As the weather gets colder, mice will start to look for warm places to stay, including your home and even commercial places. They may remain hidden from sight that makes them difficult to catch, but they leave signs of their presence; therefore, when you spot signs of mice infestations, it is best to act fast and solve the problem right away.
Knowing when to call an exterminator for mice can save you money from further damages and time.
Call a mice exterminator when you notice the following signs of mice infestation: fresh droppings formed in a cluster, scratching sounds in the ceilings and walls, and damaged food packaging, especially in your pantry.
There are different ways to get rid of house mice, but if you are a busy person, who does not have much time to set up traps and baits, maybe hiring a professional mice exterminator is the best way to get rid of them completely.
Remember that even a few mice can lead to more significant damage in your house if neglected. Therefore, at the early signs of mouse infestations, bring in a professional mouse exterminator.
Pro-tip: Do you know that there is a better way to catch mice than traditional mousetraps that kill mice? Check out the humane mousetraps on Amazon.com now.
Telltale Signs Of Mouse Infestation
Do you hear squeaking sounds and suspicious scrabbling behind your walls? Do you see questionable black to brown pellets on the floor of your basement? Does your storage room smell like ammonia with the sharp and musky odor?
If the answer to all these questions is YES, positive, you have mice living under your roof.
In addition to this, there are definite signs that can tell how severe the infestation is.
For example, if the mice are seen only at night, but never during the day, it shows that the population hasn’t gotten severe and can still be controlled with traps and baits.
However, if you are seeing trails of mice during the day, fresh droppings anywhere, and new gnaw marks, it shows that the mice population has gotten too large, thus requiring the help of professional services.
Watch out for these signs to help you determine whether you have mice infestations or not in your home.
The first telltale sign of mouse infestation is fresh droppings. Usually, droppings of mice come in dark and moist pellets. As these droppings left uncleaned, they dried out and became grey. They will crumble quickly once touched.
These droppings are most likely found near food sources (pantry), in drawers, under the sink, storage areas, and along runways.
You will find the most number of droppings in areas where rodents are feeding and nesting, so make sure to inspect the area to look for new droppings to determine if you have still active mice infestations.
When you see mice droppings, always wear protective gloves when disposing of it, but in severely infested areas, wear a respirator.
Do not sweep or vacuum the droppings since it could release bacteria and viruses, making you sick. Hence, it should be carefully picked up and placed in sealed plastic bags.
As discussed in the previous blog post that mice have teeth that continuously grow at a rate of 0.03cm per day.
Therefore, they need to gnaw on hard materials such as wood, electrical wiring, plastics, cables, and even furniture to grind their teeth at a reasonable length.
Because of their gnawing habits, mice make a severe fire hazard since they keep on chewing on electrical wirings, causing power outages, equipment damage, or worst, fire.
A strong, musky smell
Another telltale sign that mice are present in your house is a distinctive, musky ammonia smell. This smell is usually found in enclosed areas such as pantries, cabinets, and drawers.
The smell is also noticeable in areas along baseboards, walls, and runways where mice travel frequently.
Even your cats and dogs get active and excited in areas where the presence of mice is evident. If you see your pet pawing in an area, wherein before he/she had no interest, grab your flashlight and examine the area to look for mice.
If the infestation is severe, you may detect an ongoing strong stale smell from the areas, indicating active mice infestation.
Holes or tears in materials
Mice are creative in building their hiding place. They will use materials such as shredded paper, fabric, and dried plants to create their nests.
That is why if you find unexpected holes, tears, or any signs of gnawing in clothing, bedding, electrical wiring, and other materials, positive that mice are present.
Mice’s nest is usually located in the dark corner of your home, drawers, cabinets, behind the fridge, and other large appliances that are seldomly relocated.
Mice will create small holes at the bottom of drawers and cabinets to fill their nest with shredded materials.
Traces on runways
Traces of dirty smudges along the floor and baseboards can be a sign of mouse infestation. Mice tend to roam along the walls and ceiling, following the same route night after night.
