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Are Mice Nocturnal?

a mouse in a house

If you’ve noticed signs of mice, but have never actually seen a rodent, you may wonder how bad your problem really is. Or, you may start wondering, ”Are mice nocturnal?” The answer is yes—mice are nocturnal. This means they are most active at night, under the cover of darkness.

Why are mice nocturnal? Keep in mind that they are tiny, timid creatures. It benefits them to do most of their running around at night, searching for food and water. Nighttime is when they are least likely to run into predators.

The fact that mice stay hidden during daylight hours is one of the reasons an infestation can be so hard to find and control. Many times, mice build nests that homeowners never even know are there—that is, until the mice start causing too many problems to miss.

Signs of an Infestation

The unfortunate truth is that you can have a full-blown mouse infestation and never see any actual mice. You will probably be able to spot other signs of their destructive activity, though. Here are some of the most common signs of a mouse infestation:

  • Mouse droppings. You might find these scattered in corners, on top or in the backs of cabinets or under appliances like stoves or refrigerators. Mouse droppings are about the size and shape of grains of rice and range from dark brown to black in color. Many homeowners report finding mouse droppings but no mice.
  • Gnaw marks. Mice and other rodents have long front teeth that they file down through daily gnawing. You might find these tiny chew marks on wooden baseboards or cabinets, rafters or beams, electrical wiring or PVC pipes.
  • Nesting materials. You may find scattered or shredded items like paper, cardboard, fabric, foam or insulation that mice use to build their nests.
  • Scratching, scurrying or squeaking sounds. You might hear these coming from inside a wall, ceiling or other hidden, interior space.
  • Greasy rub marks. These can often be spotted along baseboards, walls or beams—wherever mice regularly travel between their nest and their food and water sources. This happens due to the natural oils and dirt in their fur rubbing off as the mice brush up against the surfaces they pass by.
  • Urine smells. Mouse urine has a pungent ammonia-like scent. As an infestation gets bigger, you may notice the smell more and more strongly.
  • Damaged food packaging and scattered food. If you have mice in your kitchen, you may notice scattered dry food in the pantry or chewed-through food packaging. Mice will also go for anything left out on the counter or not secured in sturdy containers with airtight lids. They can easily chew through cardboard and plastic packages of grains, cereals and other items.
  • Actual mice—alive or dead. Though mice are most active at night, you may occasionally spot one during the day. You might also find a dead mouse or smell one within a wall or other interior void.

When to Call in a Pro

If you notice any of the above signs of mouse activity in your home or around your property, it’s time to contact a pest control professional for help. Often, people who try to deal with a rodent infestation on their own wind up prolonging the problem. The infestation only worsens as they struggle to find a combination of techniques that work. Mice breed so quickly that the nest keeps growing while DIY methods fail.

It is much quicker and more effective to enlist professional help from an experienced pest management specialist. There are several things a homeowner can do to deter mice from infesting their home and property. The key is to block off these pests’ access to their three basic needs—food, water and shelter.

What You Can Do

You’ll need to block off any small gaps, tears or holes that mice might use to get inside. You can use steel wool, caulk or wire mesh for this. Store all food, including pet food, in airtight containers. Garbage and compost bins can also draw rodents and other pests, so these should have tightly fitting lids.

Anything mice could use as a water source should be resolved. Fix leaky faucets or pipes and empty pets’ water bowls at night. Clear away any clutter, such as cardboard boxes, unused furniture and other items, so mice can’t use them for nesting materials or hiding places.

Hiring professionals to help with your rodent problem and supporting their efforts by taking the above steps should be very effective in getting rid of mice.

a mouse on a driveway

How to Find Mouse Nest in Garage

Wondering how to find a mouse nest in your garage? If you use your garage to store lots of items like pet food, firewood and gardening supplies, it will make it harder to find the nest. All the clutter is likely what’s drawing mice to the garage in the first place. These items can provide these pests with food and shelter—the things they need to thrive.

