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I think I have a mouse infestation. How can I be sure?

Are you seeing rodent droppings in your home or in out-buildings on your property? Is there a sudden smell of urine in your home? Have you noticed what appear to be gnaw marks on woodwork? Are there signs of nests? (Shredded paper or cardboard, bits of insulation, and other similarly fibrous material.) Are your pets acting unusual, as though they’re hearing or seeing something in the house? Have you noticed that corners of boxes or bags of food (human or pet) have been chewed on? If you’re experiencing some combination of the above, then it’s a pretty good sign that you have a rodent infestation. 

Now, we know that’s not what you wanted to hear, but we can assure you that there’s no need to panic. Rodent infestations, particularly those of the house mouse (the most prevalent type of mouse in North America) are incredibly common. Having a mouse infestation is nothing to be ashamed of, while it can be an indication of unclean living areas, there are many other factors that can lead to such an issue. Honestly, we see them in all sorts of homes and in all sorts of areas — rural, suburban, and otherwise. What a mouse infestation does mean is that there are a few preventative measures that should be taken in order to protect your home from them ever returning. But first, you need to get rid of the infestation you’re experiencing now, because mice reproduce quickly and often, and it’s always best to treat an infestation as early as possible for the quickest, most efficient result. 

How did I get mice?

This is a very common question and one that we hope we can help you answer. “How did this happen? We’re a clean family and we keep a clean house — is there something wrong?” It’s easy to assume that an infestation of mice in your Battleground home means that you’ve got a major problem on your hands. Now, depending on the size of the infestation you’re dealing with, that might be the case, but typically what we see when we’re working with clients who have a rodent problem is really a series of small, easily remedied problems that result in a pest infestation. 

How long has it been since you’ve looked around the outside of your home for holes or cracks in the exterior? Even an incredibly small hole (like, we’re talkin’ the size of a dime here, folks) is large enough that a mouse can squeeze through it. Take special care to look at areas like your chimney, or even the seals around windows and doors. Do you garden or compost? Are there trash or recycling bins kept outdoors? Do you keep bird feeders in the yard, and is seed or other types of pet food accessible? These are all things that can attract rodents to your home, and as the weather starts to cool down in fall, mice will find their way to your yard. When they see the potential for shelter, food, and water, they will do all they can to make their way inside for nesting. 

What can I do to prevent future mice infestations?

Well, in a sense it’s the complete inverse of the above. You see, mice (and potentially other pests) are attracted to your home and property because they are in need of what is essential for their survival, namely food, water, and shelter. And your home — given all that these mice have seen, smelled, and tasted — is simply the perfect environment for them to thrive in. In order for them to lose interest in your home so that they go elsewhere, you need to remove the variables that are attracting them in the first place. It’s simpler than you might think. 

  • Review your home for entry points: Can you find cracks or holes in your foundation? Do you have poorly sealed windows or doors? Are there cracks in your chimney, or are there small openings where utilities enter the house? Fix these in the manner recommended by experts at your local home improvement or hardware store. One method we’ve seen success with is copper wool. Mice, who love the act of chewing as it wears down their ever-growing incisors, cannot chew through copper wool as it gets stuck in their teeth. This is a good way to deter the mice from entering the home.
  • Keep all foods and food waste in tightly sealed containers: If you’re a gardener who composts, then we recommend that you rotate your compost regularly to aerate the materials and encourage quicker breakdown. Relatedly, if you have bird feeders or keep any sort of pet food outside or in accessible spaces, be sure to keep them in tightly sealed containers so that rodents are unable to gain access. The same goes for your trash and recycling bins. Make sure that the lids are tightly sealed so that mice cannot get inside. 
  • Remove all standing water from your property: Mice, like most other creatures, need water to survive. If the area surrounding your home or property contains standing water, then by all means remove it. This can become a source of drinking water for mice, rodents, and other pests, and by removing it you’re again removing another variable that is attracting them to your home. No food, no shelter, and no water is a strong preventative measure in ensuring that you’ll also have no mice. 

Are mice dangerous?

Mice have a reputation in popular culture for being cute, sweet, and relatively harmless little creatures, and, aesthetically speaking, they are pretty adorable. But looks can be deceiving. While mice in and of themselves are not malicious or predatory creatures, their habits can cause a great deal of damage to your home, and their basic bodily functions can cause a great deal of harm to you and your loved ones. Remember those “ever-growing incisors” we mentioned earlier? Well, we weren’t exaggerating. A mouse’s incisors can completely regrow in about a month and a half. All this tooth growth means a whole lot of chewing and gnawing, which often results in a whole lot of damage to your home. Mice can chew through drywall, insulation, wood, concrete, and even certain types of metal. If mice in your home chew through electrical wiring — and they often do — then it can increase your risk for fire. So, while mice themselves aren’t necessarily dangerous, they certainly can cause danger. And it doesn’t stop there. 

Mice, specifically their urine and droppings, can carry disease-ridden bacteria that can cause harm to humans. This can trigger asthma, hantavirus, salmonella, and even contaminate your food. If you see evidence of mouse excrement or urine in your home, then it’s crucial that it be removed properly. Making this bacteria airborne is very dangerous. The Centers for Disease Control have a very detailed process for cleaning up after rodents that we recommend reviewing and understanding before beginning cleanup. Not only is it important to clean up this biohazard for the reasons mentioned above, but it’s also important because mouse urine and droppings will attract even more mice to your home. This cleanup is yet another crucial step in making your home mouse infestation-free. 

How do I choose the right exterminator for mouse infestations?

Do you have a mouse or rodent infestation plaguing your home? We’re here to help! When you choose Aspen Pest Control for your extermination needs, you’ll have the peace of mind your friends and neighbors have experienced for years. Our commitment to our customers lies at the heart of our home protection plan, which comes with a full satisfaction guarantee. What does this mean? It means that if rodents return between quarterly services, we’ll come back free of charge to ensure you have a pest-free life. Call us today for a free quote!