The cooler temperatures of winter drive many animals into hibernation, but mice stay active year round. Once the temperatures drop, though, mice have difficulty finding reliable sources of their favorite foods, such as seeds and grass. That means they’re going to look for their meals elsewhere, including inside your home.
Learn to spot the tell-tale signs of having mice in your house and how to keep mice away so you can have a cozy and rodent-free winter.
How to Tell if There Are Mice in Your House
If you’ve started to suspect that you have mice in your house because you’re hearing scratching, gnawing, running and rustling noises, you’re on the right track. This is especially true if those noises occur at night, as house mice are mostly nocturnal.
However, a silent night doesn’t necessarily mean that mice aren’t an issue. You’ll want to keep your eyes out for other signs of a mouse problem, including:
- Droppings left behind in trails of what looks like chocolate sprinkles
- Nests made of materials like shredded paper
- Mouse hallways and burrows in insulation
- Evidence of something chewing on items like boxes, plastic containers, clothing or wooden spoons
- Areas that are stained with or smell like urine (in the case of a huge infestation)
Rodent Control for Your House
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mice and other rodents can transmit a number of diseases, so you definitely don’t want them in your home. But it can be incredibly difficult and stressful to take on a mouse problem on your own. Additionally, trying to control mice using rodenticides can be dangerous if chemicals aren’t handled properly.
Though proper sanitation can help, getting rid of mice can be difficult, so many people rely on a professional rodent control service to handle the task. A trained technician can inspect your home to determine if mice are your problem. Then, he or she can work with you to figure out the best course of action.
How to Help Keep Mice Away
You probably don’t ever want to have to deal with mice in your house. While there are no fool-proof methods to prevent these rodents, there are ways you can help deter them.
Eliminate entry points.
Check your home for ways in which mice could enter, including loose siding, gaps around windows and doors, cracks in the foundation and holes around dryer vents. Seal any openings that are larger than one-quarter inch.
Keep your kitchen clean.
A clean kitchen won’t repulse mice by any means. However, a kitchen with bits of food on floors, counters and in sink traps can attract mice like moths to a flame. Additionally, you want to keep dried goods (including pet food) in well-sealed metal or glass containers that mice can’t chew through.
Do some landscaping.
Mice can gain access to your home by scampering across tree limbs and entering via the attic or eaves. You should also keep gardens and shrubs trimmed and tidy so that you can easily spot and address new points of entry that develop.
Keep potential shelters such as piles of wood, bricks or stones far from the foundation of your house to discourage mice from setting up camp right outside.
Mice may not sleep through winter, but that doesn’t mean you have to invite them into your home. Arm yourself with these tips and reduce your odds of encountering unwelcome mice in your house this year.