Are you worried there are mice in your home? Mice are unfortunately very common. Nearly one third of all Americans have had mice in their homes. Every winter, there are roughly 21 million new cases of rodents reported. That’s a lot of mice!
One of the reasons why mice are so common is because they breed very rapidly. Females are pregnant for only 20 days at a time and give birth to litters of 2 to 7 pups. Pups mature within 6 weeks and breed year-round, so long as there is food available. What might seem like a small problem can very quickly get out of control.
Another reason why mice are so common is their ability to sneak around. Did you know that a mouse can fit in a hole that is one quarter of an inch wide? If you can fit a pen, you can fit a mouse. Mice are very small and quiet, so they often go unnoticed for several weeks or even months.
The following lists the most common signs of a mouse problem and how you can deal with it. If you need help, reach out to the Exterminators in Cobourg or another professional near you.
People often find droppings before they see mice. This is because mice produce a few dozen droppings per day and leave them everywhere behind them. Mouse droppings are 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch long (3-6mm), with stringy ends. They look a lot like black grains of rice. Droppings are usually found along the walls of the home and anywhere there is food, like kitchen cabinets.
Mice tend to follow the same paths every night. Rubbing their bodies against the same surfaces, repeatedly, leaves greasy smudge marks. If you notice dirty marks on the corners of walls or surrounding a hole in the wall, you could be dealing with mice.
Mice like to nest in quiet, enclosed areas like old drawers, fridge motor compartments, and wall voids. They build nests out of insulation, paper, cloth, and other soft materials they found around the house. If you come across what looks like a woven ball of these materials, be on the lookout for mice. Disinfect the nest and throw it out in a plastic bag.
Missing Food and Bite Marks
Your eyes are not deceiving you. Finding a hole in a package of oatmeal or seeing teeth marks on a box of cereal indicates a rodent problem. Mice have strong teeth that can very easily chew through cardboard or plastic.
This is the most obvious sign, but many people downplay the presence of mice. If you saw one, you can safely assume that there are many more nearby. Mice are social creatures that live in groups. They have tiny bodies, long, thin tails, and rounded ears. House mice are mostly grey, while deer mice have distinctly white bellies and feet.
How to Get Rid of Mice
So, what do you do when you see the signs of mice? One option is to call an exterminator right away. He or she will inspect your home to find the causes of the infestation, then set a few bait stations around the house. The bait contains a rodenticide that will make the mice feel sick and retreat into their nests, where they will perish. This is a highly effective treatment that usually gets rid of mice in a few weeks.
Alternatively, you can set your own traps. Pick between live traps, snap traps, and electronic traps. You can also use multi-catch traps that can catch several mice per night. Wearing a pair of gloves, use a toothpick to bait the traps with peanut butter, jerky, or a sweet candy. Then, set the traps in areas of mouse activity, up against the walls of the backs of cabinets. Check on your traps every day.
Note that mice may not step into traps if there are other foods available. Mice are skittish animals that are skeptical to changes in their environment. So, be sure to clean up the house before you set traps. Vacuum, mop, and clean every surface. Do the dishes every day, take out the garbage, and store all your food in sealed containers. This will force the mice to consume bait.
Finally, you’ll want to exclude your home to keep mice out for good. Have a good look at your home’s exterior and seal off any holes you find. Check for door gaps, cracks in the foundation, and gaps between the soffits. You can also cover wall vents and plug weep vents with stainless covers. If it’s too complicated, you can hire a local exterminator for exclusion.