you’re hearing and seeing those telltale signs of a mouse infestation, you’re far from alone. But sometimes it’s not as cut and dried as actually seeing a mouse in your house. Let’s look at how to tell if you have a mouse infestation.
You probably never thought your life would come to this but it’s time to start inspecting any poop you find lying about the house. Grab your ruler or tape measure, because when it comes to identifying poop, size matters.
Mouse droppings tend to look like dark grains of rice. They’re quite slender (we’re talking regular white rice here, none of your pudding rice varieties). They usually measure around 1/4 inch.
Are you seeing larger, fatter droppings that are about 1/2 inch in length? We hate to break it to you but you could have a rat problem on your hands. It’s time to call a rat pest control service to identify and treat the problem.
Where to Look for Rodent Poop
Mice like to hang out where there’s food or crumbs they can access, so start with a thorough check of your kitchen to determine if you have a mouse infestation. Examine your pantry and anywhere you store food in bulk as well, including your garage.
Also, check around appliances and pipework. They also like bathroom cabinets, closets, and air vents for their warmth and moisture.
To check if you have an ongoing mouse infestation, carefully clean the area, removing the poop. Then reinspect every day for the next few days. If you get fresh droppings, call a pest control professional like PMi as fresh droppings could indicate a mouse infestation.
Mice gather whatever scraps they can find of warm, dry materials to build their nests.
One sign of a mouse infestation could be scraps of cloth, paper, dried leaves, or other plant matter. An established nest will be spherical or dome-shaped and have an entry/exit hole. Mice don’t tend to live alone, so if you find a nest, it could be housing a family of up to 20 mice!
Where to Look for Nests
Mice nests are not easy to find, because mice don’t want to be found. Typically, they build them in very inaccessible places, such as under floors. But sometimes they will be attracted to the warmth of the back of a refrigerator for example, and build one there.
They can also burrow through drywall to make a nest right in your walls, typically behind the baseboards.
Signs of Chewing
Mice and Rats need to gnaw things to survive, not just to eat. Their teeth continue growing throughout their lifetime, so it’s essential to gnaw whatever comes to hand to keep them in check. In your home, that means baseboards, drywall, wiring, plastic, and wooden furniture.
Gnawing through wiring can cause shorts and even fires. They can also attack the wiring on the cars in your garage. Many fires with undetermined causes in the US are believed to be caused by mice gnawing through electrical cabling.
They also love to find and chew through food packaging. If you notice bite marks on a packet, don’t use it. There’s a real risk of infection and a real sign of a mouse infestation.
Weird Smells and Runways
Mice leave behind a pungent, musky, ammonia-like aroma. It’s mostly urine that you’re smelling. Sometimes, mice will die on walls or behind kitchen cabinets, giving off a repulsive odor.
Mice like to mark their territory, so it gives you a good indication of where they like to hang out in your home. Cleaning is the first line of defense, but only a pest service can bring the issue to a conclusion.
If the infestation is ramping up, you may also notice ‘runways’. These are clear trails that mice go back and forth on night after night. Their feet and fur create distinctive streaks that tell you it’s time to call for help.
It can be seriously creepy to hear scratching or scurrying sounds coming from your walls at night. Don’t hastily conclude you’re losing your mind. It’s more likely that you’ve got rodents using your walls as their escape route.
Contact pest services to take a look. The noise they make can sound quite loud, especially at night when the house and neighborhood are quiet. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve got rats.
You might also hear squeaking. That’s their way of communicating with each other and a sure sign that you need to call the professionals in!
Holes in Baseboards
We know it’s cliche, but it can happen in real life. Mice need an access and exit point, and they’re unlikely to be coming in and out of the ceiling. Just don’t expect a hole the size of a small door.
Check all along your baseboard, especially where they meet the floor and at the joints. Mice can get through ridiculously small holes. We’re talking a quarter-inch hole – about the width of a pen.
That incredible flexibility means that they can slip under doors that don’t have a tight seal. A few dollars spent on door sweeps could go a long way to helping reduce your problem.
How to Deal With a Mouse Infestation
If you’ve heard noises in the night, it’s time to check for other signs of a mouse infestation. It’s time to become a poop detective and examine the interior perimeter of your home. You might never see a mouse, but if you look hard enough, the clues are there!
If you’re pretty sure you’ve got mice in your house, call Pest Management Systems, Inc.
We deal with all kinds of pests, from critters as small as termites right through to wildlife management. Our teams are ready to rid your home of any and all rodent invaders.
Get a quick quote online or call us at Triad: 336-272-4400 or Sandhills: 910-215-9700.
While these tips, steps, or education will help, there is no guaranteed way to eliminate all the risks.