Did you know that a house mouse is able to walk on a thin wire or squeeze itself through an opening or crack that is no wider than a ballpoint pen? It doesn’t take a very big opening before the mice find a way into our homes.
These nimble rodents like to build small nests in cozy, dark spaces – kitchens, garages and attics are favorite nesting spaces. And they live in groups, breeding quickly which can lead to an unfortunate mouse infestation if they decide to make your house their new home.
Table of Contents
- What are some signs of a mouse infestation?
- Could it be that you have only a mouse or two in your home?
- What are the health risks associated with a mouse infestation?
- Is it a property risk to have mice living in your home?
- Should you tackle your mouse infestation yourself?
- After the Infestation: Do exterminators do the clean up?
- How can you stop the mice from moving back in?
- Helpful Hints to keep the Mice Away
- In Summary
What are some signs of a mouse infestation?
Homeowners learn that they have been infested by mice in different ways.
- A mouse might run across the living room floor, just as the family is settling in to watch a favorite TV show.
- In the quiet of night, the small rodents might be heard running inside a wall or above the ceiling.
- It could be that food packages, like cardboard cereal packages, suddenly have small marks on them from being chewed.
- Or they may notice that droppings appear in a cupboard corner or even worse, on the kitchen counter.
A true mouse infestation however, is when you discover the mice have been breeding in your house. Once they have started to reproduce you no longer have just a mouse problem, you have a full blown infestation.
Could it be that you have only a mouse or two in your home?
Homeowners commonly believe that having one or two mice running around the attic at night is not an urgent problem. Consider this: a female mouse might give birth to up to 10 litters a year, each containing up to 6 mice. One or two mice multiply quite quickly into 50 or 60 mice: it is wise to act upon the first signs of a mouse infestation. Even one mouse would be problematic, as it is capable of leaving 9,000 droppings in one year.
What are the health risks associated with a mouse infestation?
Mice are carriers of bacteria, diseases, parasites and viruses. If your house has become infested by mice, the mice are leaving patches of their urine behind them, perhaps on a coffee mug in a kitchen cupboard or on a wooden cutting board on the counter.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, human beings can contract Lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCM) from breathing in dust that has been polluted with house mouse droppings or urine. LCM is a viral infection with symptoms that mimic the symptoms of many other illnesses: fever, lack of appetite, headaches and nausea. If left untreated, LCM can cause neurological disease – which means it will affect your brain. About 5% of mice carry this disease. While not a high number, are you willing to take that risk?
Is it a property risk to have mice living in your home?
A mouse can walk on a wire as if it were a tightrope; it can also chew through a wire. Unfortunately, a wire that has been chewed through can cause a fire. Squirrels and other rodents will also chew through wires in your home, creating a risk of fire. A professional exterminator will assess your home for damages due to your mice infestation; it is crucial that you have any damaged wires fixed immediately.
Should you tackle your mouse infestation yourself?
The first question I would ask is how long have you suspected the mice have been living in your house? If it has just been a few days, you could try to deal with it on your own. Set a few traps in the area where there is the most activity and see if you can catch the mice on your own. It’s at least worth a try.
However if it has been several weeks or more than a month, and you haven’t been successful in removing the mice from your home, it’s time to call in the professionals. Hiring a mouse control expert or a mouse exterminator is best unless you have a background in dealing with mice infestations.
Why? Exterminators know how to rid your home of mice; it is that simple. Mice exterminators know how long it is likely to take to kill the mice in your home. They can identify the places where the mice are likely living, and they are trained to use chemicals and traps in safe ways.
After the Infestation: Do exterminators do the clean up?
Many human beings do not want to deal with the small carcasses of mice that have been poisoned, or that lay in traps: it can be an unpleasant task.
A good professional exterminator not only traps or poisons the mice; she cleans up the nasty mess that can be left behind, leaving you completely out of the process.
Be sure to ask this question when you interview your pest control experts. It’s best to know the scope of their service ahead of time.
How can you stop the mice from moving back in?
Homeowners usually breathe a tremendous sigh of relief when their exterminator informs them that the mice are no longer infesting their home. Though after the initial relief, a significant question raises itself: what ift the mice come back? Your mouse exterminator should have the capacity to assess your home and pinpoint how the rodents gained access to your home – and be able to fix most problems.
This is another great interview question when you are deciding which pest control company to select. Ask them what type of prevention services they offer. Can they seal the entry points? What types of materials do they bring with them to patch any holes. If they do not do the work themselves, see if they can offer a recommendation for a good handyman. Or if someone in your house can do the work, can they provide you with a shopping list and detailed instructions on how to secure your home against a future mouse invasion.
Helpful Hints to keep the Mice Away
- Do not panic if you suspect that you have a mice infestation in your house. It is unpleasant to hear mice scratching about within a wall or in an attic, but this is a problem that can be dealt with in an efficient manner.
- Many homeowners worry about the possibility of becoming ill, as a result, of having mice in their living space; this is a reasonable concern. If you are extremely busy at work, why not hire a reputable cleaning company to clean your house? You will have the peace of mind that comes from knowing all surfaces have been disinfected.
- If you have time, it is wise to do a thorough cleaning of your home after a mice infestation. Not only will you feel better, you will destroy any remaining germs or bacteria.
- If you sometimes leave your garage door open while you are, say, working on your lawn mower, consider closing it. A mouse will often take the opportunity to run through an open door when no human is watching.
- If you have lots of clutter in your basement or attic, get rid of it. Mice love to nestle in dark corners among long-forgotten debris – they are much less likely to settle in a neat-as-a-pin storage area.
- Check your floors for buildups of dust; if you do not regularly sweep, vacuum, or mop a part of your floor – perhaps under a corner table or a heavy chair – you are unintentionally creating an inviting space for a mouse. Clean and vacuum your entire floors often.
- If you have a cat or a dog, you might leave its food out at all times for its convenience. You should know that rodents, like mice, like to nibble on pet food; if you put away your pet food in a sealed container, after your pet has eaten, you will be less likely to attract mice.
- Ask your mice exterminator to recommend some steps you can take to make your home less appealing to mice – and be sure to follow the advice you receive. A simple step like carefully sweeping up all crumbs in your kitchen every night can keep the mice away.
Don’t panic if you find you have mice living in your home, just take quick action. As long as you are fast about it, you can get rid of the mice for good. Follow our 5 point plan to get rid of mice or call an exterminator. Just take action. Follow the steps we have laid out and you will find yourself living mouse free in no time.