Have mice problems? Learn all about these animals, including the many different species of mice you may find near your home or business and your options to eradicate and prevent them.

MOUSE FACTS

The house mouse is remarkably well-adapted for living year-round in homes, food establishments and other structures. Homeowners are especially likely to notice mice during winter, following their fall migration indoors in search of warmth, food and shelter. Once mice become established inside a home, they can be extremely difficult to control.

Why Get Rid of Mice?

Although most people consider mice less objectionable than rats, mice are more common and cause significantly more damage. Mice are prolific breeders, producing six to ten litters continuously throughout the year. The greatest economic loss from mice is not due to how much they eat, but what must be thrown out because of damage or contamination. Food, clothing, furniture, books and many other household items are contaminated by their droppings and urine, or damaged by their gnawing.

House mice gnaw through electrical wiring causing fires and failure of freezers, clothes dryers and other appliances. Mice also can transmit diseases, most notably salmonellosis (bacterial food poisoning) when food is contaminated with infected rodent feces. Other diseases include rickettsialpox, lymphocytic choriomenigitis, leptospirisis, ratbite fever, tularemia, Lyme disease and dermatitis caused by the bites of mites from the mice. Hantavirus (pulmonary syndrome) is another danger becoming more common.

Behavior and Feeding Habits

Mice are nocturnal creatures and are rarely seen by the homeowner. The most obvious indicators of their presence are droppings (1/8 to 1/4 inches long, dark and pointed at both ends), sounds of them running, gnawing or squeaking, or damage to stored food or materials for nesting. Mice are highly curious and explore their territory daily, paying special attention to new items or physical changes in their home range. Unlike rats, mice show no aversion to new objects.

Compared to rats, mice forage only short distances from their nest, usually not more than 10 to 25 feet. When food and shelter are adequate, their foraging range may be only a few feet. For this reason, traps and other control devices must be placed in areas where mouse activity is most apparent. Mice prefer to travel adjacent to walls and other edges, which is another critical point to remember when positioning control devices.

Mice seem to prefer cereal grains and seeds in their feeding. They are sporadic in their feeding, particularly when there are many food sources available. In these situations, mice may make 20 to 30 visits to different food sites each night. Sites may vary from night to night, but certain sites where the mouse feels safe are nightly favorites.

SIGNS OF MICE

Mouse Droppings

Mice leave droppings everywhere they go. Approximately 1/8 to 1/4 inch in length, fresh droppings are dark in color and soft in texture. As they age, droppings become hard and brittle.

Following the Trail

Mice travel the same runway time and time again, leaving a smudge mark - a buildup of dirt and oil from their fur - along walls, pipes and holes. Footprints and tail drags can sometimes be seen in dusty locations. Non-toxic tracking dust such as talc or flour has proven helpful in determining the presence and location of mice.

Tiny, Uneven Chew Marks

Mice can chew through anything that is softer than their teeth, so gnaw marks are a sure sign of mice. On wood, the darker the wood, the older the gnaw marks are.

Pet Behavior

If your dog or cat unexplainably gets excited, it is more than likely that mice are moving about. The sound of mice gnawing, squeaking, or running through the walls or ceiling is occasionally the only sign of their presence.

Finding Nest Scraps

Favorite nesting materials are shredded paper, insulation material and string are often found in attics and garages.

TRIVIA

If humans are present to provide warmth and food, mice can survive almost anywhere. In fact, colonies of mice have been found thriving amidst the supplies used on polar expeditions.

Each year, rodents cause more than one billion dollars in damage in the United States alone.

Mice can jump down 12 feet without injury, jump 12 inches vertically and scale rough vertical services.

The odor of mice is quite distinct. An experienced pest control specialist can tell the difference between rat and mouse odors.

Because mouse urine has a fluorescent glow, a blacklight can be useful in determining the presence of mice.

There are many different species of mice in the United States. The four most common mouse species found in the Western United States are the house mouse, deer mouse, western harvest mouse, and white-footed mouse.

