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Common Questions and Answers About Mice

Updated: Mar 26

Mice can get into homes and become a real problem—building nests, contaminating food, causing damage, and spreading disease. But to get rid of them, you need to understand what they do and what they like. Trapping and removing mice is usually the best DIY method for controlling a mouse problem. Poisoning mice puts children and pets at risk. At the other end of the spectrum, failing to get rid of mice in the home (in the name of being humane) can lead to large populations inside the house and possibly the need for professional extermination.

1. How Do You Know if You Have Mice?

Although the most obvious sign is actually seeing live or dead mice in your house, there are plenty of other signs that can tell you that a mouse infestation may be building. These include:

  • Gnawed holes in stored foods, piled papers, insulation, etc.

  • Food scraps or wrappings left behind, especially in out-of-the-way places, such as inside shoes or boots or in the corners of closets and cabinets

  • Droppings or tiny hairs

  • Runways—narrow pathways where dust and dirt have been swept clean, noticeable grease marks, or urine trails can be seen under a black light

  • Nests or piled nesting materials

  • Skittering or scratching sounds coming from wall, ceiling, or floor cavities

  • Stale, rank, or musty odors

2. How Do You Know if It's a Mouse or a Rat?

There are key differences between mice & rats. Mice are much smaller than rats. Adult mice are about 7 1/2 inches in length, including the tail. The most common rats in the United States are the Norway rat and the roof rat. They are about 14 to 16 inches in length, with tail length varying by species.

3. What Do Mice Eat?

Mice most prefer to eat cereal grains and plants, but they will feed on almost anything. They are very commonly drawn to dried (and bagged) stored food, including pet food.

4. How Long Do Mice Live?

A house mouse will rarely live more than a year in the wild, but in a protected environment with food and water (such as a house), it can live up to three years.

5. Do You Keep Finding Shredded Paper and Black Rice-Like Things?

If you encounter shredded paper, you have likely found a mouse nest. A mouse will build its nest from just about any soft material or finely shredded paper. And the little black "rice" is most likely mouse droppings.

6. Why Are You Not Seeing the Mice?

Mice are nocturnal creatures, so they are most active between dusk and dawn. They don't usually like bright lights, but a mouse may sometimes be seen during the day, especially if its nest has been disturbed or it is seeking food. Seeing mice in the day also can indicate a large infestation in a home.

7. How Quickly Do Mice Breed?

In a single year, one female mouse can breed up to 10 litters of five to six young. These 60 offspring can begin to reproduce themselves in as little as six weeks. So within months, you could have a huge population of mice.

8. How Do Mice Get Inside a Home?

A mouse can slip through holes and gaps as small as 1/4 inch, or roughly the size of a pencil. And if an opening is not big enough to squeeze through, the mouse can gnaw it until it is big enough. Mice also can jump 13 inches high and can run along wires, cables, and ropes. They are excellent jumpers, swimmers, and climbers and can scale rough and vertical surfaces.

9. What can I do if I think I may have a mouse or mice?

Be Green Pro can help if you have a rodent problem or see signs of activity! Prevent damage to your home & prevent diseases to you & your family! Call Be Green Pro today at 262-361-4034 for a FREE estimate- Our technician will come to your home & then strategically place traps to give you the most effective control.

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(262) 361-4034

Original Article by Lisa Lo Lupo of The Spruce