When the temperatures outside begin to drop, house mice, since they don’t hibernate, begin searching for a warmer place to live. Often attracted by the smell of food and the warmth of a structure, the house mouse can use any opening, such as utility lines, pipe openings, and gaps beneath doors, to gain entry into a home. You may be surprised how these little critters can make it into your home with the smallest of entryways.
You may also be surprised at how quickly mice reproduce!
A single female is capable of producing up to eight litters per year with an average of six pups per litter. After a 21-day pregnancy, these house mouse pups are born naked, blind and dependent upon their mother for everything. At about 21 days the young are weaned from their mother and may begin to take short trips away from the nest to explore their surroundings. Most mice reach maturity at about 35 days of age and begin mating when they are six weeks old. I’m sure you can do the math. Those unwanted pests are soon multiplying by the minute if you don’t get things under control – and quickly!
There are several signs to be aware of that may indicate you have been infested by mice.
You suddenly find yourself awake in the middle of the night. Something is moving about... the sounds are coming from the kitchen! You roll out of bed and move stealthily down the hallway, heart pounding and palms sweating. You reach for the light switch ready to attack – only to discover you have MICE!
Where there are mice, there are droppings. These small pellets are commonly found anywhere the animals have visited or traveled.
Don’t confuse mouse droppings with those of the American cockroach. Even though the general size and appearance of these droppings are similar, mouse droppings usually have hair embedded in them from where the mice have groomed themselves. Roach droppings also are not pointed and usually have ridges running down the sides.
As mice explore their territories, they often leave behind footprints or tracks on surfaces. The distinct pattern of a four-toed front foot and a five-toed back footprint are a clear sign that a mouse has passed by.
If you suspect you may have mice you can simply use a dust, like baby powder or flour and lightly dust the suspicious area to see if mice are using a particular pathway.
During the evening, especially when it is dark and quite, mice can often be hear gnawing and scratching within your walls or running across floors and ceilings. You may even hearing them squeaking about.
Where male mice stay and play they also may mark their territories to attract female mice. A distinct odor may become noticeable in an area with a large rodent population or when rodents have been present for a long period of time.
GNAWING AND CHEWING
In most cases, shavings and a fresh accumulation of debris is often the first indication of damage. Teeth and gnaw marks can also be found along the edges of frequently traveled routes, on the corners of objects or creating openings into an area.
There are several things you can do to deter those unwanted guests this fall.
Seal and repair any holes, cracks or gaps in your home larger than a pen cap by sealing with a mixing compound.
Keep your home clean by washing dishes daily and properly storing food.
Mint, mothballs and bay leaves tend to repel mice as well. However, be sure house pets and children cannot access mothballs, as they are poisonous to animals and humans.
Set traps near the outside of your home where you think mice may try to enter. There are several types of traps we would be happy to assist you with.
Don't let mice or pests take over your home this fall season. Give AJC Williams Exterminating a call today. We are here to take care of all of your pest control needs.