A mouse infestation is always a serious issue. It can endanger the health of your family, compromise the structural integrity of your home and negatively impact your overall quality of life. Perhaps the most inconvenient place for mice to live is your kitchen — the place where you cook, store food and spend a good portion of your day.
In this article, we’ll share tips on how to detect an infestation in your kitchen, how to keep these rodents out and more. Whether you’re currently dealing with an infestation or would like to prevent one in the future, there’s a lot to learn.
How Did Mice Get Into Your Kitchen?
Many people are surprised to find mice in their kitchen because they don’t realize how agile and determined these creatures are. Mice can climb almost anything, including walls, ladders and cables. They can also swim through pipes — sometimes even coming up through the toilet.
They can squeeze through extremely tiny holes and gaps, which is why it’s important to develop a keen eye for any openings or flaws around your home where mice could enter. You should look out for tiny holes and fill these gaps with either caulk or steel wool. If you see any external damage on your home, it could be a weak point where a mouse could gnaw its way inside. This should be repaired as soon as possible.
To give you a better idea of what mice can do, here are a few facts:
- They’re extremely agile: Mice can jump as high as 12 inches, run up building sides and cross wires and cables.
- They can squeeze through very small spaces: Grown mice can fit through holes as small as a 1/4 inch.
Why do mice enter your home? Like humans, they want shelter, warmth and food. Our homes provide all three, especially during the wintertime, when cold, wet and snowy conditions make the indoors more appealing. This is why mice infestations are most common during the coldest months of the year. The type of food you have in your home doesn’t matter — mice are opportunistic foragers and will eat practically anything you leave out for them to access.
Signs a Mouse Is in Your Kitchen
- Scrabbling noises: Mice live in cracks in the ceilings, walls, floors and roofs, and it is usually only at night that they venture out to find food. Although generally quiet animals, they can make noises that sound somewhat like scratching. These noises are often caused by them burrowing or gnawing on materials like wood, plasterboard or wires.
- Feces: This is often the first sign that many homeowners notice in their homes. Mouse droppings are dark and small and are usually scattered throughout your house. As mice tend to avoid open spaces, mouse droppings in the kitchen are often found in cabinets and along walls.
- Urine pillars: In more serious infestations, you may notice urine pillars, which refer to a combination of mouse urine with dirt, grease and hair.
- Mouse odors: Mice urine is pungent and smells somewhat like ammonia. The stronger this smell is, the worse your infestation is.
- Track prints: Regardless of how regularly we clean our homes, dirt and dust will still accumulate in hard-to-access corners. These corners often reveal signs of mouse activity, such as footprints and tail marks.
- Damage to furnishings and food: Mice often live in homes because humans leave out food where they can get it. This food is often in the form of crumbs kicked under cupboards. However, mice are adept at foraging and can easily nibble their way into cookie or cereal boxes. They’re also known to gnaw through furniture to gain access to a new area or gather materials for their nests.
- Live mice: Although mice usually prefer to stay out of sight and venture into human space at night, you may spot them from time to time during the day. This is because as populations grow, so does the demand for food. With time, mice can sometimes become braver. These two factors increase the probability of mice foraging during the daytime. If you see a mouse, there’s a good chance it will be out of the corner of your eye, which is often a mouse darting from one place of cover to another.
- Dead mice: While mice generally retreat to a hidden area when they die, you may come across a dead mouse out in the open. You may also smell a mouse decomposing inside a wall, above the ceiling or underneath furniture.
- Allergies: Some people may have mouse allergies, which are generally triggered by the urine or feces of a mouse. If you’re starting to feel ill or fatigued for no clear reason, this could mean there are mice in your home and you’re allergic to them.
Tips for Keeping Mice Out of the Kitchen
Whether you’re currently dealing with a rodent infestation in your kitchen or would like to keep them out, we have some valuable tips to share below:
1. Set Traps
If you want to know how to keep mice out of your kitchen drawers or kitchen cabinets, setting a trap in these areas will likely do the trick. These contraptions vary in function, design and cost. Some of the most common types include:
- Snap traps: This popular type of mouse trap features a trigger system that rapidly catches a mouse in its tracks. When properly used, these traps kill mice rapidly, which makes them a highly effective way to exterminate a mouse population.
- Electric traps: With electric traps, mice are lured into a chamber where they receive a fatal electric shock. These traps are specifically designed to prevent people and pets from getting shocked.
- Sticky trap: This less high-tech option features an adhesive glue board, on which mice get stuck until you decide to dispose of them or set them free. A downside of these traps is they can be used only once.
