If you’ve ever dealt with a mouse problem, you may have been confused about why they were there in the first place. How do mice get in the house? The answer may surprise you. Mice get into houses through small cracks or holes. These openings might be in the walls, eaves, foundation or floors. The surprising part is, mice can squeeze through incredibly tiny openings—holes as small as the width of a pencil.
Mice come into our homes seeking food, water and shelter. Their natural habitat is outdoors, but sometimes it gets too cold or too hot outside. During periods of drought or extreme heat, mice can have a hard time finding food or water. These are the times when they venture into people’s homes in search of the essentials they need to survive. If they find plenty of food and water, they’ll settle in and build a nest.
When mice build nests where they don’t belong, the real problems begin. Mice are prolific breeders. This means they have lots of babies, fast. Mice also have constantly growing front teeth that need to be filed down through daily gnawing. On top of all that, they feed 15 to 20 times a day!
This is why a growing mouse infestation can cause so many problems for homeowners, and can be so hard to control. Mice cause extensive damage to homes through their gnawing habits. They might chew through wood, drywall, PVC pipes, even electrical wiring. When nesting, they shred cloth, cardboard, insulation and whatever else they can find to build a comfortable nest for having babies. All of this gnawing and shredding creates lots of property damage that can be expensive to fix.
The food mice eat indoors is the same food people and their pets eat. If you have a mouse problem in your home, they are probably living off food they find in your pantry and on your countertops. Keeping your kitchen clean by wiping up spills, splatters and crumbs is an essential part of keeping mice away, but mice can be a problem even in the cleanest homes. They can chew their way into plastic bags and cardboard boxes in the pantry, where they contaminate your food.
Additionally, mice are known carriers of bacteria and diseases that can make people sick, including hantavirus and salmonella. Even their urine and feces can transmit disease. This is just one reason why it’s a good idea to hire a professional if you have a mouse infestation. A pro has the training and gear needed to handle a rodent nest safely.
Since mice can cause so many problems when they infest a home, it’s important to take preventative steps to keep them away. The very first thing to address is how they are getting inside. Look for any cracks, gaps or holes in the exterior of your home. You might find these in the eaves or the foundation, or around hose bibs or vents. Gaps and holes can also happen around windows and doors. Anything bigger than a pencil’s width needs to be closed off. You can use caulk, steel wool or wire mesh to keep mice and other pests out.
Indoors, you’ll need to cut off these pests’ access to food and water. This typically involves fixing leaky pipes or faucets to limit their water supply. Then, tackle the kitchen: Store all pantry food in airtight containers that mice can’t chew their way into. Pet food should be stored in the same way. Pets’ food and water bowls should never be left out overnight, since these draw mice and other pests.
Reducing clutter both inside and outside your home will also help to keep mice away. These rodents like to nest in cluttered areas that provide them with safety and plenty of nesting materials. Clearing away unused items will go a long way toward keeping rodent pest populations low. Outside, fallen limbs, underbrush and overgrown yards all attract mice. Maintaining your yard and property is an important part of the fight against mice.
If you already have a mouse infestation, the above measures will only go so far. Unfortunately, most people who try to get rid of mice on their own wind up making the problem worse over time. Hiring a trained professional to treat your rodent infestation is the most efficient way to get rid of mice. A pest control specialist will create a safe, comprehensive, customized plan to address your mouse problem. They will also perform follow-up inspections to make sure the problem doesn’t return over time.
Many times, mice can find their way into a home after finding plenty of food, shelter and water in a garage and then eventually making their way inside.
How to Get Rid of Mice in the Garage
Looking for tips on how to get rid of mice in the garage? Garages make attractive homes for mice for several reasons. First, the exteriors of people’s garages tend to have plenty of cracks and holes that mice can use to get inside. Once they’re in, mice can find spaces in the walls or rafters to build a nest. They can also typically find plenty of wood to gnaw on. Remember, mice need to gnaw every day to file down their long, constantly growing front teeth.
If you have cabinets or shelving in your garage, these can also provide good shelter for mice. Also, keep in mind that mice are scared of people, and most people don’t spend a lot of time in their garages. This is another reason garages are such an appealing spot for mice seeking safety, warmth and shelter.
Mice don’t build nests that are too far from a ready food source. If you have a mouse infestation in your garage, that means the mice have a nearby food supply. So getting rid of mice in the garage includes getting rid of whatever they are eating nearby. Since mice often feed up to 20 times a day, they need lots of food. Consider what they might be accessing near the garage that is feeding them on a daily basis.
For many people with mouse problems in their garage, the trees in their yards are an unexpected food source. If you have trees that produce fruit or nuts, these may be feeding your mouse problem. Vegetable gardens and compost piles also tend to draw mice and other pests. Keeping compost in a mouse-proof container will help to keep mice away. So will clearing away fallen fruit or nuts in your yard. These steps will also help keep mice out of your shed.
Unfortunately, mice have a large and varied diet. They even eat grass and seeds. Mowing the grass regularly and keeping your yard clear of underbrush and debris will help to keep mice away, but won’t get rid of an existing infestation. For most people, hiring a pest management specialist is key to getting rid of mice in the garage or the home.
Common Question: Do Mice Have Bones?
Anyone who’s had a mouse problem in their home has learned firsthand that these pests can squeeze through incredibly tiny openings to get inside. They probably even wondered, “Do mice have bones?” Mice are small, but it seems impossible that they could fit through such tiny spaces! But mice do, indeed, have bones. As mammals, they have skulls, spines, rib cages, and arm and leg bones. So how do they manage to squeeze their bodies through such small spaces?
The answer has to do with the particular structure of their skeletons. Mice do have bones, but they don’t have collarbones like people do. Their skulls are the largest part of their whole skeleton. As long as their heads fit through an opening, the rest of their bodies can squeeze through as well.
Additionally, mice really only have to fit through a tiny hole once. When they’ve squeezed through to get indoors, they can gnaw at the edges of that tiny hole to make it wider. Once they chew it out to a comfortable size, they can use it indefinitely as their favorite entry and exit point.
This is why it’s so important to find the gaps and other openings that mice use to get inside your home or garage. Successfully eliminating a mouse nest and all its inhabitants is great, but leaving the mouse holes is just an open invitation for other pests to come inside in the future.
Finding every possible pest access point can be a daunting task. Fortunately, it’s one you can leave to the professionals. A licensed, trained pest specialist knows how to inspect your property thoroughly for any and all mouse access points. Along with treating your existing mouse problem, they can fix or close off these openings so other pests can’t use them to invade your home in the future.
Making your property less appealing to mice is easier than getting rid of them once they’ve moved in. A good pest specialist will recommend steps you can take to deter mice from infesting your home or garage. That way, you’ll have peace of mind from knowing you’re doing all you can to keep rodents away.
ABC Can Treat and Prevent Mouse Problems
Mice are pesky little creatures that can make life difficult for homeowners. Instead of trying every trick in the book, contact ABC Home & Commercial Services. We will create a thorough rodent control plan tailored to your home. You and your family will feel at ease again with our professional services.