When Are Mice Most Active?

Mice like warm safe places

Hearing scratching or rustling in your walls? Wondering why mice are suddenly so active? Believe it or not, there are times when mice become more active. Like many animals, mice have daily and seasonal trends. We’ll answer the question “When are mice most active?” and tell you what you can do about it.

Mice grow more desperate as temperatures drop. Come fall and winter, your home looks pretty inviting to a shivering mouse. Make sure your home is mouse-proof and that you know who to call if mice do get in.

Are Mice Active During the Day?

No. Mice are nocturnal creatures that prefer the cover of night for a variety of reasons. Mouse eyes are sensitive to bright lights, and they navigate using smell or touch more than sight. They’ve also learned that foraging is safer when predators aren’t active – i.e., while you’re in bed.

To know if mice are running rampant during the wee hours, look for these signs of mice in your home:

  • Chewed food packages or containers.
  • Mouse droppings.
  • Grease trails along baseboards.
  • Footprints
  • Squeaking and scratching sounds.

Mice maintain a small territory and usually nest 10-30 feet away from their food supply. Keep close watch around your kitchen and pantry and look for signs of nests.

Can Mice Survive Freezing Temperatures?

Mice and rats don’t hibernate. To survive winter, they have to find a warm place to live. In the wild, mice build burrows beneath the snow. They create a network of tunnels to travel through but maintain a low level of activity.

If mice can find a better option, say a nice warm home with plenty of food, they’ll likely take it. By November, mice are feeling an understandable pressure to get a move on. If they’re not already in your home, then they’re trying to get in. Late in the season, mice may become bolder and stay out longer in a last-ditch attempt to find shelter.

Unfortunately, mice also reproduce and rear offspring in their nests all year round. That mouse that snuck in can easily become a family of mice. They also continue feeding and teething all year, damaging your food and home in the process.

Bread crumbs left by mice

How Mice Survive the Winter

A mouse’s top priority in November is simply to keep warm. The minute they sense temperatures dropping, they’ll start actively seeking out sources of warmth. That being said, Mice can’t survive winter just by keeping warm; they also need to keep eating, drinking, and growing.

Unsurprisingly, mice are not picky eaters. They’ll chow down on just about anything, and they don’t need much. Mice have incredibly keen noses. They can smell dry goods through packaging and walls. You can assume mice know pretty much exactly where food is at all times. They can subsist on crumbs, garbage, or unsecured dry goods very easily. Finally, mice need a tiny amount of moisture and a place to hide. If your home provides these things, it’s the perfect winter destination.

How mice get into your home

Mice not only smell food through walls, but they can also follow the scent it produces. Often, mice will catch a tantalizing whiff of something and follow it to a tiny opening. They only need a hole the size of a dime to squeeze their way into your home. In some cases, they can even make an opening if there is soft material to gnaw.

Mice don’t just smell their way in, either. They’re also extremely attuned to changes in air pressure and temperature. As they make their way around a home, they can actually feel tiny drafts created by holes. They can follow that sense of warmth all the way through a hole and into your home. Mice are also surprisingly proficient climbers. Given an opportunity, they’ll crawl up to any opening they can get–even if that opening’s on your roof!

preventing mouse infestations by sealing your home

How to prevent mice infestations in Your Home

Mice get into homes by following small drafts back to their sources. Preventing them means finding these sources before they can. Start in your basement and look for any cracks, gaps, or holes in and around your walls. Pay special attention to window and door frames, areas around utility lines, and baseboards. Patch up holes with caulk or steel wool, which will help deter rats and mice. Remember: any hole that’s big enough to notice is probably big enough for mice to use.

Keep mice from getting to food by storing all pantry foods in airtight, hard plastic containers. Consider keeping these containers in elevated shelves, rather than near the floor. Keep your food preparation and dining areas clean, especially during the winter. Vacuum and/or mop regularly, clean surfaces after every meal, and don’t let crumbs accumulate. Make sure you don’t let garbage pile up, either.

Mice Control for Michigan, Indiana and Ohio

The bad news: there’s never really an “off-season” when it comes to mouse infestations. But we have good news, too. No matter how relentless or desperate the mouse, we can keep them out of your home for good.

If you do end up with mice activity in your home, give Griffin a call. Mice never take a season off, so neither do we. We’re always happy to help you leave pests out in the cold.

