How to Recognize Mouse Infestations

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Mice cause an estimated $20 million in damage in the United States every year. Mice seem to be more prevalent inside homes after long rainy periods, when they may be driven from their habitat by flooding, and in the winter, when food and shelter are scarce. Mice are mostly nocturnal, skittering around the house while the occupants are asleep. There are several ways you can tell if you have mice in your house.

  • Look closely around your kitchen after a period of heavy rains and in late autumn when the days and nights have gotten colder and after vegetable gardens and other plants have died for the year. If you see any of the signs that you have mice that are listed in the Steps below, you can then take action.

  • Find mouse droppings, which look like tiny round or oblong pellets. Mice deposit approximately 50 to 75 pellets per day, as they explore the environment and discover where to find food, a place to nest and travel routes throughout the house.

  • Notice fine, almost sawdust-like cracker or bread crumbs on your counter tops or in drawers or shelves where you store dry goods. This is another indication that you have mice..

  • Hear tiny, short squeaks, another indication of a possible mouse invasion. Mice can move very quickly. You might catch sight of what seems to be movement near your refrigerator or other appliances or furniture like couches. A mouse can hide in a matter of seconds.

  • Hear skittering in a kitchen drawer when you begin to open it. If you have mice, by the time you get the drawer completely open, the mouse will have escaped over the back of the drawer and will be in another drawer or will have escaped from the back of the cabinets and down a vent.

  • Discover newspaper or other paper with rough, chewed-up edges or missing some of the corners or border areas. Mice have probably been shredding the pages to carry away to build their nests.

  • Notice tiny openings in packaging when pouring a bowl of cereal or opening a box of baking mix, noodles, hot chocolate or other foods. Your mice have probably been gnawing at the containers, trying to get into them and eat their contents.

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