What to do When There Are Moles in Your Home Read More...
What to Do When You Have A Mice infestation in Your Home or Business
Mice may be small, pretty harmless, and some would say even cute animals, but when they’re infesting your home or business with their non-stop gnawing and poor toilet habits, they turn into a whole different beast.
The good news is a mice infestation is not that difficult to address, given you have the right expertise and tools for the job. The bad news is that most people don’t, and in the meantime, while you’re figuring out what’s going on and trying out the whole DIY approach, mice can proliferate and become one of the most difficult pests to eradicate for good.
Avoid the latter like the plague with our guide to dealing with a mice infestation in your home or business, the proper way.
How do I know I have mice and not rats?
If you have a small rodent-like looking creature in your house or business, the chances are high that it’s a house mouse.
The house mouse, named due to how they’ve evolved and the fact they often live with us, are what you picture when you think of the typical mouse — browny-grey fur right down to the tail, big eyes and ears, and dainty feet.
There are several other species of mice, although it’s unlikely, unless your property is out in the sticks, that they’re the ones to blame. The field or wood mouse, for instance, is the most common mouse in the UK, but they’re nocturnal and live underground during daylight hours. There’s also the Yellow-necked mouse, the Harvest mouse, and the Dormouse.
These species typically have short life expectancies and roam the outdoors. As an exception, the dormouse can live up to five years and is the rarest and most protected type of mouse found in the UK.
But what if you don’t have any of these creatures, and rather something much bigger and bolder?
Rats have been long despised the world-over (expect in a certain corner of Rajasthan) as deadly and dirty pests. You soon know you have a rat infestation and not mice because they’re larger, have thicker, hairless tails, have flatter and rounder noses, and can be black as well as brown or grey.
Why are there mice in my property?
If you have a strong suspicion there are mice in your property, then you may have seen a live or dead one. But there’s also many other telltale signs of a mouse infestation, for instance, trails of poop pellets, “rubbings” on baseboards and walls, nasty odours, food scraps where they shouldn’t be, and urine trails (if you have a black light).
So there’s no shortage of evidence when mice are around and about, but how the heck did they get in? And most importantly, why are they even in my property?
Come autumn and winter, like many of us humans, mice are driven indoors to seek warmth and an abundance of food sources. Unlike us, though, they don’t have a key to the door.
As you can guess, this doesn’t stop them. Mice are able to fit through openings as small as one-quarter of an inch. And even if the gap is smaller, as long as the wall or material is softer than their teeth (it typically is), they can soon gnaw through it and widen it up.
Such holes are often found in places like the garage and hidden behind shrubbery and branches. But even if they’re elevated a few feet in the air, mice have expert climbing abilities and have even been known to jump to a height of over 25cm.
Safe to say, if they want to, mice can easily find entry points to your property — especially if there’s a plentiful of food and spills and crumbs to feast on. Once they’re in, mice will sustain themselves on almost anything. They need just three to four grams of food per day to survive, but given the choice, they’ll take it from cereal grains, plants, and dried food.
What threat does a mice infestation pose?
Other than frightening family members, workers, and clients, a mice infestation in your property can pose serious health risks and result in significant and costly damage.
Among the most disruptive problems they cause is spreading disease. Mice don’t just chew for fun, as their teeth grow at a rate of 0.3mm every single day, they do it as a form of self-maintenance. And so wherever they happen to be, they will be chewing and essentially transporting bacteria and illnesses from one place to another. This presents a major risk of contamination, particularly for businesses in the food industry.
Another major threat of a mice infestation is damage to your property. As mice live and nest in the in-between spaces, places like ceiling voids, walls, and under floorboards, often this damage can go unseen. As this is where wires and other integral structures are found (all perfect chewing material), the result is lots of costly and difficult to repair (if repairable at all) damage being done.
How to manage a mice infestation once and for all
There are many tricks to dealing with mice in your property. Some of these tricks work and can help deal with an infestation, while others simply don’t and can even make things worse.
To start, the most dangerous and yet the most common method is poison. Poisoning mice not only puts you, other people, and household pets at risk, but can also waste precious time and resources. Mice tend to avoid poison as they have food stored elsewhere and, even if it works as intended, it doesn’t do anything to address the root cause.
The next solution people may turn to is natural alternatives like peppermint spray, dryer sheet stuffings, and cotton balls soaked in oil and cayenne pepper. However, these can likewise be ineffective and simply waste time, allowing mice to breed and large populations to flourish in your property.
The methods that can help to address a mice infestation include removing entry points, for instance by lining your home’s foundation with a strip of heavy gravel, improving general sanitation, storing all dry food in glass jars or airtight containers, and, as long as it’s not a lazy and pampered one, getting a cat.
Such methods can help prevent the problem from getting worse, however, again they are not enough to get rid of an infestation. In order to effectively deal with a mice infestation in your home or business, it’s nearly always necessary to call in a pest control professional.
When getting the experts in, make sure they’re licensed and members of a recognised, national association, as well as specialists in dealing with mice infestations. Check all these boxes, and instead of just waving your mice away for a few weeks or months, you can kiss them goodbye for good.