Get rid of mice in your home now!
Seeing a mouse in your home is unsettling and disturbing. It is kind of funny that something so small can scare us so badly! But, hey, when you open up your pantry and a mouse scurries out the emotional reaction is real! After you get a shock like that it is pretty natural to want to know how big a problem you have on your hands. Some common homeowner questions are:
- How many mice are in my house? How many mice do I have?
- I found a mouse in my house are there more?
- How many mice usually live together?
If you are asking the question, “If you see one mouse, how many do you have?” or ” I caught 10 mice how many more?” and you want to get rid of mice then keep reading because I have your answer!
Photo by Mark Fowler Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
The answer is, if you saw the mouse during the day in an active part of your home (kitchen) then it is likely that you just have one mouse. If you saw the mouse at night or if you saw it in an isolated part of your house (attic, garage, shed) then you probably have at least four or five other mice.
Let’s look at these scenarios in a little more detail and get some pest control ideas on what you can do to get a better estimate of the problem as well as solve the problem.
Scenario 1: You Saw One Mouse in the Kitchen During the Day
Seeing a mouse during the day is uncommon. Mice are nocturnal creatures with poor vision that spend the daylight hours hiding and avoiding predators. Seeing a mouse during the day in a highly trafficked area suggests that the mouse was pressured into your house.
It may have been trying to escape extreme cold weather or a predator. It may have had its nest destroyed and was looking for a new location to hide. Your cat may have caught it outside and lost it when it brought it inside to play with.
Regardless of what pressured the mouse, chances are that it was traveling by itself.
There Are Exceptions!
If you see a single mouse then you should check for signs of a larger problem. Here are some things to check:
How much poop is there? A single mouse that has only been in your house for a short period of time will often leave a little trail of poop. Seeing 5-6 little mouse droppings is no big deal.
If you find a LOT of mouse droppings then either you have been visited by many mice or the one mouse has been there long enough to leave all of those droppings and has established a nest and is probably raising a batch of baby mice that will soon multiply themselves and invade your home further.
Other Visual Clues? Look for other signs that would indicate the long-term presence of a mouse. Have any food containers been chewed through? Are there lots of greasy smudges on the baseboards? If you see any of these signs then it is likely that the mouse has been there a while and has plenty of company.
What do you hear? Take a moment in the evening, when the mice are most active, go to where you spotted the mouse and actively listen. Can you hear little scratching noises in your walls or ceiling? If you do then you definitely have more than one mouse on your hands.
Scenario 2: You Saw One Mouse at Night or in Your Attic, Garage, or Shed
Mice are nocturnal creatures that work hard to avoid being eaten by predators. If you saw one mouse at night or in a remote area then you observed perfectly normal mouse behavior. A mouse that is acting normally will also be living in a colony and reproducing as fast as possible. Soon, you will have a mouse infestation.
You are going to have a pile of mice in your house in this scenario.
Determining the Scope of Your Mouse Problem
Truthfully, there is no 100% accurate way to estimate the number of mice in your home. You can lay down flour on the floor in an area with high mouse activity. You can later count the sets of tracks. However, the figures may be misleading, especially if there’s only one source of food for rodents in your home.
You could also try setting up motion-activated night-sensitive cameras, but that’s a very expensive investment just to count the number of mice getting into your house. You can also try to extrapolate the number of mice from the amount of food destroyed or the number of droppings you find, but these aren’t highly accurate measures either.
Even a Few Mice Can Quickly Become a Big Problem
Mice only take five to eight weeks to reach sexual maturity. That means that in less than two months, a pair of mice can turn into a family. The average litter size for mice is between six and eight babies, called pups. The mother is pregnant from 19 to 21 days, and those babies will wean somewhere between 18 and 28 days after birth. A few weeks after that, they are ready to have their own babies.
The average mouse could have between five and ten litters a year, so one pair of mice could mean dozens of mice in a few months. Even worse, mice are quick learners who eat constantly. They are nocturnal, which means they come out at night when you are least likely to notice them. Mice can visit between 20 and 30 locations for food every night.
Identifying the Pest Control Problem In Your Home
Spotting a live mouse is often only one of the telltale signs that there might be mouse infestation or rodents in your home. Many times, people realize they are hosting a mouse colony when they find little tiny mouse droppings or feces in their home.
Sometimes, those feces will turn up near food sources. Mice like to defecate and urinate close to areas where they eat, so you may find small mouse droppings in your pantry or your cabinets.
This is concerning for two reasons. First, it’s an obvious indicator that you have unwanted guests in your home. The second issue is that mouse feces and urine can carry diseases. Any food product that touches mouse droppings or shows signs of urine needs to be thrown away for human safety.
Other warning signs of mice problem in your home include tooth marks from them gnawing on wood or drywall, sounds like squeaking, scratching, or gnawing in your walls, or locating a nest in a dark corner, basement, or attic.
Mice Can Cause Issues In Unexpected Places
Unfortunately, your cabinets aren’t the only place that mice will look for a snack. They may eat your clothing, the paper inside your books, or even the insulation on wires in your walls.
Knowing the extent of the mouse population can help you take adequate action, but you’re likely going to need to estimate. After all, leaving out only one trap when you have dozens of mice won’t do much to diminish your infestation.
You want to address the issue at places you know receive high traffic from rodents. Whether that’s your garage, your office, your pantry, or your kitchen, put out enough traps or poison to catch them all as soon as possible.
Act Fast To Keep a Problem From Getting Worse
If you’ve spotted one mouse or found several signs of mice, like gnaw marks on wood, walls, or food packaging or droppings, it’s best to assume that you have at least one family of mice in your home.
The good news is that dealing with mice is much easier than fighting a rat infestation. There are plenty of traps that are easy to use and perfectly safe around pets and children. There is even a brand of mouse poison that is completely non-toxic to everything except mice!
Easy to Use Mouse Traps and Poisons
My favorite traps are the no-kill cube traps. The traps are easy to bait and, when properly placed, highly effective at catching mice.
I like these traps because they are cheap which lets me put out a BUNCH of them to catch as many mice as possible in a single night. I also like that they are “no-kill” because I can take the trap out to the woods and let the mouse go. I am not trying to be nice to the mouse as it will be exposed during the day and will probably get eaten…..I just don’t want to see or have to touch a dead mouse.
If you have pets then check out this guide for Mouse Traps That Are Safe Around Cats.
I am also a fan of electric mouse zappers. Mouse zappers kill mice instantly through electrocution but have openings that are too small for access by children or pets. You also don’t have to touch the dead mouse..it can slide out of the zapper and into the trash!
If you want to go with poisons then let me introduce you to MouseX. MouseX is a poison that kills without odor and is nontoxic to humans and pets. MouseX is based upon corn gluten which swells up inside the mouse’s stomach and kills it through dehydration.
Calling in professionals might be an option you want to explore.
After you have tackled your mouse problem for a few days be sure to check out this article that tells you How to Know When All Of The Mice Are Gone.