If you think mice have set up housekeeping in your home, you will see the signs of these nocturnal and notoriously shy rodents before you see any mice.
Your first clue you might have a mouse problem in your home is when you find the remnants of their overnight escapades. Wood, electric wires, cardboard food containers, anything that they have chewed through – and their droppings.
Identify the Source
You need to know what type of pest you are dealing with so you can plan next steps. All rodent feces is similar in appearance with minor differences in the size and shape of the droppings. Mouse droppings are ¼” long with a cylindrical shape and one or both ends are pointed, resembling black grains of rice. Rat droppings are flatter, wider and larger at ½” long. If you’re wondering if you have a cockroach issue, their droppings are significantly different and look like black pepper or coffee grounds.
Mice droppings often appear in clusters, since each mouse produces between 50-75 droppings each day.
If you’ve found mouse droppings, you can be sure that mouse urine is left behind, too. Dried mouse urine is harder to detect. Look for spots that resemble water stains that have a pungent odor.
Where Will You Find Mouse Droppings?
You will find mouse droppings – or pellets – anywhere there is mouse activity. Mice are attracted to your home in search of food, water, warmth and a place to nest.
You can often track the activity of mice in your home by following the trail of mouse droppings. If you’ve found droppings in one section, you’ll also want to check these areas of your home:
- Kitchen cabinets and pantries – anywhere food is stored
- Cabinets and drawers throughout the home – bathroom, garage, basement
- Attics and crawl spaces
- Areas around appliances – especially water heaters – and near electrical wires
- Any entry points (mice can squeeze through spaces as tiny as ¼”) like pipes, vents and crevices in walls or windows
Finding mouse droppings in your home isn’t just disgusting, it’s bad for your health. Mice carry bacteria that cause diseases and viruses like:
- Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome
- Salmonellosis (aka Salmonella)
Symptoms of these illnesses range from food poisoning to fatigue, fever and serious implications such as HPS syndrome, where your lungs fill up with fluid.
This bacteria is transmitted in a few ways:
- Consuming food that has been contaminated: the mouse walks through their own urine or feces and then comes into contact with the food.
- Direct contact: a person or pet touches the feces or urine and then touches their eyes, nose or mouth.
- Inhalation: if the droppings are disturbed the bacteria can also be inhaled
Due to these health risks, you must take precautions when cleaning up the affected areas.
Safe Clean-up of Mouse Droppings
Safely clean up the mouse droppings by following these instructions:
- Wear rubber or latex gloves and a mask to avoid direct contact with the feces and to prevent inhaling any potential viruses.
- If the droppings are discovered in an area with little or no ventilation, open the site as much as possible and allow the area to air out for a minimum of 30 minutes before removing the droppings.
- Spray the feces and the general area with a household disinfectant and let it sit for five minutes. If you don’t have that on hand, make a bleach solution by placing one-part bleach and nine parts water into a spray bottle.
- Clean the area with paper towels or disposable rags, placing the droppings into a plastic bag.
- Once clear, mop or sponge the affected area with a household disinfectant or your homemade solution.
- When finished, place your disposable cleaning materials into the plastic bag. Seal it and dispose of it immediately. Thoroughly clean and disinfect your mop head.
- Wash your hands with soap and warm water after removing your gloves.
Allow another 30 minutes to pass before using the newly-cleaned area.
Make the Solution Permanent
The best way to remove mouse droppings is to remove the mice. If you are frustrated by setting traps or trying other DIY methods with no success, it’s time to get help from a professional pest control company. Call us at 215.799.2010 or schedule an appointment online.