It’s just about the time that mice will start looking for a little new real estate. The weather is just starting to cool down and food is just starting to become a bit scarce. Mice aren’t desperate yet but they might be ranging a little farther from their summer burrows and hiding places. Your garage, attic or crawl space might look like a really nice place to spend the winter.
It doesn’t take long for a mouse or two to turn into a massive infestation. Mice breed prolifically and they do so year-round. A single female will birth 5 to 10 litters in a year. An average litter numbers around 5 to 6 young. Each of those will reach breeding age in a mere month. So one little pregnant mouse can turn into several dozen in the span of about 3 to 4 months. Before winter is anywhere near over your attic might be overflowing!
In the wild, mice have natural predators that keep their numbers from exploding. Owls, foxes, hawks and others prey on mice in the open. Unless you have an unusually industrious and somewhat bloodthirsty house cat, there won’t be many predators inside your home! A mouse population will be able to grow unfettered until you notice the tell-tale signs.
A mouse will leave certain signs of his or her presence in your home. Droppings are the most obvious and most often left calling cards of a mouse. They look like black grains of rice but you have to be on the lookout for them. Mice most often travel along the edges of a room for protection so look along baseboards, behind the refrigerator and behind or under furniture.
Chewed spots are also a sign of mice in your home. Mice will try out just about anything from baseboards to boxes to see if it’s edible. What they can’t eat they will try to use as nesting materials. So you might see what looks like a worn edge but on closer inspection is a chewed spot.
Getting rid of mice is much harder than keeping them out in the first place. Talk to you pest control specialist about ways you can prevent access to your home like replacing door sweeps and caulking foundation holes. If you see even one mouse inside your attic, garage, crawl space or home, don’t hesitate. Call an exterminator right away. The mouse you see probably represents a much larger group hiding in your home.