The dirt from their feet and fur will create distinctive markings or tracing along the way from this repeated routine.
Tracks and runways can be easily detected using a flashlight or a blacklight placed at an angle toward the suspected area. You may also find small patches of urine stains, droppings, smudge marks, or footprints.
If you suspect that a specific area became a runway by rodents, spread a very thin layer of flour or baby powder there. If there’s an active mice infestation, you are more likely to see traces in the powder.
Strange noises at night
Mice are little gymnasts since they are excellent climbers and jumpers capable of fitting through tiny openings as small as a 0.6cm gap. This ability helps them to travel from one area of the house to another.
Therefore, if you hear strange scratching or scrabbling noises in the walls or ceiling, especially at night, well, that’s a clear sign of mice infestation.
At night, this activity is for them to prepare their passageways by creating holes to roam around the house quickly.
Well, these are common signs of mice infestation in the house, but how about in the yard? What is the common sign of mice infestation in the yard?
Signs of mice infestation in the yard
Mice are appealed to piles of trash, organic waste, crumpled papers, and others that can be used for both food and nesting. If these things are present near your home or commercial business, inspect them and look for rodents’ signs.
If there are no indications of rodents, more likely, they are not coming into your house.
However, if you have such trash present in your yard, it is better to eliminate them as it can help make your home rodent-proof and further prevent future rodent infestations.
When To Call For Professional Mice Exterminator
If you still hear squeaking sounds, gnawing in the walls, despite doing all the ways to trap mice, maybe it is now the right time to seek professional services.
Hiring professional pest exterminators can help you identify how mice can enter your home and give you some tips on how to get rid of severe infestations more effectively than DIY methods.
Moreover, they also use extermination methods that are effective and safe for pets and humans.
Mice can carry bacteria and viruses that can make you, your family, and your pets sick. That is why, at the very first sign of mice infestation, it is time to call an exterminator right away.
If you are looking for a local exterminator, check my post on how to pick the good pest control company.
How Do Exterminators Get Rid Of Mice
After many trial and error attempts, you finally gave up on getting rid of mice; it is now time to seek professional pests control services. But one question pops in your mind, how do they get rid of mice?
Well, when a qualified mouse terminator comes to your house, rest assured that they will do certain things to get rid of these mice. Let’s take a look at those actions and their importance.
Exterminators start by blocking mice entry points
Mice do not need massive entry points to get into your house. Remember, they can pass through a 0.6cm gap in no sweat! It means that any cracks or dents in your house are a point of entry.
Therefore, mice exterminators will look at these weak points, and they have to seal and block these points properly to prevent entry.
First things first, an exterminator will search your home’s interior and exterior to look for easy entry points.
Once they spot these weak points, they will now apply wire mesh, hardware cloth, or sheet metal to these smaller entry points to prevent rodents from getting in the house. These entry points often include vents, chimneys, and utility pipes.
If you are doing DIY solutions to block these points, make sure not to use plastic, rubber, wood seals, and caulk on any weak points you will find. Keep in mind that mice have this gnawing habit that can damage these materials easily.
On the other hand, weatherstripping for doors and window gaps can help in forming a barrier against mice entry.
Place mouse traps around your home
If you think there’s a mouse infestation going on, an exterminator will recommend placing a dozen mouse traps around your house.
They will set up different mice traps around your kitchen, attic, bathroom, basement, and storage room since different traps work on different mice types.
Humane and live-catch mouse traps such as snap traps, glue boards, and the cage will help lessen the population without using harmful chemicals that can be toxic to children and pets to your home.
If the infestation is already severe, then these traps will not be as effective in the growing population. Hence, this will lead us to the next step.
Set up bait stations
Well, these bait stations act similarly to traps; however, they kill rodents by proving bait such as food with poison.
Some homeowners might not see the essence of adding bait stations to their homes. Though it seems that they would attract more pests than killing, their effects in catching mice are impressive.
After using these bait stations in reducing the size of the mice colony, exterminators will now be able to track down their nests. They can get rid of their bodies before further infestation, and odor problems begin to affect your home.