The house mouse is remarkably well-adapted for living year-round in homes, food establishments, and other structures. Homeowners are most likely to notice mice during winter, following their fall migration indoors, searching for warmth, food, and shelter. Once mice become established inside a home, they can be challenging to control.

Find a solution to your mice control problem.

What You Need To Know About The House Mouse

  • What do house mice look like?

    • 5-8 inches long

    • Brownish-gray coat

    • Cream-colored fur on their belly

    • Small eyes

  • What do house mice eat?

    • Only eat small amounts of food at a time

    • They’ll eat both plants and meat (i.e., an omnivore)

    • Prefer fruits, seeds, and grain, but will eat meat

  • Where do house mice live?

    • Active in many parts of the U.S.

    • Commonly live in burrows outside

    • Will build or take shelter near places that have readily available food sources

What You Need To Know About House Mice Infestations

  • What are the signs of a house mouse infestation?

    • Sightings at dusk or right before dawn (main feeding periods)

    • Chewed up wires, books, papers, insulation, and cardboard (nesting material)

    • Gnawing marks

    • Rodent runways (dark worn paths along walls, piping, and ledges)

    • Pattering (tapping) noises

    • Dropping (¼ inch and pointed at both ends)

    • Urine odors

  • Why do house mice invade my home or business?

    • Availability of food, water, shelter, and nesting materials

  • How do I get rid of house mice?

    • Locate and seal their entry points with caulk

    • Clean up food crumbs and keep food stored away

    • Place pet food in sealed containers

    • Cut back shrubberies and branches away from the house

    • Set Kness mousetraps alongside walls

    • Store items in plastic containers rather than cardboard boxes

Tips To Prevent House Mouse Infestations

    • Use Kness mousetraps

    • Practice sanitary habits with food storage and cleaning around the house

Deer mice are common along the west coast from Mexico to the Northwest Territories of Canada. They may also be referred to as field mice.

Find a solution to your mice control problem.

What You Need To Know About The Deer Mouse

  • What do deer mice look like?

    • 4-9 inches long

    • Light gray to dark red colored fur

    • White belly fur

  • What do deer mice eat?

    • They’ll eat both plants and meat (i.e., an omnivore)

    • Prefer insects, seeds, fruits, grains, fungi, and flowers

  • Where do deer mice live?

    • Will build or take shelter near places that have readily available food sources

What You Need To Know About Deer Mouse Infestations

  • What are the signs of a deer mouse infestation?

    • Sightings at dusk or right before dawn (main feeding periods)

    • Chewed up wires, books, papers, insulation, and cardboard (nesting material)

    • Gnawing marks

    • Rodent runways (dark worn paths along walls, piping, and ledges)

    • Pattering (tapping) noises

    • Dropping (¼ inch and pointed at both ends)

    • Urine odors

  • Why do deer mice invade my home or business?

    • Availability of food, water, shelter, and nesting materials

  • How do I get rid of deer mice?

    • Locate and seal their entry points with caulk

    • Clean up food crumbs and keep food stored away

    • Cut back shrubberies and branches away from the house

    • Set Kness mousetraps alongside walls

    • Store items in plastic containers rather than cardboard boxes

Tips To Prevent Deer Mouse Infestations

    • Use Kness mousetraps

    • Practice sanitary habits with food storage and cleaning around the house

The Western Harvest Mouse can be found in along the western border of North America, from southwestern Canada through California and Arizona, down into Mexico. Primarily a nocturnal creature.

Find a solution to your mice control problem.

What You Need To Know About The Western Harvest Mouse

  • What do western harvest mice look like?

    • 6-9 inches long

    • Golden-brown fur

    • White belly fur

    • Large, hairless ear

    • Grove located on their incisors (teeth)

  • What do western harvest mice eat?

    • Eats seeds, plants, and insects

  • Where do western harvest mice live?

    • Spherical nests are built on the ground or in low vegetation

    • Uses tunnels and runways of other small mammals

    • May congregate in communal nests

What You Need To Know About Western Harvest Mouse Infestations

  • What are the signs of a western harvest mouse infestation?

