How do you know if you have a mouse infestation?
This is the first question many homeowners ask when they hear scurrying sounds in the walls An infestation is a relative term. There isn’t a hard number. What you do need to know is that a breeding pair of mice is capable of producing thousands of descendants in a year. That doesn’t mean your home will overflow with mice. Like many animals, mice colonies won’t grow larger than an area can support without some of them moving. What it does mean is that a small mouse problem can quickly become a large one. The best way to determine if you have an infestation is with an inspection. The pest inspectors at Anteater Exterminating Inc. determine exactly that. If you suspect mice, there are some signs you can look for though.
Signs of mice in the home.
- How small are mouse droppings? This is a telltale sign. Droppings are typically 1/4 inch in length. They look like small brown grains of rice. Never touch droppings with bare skin.
- Is that smell rodent urine? The smell of rodent urine is consistent between mice and rats. It smells strongly of ammonia, and the more urine, the stronger the smell.
- What do mice use to build nests? Mice use fibrous materials for nest building. That means cardboard, paper, and cloth. They’ll typically take materials from areas that offer protection—under and behind a couch, papers close to a wall, etc. Check the corners of furniture closely. Clothes that have been left out may be chewed on as well.
- What do mice sound like? Listen to this for a great example of the sound a mouse makes in the wall. You may hear scuffling, scratching, and the occasional squeak.
How do I mouse proof my house?
There are several areas you should address. If an area doesn’t provide what a mouse is looking for, it will find one that does. The three primary motivating factors for a mouse are food, water, and shelter. You may not be able to remove every instance of each, but you can severely limit a mouse’s options.
Mouse-proof the outside of the house.
- Seal your garbage cans. Garbage is the easiest meal for a rodent. When a trashcan isn’t airtight it lets the smell out. Sense of smell is measured by olfactory receptor genes. Mice have 1,130 olfactory receptors. For reference, humans only have 396. Sealing off this easy meal forces mice to look elsewhere. The first step to keeping mice out of the home is making the surrounding area less attractive.
- Remove clutter. This is as true for your garage or sheds as it is for the yard. Many people have left an old car in the yard only to find it was a rodent nest years later. When a covered structure is already prepared, mice don’t have to do as much work. Remove any refuse in the yard like brush piles, wood piles, and old appliances. Clear out your shed or garage of anything you aren’t actively using.
Mouse-proof the inside of the house.
- Block entry points. Mice can fit through an area the size of a dime. Copper wool is your best option for filling cracks. Rodents cannot chew through this and it won’t rust like steel wool will. Only use this for small entry points. Window screens are best used for larger areas.
- Seal up food sources. That means an air-tight seal! You’ll want to eliminate bags in your cupboard and pantry. Make sure anything that isn’t in a can is inside an airtight container. This doesn’t have to be glass, though glass is your strongest option for obvious reasons. Don’t forget to seal off pet food. This is the one homeowners often forget. Use airtight containers like metal bins for dry dog and cat food. Don’t use endless feeders or leave out bowls with leftover food.
What diseases do mice carry?
These fall into several categories based on transmission. One of the biggest reasons to consider hiring an exterminator is to eliminate an infestation early. Mice don’t have to be present in the home to cause a problem. Not only will exterminators eliminate mice, they’ll also clean up the areas that contain disease-causing rodent feces.
Diseases transmitted by bite.
- Lyme Disease – Transmitted by tick bites, this can be passed onto humans when ticks hitchike indoors. Deer mice are the most common carriers.
- Rat-bite Fever – This is passed on by a mouse scratch or bite. It’s caused by bacteria and causes a fever that can last months.
- Typhus – Flea bites from infected rats pass this on. It causes rashes, headaches, fevers, and even respiratory attacks.
Diseases transmitted by excrement.
- Samnolla – Repsonsible for food poisoning, this is spread by rodent feces. That’s why sealing up food items is so critical.
- Hantavirus – Spread by urine and feces, this is common in deer mice. It causes renal failure, flu symptoms and can lead to death.
Why do I need professional mouse control and extermination?
Mice breed so quickly it can make getting a handle on the problem difficult. Children are also more susceptible to the diseases mice carry. DIY home treatments may catch one mouse at a time, but an infestation is systemic. Our exterminators can eliminate your mouse infestation and give you back control over your home. Call us today.