How do you know when all the mice are gone? The mouse droppings

Getting through a Mice infestation in London

Did you find mouse droppings in the kitchen? You caught one mouse, is there more? House mice behave as a population and therefore they are never really alone.

In fact, mice can easily go between homes by travelling through the void space and following the pipework. In the process, they will leave clues in the form of mouse droppings. The mice droppings are particularly distressing as they contaminate your surfaces and food stock.

mice pest control is treatment coupled with proofing

So, how many mice are in your house will depend on whether it has already been fully colonised or not. The more mice droppings, the stronger and/or long going the mice infestation. Anyway, a single mouse dropping or mouse sighting is enough for you to take steps to protect your home.

I saw a mouse in my house but no droppings?

Mice are elusive and often most active in the evening and during the night. When you see a mouse but no droppings it suggests that the infestation is only starting. You can check for the presence of mice droppings at the back of the microwave and fridge. But the best spot to look for mice poop is under the sink unit at the back of the kickboard.

Mouse poop is normally easy to spot. Mice droppings are normally the shape and size of a grain of rice, but rather black. The difference between mouse and rat droppings is size. Rat droppings are the size of a thumbnail and mouse droppings are the size of a grain of rice.

Also, mice droppings can tell you much more. If you can see one area with more mouse droppings, it points to the direction the mice are coming in from. If you see some mice droppings that are very large then you are possibly in trouble.

mouse droppings under kitchen units

Large mouse droppings usually come from older mice, those that are around two years old. This means that the environment is quite favourable and friendly to them. Consequently, large mouse droppings suggest that one of your neighbours may have an established infestation and that they may not be doing enough (or anything) about it.

By removing the mice droppings, we can check after a few days or weeks if fresh droppings have appeared again. Hence, finding fresh mouse droppings in the control area serve as evidence of ongoing mice infestation.

A property with an extreme mice infestation will normally affect its neighbours. As a biologist at Inoculand Ltd, I’ve come across overcrowded flats with derelict kitchens and messy tenants. Once, a blind man was unaware of how bad it was. In such situations, it’s essential to get them on board to declutter, repair or clean.

Do mice usually go upstairs?

Mice are able to move freely outdoors and will take on any opportunity to get into a building that will offer them shelter. Thus, house mice have evolved alongside humans to take full advantage of their habitation. Most of our homes are either terrace houses or purpose build flats.  And essential pipework and electric cables normally run from one home to the next. mice point of ingress into victorian terrace or block of flat

We do not build our homes with mouse proofing in mind. So at basement and foundation level, mice can easily travel through gaps between brick and woodwork. There may be signs of mice but no droppings because they simply do not spend enough time there. Signs of mice may be hair, gnawing of materials or smear marks on surfaces.

As the mice population builds up at ground-level, they will spread first sideways toward the next-door neighbours. But they will eventually build up in numbers and start moving upstairs. They normally travel through the risers or columns containing electrical wires and pipework. But they can actually go up the staircase as well.

I found a mouse in my house. What do I do?

If you find mice in your house, immediately contact your neighbours living below and/or adjacent to you to let them know. Simply put, mice do not appear from thin air. And they are more likely to come from within the building rather than the garden area.

You cannot accuse the persons living next door of being the cause of your infestation. You only need to raise their awareness and get them to check underneath their own kitchen units for the presence of mice droppings.

Mice travel 10–12 metres around their nest, which is why they would be nesting either inside your home, or possibly coming from a place that is one or two houses removed.

Mice control required at London terrace

After you find mouse droppings and alert your neighbours, you need to do a pest control treatment. Alternatively, you can use spring traps but mice get wise to them so they only offer limited advantages.

Sticky traps are not suitable for residential property and/or mild infestations. They are quite inhuman and horrible to use. They are means of last resort and you must monitor them daily. And be ready to painlessly finish off whatever they may catch.

At Inoculand, we do use sticky traps but only in commercial contexts when there are no other valid options. By placing a grid of 150-200 glue traps on the floor, we can dramatically reduce a strong level of mice infestation overnight. But ultimately, the residents need to implement cleaning and get mouse proofing for best results.

Mice coming out during the day?

The circadian rhythm of mice makes them more active toward the end of the day and during the night.

In some instances, mice can grow accustomed to feeling unthreatened in the property. They can almost seem cocky. But in general, mice come into the living space when they feel safe enough, or because they are under tremendous pressure to find food.