    • Sightings at dusk or right before dawn (main feeding periods)

    • Chewed up wires, books, papers, insulation, and cardboard (nesting material)

    • Gnawing marks

    • Rodent runways (dark worn paths along walls, piping, and ledges)

    • Pattering (tapping) noises

    • Dropping (¼ inch and pointed at both ends)

    • Urine odors

  • Why do western harvest mice invade my home or business?

    • Availability of food, water, shelter, and nesting materials

  • How do I get rid of western harvest mice?

    • Locate and seal their entry points with caulk

    • Clean up food crumbs and keep food stored away

    • Place pet food in sealed containers

    • Cut back shrubberies and branches away from the house

    • Set Kness mousetraps alongside walls

    • Store items in plastic containers rather than cardboard boxes

Tips To Prevent Western Harvest Mouse Infestations

    • Use Kness mousetraps

    • Practice sanitary habits with food storage and cleaning around the house

Drums the front feet when alarmed. Nocturnal creatures. While common in the eastern United States, the White-footed Mouse can be found in the West too (weather permitting). They are often found in wooded areas or places where it is warm and dry.

Find a solution to your mice control problem.

What You Need To Know About The White-Footed Mouse

  • What do white-footed mice look like?

    • White-footed mice are 5-8 inches in length, including the tail

    • They weigh 3/8-1 1/2 ounces

    • White-footed mouse fur ranges from grayish to reddish-brown on the back and head and white on the belly and feet

    • The tail is covered in short hair

    • Hind feet have six pads each

  • What do white-footed mice eat?

    • Primarily feeds on seeds, fruits, nuts, and insects

  • Where do white-footed mice live?

    • Build nests in concealed locations

    • Will seek warmth in homes, garages, sheds, and infrequently used vehicles

What You Need To Know About White-Footed Mouse Infestations

  • What are the signs of a white-footed mouse infestation?

    • Sightings at dusk or right before dawn (main feeding periods)

    • Chewed up wires, books, papers, insulation, and cardboard (nesting material)

    • Gnawing marks

    • Rodent runways (dark worn paths along walls, piping, and ledges)

    • Pattering (tapping) noises

    • Dropping (¼ inch and pointed at both ends)

    • Urine odors

  • Why do white-footed mice invade my home or business?

    • Availability of food, water, shelter, and nesting materials

  • How do I get rid of white-footed mice?

    • Locate and seal their entry points with caulk

    • Clean up food crumbs and keep food stored away

    • Cut back shrubberies and branches away from the house

    • Set Kness mousetraps alongside walls

    • Store items in plastic containers rather than cardboard boxes

Tips To Prevent White-Footed Mouse Infestations

    • Use Kness mousetraps

    • Practice sanitary habits with food storage and cleaning around the house

To take care of your mice problems, Kness has a full line of control solutions for you to utilize.

Available from Kness

Ketch-All® Multiple Catch Mousetrap Product Ketch-All® Multiple Catch Mousetrap

The Ketch-All® needs no bait and catches multiple mice in one setting. The trap is properly set with 4 to 6 full (360°) turns.

View Ketch-All® Multiple Catch Mousetrap

Available from Kness

Snap-E® Cover Product Snap-E® Cover

Snap-E® Covers keep traps and catch out of sight, keeping children and pets away from rodents and traps.

View Snap-E® Covers

Available from Kness

Snap-E® Mousetrap Product Snap-E® Mousetrap

Snap-E® mousetraps are escape proof and the innovative design ensures you'll never touch another mouse.

View Snap-E® Mousetraps

Available from Kness

Stick-All® Mouse & Insect Trap Products Stick-All® Mouse & Insect Trap

The ultimate glue trap for pest control. Attracts, monitors and catches multiple mice and insects.

View Stick-All® Mouse & Insects Traps

Available from Kness

Stick-All® Glue Trap Products Stick-All® Glue Trap

Ultimate in glue trap for pest control. Attracts, monitors and catches multiple mice and insects.

View Stick-All® Glue Traps