- Live catch traps: Similar to traps used for bigger mammals, live catch traps are designed to catch — but not kill — mice. They feature a particular kind of cage or chamber with a door that is activated with a trigger, and it won’t open back up until the rodent is released.
Except for sticky traps, all the above mouse traps require some kind of bait. The most popular option is peanut butter, but cheese, chocolate, nuts or bird seed can also be used. If you decide to release the mice, do so far away from your house so they can’t easily find their way back to your home.
2. Seal Food in Containers
During colder weather, mice come to your home for food and warmth. If your kitchen is filled with crumbs, this will be a paradise for a hungry mouse. Make sure to keep your kitchen countertops, cabinets and shelves clean and store unsealed food in containers that are airtight. Do the same for pet food, as this will also attract mice.
3. Seal All Entryways
Once the infestation inside is dealt with, you will want to ensure no more mice make their way into your home. Remember that mice can fit in very small openings as tiny as a dime. Even if a hole is smaller, a mouse can chew on the hole and make it bigger. One material they can’t eat through is steel wool, so this can be used to fill small holes.
Walk around the exterior of your house and pay attention to where pipes go and travel along the foundation. Make sure to replace any worn weatherstripping and ensure you’ve screened your chimney openings and vents.
4. Consider Growing Plants and Herbs That Deter Mice
Common plants that are known to deter mice include petunias, marigolds and chrysanthemums. If you’d like to grow a mouse-repelling plant that can also be used for some delicious recipes, consider herbs like basil, rosemary and sage.
Why You Should Immediately Get Rid of Invading Mice
If you discover mice in your home, you’ll want to get rid of them as quickly as possible. The following are several reasons why:
1. Damage to Your Belongings and Property
One of the greatest dangers of mice is their tendency to chew constantly. They do this to keep their teeth a certain length, which results in them chewing through materials commonly found in homes, including:
- Plastic pipes
- Gas lines
- Electrical wires
If you notice any openings caused by chewing mice, you should seal them up promptly. If you notice that any wires have been chewed through, this will increase the chance of a fire. Likewise, if gas lines have been chewed through, the risk of a carbon monoxide leak — which can be fatal — increases.
2. Risk for Diseases
Mice do not have a dangerous bite or sting. Their danger instead comes from the diseases they can carry. Mice mark their territory by defecating and urinating in the areas they intend to maintain. Because mice eat up to 8 pounds of food a year, they tend to build their nests close to food, which means your food is in a susceptible position to contract diseases from mice.
Common diseases mice carry include:
- Hantavirus: Hantavirus is most commonly found in the feces and urine of deer mice. You can contract this disease by inhaling dust contaminated with droppings or urine, as well as direct contact with the rodents. This respiratory disease is severe and has a mortality rate of 38%. Common early symptoms include fever, fatigue and muscle aches, and late symptoms include shortness of breath and coughing.
- Salmonella: Although salmonella is spread most commonly after eating contaminated food, it can also spread directly from rodents to people.
- Lymphocytic choriomeningitis: Mice are also known to carry lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCM), which can lead to serious neurological issues like inflammation of the brain and meninges. You can contract this after being exposed to a mouse’s fresh saliva, urine, droppings or other nesting material.
3. Repopulation Rates
In addition to the health risks that mice pose, you must also remember that they breed rapidly. This means that once there are multiple mice running around in your home, the risk level significantly rises.
When to Call a Rodent Control Specialist
Here are other situations in which you may want to call a professional rather than handle the infestation yourself:
- You don’t have the resources to handle the infestation effectively.
- You’ve already attempted to exterminate the rodents and have been unsuccessful.
- You’re worried about the health and safety of your family.
- You have young children or pets in your home.
- The infestation has caused damage to your belongings and the structure of your home.
- Your house smells like mouse waste and urine.
- The rodents have brought with them ticks, fleas, mites or other pests.
Contact Spectrum Pest Control for Mouse Control Solutions
The Ultimate Care Program offered by Spectrum Pest Control is the most comprehensive home pest control solution in the industry. This program comes with the Pest Free Promise — if the pests return after our visit, our second visit will be completely free. We also offer a money-back guarantee for all our services.
At Spectrum Pest Control, we concentrate our efforts outside your home, providing a perimeter of protection that helps keep pests out of your home. We do this by performing a thorough inspection of the home’s exterior, then focusing on areas where mice or insects can potentially enter.
If you’re interested in receiving comprehensive control throughout the year, we offer an Exclusive Four-Step Annual Pest Control Program, which will ensure your house is protected from a broad range of pests that emerge every season. We also provide one-time services to resolve particular pest problems.
Regardless of which option you choose, you’ll be covered by our 100% satisfaction guarantee. To receive a fast quote, give us a call at 412-532-1380 or write to us using our form.