In my experience, reports of mice sightings during the day is often linked to blocks of flats with an established mice problem. It is often helpful to contact the building manager as well as other tenants. If enough reports are made from different sources, this can prompt the freeholder to put in place a pest control mice contract and a block control program to tackle the problem. Mice control is normally the landlord”s responsibility unless there is a clause in your tenancy agreement that states otherwise.

Do mice leave on their own?

Can mice just leave your house? Mice populations build-up and spread under the pressures and limiting factors of their environment. When a mouse intrudes for the very first time inside a home, it will survey the environment for food and possible harbourage. If conditions are more favourable than the place it left, the mouse may decide to settle down.

If the conditions are not favourable, it will likely they will return where they came from. But this will not necessarily deter mice from returning to gather more foodstuff or nesting materials.

exterminate mice through baiting

Mice only settle down and colonise a property that can sustain them. Under good conditions, mice would not have an incentive to leave unless you suddenly turned it unfavourable by introducing a cat for example.

I once challenged a neighbour who had his own understanding of mice control; he simply said that mice infestations come and go. The reality is that placing bait in a property depletes the overall mice population living 10–12 metres around—but only up to a point. So often what happens is one neighbour killing mice while the other is breeding them.

How long does it take to get rid of mice

The time it takes to get rid of mice depends on how much mice activity there is around your home. The bait takes about four days to take effect; as the mice treatment depletes the population, the residents should stop seeing mice normally after one or two weeks. However, other mice will eventually keep on coming to eat we place under the kitchen units.

If you still suffer from mice after eight weeks, it is either because the pest control treatment used is not appropriate and/or there is a strong infestation nearby affecting your property.

What do mice eat? If there is no food, will mice leave?

Will mice leave if no food can be found? Basically, this comes down to population dynamics. Mice need a place to nest and nearby food in order to survive and multiply. In a context where you abruptly remove the food, the environment would suddenly not be able to sustain such a large number of mice; therefore, mice would look for more favourable environments and many, if not all, would leave.

But in practice, this is not so clear. Even if a home has no food whatsoever, a mice nest nearby would continue to survey it every so often, to check if conditions have changed. Mice are relentless, and they never stop looking. Also, mice could well choose to make their nest inside your home and get their food from the next-door flat.

How do you get rid of mice in your house.

When mice have colonised a property, you cannot simply wish them away. There are a number of things that you can do.  And the obvious one is cleaning, decluttering and placing food in sealed containers. Mice tend to return to the same place because it offers something to them. Mice could be getting foodstuff or maybe only shelter, but one of the best ways to get rid of mice is to remove what they like or need.

How to get rid of mice.

The most efficient way to get rid of mice is doing a mice treatment. How to catch a mouse is actually less straightforward. Above, we explored the use of sticky traps in detail. So, we can now talk further about the use of mouse traps. The best mouse trap is the spring design, and any variation of it works well.

What matters is to use the best food for mouse trap bait as well as to place the traps in the right spot. I recommend baiting the mice traps with crunchy peanut butter and placing the traps underneath the kitchen units along the walls.

But I often see clients placing a mouse trap inside bedrooms along the walls where they’ve found mouse droppings. There is nothing wrong with this, as such, except that I simply do not like the idea of attracting mice to where they are not welcome to start with. It would be like placing a trap on my pillowcase and inviting them there.

However, traps can only catch one mouse at a time. And many mice get wise to them. So how to get rid of mice when spring traps are not enough?

Using the best mouse bait

Ideally, implement whatever strategy you choose to get rid of mice at the void space level. Out of sight and out of reach will be safer for the residents and pets, and will also give less incentive for mice to go further into the living space.

The most effective way is to trick them into eating something that will actually kill them without them realising it.

There is a wide variety of mouse bait formulas available. The key is using mice bait that they will actually want to eat. Imagine: if you mix up the best mouse poison with sand, mice would never eat it. Seeds are possibly the most successful, and nicer seeds such as canary seed and peanut butter bait are better than boring seeds like wholewheat and pasta bait.

london mice control needed

The limitation of using traps

Traps will only remove one individual at a time; and, it is unlikely that you will trap them faster than the mice can breed. Mice traps are a valid strategy in consort with other means. But as a stand-alone, you can hope for little less than a lifetime of trapping.

Many clients report that they have already caught three mice in the past few weeks before calling us in. But this doesn’t tell you how many more are still to come. Before catching mice on traps, the mice first need to come into your home and living space.

