Chapter 2: Signs of Mice
Have you found little brown pellets in the bottom of the bread drawer? Typically, the first sign of a mouse issue is droppings in kitchen drawers or cabinets, but no mouse infestation is exactly the same. Knowing what to look for and where can help you identify the type of pest you have in your home. This knowledge will also help you discover rodent hiding spots and entry points, so you can seal up your home and keep mice away.
In this chapter, we’ll show you how to determine if you have a mouse infestation. We’ll also talk about mice poop identification, so you know what to do if you find some surprises.
If you uncover clues but aren’t sure if you have a mouse or other type of pest problem, we’ll gladly share our insight at Pestech Pest Solutions.
Signs of Mice in the House
The first step to tackling a mice infestation is to investigate. An investigation will help you determine what kind of rodents you have, the population size and the infestation location. As you explore the inside and outside of your house, you’ll also look for possible entry points and items that may be contributing to the mouse problem, such as debris piles or food crumbs.
To start your investigation, grab a powerful flashlight and head to rooms that contain food or are located above, below or next to a kitchen or food storage area. Look for the following signs:
- Grease marks along walls and baseboards
- Mouse tracks on dusty surfaces
- Droppings in the kitchen, attic, garage, basement, utility closet or anywhere near food sources, mouse shelters or pathways
- Food packages with holes or gnaw marks
- Nests, which usually look like 4-inch diameter balls, are made of shredded paper, fabric or insulation and hidden in utility closets, garages, basements or attics
- Food crumbs left behind by mice
- Live or dead mice
- Mouse hairs
- Sounds of mice living inside walls or cabinets
- Holes in walls, floors and ceilings or under cupboards or cabinet bases
- Scavenger insects which feed on dead mice
- A stale odor emitting from hidden areas
If you have cats or dogs in your home, they may react to areas in a wall or floor where mice are present and help point you in the right direction.
What Does Mouse Poop Look Like?
If you’re wondering what mouse droppings look like, you might compare them to dark grains of rice. Mouse droppings are smooth, pellet-shaped and pointed at both ends. Fresh mouse poop is soft and moist but will become hard and dry after a few hours. Droppings are about 1/8 inch to 1/2 inch in length.
Finding mice poop is a key sign mice are active in your home. Mice defecate a lot throughout the day and, since they aren’t potty trained, leave little pellets wherever they go. Deer mice and white-footed mice like to use their nests as bathrooms, leading to a strong odor in a few weeks.
Although it’s an unpleasant discovery, mouse poop can help you figure out where mice live in your home. The number of droppings you find can also help you determine the size of the infestation.
Sometimes using droppings to determine the type of rodent in your home isn’t always easy. That’s because droppings vary with diet and the age of the rodent. For example, baby rats leave droppings similar to adult mice. This makes things a little more challenging, but not anything a pro can’t handle.
How Many Droppings Does One Mouse Leave?
A mouse might leave a few small pellets in an area they recently visited. Daily, a mouse leaves up to 100 droppings. Mice nibble all day long, which leads to a great fecal output. They may also leave droppings to mark their territory.
Can You Get Sick From Mice Droppings?
Yes, mice droppings can spread diseases and contaminate food or other items you touch. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mouse droppings can cause diseases such as lymphocytic choriomeningitis, salmonellosis, hantavirus pulmonary syndrome and plague.
What Should You Do When You Find Mouse Droppings?
Since mice droppings can transmit diseases, the CDC recommends taking precautions when cleaning up after mice. Here’s how you should handle mouse poop according to the CDC:
- Before cleaning, ventilate the area by opening the doors and windows for at least a half-hour.
- Wear rubber, vinyl or latex gloves to remove droppings.
- Spray the droppings with a disinfectant and let them soak.
- Pick up the droppings with a paper towel and throw them in the trash.
- After you remove the droppings, disinfect any items that may have been contaminated.
- Finally, clean and disinfect the entire area where the droppings were found.
- Remove your gloves and wash your hands with soap and water.
What Does Mouse Urine Look Like?
Mice dribble as they travel and do not have a single bathroom spot. Therefore, unless urine has accumulated on a frequently traveled runway, you may not be able to see urine stains with the naked eye. However, you can try to detect urine stains with ultraviolet (UV) light.
If you hold a UV light over a frequently traveled pathway, fresh urine will appear bluish-white and old urine will be a yellowish color. Typically, mice leave droplets of urine in a straight line, usually starting with large drops leading to smaller ones. Urine is often found in nesting or feeding areas or anywhere mice frequently visit. Searching for mouse urine is a way to determine if an area has a lot of rodent activity and is a good place to set traps.
How Do You Tell If You Have Mice in Your Walls?
If you have mice in your walls, you might hear scratching, chewing or scurrying sounds in your walls, especially at night when mice are most active. To confirm rodents are hanging out in your walls, you can put a stethoscope on the wall to listen to their activity. Since mice can squeeze through tiny holes, it’s easy for them to get inside the walls through cracks and gaps.
What Do Mice Sound Like at Night?
If you have a severe infestation, you may hear rodents make a range of noises when looking for food at night. Mouse noises usually consist of squeaks, fighting sounds, gnawing or clawing. You may also hear them scrambling in the walls or squealing in their nests.
If partying mice keep you and your family up at night, it’s time to put your foot down. Let us know at Pestech Pest Solutions if you need professionals to intervene.