mouse standing

Recognizing Mouse Infestations

Property owners typically become aware of mouse activity after discovering droppings. House mice deposit approximately 50 to 75 pellets per day as they explore their environment. Mouse droppings usually do not collect in piles.

Fresh gnaw marks, 1/32 inch wide, provide another clue that mice are present. Mice typically gnaw 1 1/2 inch diameter, clean-cut holes into cardboard and similar products. They will also gnaw electrical wiring, soap, and other soft items.

Mouse nests, made from finely shredded paper or other fibrous material, are often found in sheltered locations. Occasionally, scratching and squeaking sounds emanate from ceilings and walls, signifying the presence of mice. People are frequently surprised to learn that mice can be responsible for so much noise. A musky odor can result from an area having significant mouse contamination.

Finally, mice may be seen during their nocturnal travels, or less frequently, during daylight hours. Mice reproduce at alarming rates. In a single year, a female can raise five to 10 litters, of five to six young each. Young are born 18 to 21 days later and reach reproductive maturity in six to 10 weeks. The life span of a mouse is usually nine to 12 months.

The sensory capabilities of mice are remarkable. Although their ability to perceive objects is limited to 1 to 2 feet, they can see movement up to 45 feet. Mice maintain contact with walls with their whiskers and guard hairs to guide them during their nocturnal travels. House mice have superb physical abilities.

They are capable of climbing any rough vertical surface, balancing along horizontal wire cables or ropes, and jumping vertically onto a flat surface 12 inches above the floor. Mice also can reach speeds of 4 to 6 mph and bound across 3-foot gaps. They are even tough enough to survive a 20 foot vertical drop. Mice can squeeze through openings slightly larger than 1/4 inch in diameter.

House Mouse Control
Effective control involves three aspects: sanitation, mouse-resistant construction, and population reduction. The first two are preventive measures. When mice are already established in an area, some form of population reduction almost always is necessary. Reduction techniques include trapping and toxicants.

Proper sanitation involves reducing available shelter and food from the interior and exterior of buildings. Mice cannot maintain large populations when the availability of living space and food are restricted.

  • Whenever possible, keep materials at least 8 inches off the ground and at least 1 foot away from vertical walls. 
  • Reduce available shelter by removing debris, and moving and neatly restacking old inventory and woodpiles.
  • Make sure all exterior doors are tight fitting and weatherproofed at the bottom. Seal gaps beneath garage doors with a gasket or weather-stripping.

  • Install self-closing exits or screening to clothes dryer vents to the outside.

  • Remember that pet doors into the house or garage provide an easy entrance for rodents. Keep side doors to the garage closed, especially at night.

  • Keep pet food, bird food, and grass seed in tight sealed storage bins.


Total elimination of  mice through sanitation, however, is almost impossible, as mice can survive in small areas with limited amounts of food and shelter. On the other hand, any neglect of sanitation will cause even the most aggressive control efforts to fail, due to the rapid reproductive rate of house mice.

Haley Pest Control offers Pest Control and Termite Control in Lawrence, KS and in Topeka, Kansas, Baldwin, Eudora, Overland Park, Olathe, Lenexa, Leawood, Shawnee Mission, Stanley, Ottawa, Kansas City, Basehor, Linwood, Tonganoxie, Mclouth, and Perry-Lecompton. We offer Pest Management and Exterminator services for the following counties: Douglas, Johnson, Jefferson, Franklin, Shawnee, Wyandotte and Leavenworth, KS.

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