Signs Of Mice In Your Property – What To Look And Listen For

If you think you have mice, you are probably right. Because your ‘hunch’ will usually be based on one or more of the following.

What Are The Tell-tale Signs of Mice?

  • 1. Mice droppings – small, dark oval-shaped pellets. You can find these in clusters in the corners of a room, underneath the kickboards in the kitchen and utility room, under appliances, and scattered on the floor in loft areas if the mice are uninterrupted in their nocturnal roaming.
  • 2. Strong ammonia-like smell. This usually occurs when an infestation has taken hold in your home or business. You may even see ‘mounds’ of urine where grease and dirt have added to the smell to form small, smelly and unsightly clusters.
  • 3. Smears – on skirting boards, against doors and cupboards, and in the corners of a room. This occurs where the body of a mouse meets the surface they are brushing against.
  • 4. Nests – you will usually have to look to find the nest a mouse has made but you will see the signs they have been building their nests. This includes shredded cloth, paper, plastic bags, and signs that loft insulation has been disturbed. You will find mice nests in loft areas, under floorboards, and behind electrical appliances that emit heat such as a freezer or cooker. But look for the obvious shredding signs first!
  • 5. Scratching sounds and scuttling noises. Mice are most active at night when they’re less likely to be disturbed. They will run in between the floorboards and in the cavity walls. They will run across the kitchen floor, scuttle inside the cupboards, drawers, and food storage areas in a bid to find food.
  • 6. Gnaw marks on food containers. Containers with plastic lids will show signs of gnawing.
  • 7. Mice droppings in foodstuffs – droppings in dry goods such as sugar, and flour, even the bottom of a greasy grill pan are not unusual in heavily infested homes and offices.
  • 8. Mice prints! If mice are infesting an area rarely frequented by humans or where cleaning rarely happens, the dusty floors and surfaces can show signs of mice tracks’ and tail marks.
  • 9. Live and dead mice. In heavily infested homes and offices, you may see a dead mouse maybe more in a state of decay. And it is not unusual to see a live mouse during daylight and evening hours.
  • 10. Signs of disturbance in your kitchen compost boxes. Fruit and vegetable peelings provide an easy access meal for mice.

Photo by Chika Watanabe – Flickr

Common Places You May Find Mice in Your Home or Office

Once you are aware of mice in your home or office the following places should be inspected for signs of mice activity.

  • 1. Kitchen and laundry areas. A mouse can squeeze through a gap the size of a pencil to gain entry to your home or business. Once entry has been gained, don’t be surprised to find them in the following areas: behind kickboards, at the back of appliances such as fridges, freezers, cookers, dishwashers, and washing machines. They will be attracted to the secondary warmth emitted by the cooker and fridge/freezer and the scraps of decaying food and crumbs.
  • 2. Any area with cables or pipework should be inspected. With their flexible skeleton mice can enter through the smallest of cracks and in the pipework itself.
  • 3. Air bricks and air vents. From the ground floor to the upper floors mice will enter via these with ease.
  • 4. Loft areas – in homes, the loft area is a massive magnet for mice that are attracted to the plentiful supply of nesting materials on offer and the lack of human activity. Check inside suitcases and in all boxes and baskets. It’s not uncommon to find evidence of mice in the piles of bedding and sleeping bags in a loft. For businesses, you can find mice nesting in the boxes of paperwork and files stored in the loft area.
  • 5. Basements and cellars. Mice are attracted to these areas because they are quiet, rarely used by humans, and store materials perfect for nesting.
  • 6. Cavity walls. Even in the most modern homes and offices where to the untrained eye it looks impossible for mice to gain entry, mice will use the cavity walls to gain access to every floor and to travel from building to building. They may enter via a pipe, a crack in a wall, or the air bricks. And will then command the space via the cavity walls where you will hear them but rarely see them.
  • 7. In boxes of ‘stuff’. We, humans, gather ‘stuff’ such as clothes, books, and soft furnishings that we are unwilling to part with, consigning them to dark spaces in the spare room, loft spaces, and garage areas to be dealt with at a later date. Don’t be surprised to see a mouse in one of these boxes of stuff. It provides a perfect home where they can live and breed undisturbed.

Photo by David-O – Flickr

What Should You Do If You Have An Infestation

Mice can contaminate food with droppings, fur, and urine and are carriers of several diseases, one of which is toxoplasmosis, they pose a particular threat to pregnant women.

Mice will feed on the smallest of scraps and crumbs. They even eat soap because of their fat content. They love pet food, tiny bits of food in your carpet, on your soft furnishings, and in the children’s play areas. If you are to remove their food sources, you must adopt a forensic approach to cleaning in your home or business.

  • Food storage – any food stored in cupboards should be placed in tamper-proof containers – glass and metal. Mice will easily gnaw through plastic lids and you often don’t see the damage until they have been feasting on the food for a few weeks.
  • Restrict the areas where young people eat food as the mice will find the areas where crumbs and leftovers are distributed liberally!
  • Vacuum all floors such as carpets and hard flooring where food is served and eaten at least twice a day and check all skirting boards too.
  • Inspect and clean behind kitchen appliances.
  • Wash all surfaces used for preparing, serving, and eating food with an antibacterial cleaner, so they are neither contaminated nor harbouring leftovers for mice.
  • Bins including kitchen compost should be emptied regularly and cleaned.
  • All glassware, crockery, and cutlery should be cleaned on the same day.
  • If you feed the birds in the home or office garden keep the bird food in tamperproof metal containers.
  • Inspect the loft areas that are easy to access and safe to inspect removing all materials used for nesting and placing the items you want to keep in tamper-proof storage. It might be time to undertake a thorough inspection and clean out of the loft (and the basement).

We do not advise you to block air vents for safety reasons without consulting the relevant professional first.

Look at the exterior of your home or business with a critical eye to identify gaps around pipes and cables that could be providing access areas to mice. Be aware that mice will chew through wood, MDF, plasterboard, and chicken wire and they make light work of foam fillers. Ask your builders’ merchants for the best proofing materials to use.
Do you have the right skills and equipment to tackle those hard-to-reach areas? Personal safety must always come first.

Within your home and garden, the best proofing often lies in the cleaning and restriction of access to foodstuffs, water, and nesting materials.

Can you mouse-proof your home or business? The answer is yes. But only to a limited degree. Some proofing will have to be undertaken by a qualified pest control professional like Dyno-Pest.

Call In The professionals

If you have an infestation of mice, the best course of action is to contact professionals.

It is our job to successfully eradicate an infestation of mice in your home or business. Dyno-Pest has 25+ years of experience working in thousands of homes and businesses treating mice infestations discreetly and efficiently. This usually takes three treatments because it takes time for a breeding cycle to be fully eradicated and for any bait to be taken by the mice.

Your Dyno-Pest technician will explain how the treatment works; when you should expect to have seen the last of the pests and, what you can do by way of a good home and business practise to help prevent a recurrence.