Use fumigation as the last resort
The final option for severe mice infestation is to call in for fumigation to solve the problem. Fumigation is a pest control method that should only be carried out by a professional.
Home fumigation is not allowed in some areas since it will be toxic for you, your families, and the environment.
During a fumigation, you will be leaving the house for several days to give the exterminator time to spray the poison, which is designed to wipe out large colonies of mice.
Fumigation is the last resort for many mice exterminators since the procedure is costly and dangerous. You need to spend some time cleaning your kitchen counters and surfaces after the fumigation, and ensure that they are safe to use.
Hence, if you are considering fumigation, here is a little reminder you should know:
How to Prepare for Fumigation
When you consider getting fumigation to get rid of severe infestations, here are some things to consider:
Make sure you have some place to stay
Since your home will be fumigated with toxic chemicals, you, your family, and your pets won’t stay there for the meantime.
Therefore, you need to look for a place to stay. While most families will stay with their other relatives or close friends for a few days, others may consider staying in a hotel.
During these times, make sure to bring all your essentials for your stay away from home. If you are working, consider packing extra clothes and any devices you might need, such as your laptop.
If that is impossible, consider taking a leave of absence from work. Otherwise, plan the fumigation session on your day off or over the weekend.
Notify the gas company
When you plan to fumigate your house, make sure to make an advance notice with the gas company because your gas needs to be turned off at a certain point before fumigation.
Moreover, make proper arrangements when to turn it back on when it’s already safe to use. Just wait for the go signal of the exterminator.
Reminder: Before you leave the house, turn off electrical appliances such as heaters and air conditioning units. Turn off the lights as well.
Leave all your interior doors open
Fumigation works best when you leave all the interior doors open so that gas can spread throughout your house. With just a single closed door, it can significantly affect the spread of gas through your house.
Plus, any closed doors will leave a safe zone for rodents since they can use that place to escape and create their new nesting place, which can fail the procedure’s purpose.
It is also essential to leave the door open, especially in the following areas: basements, kitchens, bathrooms, and attics.
These are the areas where mice are most likely building their nests. Before you empty the house, leave all cabinets, closets, and drawers open as well.
Seal all the food items and other consumables
Unless you are willing to buy and replace your foods and groceries, you need to seal them securely using an airtight container.
Food in the fridge that is not secured correctly won’t be safe to eat, better to double-packed them for extra protection.
Consult your exterminator if canned goods require extra protection before fumigation, or you can leave them as it is and just need thorough washing before opening.
Leave copy of your keys for the mice exterminator
The mice exterminator will need access to your home; therefore, you need to leave a duplicate of your house key for easy access to your house during the procedure.
Ensure you communicate well with the exterminator for the safe storage of your keys to pick it up once the fumigation is completed efficiently.
Chemicals used by exterminators to get rid of mice
You might be wondering what chemicals are used when an exterminator fumigates your house.
Here is a rundown of the common chemicals used in fumigation. Let’s take a look at them below.
It causes respiratory failure by filling the lungs with fluid when inhaled in large amounts.
In a confined space, carbon dioxide is effectively suffocating animals that are inside the room. Besides, it does not leave any chemical residue.
It can cause food contamination and was released as a liquid spray.
This chemical affects cell growth and cell division, which causes death in rodents.
It smells like an almond, which can easily attract rodents and then kills them by disrupting their respiratory system. It is an acid that becomes corrosive on contact.
This chemical produces toxic gas when mixed with water.
It is sold in a tangible form that produces a toxic gas that can be lethal when inhaled when reacted with moisture.
It acts by disrupting the animal’s metabolism and can be dangerous to humans when inhaled.
What can we learn from this? If you already notice signs of mice infestation, it is better to act quickly than cause further damages.
For mild infestations, make sure to control it by using mouse traps or bait stations. Still, severe cases should seek help from professionals since they have different techniques to eradicate mice.
Since every exterminator is different, consider asking questions to see what method they can do for you to make the appropriate treatment.
Photo credit: ©canva.com/gogosvm
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