It only takes a pair of mice to lead to a full blown infestation. Mice are able to give birth as soon as two months after they are born (which is about 20 days after the parents mate), and can breed up to ten times a year. They are rodent vermin known to carry disease, eat and infect food, and destroy the home. It is a pest problem you should get rid of immediately.
This is what you should look for.
Presence of Mouse Droppings
If you start seeing dark, shiny pellets that look like pointed chocolate sprinkles, in places chocolate sprinkles have no business being, you are looking at mouse poo. These droppings are most often found around food, under sinks, and in drawers and cabinets, and there will be more of them where the mice are feeding or nesting.
One adult mouse will leave 50-75 droppings a day. As the infestation gets bigger, the number of droppings will multiply, and you may see thousands, even tens of thousands, of them. Old droppings will be dry, dull, grey, and crumbly to the touch.
Pitter-Patter of Little (Mouse) Feet
Mice are nocturnal, i.e. most active at night, so if you are turning in for the night and hear what sounds like soft scampering, scraping, or scratching, you are likely hearing mice on your floor or in your walls. You may also hear the occasional squeaking.
Little Gnaw Marks
Mice are rodents and they need to gnaw on things to keep their teeth at a functional length. They can conceivably gnaw on anything, but it will most often be on food packages, drywall, wooden items, and wires. The holes they make will be small – around the size of a dime – and are relatively clean cut. The colouration of the gnaw marks or holes darkens as they age, the opposite of how mouse droppings change colour.
You may also see shredded paper, newspaper, and paper towels; mice use these types of materials to build their nests.
Strange Behaviour of Other Pets
If your cat or dog starts to act strangely, especially in particular areas, this may be a sign that there are or have been mice around. Since pets’ smell and hearing are much better than ours, they can better sense mice and will react. They may seem more alert than usual, bark at unseen things, or paw at small spaces, such as under the stove, fridge, or furniture that’s low to the ground.
If you witness unusual behaviour from your pets, take a good look around for droppings, gnaw marks, and other signs.
Little Pathways, Tracks, or Greasy Marks
If you see smudge marks along the bottom of your walls or little tracks that seem to form some sort of a route or pathway, you may have mice. The oily rub marks are left when mice brush up against surfaces. If they smear easily, they are recently made.
If you’re not sure you’re seeing footprints , or want to see if there are mice in a particular area in your home, sprinkle a little baby powder, talc, china clay, or flour where you suspect mouse activity. Make sure it’s a thin layer, not a dollop, which the mice may try to avoid. If little tracks appear in the powder the next day, you have your answer.
Odour of Mouse Urine
Mice pee a lot. Eventually, you may start to smell the acrid, musky scent of ammonia. The stronger the smell, the more mice you have, the closer you are to the mice or mouse activity, or both. Even after an infestation has been dealt with, you may still smell it for a while; it doesn’t go away quickly.
If you have a particularly large infestation, you may even see little mounds made of dirt, mouse urine, and mouse body grease. These are called “urine pillars”, and they can grow up to 4 cm tall and 1 cm wide.
Take a look around your home for nests – especially in your attic, at the base of appliances, in hidden or hard-to-reach corners, beneath cupboards, and anywhere you may have clutter or piles. Mice make their nests out of shredded paper and fabric, string, dried plant parts, dust, hair, and similar materials. If you see an anomalous mass made out of these materials – particularly if there are other signs of infestation – you are likely staring at a mouse nest.
One way you can check if the nest is still being used: stuff a wad of paper or throw a handful of dirt into it and check it the next day or day after that. If your renovation has been displaced, the mouse tenants have not vacated.
Seeing Mice During the Day
If you start to see mice in your home during the day, this could be a sign that the infestation is getting large, as mice are nocturnal animals. If there are mice looking for food during the day, it means that there is a lot of competition for food and they are being forced to forage at different times.
Time to Call in the Professionals
If you see any of these signs, call Dependable Pest Control as soon as practicable. You do not want to wait until these mice have destroyed your home or endanger the health of your children. Contact us today to discuss your mouse problem or to ask questions about mice infestation.