What Do House Mice Look Like?
House mice are light gray or brown with large ears, bulging black eyes, and small, wide feet. You might recognize them by their thin, nearly hairless tails that are the same length as their bodies. A house mouse averages around six to eight inches long.
How Can I Tell if I Have a House Mouse Problem?
House mice are very quick and agile creatures that are mostly active at night, so you may never actually spot one. You’re more likely to notice other evidence of a house mouse infestation, such as:
- Scratching sounds – Sometimes you can hear these pests moving around inside walls, ceilings, and cabinets.
- Signs of nesting – House mice gather nesting material by shredding fabric and paper. Damaged furniture, linens, or insulation are a tell-tale sign of infestation.
- Gnaw marks – To keep their teeth from becoming overgrown, these rodents will chew on baseboards, doors, or woodwork.
- Droppings – Smaller than a piece of rice, house mouse droppings are about a quarter-inch long, dark-colored, and pointed at both ends.
- Damage to food – These pests often scavenge in pantries, on counters, or in warehouses. Be on the lookout for packaging with holes or tears.
How Do House Mice Get Inside Homes and Businesses?
House mice like to live in protected areas near food sources. Outdoors, they choose locations with thick grasses, leaf litter, or bushes where they are well hidden. A house mouse can squeeze through openings as tiny as a quarter inch. They are often able to get into homes and garages through cracks in the foundation or under doors.
In buildings like grocery stores, schools, and hospitals, house mice can enter through delivery bays, in shipments, or even improperly sealed vents. Built for balance, these pests can walk along narrow surfaces, making it easy for a house mouse to gain access where pipes or utilities connect.
Are House Mice Dangerous?
House mice can cause expensive losses when they eat or contaminate food and products. This can be a big issue for restaurants, supermarkets, and any other retailer that carries edible goods. They may also chew on wiring, which can create a risk of fire if left unchecked.
This pest sometimes carries viruses and bacteria that can make you sick. Diseases like lymphocytic choriomeningitis spreads to people when they breathe in dust contaminated by the urine or droppings of an infected house mouse. Although cases are rare, complications from these infections may be serious.
How Can I Prevent House Mouse Infestations?
To avoid problems with house mice, begin by closing off as many entry points as possible. Fill or seal any holes or gaps around basements, windows, and doorways where a house mouse could get in. Keep food items secured in tightly lidded containers and clean up any spills immediately. If you need more help, contact the professionals at Waltham Pest Services.