The house mouse is also known as the Mus musculus. It is known for its large ears, pointed snout, and virtually hairless tail. 

Mice are typically attracted to kitchens; we highly recommend storing all food in airtight containers for this reason. Mice will also gnaw on virtually any surface or material to get into a home, such as insulation, wiring, and wood. It’s not uncommon to also find mice in attics, crawlspaces, and garages. 

Home owners will see signs of mouse damage typically before seeing an actual mouse. This is partly due to mice being more active at night. But it is not uncommon to see the mice scampering throughout their house.

The top 3 signs of a mice infestation:

  1. Droppings
  2. Nests
  3. Damage to food packaging

Mouse droppings are small and dark and usually found on kitchen floors near baseboards. Their nests can be found in hidden areas such as inside drawers or even mattresses. Pantry foods are the most common target for mice that have infiltrated a home, so start by checking the integrity of your food packaging in your pantry. Other evidence of a mouse infestation in the attic include damaged insulation, stripped electrical wires, and gnawed PVC pipes.

Where Do Mice Live in a Home?

Mice prefer warm, dark, and sheltered areas, such as wall cavities, attics, basements, and storage sheds. Mice can squeeze through holes 1/4 of an inch in diameter or larger. Because mice have powerful teeth and are highly motivated by available food and warm shelter, they can also easily create holes or enlarge existing holes to get inside. 

How do mice get inside my house?

The most common entry points for mice are pipes, vents, and doors or windows attached to either the main house, or the garage. 

Mice can climb any textured vertical surface and can jump over a foot off the ground. They can access uncovered vents, chimneys, windows with broken screens, and through utility pipes that run through exterior walls.

Mouse Infestation Prevention

It’s best practice to keep food stored in pantries in air-tight containers and to always clean up crumbs. Wipe down your cabinets and the insides of your cabinets regularly. However, cleaning the space where a mouse was found will not necessarily prevent mice from coming back; the only way to do this is by sealing up entry points.

Stop mice from getting into your home by making your yard less attractive to mice. Mice use dense underbrush and debris like leaves and twigs to take shelter from predators. Clearing yard debris will remove shelter for mice to hide under. Mice outdoors don’t pose as much of a threat as those indoors. However, the pests always have the potential to find their way inside homes to look for a meal or a place to nest. 

How Critter Control Gets Rid of Mice

Mice trapping typically lasts five to fourteen days but that can change depending on the size of the house and how well established the mice are. The most effective mouse control method is exclusion repairs. This involves sealing off any current or possible entry points on the home, followed by a thorough inspection and sanitation process. It’s important to repair any damage the mice may have done to the house and disinfect any areas with mouse droppings. 

About the author

Meg has over 13 years of experience in the wildlife industry. She started as a wildlife technician and was district manager and technical training manager supporting the Southeast Region.  She currently is one of the company’s wildlife training managers. As one of the training managers, her primary focus is special projects and leading Women in Wildlife.

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