Like their relatives the rats, mice are not only looking for food, but also for warm shelter. Inadvertently, our homes provide them with everything they need. Therefore, we have coexisted with rats and mice in a complicated relationship that spans thousands of years.
It is a common belief that mice only invade dirty and unkempt environments, but this is not true. Even the cleanest and tidiest of homes can suffer a rodent invasion.
Mice enter through cracks and holes in walls, floors, and foundations. Despite efforts to maintain cleanliness, mice look for ways to get to the food, water, and heat in our spaces.
Most homeowners are unaware of how little space a mouse needs to enter. Therefore, they often don’t recognise mouse entry points until other signs of infestation appear, such as the following.
Signs of a mouse invasion
Mice multiply rapidly, so it is important to spot early signs of infestation quickly to prevent the situation from getting worse. Here are the most important signs of a possible mouse invasion.
Presence of droppings
On average, mice defecate between 40 and 60 times a day. Their droppings will be scattered all over the house, as they are animals that move around a lot. Their faeces are elongated, dark and 3 to 8 mm long.
You will find the most droppings where mice nest or feed, and not necessarily at their point of entry.
Mice’s teeth grow continuously and need to gnaw on hard things to sharpen them. Mice gnaw through almost everything: furniture, walls, ceilings, floors, and electrical wiring. Gnawing damage is often the second most important indicator of a mouse infestation.
Bite marks usually consist of two parallel grooves 1 to 2 mm apart. Act quickly when the first signs of gnawing are noticed, as mice can attack electrical wiring and cause a fire.
Urine or ammonia odour
Mice emit a strong, unpleasant odour, which is especially noticeable in enclosed spaces such as wardrobes and attics. The smell comes from their urine and helps them to orient themselves and mark their territory.
Cats and dogs are excellent at detecting the scent of rodents. If you see your pet’s new interest in an area of the house, examine the area scrupulously. If the smell is overwhelming, it could unfortunately be a major mouse infestation.
Traces and marks of grease and dirt
If mice are active in the home, their tracks are likely to be detectable. This is because mice often follow the same route to enter and move around. In doing so, they rub their fur against the wall and floor, leaving grease marks that may be visible.
Paw prints may also be noticeable in dusty places, such as basements and warehouses. Using talcum powder in a suspicious place may allow you to confirm or rule out an active invasion by mice or an entry point into your home.
Mice are usually most active just before dawn or after dusk. They are very curious animals and due to their poor eyesight, rely entirely on their sense of smell, touch, and hearing.
Therefore, if you hear scratching noises in the morning or evening, they are probably hungry mice looking for food.
Where can mice get in?
The most striking feature of a mouse’s head is its ears. These can fold over its body easily to allow it to get into almost any place. And if a mouse can fit its head into a hole, the rest of its body can fit through.
In this way, the small, flexible body of a mouse can squeeze through tiny holes and crevices, less than a centimetre in size. In certain materials, a mouse can even open its entry point using its teeth.
These small holes and cracks are easy to ignore as we go about our daily routine. Thus, mice can wreak havoc by chewing and nesting, as well as being carriers and transmitters of bacteria and other pathogens.
In the event of a mouse infestation, the first thing to do is to identify where mice enter the house, and the routes they use to move around. These access points should then be closed off. This will not immediately solve the infestation, but it will prevent them from coming back again and again.
Detect mouse entry points
Prevent rodents from entering your home by checking for entry points. Once a possible entry point has been detected, it needs to be sealed to prevent them from using it again. These places can be.
Inside the house
You can look for holes or cracks that allow mice to enter from inside the house by checking carefully:
- Inside, under and behind kitchen cupboards, fridges, and cookers.
- Inside cupboards, especially near the corners of the floor.
- Around the fireplace, especially if it is always open to the outside.
- Under doors and around door frames.
- Near sinks and washing machine drains.
- Around heating boiler ducts.
- In the floor vents and at the steam outlet of the tumble dryer.
- Anywhere in the attic, both ceilings and walls.
- Basement floors and walls.
- At the junction of the floor and wall throughout your home.
Outside the home
It is possible to detect mouse entry points from outside your home. Just look at:
- The junction of the roof and walls, especially at eaves and rafters.
- Around door and window frames.
- In the foundation of the house, right where it meets the ground.
- In basement and attic vents.
- Around holes in electrical, telephone, plumbing, and gas lines.
Garages, storage rooms and other outbuildings should also be inspected for other possible entry points. These should be sealed as soon as possible, which you can either hire a professional pest control service or do on your own.
Having mice in your home is not only an eyesore but can also endanger the safety of your loved ones. In addition to carrying disease, they can cause structural and electrical damage.
Finding and sealing mice entry points is a first step to eliminating the problem of a mouse infestation.