How to Prevent Mouse Infestations and Get Rid of Mice
Autumn is slowly creeping up on Pennsylvania, and as the weather cools, rodents like mice may be driven into your home in search of warmth.
Mice can be a problem all year round, but even the ones that would normally be content to live in your yard might migrate indoors when the temperature drops.
Once they’ve gotten a foothold in your building, mice can be a challenge to get rid of. One female mouse can have as many as forty offspring each year, and they can fit into very small spaces, which enables them to multiply rapidly and find all sorts of hiding places in your home.
If you notice signs that mice are living in your house, it’s important to act quickly. The longer you wait, the larger the mouse army you’ll have chewing on and contaminating your property.
What are the signs of a mouse infestation, and what kinds of damage do mice cause?
Mice create many signs of their presence, and several of them can harm your house, possessions, health, and mental or emotional well-being.
Often, one of the first signs people with a mouse problem will notice is the dung they leave lying around your house. These quarter-inch-long droppings have longitudinal ridges and squared ends that can be observed under a magnifying glass, and can often be found along runways, in feeding areas, and near the mouse’s shelters.
Mice pay no heed to the phrase “don’t poop where you eat”, which means they’ll often contaminate foodstuffs with waste and fur. As if taking a dump in your food wasn’t bad enough, mice poop while they walk, so you may find dung spread across a considerable area.
To make matters worse, while a mouse only eats around three grams of food each day, they destroy considerably more than that by nibbling on multiple items, then discarding the partly-eaten remains. They can also cause damage to the structures and equipment you use to store or transport food.
To add injury to insult, mouse droppings transmit a variety of diseases, such as Lassa Fever, Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, and Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome.
Some of these diseases get into the dust that floats in the air, so even if you don’t touch the dung directly, you can get sick just from breathing near the droppings.
Problems caused by mice
Mice create a lot of problems with their lack of toilet training alone, but that isn’t the only issue they cause.
They also deface your property with unsightly smudges, as well as gnaw marks and holes in doors, stored materials, ledges, walls, and corners, as well as other surfaces where the furry vandals are present.
Their runways, or favored travel routes, are characterized by the smudge marks, footprints, droppings and urine stains that the creatures leave behind. If you suspect you have mice, but you don’t see any of these signs, try spreading a very thin layer of flour and baby powder on the suspected runway, so you can see the resulting trails in the powder.
Mice can also be detected by the musky odor they create, as well as the nests they create out of materials like shredded fabric, paper or dried plant matter. Don’t leave important documents lying around when mice are present; they could end up as a rodent bed!
Another way to detect the presence of mice in your building is with your ears. You might hear gnawing and squeaks, as well as the pitter-patter of little feet as they climb inside the walls and run across the upper surface of your ceilings.
This can make it hard for you to sleep at night, and to be happy, energetic and focused the day after a night of mouse-induced insomnia.
All in all, despite their small size, mice can be a serious threat to your physical and emotional health, as well as your property and possessions. They can also hurt you financially by damaging items, lowering your property value, making you tired and grouchy at work, and creating costly medical bills.
Because of this, it’s important to get rid of them as soon as possible.
How to get rid of mice:
Do-it-yourself methods won’t always get rid of mice, but here are some strategies that can help reduce their numbers or deter them from setting up shop in your house:
Remove or limit food sources.
Avoid leaving food where the mice can get to it, and make sure your trash is tightly covered. Remember that mice can often gnaw through obstacles, so make sure your food storage is mouse-proof.
Mice require little or no free water; they get most of their water from their meals, so simply denying them access to liquid won’t suffice. You need to make sure that they can’t get food in your house.
Get rid of their shelters.
Mice are generally far less sensitive to rodenticides than rats, so simply contaminating their nests might not work. It’s better to remove or block off areas they’re using as shelters, as well as any similar areas to which they might move after you destroy their existing base.
Use traps for small infestations.
If you only have a few mice, you might be able to get rid of them with traps.
Place these traps in areas of high activity, like runways where you frequently see droppings or footprints. These areas will often be located along walls, behind appliances and other objects, and in darkened corners.
Make sure these traps are placed in areas where your children or pets won’t accidentally set them off. In locations of high mouse activity, try placing two traps an inch apart, to catch mice that try to jump over one of them.
It can take large numbers of traps to deal with an infestation, and just leaving the occasional one here and there is unlikely to get rid of your problem. You may need to leave two traps behind every appliance and along every runway where the rodents run.
Because mice often run close to walls, it’s best to place the traps perpendicular to the wall, with the trigger end nearly touching the wall.
These methods will help to curb smaller infestations, but if you have a large mouse colony, or you’ve got better things to do than trap and clean up after mice, we’re here to help.
Need to remove an infestation, or protect your home from pests?
If mice have gotten into your house and you want them out, we have your back. We’ll get rid of the whole infestation, so you can sleep in peace and stop worrying about mouse-borne diseases, property damage, and feces on your floors and food.
To get your unwanted, un-toilet-trained furry guests out of your house, visit this page and contact our pest control experts today!
Image Credit – Adobe Stock