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Have you been noticing signs of mice in your home? Maybe your hearing sounds throughout your walls. Signs of droppings along baseboards and inside cabinets are a telltale sign that you have unwanted visitors. Mice are adaptable to their environments, so where they find what they need is not as important as the need itself. Being the opportunists that they are, mice will venture anywhere in order to attain the sources they seek after and because they are small in size and can even squeeze through holes smaller than half their body size, everywhere is susceptible to mice if it is not properly sealed off. Homeowners will often notice a greater activity level during the fall and winter months as these bring colder weather which mice will seek shelter from. The main sources that mice look for are:

FOOD

Every living thing needs food to survive and there are no exceptions when it comes to mice. Not only do they need food to survive, but they get water from the food they eat, so finding food is essential to their survival. Mice are known to feed from multiple locations within one night so depending on the availability of food sources, they may need to scavenge around. Kitchens are the most common place they will scavenge as it’s where we store all of our own food and typically, food that is not stored and sealed properly. This leaves a buffet of food options ranging from bread, pasta, cereal, chocolate, cheese, peanut butter, potato chips and even vegetables. The easier the access, the more likely they are to go after it. Properly storing foods in your home and making sure that containers are sealed can help prevent mice from rummaging through your goods.

NESTING SPACES AND MATERIALS

Female mice can start having babies when they are just six weeks old. Multiple females can take up residence within a nest with each litter being up to twelve babies and each female being able to produce up to ten litters every year. That’s a lot of babies! Breeding is not dependent upon seasons so mice are able to breed and reproduce all throughout the year. When they are looking to nest, they will search out an isolated area within your home that is close to a food. The other thing they look for is warmth, especially in the colder seasons. People have found mice nests in the back of refrigerators because they are close to a food source and are surprisingly warm. Other common areas they are found nesting are in storage boxes, walls, inside voids of furniture and of course your typical attic spaces. Even the ground or underneath areas where debris is piled can be common areas they burrow in. Using everything from paper, string, batting, plant material and insulation; mice will collect from various sources to build a warm space where they can tend to their young. The best way to keep this from happening is to store all your goods in airtight containers, get rid of excess materials like storage boxes, unused clothing and linens and keep the inside and the outside areas of your home tidy.

SHELTER

Mice seek shelter for a few reasons. Outside of looking for shelter with the purpose of building nests, they look to stay warm and to avoid predators. Mice are not deterred from the cold when it comes to survival, but they do prefer a warm space after scavenging outside in cooler temperatures. If needed, a mouse will use energy to keep warm, though they prefer not to as this can cause their bodies stress. Because the main objective of a mouse is to find food, mice will leave the protection and warmth of their shelter to seek after a food source if one is not close by. This leaves them vulnerable to predators such as owls, cats, dogs and fowl like hawks. Activity tends to increase in the later hours of the night for mice, which is why these animals are on top of their predator list. The best way one can avoid mice accessing their home for shelter is to eliminate all possible entry points. This can be done by sealing cracks and crevices around the outside of your home, including gaps around piping. Cutting back your landscaping, especially if it is within a few feet from your house, as this not only provides shelter but also pathways for mice to enter as they scurry from branches to your rooftop and keeping all trash bins and debris piles away from your home which can help deter them from entering.

Mice infestations are unfortunately common and if not caught quickly they can escalate into what seems like an impossible situation. Taking the time to mouse proof your home will help you to avoid such problems. Lean more about our year round mice control for the Portland and Vancouver area.

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