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Mice Infestation

Mice infestation entering a house through holes chewed through stone siding

Did you know that in homes with mice Infestation mice can chew holes through cement?

I discover mice Infestation problems in almost every home I inspect. In almost every instance, the people living in those homes did not know they had a mouse infestation. Most of these homes had mice in walls and mice in attic spaces.

You can’t blame mice for wanting to live indoors. And if mice want to get into your house they can do it. As you can see above, mice can even chew through cement to enter homes.

Most mice live secretly in walls and in attics. They usually go outdoors to forage, so if you accidentally see a mouse inside of your house, you likely have more mice living in your wall cavities and/or up in your attic space.

Mice infestation where mice chewed an entry hole through a stone foundation.

This photo shows another example of a mice infestation house where the mice chewed an entry hole through a stone foundation wall.

I’d like to share some information with you to help you better understand the right and wrong options for dealing with mice infestation.

Mice infestation in walls

Hidden mice infestation in walls where the mice made nests and tunnels in exterior wall insulation shown by infrared thermal imaging.

The insulation in exterior walls of homes makes for an ideal habitat for mice infestation. The mice typically enter from underneath exterior siding and sometimes enter through utility penetrations where gas, water, and electrical pipes pass through exterior walls.

An infrared thermal imaging scan of my client’s home allowed me to see where mice made hidden nests and tunnels in wall insulation.

Mice infestation where mice enlarged electrical wiring holes and chewed the wiring creating a house fire hazard

Once mice gain entrance, they travel freely through walls by using the holes drilled into wall studs for electrical wiring. As shown above, mice will also chew electrical wiring as they enlarge the holes in wall studs. The chewed wiring can cause short circuits and house fires.

Mice infestation in attic

Mice infestation showing mouse tunnels in attic insulation.

Mice in attic spaces often climb directly up into attic spaces from exterior walls. They can also enter attics through roof vents and loose roof flashings. Attic insulation is perhaps the most common location for a mouse infestation.

The photo above shows an example of a mouse infestation in an attic with multiple mouse tunnels created throughout the attic insulation. Usually, the openings of a network of tunnels connecting their many nests where they sleep and reproduce can be seen on the surface of the insulation.

Mice don’t use bathrooms

Mice infestation where structural wood framing and insulation are soaked with urine adding to the mouse odor.

Mice urinate and excrete indiscriminately. This photo shows an example of a mouse infestation where structural wood framing and insulation on the top of a foundation wall were soaked with urine and adding to an underlying mouse smell in the home. The mouse odor consists of gasses which are unhealthy to inhale.

Particles from mouse elimination material can also become airborne and cause symptoms such as headaches, ADD, ADHD, sinus infection, and allergy and asthma symptoms. Basically, when your home becomes a mouse bathroom, people living in the home can fall victim to a variety of sickness and diseases.

Mouse repellent options

Some people use mice repellents because they feel it’s a more humane method of mouse control. Using mice repellent is not the best solution to a mouse infestation problem. If you choose to use mouse repellent, there are a few pros and cons you should be aware of regarding your two options.

Electronic mouse repellent

Electronic mice repellent devices are easy to use. Just plug them in and you’re done. They emit high-frequency sound waves that annoy mice but are supposedly inaudible to humans. Nonetheless, I’m not fond of electronic mouse repellent devices.

I won’t use them because the human body is more sensitive to sound frequencies than most people realize. Even if you can’t see, feel, or hear them, I would not want to be exposed to the constant frequencies emitted by one or more of these devices in my home.

The only place I would consider using electronic mice repellent devices is in a vacant property such as a cottage or cabin.

Natural mouse repellent

Natural mouse repellent products, typically spray products that are oil based, create odors that are offensive to mice but supposedly safe for us.

In my opinion, they can be used safely outdoors but I don’t recommend using them indoors. Anything that creates an odor strong enough to offend mice does not belong in the air of your home. The air inside your house should always be odor free like fresh air outdoors. Also, from a health standpoint, it’s never wise to cover up odors from mice or any other source by using products that claim to be deodorizers.

Ideally, natural mice repellents should only be used outdoors around the perimeter of a home.

Mouse bait poison

Some people see mice as a dirty vermin that damage homes and cause health issues, and therefore would prefer to kill mice by using mouse traps or mouse baits. I’ll share the advantages and disadvantages of both.

Mice infestation carcasses spreading indoor air contaminants

I never recommend poisoning mice inside of a home. The photo above shows an example of the contaminated residue that is left behind from dead mice carcasses.

Poisoned mice often die inside of walls and air ducts thereby creating unhealthy gaseous odors as they decompose. The rotting carcasses also produce mold and bacteria that can further degrade your indoor air quality. Particles left behind from the carcasses and the poison they ate can also become airborne and cause health issues.

I also do not recommend poisoning mice outdoors. When poisoned mice are consumed by other animals or birds of prey they too can become sick and die once the poison is inside their bodies.

Mouse traps

Using a mouse trap is the safest way to contend with a mouse. I use the new plastic mouse traps that are easy to set without worrying about having the mouse trap snap on your fingers. Put a little peanut butter in them and away you go. Once you catch a mouse you simply squeeze the handle, the dead mouse falls out, the trap is reset and ready to go again.

Mice infestation accesses

There is no point in letting mice get into your house and then trying to get rid of them later.

Once you’re finished trapping mice inside your home, the outside of the home should be inspected for their points of entry.

Mice can climb up trees and siding to gain access at higher elevations. Keep tree pruned away from the house and check your roof flashings and vents.

The most common entry locations are through plumbing and electrical penetrations through siding, clothes dryer vents, and small tunnels created underneath the bottom edge of the exterior siding. You can use a hand mirror to inspect the underside of the siding around the perimeter of your house.

The holes can be sealed with an appropriate caulk or packed tightly with steel wool. If you leave the holes open, new mice will find them because of the mouse odor from the urine scent trail left behind by former mice.

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