While I was disassembling my old blog today, it occurred to me that I never crossposted a few articles I wrote about humane methods of “pest” control from there to here. So, here they be…two years late, but still totally in season. With updated links, to boot.
The articles in this particular series include:
1 – How to Tell If There’s a Mouse in Your House
2 – How to Mouse-Proof Your House: A Natural, Humane, and Effective Form of Pest Control
3 – Spare the Snap-Trap and Have Mercy on the Mice: A Guide to “Catch-and-Release” Mouse Traps
Teh fine print: You’re permitted – nay, encouraged! – to reprint these articles elsewhere, as long as all links remain intact and clickable, and the resource box is included at the bottom of the page.
How to Tell If There’s a Mouse in Your House
By Kelly Garbato
You’ve just settled down in bed and are twenty minutes into Letterman when you hear it: a light scratching overhead, accompanied by a squeak here and a squeal there. You assume that it’s the wind making strange noises (after all, it is windy tonight!), or perhaps the house is just settling (you do live in an older home, so it would make sense…). Maybe the sounds are just the result of an overactive imagination. You hope!
Of course, you just can’t get around the obvious conclusion – you have company. Whether it’s a bird, a bat, a squirrel, or an entire family of mice, there’s something up there. Given that you’ve had recurrent rodent problems, the latter option is probably the safest bet.
However, how can you be sure what type of animal you’re dealing with – assuming that you even have unwelcome visitors at all? Before you can evict them, you need to know who “they” are.
Above all else, your first step is to inspect your home for signs of mice. Different problems call for different solutions; if your visitors are actually squirrels instead of mice, you’ll need to develop a different strategy.
When canvassing your home, keep an eye out for these seven telltale signs:
1. Droppings and urine
Mouse droppings resemble a grain of rice; they are approximately the same size, but are black in color. Mice will not generally travel across open spaces, so you’re more likely to find droppings along walls, pipes, and beams, as well as in storage areas and next to objects. “Urine pillars” are less common; they consist of mounds of grease, urine, and dirt. You can also use a blacklight to find individual urine droppings.
2. Chew marks
Look for tooth marks and wood shavings (similar in consistency to sawdust) around doors, baseboards, and cabinets. Marks on food containers can also be a clue that you have company.
3. Grease marks
When traveling alongside pipes, beams, and walls, mice may leave greasy smear marks, as dirt and oil from their fur rubs off onto the surfaces.
Footprints and tail marks on dirty, dusty, or muddy surfaces can indicate activity. If you suspect that mice have taken up residence in an otherwise impeccably clean area of your house, lay down a sprinkling of talc to catch them in the act.
Mice construct nests of shredded paper and similar debris; check attics, basements, garages, storage areas, closets, and other dark, enclosed places for nests or “stolen” materials.
You’re more likely to hear squeaks and squawks at night, when the house is quiet and your guests are active.
It’s not uncommon to see mice during the day; although they are largely nocturnal, they do move about in daylight.
Now that you’re certain that you’re dealing with mice, it’s time to start strategizing. Your plan of attack will actually come in three phases: first you need to clean up the messes you found; next, you must trap and release your unwelcome visitors; and finally, you’ll mouse-proof your house so they can’t get back in (and wouldn’t want to, even if they could!). Good luck!
About the Author:
© Kelly Garbato, 2005; All rights reserved
Kelly Garbato is an author, web editor, and small business owner (http://www.hotdogllc.com). A guardian to five dogs and a cat, her work is largely inspired by (and aims to honor) the human-animal bond. She blogs about environmental and animal rights/welfare issues at http://www.easyVegan.info and http://www.SmiteMe.net. To learn more about Kelly, or to send her an email, visit her personal web site at http://www.kellygarbato.com.
Tagged: animals animal rights animal welfare mice mouse rodents rodent control pests pest control wildlife wildlife management pest management infestation humane humane rodent control humane mouse control mouse traps humane mouse traps glue traps snap traps catch and release catch and release traps mouse house live traps smart house prevention electronic repellents ultrasonic sound waves electromagnetic fields shopping buying guide articles free content free content articles