We get this sort of question from clients all of the time. “I think I might have a mouse infestation, but…how do I know for sure?” Of course, for your sake, we’d like the answer to be “No,” but there are signs to look for that can help confirm your suspicions.
Have you found what appears to be nests or nesting material?
Mice will shred paper, cardboard, insulation, and other similar fibrous material to create their nests with. If you come across these materials, or signs that these materials are being used to create a nest (shredded paper, boxes, etc.) then this can point to a rodent infestation.
Have you seen droppings?
You’re most likely to find rodent droppings near where mice are either nesting or feeding. Look in areas where food is stored, inside drawers, or in areas mice might be using as pathways throughout the home. New droppings are dark in color, whereas older droppings will be dryish and gray in appearance. Observing the droppings near nesting areas (should you come across those) can give you an indication of how recent your infestation might be.
Has the demeanor of your pets changed?
When mice are present in the home, your pets are likely to notice and are likely to be very interested. New odors and new sounds have entered your house, and if you notice your cats or dogs paying special attention to certain areas, especially around baseboards and other spaces where rodents are apt travel, examine them for signs of rodent activity, like gnawing, scratching, or unusual odors.
How did I get a mouse infestation?
This is another question we hear from our clients, and it’s a fair one. Having any sort of pest infestation can feel a bit embarrassing, leading folks to question the cleanliness of their home and their lifestyle, but we want to assure you that pest infestations don’t happen because your home is a mess. Of course, those factors can lead to a rodent infestation, but what we typically find is that infestations occur due to a series of small, easily adjustable variables in and out of the home. Take some time to review the following as it will help you better determine exactly what’s attracting mice to your home and how they’re getting inside.
- Are there cracks or holes outside of your home? Check areas like doors and window seals, all exterior woodwork or siding, and areas where utilities and plumbing enter the home. It might seem hard to believe, but mice can pass through incredibly small openings. Mice can make their way through openings as small as that of a dime! We recommend that you carefully and periodically review your home for any places that rodents and other pests can enter.
- Are there trash, recycling, or composting containers outside of your home? Mice are industrious little creatures, who need very little to survive. Shelter, food, and water is all they need to create a thriving mischief of mice. Storing trash, recycling, composting, and similar containers outside of your home can attract rodents to your property, as they provide plenty of nutritional opportunities.
- Do you have standing water on your property? Like most of us, mice love a nice refreshing drink. Having standing water on your property can attract mice to your home for this very reason. Observing an easily accessible combination of food, water, and shelter will surely keep pests coming — and staying — at your home.
- Do you store bird seed or other pet food in easily accessible areas? This one is pretty simple. Mice love seeds. And though they don’t know it until they’ve tried it, they just love dog and cat food, too. If you’re storing these items outdoors or in easily accessible areas, you’re increasing your risk of an infestation.
Is a mouse infestation dangerous?
Here’s the thing: It certainly can be. The reason being is that mice spread harmful bacteria and viruses, the kinds of bacteria or viruses that can trigger asthma attacks, or are associated with diseases like salmonella or hantavirus. Hantavirus can cause severe lung or kidney infections in humans, which, if left untreated, can cause serious illness or even lead to death. The mice themselves don’t spread these bacteria and viruses purposefully — they are spread through their urine and feces.
Remember how we told you that mice are most likely to leave droppings and urine near their nesting or feeding areas? This means that if mice are able to get into your food, that there’s a very, very high probability they’ll be contaminating your food. In the interest of your and your loved one’s safety, you should absolutely rid your home of any food that mice have made direct or indirect contact with.
Not only does a mouse infestation create the potential for physical harm to you and your family, but it also creates the potential for severe damage to your home. Their characteristic front teeth are always growing (seriously, they regrow their incisors every month and a half or so!) so these critters are always chewing. If they didn’t, their teeth would grow to the point where it would be debilitating, and they would die from an inability to eat. Mice have the ability to gnaw through wood, concrete, and even certain types of metal. This allows them to create quite a lot of destruction, not to mention their fondness for chewing the insulation off of electrical wiring which could increase your risk of a house fire.
How do I clean up after a mouse infestation?
The answer to this is very, very carefully. And we’re not kidding around on this one. Due to the illnesses that can be caused by mouse excrement and urine, we encourage you to hire cleaners who specialize in this type of biohazard. It’s truly that serious. However, if you do choose to clean up after a mouse infestation on your own, we urge you to do so following these handy and safety-conscious instructions that the Centers for Disease Control have published. Follow them closely and you’ll not only have a clean home, but you’ll have the peace of mind you’re not making a bad situation worse by unintentionally causing these harmful toxins to become airborne.
How do I prevent mice from returning?
Well, if mice only need shelter, food, and water to survive and grow their population, then it’s imperative that you remove their ability to have access to these things. If your home has access points, fill or patch them in a manner recommended by home repair experts. For things like plumbing access points, we’ve found that copper wool works wonders in preventing mice from gaining entry. The wool wraps around their incisors and they are unable to chew through it. If items like trash, recyclables, compost, or even bird seed or pet foods are accessible, then make certain these things are in tightly sealed containers or are stored in areas where mice and other pests cannot get to them. If there is standing water on your property, remove it! Staying on top of these variables drastically reduces your risk of a mouse infestation.
Are you concerned you might have a mouse infestation?
We’re here to help. We have a rich history of serving your friends and neighbors in the Gresham area and beyond for all their pest control needs. We’re committed to providing you the guidance and service needed to keep your home pest-free, and your life just a little less stressful. Call us today for a free quote! We’d be honored to help you.