Mice are quite comfortable living among us. They are attracted to the shelter that our homes provide to them while our eating areas serve as their food source and leaky pipes and other water sources fulfill their need for moisture. Mice will typically enter a home when the weather turns colder and they seek out shelter from the elements. There are many signs that you have a rodent infestation, the following signs are good indications that you should take action:

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Stop feeding them

Store food in air-tight containers so that mice can’t smell whatever it is they’re snacking on. Mice can live off of just three to four grams of food a day.

That means the tiniest little crumbs can be a smorgasbord for a mouse and his family.

It’s important to clean frequently, vacuum as well, and then wash floors and surfaces with cleaners to get rid of appetizing aromas. Just because you don’t smell anything
doesn’t mean a mouse can’t.

Seal off the garbage and don’t let a full bag sit or overflow. Use a solid garbage container with a lid to store the bag in, and then take the full bags outside into another container rather than storing them in a basement, garage, or breezeway.

Mice can chew through just about anything – even concrete – but making their lives more difficult and stopping them from picking up the scent in the first place is key.

Stop giving them shelter

Close the doors for mice: Mice aren’t exactly large critters, typically averaging about three inches in length. However, that doesn’t stop them from squeezing through small, tight spaces that appear to be much smaller than they are.

As a general rule of thumb, mice can fit into openings the size of a dime, and if you can fit a pencil through a crack, a mouse can get into it, too.

Search the areas of your home that might have openings – tiny cracks in the foundation, holes for utility pipes, and wires – and seal them with things like steel wool or caulking. Anything else, mice can chew through, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Mice also like upholstered furniture and can seek for a comfortable place to hide. Sofas have lots of soft cloth and “stuffing” that can be used to build a cozy nest.

You see the mouse

An actual sighting inside the home confirms your suspicion that you do indeed have a mouse in the house. At times the mouse may be quick and homeowners will report catching a glimpse of something they saw scurry along the floorboard. This may indeed be a mouse! Check the area for droppings to help confirm your suspicions.

You notice droppings

There is a good chance that mouse droppings are your first sign that there is indeed a mouse in your house. According to the National Pest Management Association, a mouse produces between 40 to 100 droppings per day, while a rat produces between 20 to 50 droppings.

Mouse droppings are best described as small, pellet-shaped and dark brown in color with pointed ends. Mice droppings are typically small, about ¼-inch in length. You can tell if they are fresh droppings by the color. Newer droppings will be darker and shinier while older droppings will look chalky and dry. Rat droppings are similar in shape but larger, typically ½-inch to ¾-inch in length with blunt ends.

You hear the mice, particularly at night

It is not uncommon for a homeowner to hear mice inside the wall or up in the attic. Mice are very small and light in weight so the sounds will be faint and are often heard when the house is quiet. Sounds are most often described as scratching, squeaking, gnawing and very light scurrying. Sounds like these should be investigated as it likely indicates that you have some type of rodent or wildlife infestation.

You discover packaged foods are gnawed open

Your pantry may serve as a smorgasbord for a family of mice. If you notice items that have been chewed upon and opened inspect further for droppings to confirm your suspicion that it is mice. Remember to also closely examine pet food bags for damage.

You notice damage to areas of your home

Mice may chew through window and door frames, baseboards, cabinets or walls to gain entry. Look for very small tooth marks and small wood chips left in the area to indicate that rodents have entered. Electrical problems in a home may be the result of a mouse infestation. This is a dangerous situation that can result in a fire and should be addressed immediately.

Certain areas of your home have a musky smell

The smell may indicate the presence of mice and should be further investigated.

Location, Location, Location

The best mouse trap in the world won’t catch a mouse if it is not properly placed. This is what truly sets the professionals apart from the homeowners when it comes to catching rodents. Follow these tips to strategically placing your rodent traps and you should be on your way to controlling the rodent populations in and around your home in no time.

Placing Your Traps

Safety First

  • Take extreme caution if you have children and/or pets at home. Consider CatchMaster's Pet & Family mouse and rat traps.
  • Conceal snap traps and place them out of reach in areas where children and pets cannot access them. For instance, if mice were found in the kitchen, place traps under cabinets where tiny fingers or paws cannot reach.
  • Rodents often travel to the kitchen through pipes running to the kitchen sink. Snap traps and glue boards are useful in this area.
  • Empty the cabinet completely until control is gained; dedicating the space to trapping and monitoring.
  • Place the Snap Trap perpendicular to the wall in areas where mice are likely to enter or travel along the perimeter.
  • Securely attach the bait and use a child-proof cabinet lock to keep children out.

Target Evidence

  • Set traps or place glue boards in areas where evidence of rodents has been found.
  • For example, if you discovered rodent droppings in your basement, set a trap in that general area.
  • The same principle applies to other areas like the kitchen or attic, as rodents often appear near their food source.

Protect Surfaces

  • Place newspaper or cardboard underneath traps to protect surfaces from the rodents' disease-carrying urine and droppings.

Understand Rodent Habits

  • Mice have poor eyesight and usually navigate along baseboards or walls.
  • Position snap traps perpendicular to the wall with the trigger side against it.
  • Use traps in pairs for better results.

Adapt Trap Placement

If your trap placement is not yielding catches, consider moving traps to new areas. Conversely, if you successfully trap a rodent, reset the trap in the same area to catch more mice.

Use Adequate Traps

Ensure you use enough traps, as evidence of one mouse often indicates the presence of more rodents within the structure.