There is plenty of reason why mice choose our attics as a refuge. Whether it's seeking protection from predators or the elements or just looking for food, our homes are inviting places to these rodents. However, the busiest time of year for mice entering homes is when fall turns to winter. Because mice do not hibernate, when the temperature outside begins to drop, they start looking for a warm place to spend the winter months. Unfortunately, that warm place might be your attic.
Mice only require a dime-sized hole to get into your home. A small opening in pipes, utility lines, vents, or even gaps beneath doors is all they need to get in.
Once they get in, they will quickly begin to cause destruction and contaminate areas of your home. They can cause structural damage, impair the integrity of your home’s wiring and piping, and leave behind feces that could hazardous to your health.
If you suspect you have mice in your home, you must be proactive before more damage is done, your risks increase, and the problem spirals out of control. Especially with the current deer mice epidemic in Southern Ontario, you must be more vigilant about mice in your home than ever before.
The first step to solving a mouse problem is to first determine if there are indeed mice in the attic.
Understanding mouse behaviors can help you make that determination.
Suspecting You Have Mice in Attic
There are many things that can make you suspect you have a mouse infestation in your home or cottage’s attic. Perhaps you’ve actually seen a mouse in another part of your home and you’re wondering if it’s a sole mouse that’s managed to make its way into your house or part of an infestation.
Perhaps you’ve seen mouse droppings in your kitchen, attic, or elsewhere. Mouse droppings are small and oval-shaped, with a pointed tip.
Perhaps you’ve noticed a bad smell coming from your attic. Mice aren’t hygienic creatures—they will leave feces and urine everywhere they go.
Or maybe you’ve noticed suspicious chew marks on some hard surfaces, such as wood or concrete, or it looks like your insulation has been damaged.
Most homeowners, however, suspect they have mice in the attic because they hear suspicious noises coming from up above.
Check out this video to see how little space a mouse needs to gain entry into your home:
What Do Mice Sound Like?
One of the telltale signs that you have mice in the attic is noise coming from the area. When it’s dark and quiet in your home, you might hear scratching or gnawing sounds in your attic or walls. You may also hear skittering as mice run across the ceiling. You may even hear them communicate with squeaks. But keep in mind you will most likely only hear them when the house is very quiet. Even if you are housing a significant population in your walls, ceiling, and attic; you will most likely never heat them when the house is active. They are very good at concealing their presence. Because they hang out mostly in the insulation, they can move around very quietly as long as they do not venture too far or too quickly.
Are Mice Nocturnal?
One of the biggest myths about mice is that they’re strictly nocturnal—only active at night. After hearing this myth and believing it to be true, you might quickly dismiss the possibility that you have a mouse infestation because the sounds that you’re hearing are occurring during the day. This is a mistake.
While it’s true that mice are typically most active during the evening hours, they aren’t actually nocturnal. The fact is mice are most active whenever they feel safe—whenever they determine that there is no danger around. In many cases, this is indeed during the night when there is less human activity.
However, if they feel as though they are not in danger during the day because your house is quiet, they will come out and scavenge for food during daylight hours.
In addition, mice also live in social groups with hierarchies. If the dominant mice are defending the best areas for shelter and food, less dominant mice may be forced to be more active during the day when it is more dangerous, in order to seek shelter, food, and mates.
Mice are always alert, regardless of the time of the day. They may move around during the daytime or the nighttime. Anytime the house is quiet, activity is possible. This is due to the large numbers usually present when a mouse infestation occurs. So if you’re hearing noises that sound like mice during the day or night, it’s best to call a humane wildlife removal company for a home inspection right away.
Humane mouse removal and prevention is the only efficient solution available. Traps and poison are not only cruel and dangerous to neighbourhood pets and other wildlife, but it doesn't work. These measures will never detect where and why mice are gaining entry and prevent that from happening down the road. Traps and poison will simply mask the symptoms temporarily and catch a few mice in the process. It will not permanently evict them and prevent reentry. Mice removal should only be performed by wildlife removal experts.