Pest Detection For Homeowners
This time of year, you often see scurrying mouse images paired with fallen leaves and pumpkins. It is because the mice population gets busy preparing for winter. They might be looking for small openings in your home to find nice warm, spaces to have babies and collect ready foodstuffs, without getting those little mouse toes frosty.
Did you know that a mouse can enter small openings if the hole is as big as its head? An interesting experiment done by Mathias Wandel on YouTube illustrates how easy it is for mice to get into homes.
How Do They Get Into The House?
Mice can get into your home through vents, small holes around piping and under gaps in doorways or window. It is best to do an exterior check for any places they might enter. There are screen grates you can purchase that block the vents from mouse entry, but won’t impede airflow. Seal around pipes with chemical sealants that expand and harden. Putting window and door guards are a good precaution. They also keep out drafts in the winter.
How To Tell If You Have A Mouse Infestation
Sometimes, if they stay in-between the walls, it can be challenging to locate them. They build nests in darker areas, like basements or between the walls, or in storage boxes with papers and clothes. Sometimes mice nest in vents or hot water tanks where it is warm.
Some other signs are:
- Dropping piles (little black seed-like debris) in areas where they look for food or live.
- Trails or tracks through dust or loose food on counters
- Unknown musky, urine smell
- Gnawed wood areas on baseboards or cupboards
- Shredded paper or cloth materials that they use for nesting
- Sounds of scratching in the walls or things moving in the cupboards
- Your pets may detect them and sit or scratch where they are hidden
Mice breed very quickly, and your infestation problem may intensify if left unchecked. A mouse can have 10 to 15 litters of babies a year, and each litter is three to 10 babies. Their pregnancies only last about 20 days and then they are ready to breed again.
How To Get Rid Of Mice
People use traps to catch them or light areas to drive them away. Mice prefer the dark. Traps can be baited with rodenticide or food and placed near suspected runs or left inside vents. The traps should be checked daily. Another option is ultra-sonic alarms that humans can’t hear but will drive the rodents out. However, some of these alarms can disturb household pets.
If mice are inside your home, you may want to call in a pest control company that offers mouse control. They have traps and tools to locate mice that your average homeowner doesn’t have. For example, boroscope cameras that can detect them in between walls and inside of vents. The pest company may decide to use poison to eliminate your rodent problem. If you have pets, you should confirm the method they plan to use and what precautions you should take.
A good overall reference on mice and their disposal can be found on the Alberta Government website.
Personal Safety Precautions
If you are handling the traps and disposing of nests and mice, you need rubber gloves and a mask. Open up doors and windows to ventilate the area. Spray a bleach and water solution or a commercial disinfectant on the mouse droppings and nests and let it sit for five minutes. Use a paper towel to gather droppings and put them in the garbage. Put the nests and dead mice in a sealed plastic bag for disposal. Then clean the area again with disinfectant solution. If they have been in blankets or clothes, wash them in hot water. Scrub your hands again when you take off the gloves.
Precautions are necessary as some mice like the deer mouse can spread a lung disease through their droppings. There are seven types of mice in Alberta, but only two types carry disease. Don’t vacuum the droppings as it just spreads possible contamination in the dust.
If mice have been in food products ( you may see holes in boxes or tracks), throw away contaminated food, wash the shelving or drawers and then place food in sealed containers. Sometimes plastic containers can be gnawed through, so metal and glass are better. One gallon pickle jars work well. Heavy infestations in buildings require more protective gear like coveralls, boots, respirators and rubber gloves.
Prepping For An Exterminator
You may want to call in an exterminator for mouse control, and there are few things to prep before their arrival. Go through your cupboards and put food in sealed containers. Remove items and personal items away from areas under sinks and the suspected areas. Vacuum and take out the garbage. Move furniture slightly away from walls and items off the floors. Bag or move hygiene items in the bathroom. If they are going to use an airborne spray, you will need to cover all the furniture with plastic or sheets.
Restoring Your Home After Extermination
Ask whether exterminators provide cleanup after pest removal. Most exterminators do not restore your house to normal living conditions. A call to a pre or post-cleanup service like we offer at Bernard’s Pro Clean & Prep can save you a lot of stress in prepping your home before the exterminator’s visit, and later restoring your home to a healthy environment for your family. We have the tools and gear to do so safely.
Bernard’s Pro Clean & Prep can help with all of your pre and post pest control cleaning in Calgary, Cochrane, Okotoks, Airdrie & Chestermere. We specialize is helping you protect your home from bed bugs, cockroaches, mice and more. Give us a call today to learn more about our services 587-215-3538.