Why Mice Invade Your Tampa Home And How To Keep Them Out

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Mouse infestations can seem mysterious. You hear scratching or bumping in your wall and you imagine mice climbing down to your kitchen and back up to your attic, but you don't really know what they're doing in there. You go up into your attic to check things out and you may find droppings scattered everywhere, but not a single mouse. These tiny rodents can have you scratching your head. They can also have you scratching other parts of your body when they bring fleas in with them. Today, our goal is to take some of the mystery away. We're going to tell you how you can find evidence of a mouse infestation and what kind of things mice do inside your home. We'll also tell you how and why mice get into your home in the first place. The more you know about mice, the better your chances of properly diagnosing a mouse control problem and addressing it effectively will be.

Before we get started, we want to remind you that you don't have to read an article about how to keep mice out of your house to solve your problem. Haskell Termite & Pest Control offers rodent pest control in Tampa as well as year-round residential pest control that helps to keep lots of pests out of your home, not just rodents. But if you want to know more about how mice operate, you've come to the right place. Let's get into today's topic.

Sure Signs Of A Mouse Infestation In Your Home

Mice can live quietly in your home. They don't always make bumping and scratching noises in wall voids. In fact, mice prefer to live close to food sources because they eat 15 to 20 times a day. They don't want to scale your walls every time they want a bite to eat, so more often than not, mice establish themselves in structural voids near kitchens and pantries.

When mice invade your Tampa home, they do the same things on the inside that they do on the outside. Keep this in mind later when we start to talk about why and how they invade. These behavior patterns can help you detect mice indoors and outdoors, and detection is an essential part of mouse control. You need to detect mice before you apply control methods, and afterward to make sure no mice remain in your home.

  • Look for small holes. An adult mouse can squeeze its body through a hole the size of a dime. You'll find these holes mostly near the floor. Get down low and look under the overhang of cabinets and in the gaps between appliances, counters, and walls. Inspect your pantry. You'll find holes near the floor or at the back of the shelves. When you find these holes, you can know for sure that there is a mouse close by if you still have an active infestation.
  • Look for grease marks. When you locate a hole, you may also find grease marks. The dark, oily marks may be around the hole the mice are using or on baseboards along the routes the mice are using.
  • Look for footprints. If mice are climbing around on your sleeves, you may see footprints in dust or food particles. 
  • Look for droppings. Mice leave their feces everywhere they go. If you find holes, grease marks, or footprints, you're likely to find droppings. These droppings will provide the best evidence of an active infestation. Fresh droppings are moist and firm. Old droppings are dry and brittle.

As you work to keep mice out of your house, it helps to know these signs. Mice in Tampa are less mysterious when you're able to see how they're going in and out of wall voids.

Why Mice In Your Home Is A Major Health Risk

How bad is it to have a mouse in your home? How bad can one little mouse be? The ways mice can impact your health and damage your property are as mysterious as how they hide and move about in your home.

  • One little mouse can chew on a wire in your home and cause a house fire. Mice are prone to chew on wires, and most unexplained fires are considered rodent-related.
  • One little mouse can bring a hundred seed ticks into your home. Mice roam around outside and are exposed to ticks, fleas, mites, worms, lice, and other tiny pests. All it takes is one infected tick to transmit Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, or alpha-gal syndrome (also known as red meat allergy).
  • One little mouse can pick up harmful bacteria from trash receptacles and contaminate your stored foods, food-prep surfaces, dishes, and silverware.
  • One little mouse can leave contaminants in your ventilation ducts and spread Hantavirus.
  • It is rare to have one little mouse. Mice reproduce faster than rabbits, and they live in groups.

It is best to not allow any mice into your home. Let's look at how and why mice want to get into your home. You may be surprised.   

How And Why Mice Find Their Way Into Your Home

There are only a handful of reasons why mice get into homes. These reasons aren't nearly as straightforward as you might think.

  • Mice are thigmotactic. They are drawn to tight spaces. When a mouse explores your exterior and finds a small hole, it will want to investigate. Mice can't help themselves. When caulking material is used to keep mice out, you would think that mice could just chew right through—and you would be right. They can. But they don't know that they should try. It is only when they see a hole that they consider getting inside.
  • Mice are rodents. As rodents, mice have incisors that never stop growing. They must file these teeth down on a regular basis. Wood works nicely for this. If a mouse finds exposed wood on your home, it is going to do what a mouse is going to do. It is even more attracted to chewing on rotting wood. Moisture damage often leads to mouse problems because moisture compromises structural wood and makes it more delightful for mice to chew on.
  • Mice have poor eyesight. How does poor eyesight allow mice to get inside your home? It doesn't. But mice use their other senses to compensate for their bad vision, such as their sense of smell. When a rodent smells a dirty receptacle next to your home, it is likely to check it out. Once the mouse is near your exterior, it may smell dirty recycling items in your garage, and investigate. Once in there, it may catch an aroma of food from your kitchen when you open the door to go in and out of your home. Slowly and step-by-step, it works its way inside, using only its nose.

These examples provide insights into why mice get inside, and that they use their teeth to do it. How can you use this knowledge to keep them out?

  • Patch holes so that mice don't get the bright idea to squeeze their way into the interior of your home.
  • If you notice a spot where mice are gnawing on wood or other building materials, you can use metal flashing to bolster your protection and keep them out.
  • Keep bagged trash in covered containers and get your trash to the curb weekly. If your receptacles start to have a bad aroma, clean them.

Along with these simple prevention tips, we can also apply what we talked about earlier. Mice are motivated by food. When you remove food options around your home, you'll remove one big reason why mice want to explore your exterior.

  • Get rid of bird feeders or move them well away from your exterior.
  • When you pick up nuts, store them away from your home.
  • Consider replacing exterior white light bulbs with yellow light bulbs to reduce insects mice feed on.

An animal that eats 15 to 20 times a day isn't going to want to explore an area that has little or no food. That makes sense, right? Now, let's discuss targeted pest control methods that are used to deal with higher-than-normal mouse pressures or to counteract conducive conditions that are difficult to remove.