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.