When the temperatures fall, rodents have a way of finding a safe and comfortable place to ride out the weather. Mice are small enough and smart enough to be able to get in just about anywhere. They can squeeze through an opening as small as a nickel, so even though your home may seem tightly sealed, they could have entered through sewer lines, drainage pipes, gaps around gas lines, underneath garage doors, cracks in your foundation, and holes around windows and doors.
Care with landscaping is one way to keep a mouse infestation at bay. Keeping grass trimmed and beds clear makes it harder for them to even get to your house, and leaves them with less to eat and fewer places to hide.
Signs of a Mouse Infestation
Mice may be kind of cute, but nobody wants them inside their home or business. They are fast proliferators, so just a couple mice can quickly turn into a few dozen. In fact, most people don’t even notice that they have a problem until there are at least a few unwanted guests. And once they’re inside, a mouse infestation can cause a lot of damage.
There are two different types of mice you will see in Calgary. Deer mice are brown or grey and have a white belly .The house mouse is slightly smaller, is grey or light brown in colour, and has a pointed nose and larger ears. They prefer foods like grain, seeds, and oats, but can eat just about anything. They are true survivors.
Signs you may have a mouse infestation include:
- Droppings, usually near where they have been eating.
- Gnaw marks on food wrappers or furniture.
- An odd, ammonia-like smell.
- Sounds of scurrying at night.
- Torn material that could have been used for a nest.
- Pets sniffing or scratching at walls or in unusual places.
As mice are mainly nocturnal, if you see one during the day it’s more than likely you have a more than one.
Damage Caused by Mice
A mouse infestation can wreak severe havoc such as:
- Feces and urine contaminating every surface they touch.
- Chewed items such as furniture and books – anything they can use for their nests.
- Wrecked furniture from where mice have burrowed in to build a cozy habitat.
- Mice like the warmth of large electrical appliances, so look for signs of chewing through insulation or wiring. This can also cause a fire hazard.
- Torn insulation from tunnels made through walls.
Don’t forget can mice can spread diseases through contact with their urine and droppings. Clean up must be done with care to avoid contracting dangerous infections such as the hantavirus, lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, and leptospirosis.
- Do not sweep up or vacuum droppings.
- Spray droppings with a bleach and water solution first, then wipe them up with a paper towel.
- Wear rubber gloves and a mask.
- Thoroughly wash your hands after cleaning up droppings.
How to Make Your Home Mouse-Free
Avoid a mouse infestation by making your home inhospitable to these savvy little rodents. These few tips will likely cause them to move on to somewhere easier to take over.
- Ensure weather stripping on doors and windows is intact.
- Patch any cracks in your foundation or exterior.
- Cover vents and soffits with a strong, fine mesh.
- Do not allow clutter, especially materials like boxes and paper, to build up.
- Keep items like grass seed and bird seed in tightly sealed strong plastic containers.
- Raise woodpiles off the ground about 30 centimeters and keep them away from your house.
- Keep kitchens swept up nicely and dry goods stored in sealable containers.
- Do not grow grass or plant a garden at the foundation of your house.
Getting Rid of Mice
If you have noticed the telltale signs of a mouse infestation, you might be able to get rid of them yourself before calling an exterminator. Methods that have proven to be effective include:
- Metal snap traps and live traps work, but have to be used properly. You will need a large amount (around 10) near mouse entrances you have spotted. Bait them for a few days to get the mice used to taking the food, then set them.
- Ultrasonic devices send out sound waves that annoy mice to the point that they may move on. In some cases, however, they simply get used to the noise.
- Poisoned baits can work, but are not recommended in homes with pets or children unless you can be sure they will not gain access to them.
Caught mice should be picked up with rubber gloves and thrown away in the landfill in a plastic bag.
Mice in Gardens
Although they are not nearly as destructive outside as they are inside, mice really don’t belong anywhere near your home or business. New plants are especially susceptible to their destruction. They can dig up and feed on smaller plants and easily burrow underground in nests.
Mirage is Your Calgary Landscaping Expert
After three generations of landscaping in Calgary, we at Mirage have seen it all. In addition to mice, gophers and voles are common in the city and can cause real problems in your yard. With judicious planting, we can minimize the risk of a mouse infestation ruining your landscaping. Contact us to see how we can improve your outdoor life at home.