When you think of a mouse hole in the house, you likely picture an evenly cut doorway where Jerry the mouse comes in and out of his home as he hides from Tom the cat. While this popular cartoon gave us the image of a door to a mouse house, the reality is a mouse hole looks nothing like this image. A real mouse hole is often missed by the average homeowner but can be a sign of a dangerous infestation as these pests wander and spread germs and diseases. The fact is, while mice do create holes, chances are your home already came with a highway of holes perfect for the mice to travel through and access just about anywhere.
- Understand how to identify mouse holes and potential mouse pathways in the home
- Learn how to identify mouse holes in the yard and around your home
- Understand how mice use these holes to access areas within your home
- Learn how to use these holes to your benefit when eradicating mice in your home
Do mice dig holes?
Mice prefer to live outside and only venture into your home when the weather gets too cold, or they are looking for a food source. In the yard, mice will dig holes to create shelter and look for food sources. These holes lead to burrows that can quickly become an intricate maze of tunnels throughout your yard. While you may think mice living outside is not a big problem, the truth is these intricate tunnels can cause instability in your yard, leading to collapse and making it dangerous for you, your children, and your pets. In addition, a large infestation outside often leads to an infestation inside as the weather changes or food sources become scarce.
What a mouse hole really looks like
Holes outside are usually small and lead to a tunnel. If you examine these holes closely, you will likely find signs of mouse hair and mouse droppings. But digging in the dirt is not the only way mice make holes. Inside, mice will chew through the walls, ceiling tiles, and baseboards, creating small, dime-sized holes with even edges.
Mousehole vs rat hole
How do you know if it is a mouse making holes in your home or a larger rodent, such as a rat? As you would assume, a mouse hole is often much smaller than those of a rat, with a mouse hole averaging the size of a dime, while a rat hole is larger than a quarter. But there is another distinct difference. Mice chew their holes carefully, leaving a nice even edge. Rats, on the other hand, chew more to get through, often creating holes of varying shapes and rough edges.
Types of mouse holes
When it comes to mouse holes in the home, there are two distinct types of holes. When you think of mouse holes, it is important to first understand a mouse. These rodents can squeeze into tiny spaces, meaning it doesn’t take much to create an access point in your home where a mouse can travel through.
Involuntary mouse holes
Involuntary mouse holes are not created by mice at all, but rather openings in your home that exist due to construction or aging. For example, areas around your wiring, plumbing, HVAC systems, conduits, vents, and phone and cable lines provide easy access to travel throughout your home with no work required from the mouse. Take a look underneath your kitchen or bathroom sink. Do you see small spaces around the plumbing? This small space is exactly what a mouse will use to travel throughout the home.
In addition to these construction points, as your home ages, it may experience cracks in the foundation, spaces between crumbling mortar, and gaps between different building materials. All of these provide access points for mice to enter your home.
Natural mouse holes
In addition to digging holes in your yard, mice will chew holes in your home to access areas where natural holes do not exist. You may find holes in drywall or along baseboards and through ceiling tiles as they chew their way through to their desired destination. Mice have two front teeth that never stop growing, so chewing is necessary to keep them down, so, while chewing holes help, they will also chew just about anything, from walls to furniture and books and boxes.
Signs of a mouse infestation
Sharing your space with mice may be okay if they live in a cage and are a pet, but wild mice in your home can pose health concerns. These rodents spread germs and diseases, can cause structural damage, and spread urine and feces throughout the home, often creating a damp, musty odor that you can’t pinpoint. Some common signs of a mouse infestation in the home can include:
- Mouse droppings: Droppings look like small, dark-colored seeds or grains of rice.
- Oily residue: Mice tend to travel along walls or baseboards and as they do this, they rub their body against the surface, often leaving a trail of oily residue.
- Strong smells: Mice urine spread throughout the home can lead to a musty urine smell that is difficult to pinpoint.
- Signs of chewing: This can be both holes or chew marks on furniture, baseboards, or just about anything.
- Scratching sounds in the walls: Mice will chew anything, and this includes things within your walls. If you hear scratching sounds in the walls, especially at night, chances are you have mice.
- Holes in the yard: If mice have been digging holes and tunnels in your yard, it won’t be long until they move into your home as well.
How to address a mouse infestation
If you have any of the above signs of a mouse infestation, you want to address them immediately. While you may be tempted to seal up all holes you find, you don’t want to do that until you have eliminated the mouse infestation. If mice are still present and you seal these holes, they will simply chew and create new ones.
Here are some tips to help you eliminate mice and create a mouse-free environment.
Clean the yard
An unattended yard is a perfect home for mice to take up residence. The good news is there are a few things you can do to help keep your yard from becoming a home for mice.
- Remove any debris from your yards, such as leaves, yard clippings, and other debris. If you have wood piles, keep them tidy and away from the home.
- Remove outdoor pet food as this can quickly become a feeding stop for mice and other pests.
- Keep weeds under control as these break up the dirt and make a great starting place for mice to dig.
- Keep lawn equipment put away. A shovel or rake can provide shelter for a mouse and often attracts more mice.
Traditional snap traps or catch-and-release traps are a great way to catch or kill mice in your yard or your home. These traps are designed to bait mice and kill or capture them. While the cartoons always show cheese as a common bait, peanut butter provides a better option as the mice can often easily steal the cheese without setting off the trap.
Use repellent sprays
Repellent sprays are a natural way to deter mice activity in your yard and home. These sprays can be formulated with fox urine, a natural predator of mice, or they can be formulated with scents that mice dislike, such as mint. Spray this repellent throughout your yard and around the perimeter of your home to keep mice at bay.
Use poison pellets
Poison bait pellets are another option that will successfully eliminate mice from your home or yard. The mice eat the pellets and quickly die from the poison. However, these pellets are also lethal to other animals, including pets. In addition, pets that catch mice that have eaten the pellets can be exposed to the poison, so use pellets with caution.
Call the professionals
In the case of a mouse infestation, both in the yard and the home, calling in the professionals is often the best course of action. A professional exterminator understands mouse behavior and will conduct a thorough inspection of both the home and the yard, looking for signs of mice. Professional treatments are often multi-phased and include extermination as well as prevention, helping to ensure your home stays mouse-free.
Identifying and addressing mice in the home
Identifying mouse holes, both inside and outside can help you detect a mouse infestation before it becomes serious. While many treatment options are available for you to do on your own, hiring residential pest control experts is likely your best solution to ensure that all mice are gone and will not return.
Let the professionals help
At Insight Pest Management, we understand how unsettling it can be to discover mice in and around your home and our team of experts is here to help. Our team will eliminate your mouse infestation and help you create a home environment that no longer welcomes mice inside. To learn how we can help, schedule a free evaluation today.