Signs You Have a Mouse in Your House

Mouse that's entered a house

All of the signs of mice in your home stem from different mouse needs. Mice sharpen their teeth on soft material, leaving behind gnaw marks. They leave droppings wherever they nest. They’ll damage containers to access food. Understanding mice needs helps you spot the signs of mice in your home.

Spotting signs of mice in your home is important because, in turn, the faster you spot them, the faster you can intercept and end possible mouse infestations before they get out of hand. Mice tend to reproduce indoors rather quickly, so you’ll have to act fast! Here are each of the common signs of mice in your home to watch out for, what they mean, and what you should do about them:

Droppings

Mouse droppings

Mouse droppings are dark brown or black, around ¼ to ½ an inch long, and shaped like a thin spindle, pill, pellet, or thin grain of rice. They usually look and feel dry and brittle. As droppings dry, they flake and break apart, which will make them look like dirt.

A single mouse can produce up to 1% of its weight in droppings in a single day. Mice tend to poop in straight lines because they follow set pathways to navigate through your home safely. Look for straight lines of rice-shaped droppings around baseboarding, wall corners, and under furniture. The more droppings you find, the more mice you probably have.

Gnaw Marks & Damaged Wiring

Container with mouse damage

Rodent incisors never stop growing. To compensate, mice have to teethe throughout their lives. They’re constantly gnawing on any soft material they can find, including wood, paper, cloth and other fabrics… and, unfortunately, electrical wiring. Over time, mice can leave behind distinctive gnaw marks on this material and even begin to cause dangerous damage.

Mice generally gnaw on soft materials at night, around where they nest and hide during the day. Look for damaged wires, chewed cardboard and other paper products, torn up fabric and furniture, ruined insulation, and gnawed wood, especially in any unfinished parts of your home such as your basement or crawl space. If you find damaged wiring, give us a call right away!

Damaged Food Containers

Mice eating noodles from a bag in a pantry

Mice need to eat. That means if mice are going to stay inside your home for any extended period of time, they have to eat inside your home, too. Mice are omnivorous and notoriously interested in quantity rather than quality. They’re even more interested in consistency. Mice want a food source they can return to time and time again.

Consequently, mice love to break into packaged food – particularly packaged food that you don’t use or deplete very quickly. Look for damaged dry goods such as bird seed, pet food, flour, nuts, seeds, and anything else you keep in dry storage. Mice dig their way inside food containers and help themselves as long as they can. The trick to keeping them from living near you perpetually is to make sure that isn’t long.

Nests

Mouse nest

Rodent nests aren’t exactly as elaborate as the bird’s nests you’re used to associating with the word. In fact, they probably won’t look “nest-like” at all. Mice build small nests out of any reclaimed soft material they’ve gnawed away. This could include paper, insulation, fabric, or pretty much any other scraps of garbage they can (literally) sink their teeth into.

Mice are nocturnal and spend most of their time sleeping or hiding in dark, sheltered areas. These areas also tend to be where they build their nests and raise their young. Look for small, dirty clumps of soft debris under furniture, in underutilized corners, under racks and shelving, and pretty much anywhere else where mice could sneak around and hide without fear of being bothered.

Dirty Wall Markings

Dirty wall markings left on the walls of a home by mice

Rodents actually have very poor eyesight. In order to move around your home safely, they tend to stick to paths they know, running their bodies along a wall or object to make sure they’re not lost. The longer mice stick to a particular path, the more of their body grease and dirt rubs off on the walls and objects they rub up against.

Mice generally run along the perimeter of the rooms they inhabit. Check for dark, greasy smudge marks along the baseboarding in your basement or closets. Look for fur, gnaw marks, and the other signs included on this list along the path as you follow it for more evidence of infestation.

 What to Do if You Have Mice

If you find any of these… ahem… telltale signs of mice infestation in your home, then it means the time to take action is now. The longer mice live in your home, the harder they are to remove.

The best way to take action is, of course, to give Griffin Pest Solutions a call right away. Our experts specialize in mouse control that keeps the repugnant rodents away for good. Let us know whenever you need our help, and we’ll be there faster than even the most enterprising mouse could make itself at home – no ifs, ants, or bugs!

