The classic children’s book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie teaches us about cause and effect, altruism, and charity. “If you give a mouse a cookie, he’s going to ask for a glass of milk.” The story continues with the mouse asking for more and more until he finally gets a cookie again. Much like this story, rodents have a way of taking advantage of charity. However, its usually not because we meant to give them that cookie… This story helps us understand cause and effect which leads me to the actual reason behind this post – how to keep mice and rodents out of our homes and businesses.
Signs of an Infestation
Speaking of mice – the most commonly encountered rodent inside homes and businesses are House Mice. Native to Central Asia, these brownish-grey rodents have white bellies and hairless tails. They are usually somewhere between 3-4 inches in size and can reproduce up to 35 young per year. Their vision is not great, however, their other senses can keenly lead them to your pantry, kitchen, garbage, pet food, or other areas where food or nesting materials are present.
- Droppings – Mice will leave droppings everywhere they visit. They are roughly 1/8 inch long, pointed at the ends, rod shaped, and can be dry or soft.
- Odor – The distinct smell of urine can also indicate that an infestation is active and nearby.
- Tracks or Runways – Droppings will be left even where they travel. You can usually find them behind furniture along baseboards, under appliances, utility rooms, or inside cabinets where human food is stored. The droppings will usually be left in a line where the mice have been traveling.
- Gnawing – Small holes in cabinets, walls, and food storage containers can be a sign of mice gaining entry to a runway or food source.
- Nesting – Many times mice will use insulation, clothing, or soft other materials to build a nest.
- Actual Mouse
How to Keep Mice Out
As we start experiencing colder weather our homes become warmer, dryer, and become the best option for mice to survive the change in seasons. They are able to squeeze their bodies through openings as small as your pinky finger, or roughly the size of a dime. Here are some tips to help keep mice from invading:
- Seal cracks, holes, or other small openings on the outside of your home using expanding foam with steel wool or caulking.
- Repair aging weather stripping and broken mortar on the exterior foundation.
- Repair broken window screens, especially basement windows and first floor windows.
- Seal cracks and holes where utility pipes or wires enter your home.
- Throw out all of your Amazon boxes… Keep clutter and debris to a minimum!
- Store food in glass, metal, or plastic air tight containers – including pet food
- Do not leave pet food or water out over night.
- Store yard debris and firewood away from your home.
If you are still experiencing a rodent problem – contact Harmony – we offer rodent control and can provide exclusion services to keep mice or other rodents from coming in!
Examples of Mice Infestations
In the image above you can see mice have gnawed through this crawl space vapor barrier to gain access to a nesting location.
This example shows mice using insulation to create a nest. This particular nest includes home insulation, HVAC insulation, and pieces of spray foam insulation.
This image shows a nesting site on top of the sill plate. This particular location was directly below a kitchen.