No homeowner likes spotting a mouse around the house – but when does it become a problem that a professional needs to step in for? Remember, even a single mouse can cause trouble, and where one mouse is spotted more are often on the way. Let's begin with when to call an exterminator for mice, and why it's important to take care of any mice problems quickly.
What Are the Signs I Need Pest Control Services for Mice?
When a homeowner catches a casual mouse sighting in the garage or kitchen, the first response is usually to lay down traps or bait. This can be an effective way to deal with a solitary mouse incursion if there are none currently living in your home, but it only works well for the occasional pest. If you have an infestation, where mice have built a nest near or inside your home, it's time to call an expert for a professional solution: Here are several signs that it's a serious problem:
You see multiple mice over time (or your pets are regularly catching mice)
You notice small mouse droppings, like tiny pellets. New droppings will be darker, and old droppings will turn gray in time. They are very unhealthy to have in your home, especially in your kitchen!
An odor. Mouse urine and feces have their own pungent smell that can build up if there is a nest nearby.
Gnaw marks on anything from drywall to old cardboard. Rodents like mice are always looking for something to gnaw, especially when building nests. If they find boxes or bags of food, they may also gnaw through those to gain access, creating a mess along the way.
Signs of a nest, which can be built with anything from scraps of newspaper to torn insulation. Nests can be found in old closets, attics, basements, crawlspaces, and ductwork.
What Do Mice Eat in Your House?
Mice are not picky eaters and will nibble nearly anything they can find. That includes any leftover crumbs, spilled cereal, pet food that's left out, fruits and berries left out to ripen, and a wide variety of plants. Mice will also try to eat any meat or other leftovers if they can find them. This is why it's very important to always keep your eating areas/pantries clean, keep all trash covered and protected, and store any cereal, snacks, or baking supplies in secure bins that can't be chewed through by an inquisitive rodent. You may also want to avoid leaving open pet food or fruits and nuts out if you are worried about attracting mice.
Are Mice Dangerous in Your House?
Yes, mice can be dangerous for a variety of reasons to both humans and pets. Potential dangers include:
HPS or Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, a deadly condition caused by a mouse feces disease. Certain species of mice are notorious for passing hantaviruses onto humans through droppings, urine, inhaled nest materials, and similar causes. HPS leads to flu-like symptoms that develop into severe lung problems over time. Mice can carry of a variety of other diseases, but HPS is one of the worst for humans.
Some mice carry rabies and, through bites, can infect your pets or even humans around the house.
Mice carry ticks and fleas that can spread around a home and may carry diseases of their own as well.
Mice love to gnaw anything they find, and that includes electrical wiring, appliance cables, and other components that could lead to device failure or electrical fires.
What Mice Will I See in Oklahoma?
House mouse identification can be useful for narrowing down your problem, but generally speaking, if it looks like a mouse then it is one! The common house mouse, Mus musculus, is active throughout the state and easily identified as a small brown rodent with a body around 3 to 3.5 inches long (not including the tail). A rat, on the other hand, is much larger and darker, and will generally make more noise than the comparatively quiet house mouse.
How Do Mice Get Inside Your House?
The tiny mouse can squeeze itself through astonishingly small cracks, holes, or gaps around the home. Common entrance points are around gaps in insulation, unsealed holes for pipes or wiring to enter the house, unprotected vents in the basement or attic…and so on.
An experienced exterminator will know where to look to find cracks or gaps where mice could get through, but general home maintenance can also go a long way. One of the most important steps to preventing a mouse infestation is to keep an eye on your insulation, vents, and any connection leading out of or into the house. Mice are excellent at finding weak spots that may have opened due to wear and tear. If you aren't sure where to begin, consider a home inspection to check up on these areas for any necessary repairs.
Don't let mice build up a presence in your house! If you've seen repeated signs that mice are living with you, it's important to act. Contact EMCO, your professional mouse exterminator in OKC and beyond: We'll help you find out where rodents are and how to clear them out in ways that last.