Want a quick way to reference the signs of mice in your house while you’re tracking down your mice? Keep this trusty infographic with you and you’ll always know what to look for:

signs you have a mouse in your house

How Did I Get Mice?

Mouse peeking out of a small mouse hole in a home's wall next to an electric outlet

Mice can squeeze through any gap that’s at least ¼ of an inch wide–about the size of a dime! They find these gaps by following the smell of food or feeling of air pressure differentials created by drafts. Mice are very adept climbers, so they can reach gaps anywhere around your home.

After using tiny gaps to sneak inside, mice can reproduce all year as long as they have food. Mice had to sneak in originally, but many of the mice you find in your home were likely born there. The best way to keep mice out of your home for good is to seal off their access points. These are the four most common ways mice get inside homes and how you can mouseproof them.

Frames

Believe it or not, door and window frames are probably the access points mice use most. Wooden frames naturally warp and bend over time, creating small gaps between the window or door and the frame. Likewise, the weatherproofing wears down or unpeals. Eventually, tiny gaps appear between the door or window and frame or the walls and the frame. These gaps may not be large enough to see, but they’re large enough for mice to use.

Conduct a quick maintenance inspection on each of your door and window frames every spring and fall. Replace any weatherproofing that looks worn down or damaged. Check to make sure the doors and windows sit in the frame properly and don’t feel too tense or loose. Patch up any cracks or gaps you find around the wood itself using caulk. If you can feel a draft, it means your frame isn’t as secure as it should be. Find the gap sucking hot air out and patch it up.

Utility Lines

Utility lines are the pipes, wires, and vents bringing gas, electricity, heat, and plumbing into your home. All homes need to have small gaps in their walls to allow these utility lines inside. The problem is, mice can find these gaps by following the utility lines. They’ll sense heat given off by ventilation or hot water and follow that heat through the wall. Gaps between walls and utility lines may expand over time, making the gap an even more attractive access point.

Starting outside, walk the perimeter of your home looking for each area where a utility line enters the building. Look near your HVAC, your power meter, your sump pump, your light fixtures, and your outdoor faucets. If you see a visible gap between these pipes or wires and the wall, patch that gap with caulk. When you’re done outside, go inside and do the same thing. Replace these caulk barriers around once a season to make sure they don’t wear away.

A small gap between a basement's wall and its concrete floor. Mice often sneak through the space gaps like these create.

Subterranean Gaps

Over time, cracks and gaps may open up around the foundation, siding, or the baseboarding of your home. These could occur because of weather damage, wood rot, or natural wear-and-tear. However they happen, small gaps and cracks around your home’s foundation start to create drafts. These kinds of drafts are particularly common in unfinished basements. Mice are very sensitive to temperature and pressure differentials. When they sense the hot air shooting out of gaps in a home, they’ll follow it inside.

Start in your basement or lowest level this time. Look for cracks and gaps in the floor and ceiling. Pay particular attention to corners, windows, baseboard, and frames. Seal any gaps you can find with silicone caulk or steel wool. Remember: if a crack or gap is big enough to see, it’s probably big enough for mice to use. Just like before, when you’re done inside you should look for cracks and gaps outside, too.

Roofing

Mice are surprisingly adept climbers. Most mice are capable of climbing most homes without much difficulty by finding downspouts, wires, or other holds. Mice can also access rooftops by climbing up nearby trees or bushes and crawling along overhanging branches. Unfortunately, the fact that mice can climb so well means no access point is safe. Mice don’t just sneak inside from the ground; they could be sneaking in from the roof, too!

Even worse, roofs tend to have all kinds of neglected access points. Mice can exploit rotting shingles, ventilation outlets that aren’t covered, chimneys, cracked gutters, and more. If you have roofing damage, mice will likely use that damage as a means of entering your home. You should have your roof inspected at least once every few years. Check for cracked shingles, rot, and other possible damage. You should also always block your vents and chimneys with mesh.

 

The best way to prevent mouse infestations is to continuously monitor and block off access points. Check each of the most vulnerable areas every spring and fall to make sure you’re still covered. If you stay on top of your access point maintenance, you’ll keep mice from infesting your home for good.

If you already have a mouse infestation inside your home, even blocking off access points won’t help right away. Instead, you’ll have to call the pros at Griffin Pest Solutions. We can drive out mice and make sure they can’t get in again. Mouse season is starting right now, so if you think you have a problem, get in touch right away! We’ll help make sure you have a rodent-free fall. 