Mice are drawn to spaces where they are safe from predators and can hide and build a nest for breeding. If there is a ready food source nearby, all the better. This is why people’s garages are often the site of mouse infestations.

In a typical garage, mice find all sorts of good things they can shred and use to build a nest. They can find lots of wood and other items to gnaw on. They can even find food in the garage if you store waste bins or pet food there.

Best of all, people don’t usually spend lots of time in the garage as they do in their homes. Mice can be mostly undisturbed in the garage. And in a cluttered garage, there are plenty of hiding places small rodents can use when someone does come in.

Signs of Mice in the Garage

If you think there are mice in your garage, look for any signs of their activity. These should help lead you to the mouse nest itself. For example, mouse droppings and shredded paper, cardboard or insulation are signs of mouse activity.

Listen for mouse sounds that may be coming from mice inside the walls or ceiling of the garage. These will likely be easiest to hear at night. You might hear scratching, scurrying or squeaking sounds. If you have a dog or a cat, you might even enlist their help. Since dogs and cats can smell mice, you can bring them into the garage to see if they fixate on a certain spot, looking at it, smelling it or investigating it with great interest.

Clearing clutter out of your garage is one of the best ways to find a mouse nest. It’s also a big help in preventing mice from infesting the area in the first place. When you remove these pests’ hiding places and the items they might use for gnawing or nesting, you will force them to find someplace else to make their home.

The best way to resolve mouse problems in your garage is to contact a pest control professional. Keeping your garage clean, clear and tidy will help prevent future infestations.

mice in a kitchen

Suspected Mouse in Kitchen? Here’s What to Do

If you think you may have a mouse in the kitchen, you should address it quickly. Mice are incredibly quick breeders. A single female mouse can give birth to multiple litters of mice each year. A mouse nest can grow rapidly, quickly getting out of control. This is why many people opt for professional help with a mouse infestation. Trying to handle it on your own is usually ineffective and only prolongs the problem.

If you have mice in your kitchen, it’s important to know that they contaminate everything they touch. This includes any food they might eat and the surfaces they walk along. Mice are disease carriers. They carry various types of bacteria and diseases that can make people sick, like salmonella, hantavirus and leptospirosis.

Mouse Activity in the Kitchen

If you find chewed food packaging or scattered bits of food in your pantry, this is a likely sign of mouse activity. It’s not a good idea to try to eat or salvage any of the food. It’s better to throw it away, give the pantry a thorough cleaning and then store replacement foods in sturdy, airtight containers.

Mice will also go for any food left out on counters. Spills, smears and crumbs on the counters or floors attract mice. Pet food and water bowls kept in the kitchen are yet another draw for mice and other pests.

To keep mice away from your kitchen, empty your pets’ food and water bowls at night when rodents are most active. Store all food in the refrigerator or inside airtight containers. Make it a daily practice to clean up all crumbs and spills.

Additionally, block off any holes or gaps that mice could be using to get into your kitchen. Check around doors and windows, and inspect window screens as well. You may need to look under the sink for gaps around pipes, as well as around the stove and oven vents. Close off even seemingly tiny openings with caulk, steel wool or fine-gauge wire mesh.

It’s also a smart idea to call in a pest control professional. A specialist can make a thorough inspection of your kitchen, home and property to determine where mice may be breeding or getting inside.

ABC Can Control Any Type of Mouse on Your Property

Dealing with a mouse problem can be time-consuming and frustrating. Instead of dealing with this on your own, contact ABC Home & Commercial Services. Our licensed professionals will create a customized rodent control plan, so you can feel comfortable at home again.

Russell Jenkins

Russell Jenkins is the Chief Communications Officer for ABC Home and Commercial Services in North Texas. Russell has been working as part of the ABC Family since he was 12 years old under the direction of his father, Owner Dennis Jenkins, and has since held several leadership roles at ABC. Russell holds a degree in Agricultural Leadership from Texas A&M University, and is a Food Safety Specialist. In his free time he enjoys spending time with his family and two children, playing tennis, and gaming.

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