ABC Blog

Signs of a Mouse Infestation

a group of mice eating cereal

Do you have a sneaking suspicion that there is a population of mice in your home even though you haven’t actually seen a mouse yet? Your fears are not unjustified.

Mice are nocturnal and are most active at night. It’s rare to see them during the day, even if you have a large mouse infestation in your home. The best way to spot a mouse problem is to notice the signs they leave behind.

Many homeowners report that they have found mouse droppings but no mouse. Droppings, loose nesting materials, a musky smell and other signs indicate that your home has a mouse infestation. You should contact a rodent control specialist as soon as you notice the signs.

The Most Common Signs of a Mouse Infestation

Mice are nocturnal animals, so they are most active between dusk and dawn. Mice do sometimes come out during the day, but it’s rare. Instead, there are other signs to watch out for that may indicate that a mouse population has trespassed into your home.

First, you can hear mice scampering and running through your walls at night. This is when they are traveling back and forth from their nest to their food and water sources.

You may also see the droppings they leave behind on their path. Knowing what mouse droppings look like is important. Mouse droppings are dark brown and measure between one-eighth and one-fourth of an inch. They have a smooth texture and pointed edges.

Mice also leave behind chew marks on food packages. Their incisor teeth can easily chew through paper and plastic, such as cereal boxes and granola wrappers. If you see chew marks on your food, start storing your dried goods in metal or hard plastic containers that mice cannot penetrate. Also, throw out any food that has been chewed on by mice.

Mice can even chew through drywall to make entry points for themselves. Noticing gnaw marks or holes in your walls is a sign of a mouse infestation. You might picture large holes like the ones you’ve seen in cartoons, but mice only need a hole the width of a pencil to get in and out of your home.

Inspect your home for these small holes. You may see them around your doors and windows, roof, electrical outlets, walls and attics. Mice can also sneak in through cracks in your foundation. Seal up small holes using steel wool or caulk.

One reason that mice love living in homes is that they are full of great nesting material. Mice build their nests using fibrous materials such as paper, pillow and mattress batten, string and more.

Even if you don’t see a mouse in your home, you may see loose nesting material where it doesn’t belong. That’s a sign that they dropped it on their path back to their nesting spot.

Mice like to nest close to their food source. Their nests are often found behind kitchen appliances, in your pantry or inside rarely used drawers. They also like nesting in loose garage debris if it is within 30 feet of their food source.

To prevent mice from getting into your materials, store linens, paper and other potential nesting materials in containers they cannot get into. You should also keep your garage and drawers clutter free so that they do not hide their nests where you won’t notice them.

Finally, a mouse infestation leaves behind a musky and unpleasant odor. It has an ammonia scent that smells like stale urine.

Again, you will most likely not see a mouse during the day, so watching for these signs of a mouse infestation is important. Mice reproduce rapidly, so the earlier you discover a mouse problem, the easier it is to get rid of it.

Contact a pest control specialist as soon as you notice these signs of a mouse infestation. The experts will use professional control methods to rid your home of mice.

a mouse on a counter

Does Vinegar Repel Mice?

Many homeowners want to take a mouse infestation into their own hands, and using vinegar to repel mice is a common solution people talk about on the internet. But, does vinegar actually repel mice?

Currently, no scientific evidence proves that vinegar can repel mice. However, some say that spraying vinegar around your home, specifically in kitchens, can repel some mice. Another way to try this method is to soak cotton balls in vinegar and leave them around areas where mice live in your home. You can also leave out bowls of vinegar. Consider using strong-smelling vinegar like white vinegar or apple cider vinegar.

It’s important to remember that vinegar is not an effective long-term solution. It may just encourage the mice to look in other areas of the home for food. Plus, the smell of vinegar can be unpleasant for your family.

For the best long-term rodent and pest relief, contact a professional exterminator. They will use a combination of methods that are tailored to your mouse infestation. A pest control specialist can also provide an ongoing prevention plan to help keep rodents out of your home and off your property.

a mouse on a rock

Do Mice Bite?

It’s normal to feel concerned about getting bitten by a mouse if you have a population of mice in your home. Luckily, mice do not bite very often. They are not aggressive animals, so they only bite when they feel like their life is being threatened.

Mice are fast runners and can fit into various holes, such as shower drains and holes they chew in your walls themselves. They can usually find an escape route when they feel threatened. However, if they feel cornered with nowhere to go, they may bite in self-defense.

Fearing a mouse bite is justifiable because mice carry several diseases they transmit through their saliva. Mice have strong teeth and can easily break human skin. A bite can cause bleeding and leave behind a stinging sensation.

A mouse bite can easily become infected and some people can also have allergic reactions to mouse bites.

The most common diseases that can be transmitted due to a mouse bite include rat-bite fever, hantavirus and lymphocytic choriomeningitis. These diseases’ symptoms vary, including fever, fatigue and vomiting.

Humans most likely will not get bitten by a mouse unless they are handling them. However, your pets may be bitten during an unfriendly encounter. Pets react differently to mice diseases than humans, so a vet should look at any mouse bites on your pets.

Another danger of getting too close to mice and rodents is that they are home to several parasites. Mites and fleas make their homes in mouse fur, and they can leap onto humans or pets if they get too close. These creatures carry their own diseases and health risks that both humans and other animals should avoid.

If you see a mouse in your home, do not try to pick it up and remove it yourself.  Contact a professional rodent and pest control service when you spot signs of a mouse infestation. The experts can get your mouse problem under control so that you do not have to worry about the possibility of mouse bites.

Most mouse infestations are identified by the signs that mice leave behind. You may hear them scurrying through your walls, spot their loose nesting materials or notice their droppings. The damage that rodents can cause, such as bite marks in your food packages and gnawing marks on your walls, is also a strong indication that you have a mouse problem. Another common sign of mice is a musky, urine-like odor.

After spotting any of these signs, it’s wise to contact a rodent control specialist.

ABC Can Get Your Rodent Problem Under Control

Dealing with mice can feel like a disgusting chore that never ends. Instead of wasting time and money trying to deal with a pest problem on your own, contact ABC Home & Commercial Services. Our licensed professionals will control these pests and can provide ongoing pest control services so you can have peace of mind.

Holt Myers

Holt joined ABC in 2021 as the Electrical & Appliance Operations Manager before transitioning to Division Manager for Pest Control. Before ABC, Holt worked as a Project Manager and Superintendent in Construction. Holt also served in the US Marine Corps from 2003 to 2007. Holt is a member of NPMA’s PestVets, Stewards of the Wild and Texas Wildlife Association. Holt is an avid outdoorsman, who loves to travel and spend time with his wife and daughter.

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