The Four Best Ways to Keep Mice Out of Your Home

Mouse hiding in household items

It’s easy to get discouraged about keeping mice out of your home. Virtually everyone has dealt with a mouse infestation at one time or another. It can feel like no matter what you do, mice can always find their way inside anyway. You might even start to assume they’ve have always been there!

Fortunately, that isn’t the case! Just because mice are good at getting into homes doesn’t mean you have to let them into yours. The rodents in your home weren’t always there. They found their way inside via a locatable and sealable access point. You can drive them back and keep them out. Here are the four best ways to prevent mice from getting into your home once and for all. Never give up!

Control Food Sources

Unsurprisingly, mice are not picky eaters. If they can chew on it, they will. Mice are particularly attracted to dry goods like cereal, pasta, bread crumbs, and simple sugars. They can also sustain themselves on very little food. Crumbs and leftovers you throw out or leave sitting are more than enough. Rodents will feed on non-human foods like birdseed and dry pet food in a pinch. They have incredibly sensitive noses and can easily smell your food through walls and packaging.

Restricting access to food sources is the most important way to keep mice out of your home. If mice can’t get what they need from you, they’ll go somewhere else to get it. Store all pantry goods inside airtight, hard plastic containers. Keep those containers elevated and sealed whenever you’re not using them. Clean up your food prep and dining areas as soon as you finish meals. Never leave food out for any period of time, even in the sink or the garbage can.

weatherstripping helps keep mice out of your home

Seal Doors and Windows

Doors and windows are the preferred access point for many varieties of common household pests like rodents. It makes sense when you think about it: doors and windows are natural ways to get inside. They’re literally big holes in your home’s walls! Mice sneak through tiny cracks and gaps between your doors or windows and their frames. Small openings in your frames form naturally over time as a result of wear-and-tear or warping.

Check every single door and window frame in your home. Examine the threshold around the door or window closely, looking for even the tiniest gap. Make sure the weatherstripping is sturdy and undamaged, in particular. Mice love to slip beneath worn-out weatherstripping to get inside. You should also double-check to make sure your doors and windows are seated in the frames properly. Fill in any gaps you find with caulk, and replace worn weatherstripping ASAP.

Fill In the Holes

The largest and widest part of a mouse’s body is its skull. If a mouse can fit its head through a gap, it can also fit its body through. In general, they can squeeze through any quarter-inch opening. That basically means that if you can see a gap, a mouse can probably use that gap. Mice find holes in walls, floors, foundations, and siding using their acute senses of smell and temperature sensitivity.

Starting in your basement, walk the perimeter of your home. Look for any cracks or gaps in your walls, baseboard, floor, or foundation. Try to feel for drafts and follow those drafts to their source. Any gap you notice is a gap that’s big enough to repair. Fill these in with caulk or steel wool. Pay special attention to areas where pipes and wires enter your building. Mice love to use utility lines as “highways” into your home.

Cleaning up clutter will help keep mice out of your home

Clear the Clutter

After food and water, shelter is the next-highest consideration for rodent pests when they choose where to live. Mice are naturally shy. They spend most of their days hunkered down and only come out to forage when they feel safe and protected. Indoors, mice dart from hiding place to hiding place until they find food. They’ll hide under boxes, furniture, paper, plastic, fabric, and more. They also tend to gnaw on whatever they’re near.

A surprisingly easy way to keep mice away from your home is to simply keep things tidy. The fewer hiding places you give pests, the less secure they’ll feel sneaking around your home. Keep storage boxes and other stored materials organized and elevated when you’re not using them. Don’t store anything loose on the floor, especially in your basement or closets. If you can keep mice uncomfortable, they won’t want to stick around for long.

By following these four steps, you’ll go a long way toward keeping mice out for good. If you already have mice in your home, however, you’ll have to take a few extra steps. When it comes to mouse removal, the best thing you can do is call in the pros.

If you have a mouse problem, give Griffin Pest Solutions a call any time. No matter how your mice got in, we’ll drive them back out and make sure they don’t come back. Remember: preventing mice isn’t impossible! You can make your home a pest-free zone, permanently. And we can help.