It’s not always easy to tell whether your home has mice. Most mice hide in the walls and only come out at night to look for food. Unless you’re staying up late at night, you may never see a house in your home.
Of course, mice will eventually start to breed and as the population grows it will become harder for them to go undetected. At this stage, you’re likely to notice a few telltale signs. Below are some of the common signs that a home has mice.
Most people know that they have a rodent problem when they start hearing noises in the walls. Mice tend to make very little noise when they run, however they can be quite noisy when chewing on something, resulting in a ‘scratching’ sound. It’s possible that they could be chewing plaster and insulation within the walls in order to make a nest. All in all, there’s likely to be some kind of damage being caused, so you should investigate it as quickly as possible.
Small brown droppings are another clear sign that you have some kind of rodent living in your home. You’re most likely to find these in the corner of rooms or in cupboards – when moving around your home, mice don’t like to venture too much into the open.
It’s worth checking dusty corners of rooms for paw prints. Mice tend not to leave much trace when running, however if they run through some dust they’re likely to leave a few small prints. You may also see tail marks.
Mice tend to be quite smelly creatures. Their urine has a strong ammonia odor to it. If you’ve got an infestation, you’ll likely start to smell this in the air. Living with this odor isn’t pleasant and it could be making your home an unhygienic environment, so you should get it checked out as soon as you can.
One thing that mice love to do is chew. Whether they’re looking for food, creating a nest or tunnelling, they’re likely to leave behind some visible damage. In your kitchen, look out for chewed cardboard packets or chewed bags of sugar or rice. Such food could be contaminated, so you’ll want to throw it out. Also check for chewed edges of furniture or frayed cables.
Mice will sometimes chew through wires and cables. This can lead to electrical problems such as circuit breaker trips or flickering lights. Such issues can be serious and are worth looking into immediately – an exposed wire could pose a fire hazard. Hire an electrician to take a look at your electrics to diagnose the issue.
Mice have oil and dirt in their fur that can sometimes be transferred onto cables or furniture. Most mice create regular routes, so they’ll often brush against the same object several times. This can result in noticeable grease stains.
What to do if you think you have mice…
It’s possible to get rid of mice yourself. If your home just contains one or two mice, you may be able to leave traps to catch it. This could be a trap that kills the mouse or a humane trap if you don’t want to kill it (check out this Bob Vila guide to mouse traps). You can also seal up holes and cracks to stop mice venturing out into your home.
If you’ve got an infestation, you’re better off hiring a professional pest control service to deal with it. The likes of Terminix pest control experts will be able to find the best method of removing these mice from your home. This will often involve finding their nest in order to eliminate the source.
You’re less likely to have a mouse problem if you have cats or dogs. Rodents usually won’t want to nest in your home if there’s a dog or cat around and will move onto the next property. If you’ve been thinking of getting a dog or cat, this could be another incentive.
It’s not recommended that you ignore a mouse problem. Even if you’re not scared of mice, you should understand that they carry various diseases – if food gets contaminated, it could make you and your family very ill. The damage they can cause from chewing can also be hazardous (particularly when it comes to electrics). Leaving them alone will likely cause the population to grow and any damage they cause will get worse. This is why it’s important to get rid of mice the moment you notice them so that you can maintain a healthy and happy home.