Keeping them out

In principle, mice can originate from the outdoors and gain entry into a building through gaps. Repairing broken masonry and placing air brick covers will prevent that from happening, above all in the case of a detached building. However, in the case of an attached building, mice can easily travel from one hone to the next through the void space within the walls and under the floorboards.

Mouse proofing is by far the most effective long-term strategy. But you must take care of the mouse first if you want to carry out the mice proofing, Otherwise, you may end up blocking one in.

mouse proofing using wirewoolmouse proofing using hardboard

Mouse proofing and baiting work hand in hand. The mice treatment first depletes the stock of mice that are infesting the property, then it protects the proofing from future incoming mice.

You need to keep them out as if you were living in a glass bottle. This means that there should be no gaps large enough for mice to get through between the void space and the living space.\

blocking gaps to the walls and around pipes

There are two main approaches: The builder’s way, and this is to remove the kitchen units, seal any gaps at wall and floor level, and put the units back in. This is a very good approach, though very expensive. In most instances, the kitchen units hide or prevent us to reach any primary access points that are at the back. When the kitchen units are removed, we can then carry out a more permanent form of proofing using stronger materials.

holes at back of kitchen units

The second approach is the mouse exclusion way. You can actually see the proofing itself, so if there is still mice activity, then you can double-check all the initial proofing and find the new holes that need blocking. This also allows to carry out maintenance checks on the proofing easily. The materials you can use for mouse proofing include mesh, wire wool, sealant, board, timber, and cement, but never expanding foam that mice can easily chew through.

mouse proofing of sink unitmouse proofing sealing hardboards

Determining how mice are entering the house takes a systematic approach. I always start from the kitchen door and follow the skirting boards until I reach the kitchen units. From there, I check the inside of the cabinets for the presence of gaps. If there are any domestic appliances, I pull them out to check behind them and continue searching around the house until I get back to where I started.

example of mouse proofing in london homes

The trickiest mouse proofing to carry out is at dishwasher level because of its moving parts. A way around this, though, is to get a plumber to disconnect it and add extensions. Then the dishwasher can pull out fully to do the proofing at the back as seen in the above picture.

How do you know when all the mice are gone?

The level of infestation increases from the time mice access the property for the first time until the local mice population reach an equilibrium state. That equilibrium state is a balance between how many mice are there and how many mice this environment can sustain. 

mice infestation increase rapidly

How many mice are in my house?

The number of mice in your house at any given time is limited by the available foodstuff and harbourage.

Once mice reach this critical point, and as mice continue to breed, the excess mice population will have to expand toward the surrounding areas where competition is less. Thus, a mice infestation spreads from home to home.

As the mice population increases, the evidence of mice infestation will increase accordingly and the tenants will be more likely to take notice. There are tenants who may be more aware than others and would take notice earlier; this time would normally trigger the Action Phase.

So, how do you know when all the mice are gone? Most people will consider the mice infestation to be over when they stop noticing signs of mice, such as sightings or droppings. However, most would only look at the living space level and would not notice the activity taking place at void space level.

One of the best ways to find out if all the mice are gone is to place a control bait point at void space level. Thus, you can monitor it on a regular basis, as well as monitor for the appearance of new droppings. Simply clean an area underneath the sink unit thoroughly, place a fresh control bait in the middle, and then monitor regularly.

Do mice return to the same place?

Mice infestations tend to recur at a certain frequency that depends on how much pressure exists around your home. So, if the conditions that lead to your infestation still exist, it will only be a matter of time for the surrounding mice population to recover, build up in numbers and begin infesting you again.

On a smaller scale, mice will always return to their mice nest, or return to a given area where they can gather foodstuff from. When you place quality bait, the mice take it and in effect you remove the rodents from your home. But once the bait is gone, there is nothing left to protect the home, and from there, any mice returning may start recolonising the property. Then you are back to square one.

The more frequent these cycles of mice activity, the bigger the surrounding established mice population. If you live on the top floor of a tower, it is obvious that the mice affecting you must be coming from the floors below since they do not fly. Ideally, you would want to get rid of mice before they reach you, but this would involve treating the areas below, possibly as part of a block control program.

London property 5 times more likely to be reinfested within 5 years

In term of statistics, a property once infested is five times more likely to be re-infested than a property that has never suffered from any mice infestation. In a nutshell, the presence of mice droppings means that there is a mice infestation and no further mouse droppings likely means that the mouse infestation is over.