If you have open trash, construction materials, pools of water, or wood piles near your house, mice will come in close enough to get curious about what is inside. Their curiosity grows, as the air gets colder. So, autumn is when they’ll start looking to spend the winter in your home. They can find a notch or hole to hide in out in the field, but your nice toasty house is way more appealing. If they are able to find an opening in your foundation, or a gap where wood has rotted, they can get inside the walls. This typically happens under decks and patios, because water collects near the house, and you’re unable to see it. As wood rots, bugs wear away at it, and eventually give the mice a way in.

Mice are also commensal rodents, which means they love to live in our homes. They are quite happy to have you bring home the bacon, and purchase the necessities they are accustomed to. They will scurry through your house looking for a leaky faucet to drink from, crumbs on plate or on the floor, water splashed onto the floor, a slightly opened bag of chips next to the computer, or leftover food on plates near the sink. If you leave food, crumbs, and open liquid out, they will be quite happy to live with you forever.

What are the signs that you may have a mouse infestation?

You would think that seeing mice around your house would be the first indication, but it isn’t. Mice are timid. You could have mice in your home for years, and not know it, if it wasn’t for their droppings. Small brown droppings are usually the first clue that mice have breached your defenses. You’ll find these droppings in the back of drawers, in the cabinet under the sink, and in food cupboards.

If you missed these little brown feces, your next major clue will be when you find chew marks in your cardboard food containers. Mice get into cereal, sugar, flour, seeds, grain, and fruit–among other things. And, the chew holes are their calling card.

Thumping in your walls is another common sign. Mice nest and travel through walls–where they also gnaw on wires and cables. This can create quite a headache for an electrician, and that is expensive for a homeowner.

If you have a large infestation, you will find mice scurrying along the walls when you turn the light on. Large numbers cause the mice to be bolder, especially if you leave food on the counters or table.

What do you do if you’re infested?

With any rodent infestation, you should call a professional. Mice get into some pretty nasty things, and they aren’t polite enough to take a shower before they slide around in your silverware drawer. This can create health problems for your family. If you get a spring trap or two, put peanut butter on them, and stick them in the back of your cabinets, you’ll catch a couple mice, but you’ll never know if you’ve gotten them all. Don’t take any chances on your family’s health. A professional will make sure those mice are gone.