Mice are quiet. Really quiet. While you may hear a mouse scratching and bumping inside a wall or vent—which is super annoying—this is actually not the norm. Most of the time, mice don't make any noise at all—well, not that you can detect. Your dogs and cats, on the other hand, can be driven crazy by mouse noises that you can't hear. This might be your first warning sign. If you see your cat sitting in the kitchen, looking intently underneath your cabinets or into a gap, you probably have a rodent problem. If you notice that your dog is acting weird in the kitchen, you probably have a mouse. Dogs can hear and smell mice. This sets off their territory-protection instinct. But, if you don't have a cat or a dog, or you have a pet that isn't a mouse or doesn't have a strong territorial nature, we have a few more warning signs you can look for.
When mice get into a home, they leave their droppings in many places. You may find them in the back of your cabinets or drawers in the kitchen. You may find them on the shelves or behind boxes sitting on the floor in your pantry. The most likely places mice will leave their droppings are secluded and usually dark locations in your home. They also leave their droppings where they sleep, but we'll get to that later.
If you find droppings, you can use those droppings to tell if you have an active infestation. Black, moist droppings are fresh. Gray droppings that break apart are old. Another way to use droppings to check for an active infestation is to clean them all up and look to see if more appear, magically, overnight.
Mice make holes. Lots of holes. They make holes to get into your home. Then they make holes to go from your wall voids to your kitchen or pantry, then into your food packaging. If you're finding holes where there should be no holes, you may have a mouse.
On the outside of your home, mice will target door sweeps, the rubber seal around doors, frames around doors and windows, screens, vent covers, gaps around plumbing, the mortar around bricks, and the sole plate of a home.
In your kitchen or pantry, look for holes in sheetrock or baseboards. If you see a gap between objects, shine a light into it to see if a mouse has chewed a hole through the wall in this location. Mice prefer to work in safety and seclusion.
If you find a hole in a food package or stored box, it is likely that a rodent did it.
Maine can get cold. So mice tend to go where the heat is. This may be a wall void behind your wood stove or ceiling void above it. If there is a warm void in your home, mice are probably going to find it. They also have a preference for attic spaces because heat rises. If the heat of your home keeps your attic warm enough, it will be the perfect place for a mouse. Check your attic space for nests. These will usually be soft, matted areas of insulation with droppings littered in and around them.
Mice don't freely explore your home. They prefer to run with one side of their body touching a wall or baseboard. This can leave streaks in these areas. Wild mice are usually oily and dirty from getting into places you and I would never get into.
When Warning Signs of a Mouse Infestation Appear
Mice spread bacteria, diseases, parasitic worms, and ectoparasites such as ticks and fleas. This makes them a serious threat when they get into a home, and especially dangerous here in Southern Maine, where Lyme disease cases continue to rise. Don't try to tackle this pest control problem on your own. Reach out to Big Blue Bug Solutions. We don't just have solutions for bugs, we offer industry-leading rodent control solutions as well. Get started by scheduling a free pest control inspection. This inspection will help you figure out what you're up against and give you suggestions for what treatment options will work to make your home pest-free again.