Finding any type of animal nest in your garage isn’t ideal, but it’s especially harrowing when it’s a mouse nest. Mice don’t just carry potentially dangerous diseases, but they can also chew through your belongings if you don’t take care of them in time.
If you’ve noticed mice droppings in or around your home and garage, chances are you have a family of mice living nearby. Before you panic, rest assured that there are some things you can do to get rid of them.
But first, you have to be able to identify where exactly they’ve taken up residence.
Identifying a Mouse Nest
Unless you’ve had to deal with a mouse infestation before, chances are you may not know what a mouse nest looks like. A mouse nest is typically made up of just about anything they can find. This can include everything from the inside of your pillows, to pieces of paper, to even grass and sticks found nearby. Essentially, anything soft makes a good mouse nest.
For the most part, a mouse nest is about four to six inches wide – just big enough for the entire family. A family of mice can consist of anywhere from 5 to 12 rodents. Mice breed quickly, so the sooner you find them, the better.
Signs You Have a Mouse Infestation
If you’re still not sure about whether or not you’ve got a mouse problem, there are several telltale signs to look out for that will give you the answer you’re looking for. For one, the most obvious sign would be finding dead mice around your home.
This will happen especially if you’ve set traps for mice. Another thing you can look out for is mice droppings. These tend to be located near the nest, so if you find mice droppings chances are you’re close to finding the nest.
If you’ve got pets and you’ve noticed holes in your pet’s dry food, you might have mice. Mice will eat any food they can get a hold of, so keep an eye out for holes in packaging, droppings in your pantry, and crumbs left behind in your home.
If mice are leaving behind droppings and urine all over your home, chances are you’ve probably noticed a foul smell in your home. This is another telltale sign to look out for that indicates you may have a mouse problem on your hands.
Finally, you may want to keep your ears open for any strange sounds within your walls. Mice tend to create a nest wherever they see fit, and this doesn’t exclude your walls. If you’ve heard scurrying in your walls, especially at night, chances are you’ve got mice living in your home.
Getting Rid of Mice
Now that you know what you’re up against, you’re going to want to do everything you can to try and get rid of the mice in your home before they continue to breed.
First and foremost, be sure to scour your home for any potential points of entry. If you notice any tunnels or holes where a mouse could get through, find a way to cover them up to prevent any more unwanted rodents from getting into your home.
Keep in mind that mice can find a way through even the smallest cracks, so be sure to cover up any opening in your home using either steel wool or caulk. Mice can chew through rubber, wood and plastic, so try to avoid covering up these areas with materials that consist of any of those.
Once you’re certain you’ve got all your points of entry covered, it’s time to deal with the rodents that are already in your home or garage. Do this by setting mouse traps especially in areas where you’ve noticed droppings. Mice tend to stay close to their nest, so chances are they aren’t too far from where you’ve seen the droppings.
In terms of mouse traps, you can use either the traditional wooden ones, or you can use sticky traps. You can also use live traps if you are trying to catch multiple mice.
In terms of bait, you can use just about any type of food to attract the mice. Although cheese is the most well-known type of bait, you can also use things such as chocolate, oatmeal, peanut butter, and fruit. To get the best results, you would be wise to glue down the food to your traps so that the mice can’t run away with it.
Again, be sure to place your traps close to where you’ve found mice droppings or near walls where you may hear scurrying. Once you’ve caught the mice, be sure to keep your home and its surroundings as clean as possible so that you can avoid another infestation in the future.
As old school as it sounds, having a cat or even a dog in your home is also another great way to get rid of mice. Cats and dogs will instinctively go after mice when they see them, so be sure to let your pets loose in your home if you think you’ve got a mouse infestation.
Preventing Mouse Infestations
Now that you’ve successfully rid yourself of mice, you want to make sure you are doing everything in your power to make sure it never happens again. You can easily do this by taking the necessary precautions required when trying to prevent mice from infiltrating your home again.
This includes making sure your home is clean, particularly your kitchen or anywhere that there’s food around. It doesn’t take much food for a mouse to survive, so you may not think leaving crumbs on your kitchen floor would be a big deal. However, these crumbs are enough for a mouse to live off of and should be cleaned up immediately.
You should always make sure that any food you have either in your pantry, garage, or anywhere else is also always properly secured. This also goes for pet food. Seal any opened bags of food and keep them out of reach so that mice can’t get to them.
Mice tend to settle into homes that offer them enough materials to make a home out of. If you’ve got a lot of junk piled up in your home, it could be a magnet for mice. Be sure to get rid of anything you don’t need and prevent your belongings from getting piled up, otherwise you are essentially creating the perfect environment for mice to make a home in.
Again, mice are constantly looking for food and water, so if you’ve got these available alongside the perfect nesting materials, you are essentially welcoming mice into your home. Be sure to take care of any leaky pipes in your home and keep any small and enclosed spaces in your home well-ventilated and dry.
Rats Versus Mice
Oftentimes it can be easy to confuse whether or not you’ve got a mouse or a rat infestation. It’s important to know the difference because there are different ways to get rid of them.
The first thing to note is that obviously, mice and rats are very different in terms of physicality. Rats have longer tails and are generally bigger in size, while mice have larger ears than rats and have a thinner tail and smaller eyes.
You can also know if you’re dealing with a mouse or a rat by examining any droppings you may have found in your garage or home. Mice droppings tend to be small, while rat droppings are bigger in size. The ends of rat droppings also tend to be more blunt.
Because rats are larger, they may also be easier to not only spot, but to hear as well. Mice may go undetected in your walls for a long time, while rats are pretty obvious as you can easily hear them gnawing and moving about within your walls.
Having a mouse infestation is no walk in the park, but something that can be dealt with. The most common time to deal with a mouse infestation is during the winter, when mice are seeking shelter from the cold.
During this season, it is especially important that you make sure any cracks in your walls are sealed and any holes you find also get covered up with durable material that a mouse won’t be able to get through.
Be sure to keep any food left out in airtight containers and keep all of your pet food out of reach from mice as they are known to be drawn to it. At the end of the day, dealing with a mouse infestation isn’t something that anyone wants to deal with, so be sure to take all the necessary precautions to avoid it from happening to you.
If worse comes to worse, you can always hire an exterminator if none of your efforts to catch these rodents seem to be working in your favor.