Think you have a mouse infestation on your hands? If so, you’ll want to make sure that’s the case before dealing with it.
Of course, the most obvious sign of a mouse infestation is spotting a live specimen. This is also a bad way to find out you have a problem. Mice tend to stick to dark corners, so seeing one in person could mean there are many more.
Other signs of an infestation are more subtle. This doesn’t mean you can ignore them, as mice reproduce very quickly. A female mouse can give birth to up to 10 litters each year, and the average litter contains 10-12 pups.
In other words, your best bet is to play it safe and get rid of mice fast. Here are 6 common signs that you have unwelcome guests in your home.
Mouse droppings are the biggest indicator of an infestation. Mice produce a lot of droppings and you can find them anywhere.
Recognizing mouse droppings is simple enough. Fresh droppings are dark, moist, and as big as a grain of rice on average. As they age, they become gray, dry out, and tend to crumble or turn to dust if touched.
You’re most likely to find droppings in secluded spots, such as drawers or cupboards. They’re most common near places where mice are feeding or nesting. If you see mouse droppings, inspect the area to find out if the infestation is active.
2. Strong Smells
Like most rodents, mice aren’t big on hygiene. If you start noticing a musky, pungent smell, chances are you’re dealing with mice.
This smell is most obvious in enclosed areas such as drawers. It helps mice adapt to your home, which is why it’s stronger along established routes. You could also smell a dead mouse, as some mice may die inside your walls.
If you can’t sniff out anything yourself, look to your pets. Some cat and dog breeds become more active in areas where mice are present. This is most likely to happen if the infestation is recent, as the smells tend to be stronger at that time.
Pay particular attention to your pets pawing at areas that they were never interested in. If you notice this behavior, grab a flashlight and scan the area. If an infestation is active, you may discover a stale smell in hidden places.
3. Scratching Noises
Do you have trouble falling asleep due to strange noises coming from the walls? If so, you may want to contact a professional to look into it.
Mice are nocturnal, so you’re more likely to hear them at night. Plus, most houses are quiet at that time, so it’s easier to hear them scurrying around. In fact, the noises may make you believe that you’re dealing with something larger than mice.
Most of these sounds come from the walls or ceiling. Other than scratching and scurrying, you may hear gnawing or squeaking. These squeaks are some of the most effective ways for mice to communicate with each other.
4. Runways and Tracks
Sure, “runways and tracks” don’t really make you think of mice. Still, this is the easiest way to describe this kind of behavior.
When we talk about mouse runways, we refer to the areas they frequent. The runways contain smudge marks, urine stains, droppings and other signs of mice. If you have a large infestation, these runways should be very distinctive.
If the infestation is not serious yet, the tracks may be harder to spot. One thing you can do is place a thin layer of flour or baby powder in an area you find suspicious. If mice are active around that area, you’ll see their trails.
5. Mouse Damage
Mice have teeth that grow throughout their life. To keep them shorter, they need to gnaw on wood, plastic, and other hard materials.
In houses, mice can damage any type of furniture. They’re a fire hazard, as they’re able to cause power shortages by chewing through cables. They can also gnaw on food sources, which can lead to various rodent-related diseases.
If you notice any gnaw marks in your home, do your best to inspect them. Unlike the droppings, gnaw marks become darker as they age. The size of the marks can also tell you whether you’re dealing with mice or something bigger, like rats.
To determine the age of a mark, compare the new mark to an older one on a similar material. If the new marks are lighter, it may be a sign of a continuing infestation. In this case, you should start thinking about the best way to kill mice.
As mentioned above, mice breed faster than most other mammals. When they do, they usually build nests to raise their young.
When it comes to building a nest, mice around particularly picky. They’ll take any soft material they can get, from shredded paper to dried plant matter. They also like using fabric, fibers, sawdust, and even the fluff from our clothes and pillows.
Much like mice themselves, their nests are most often hidden in darker places. They can set up in storage boxes, behind a fridge, inside walls and ceilings, and so on. If you come upon a mouse nest, the infestation is all but a certainty.
How to Control a Mouse Infestation
As you can see, spotting a mouse infestation is easy enough, if you know where to look.
Which part of your house should you check first? Start from your attic, especially if it’s packed full of boxes and fabrics you’ve stored away. Then, start checking behind your appliances, crawlspaces, suspended ceilings, and other hidden places.
Once you’re sure you’re dealing with an infestation, your options are simple. Drop everything else you’re doing and contact a pest control professional. With their help, you can figure out a treatment plan focusing on how to keep mice away.
Want to find out what’s the best way to get rid of mice? Looking for efficient and affordable pest control services? Contact us right here, we’ll get back to you soon!