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A Mouse In The House: All About House Mice

Feb 14, 2024

Despite their adorably-large ears and fuzzy bodies, house mice are a nightmare to have in your home. They chew through all kinds of household materials, spread disease, contaminate surfaces, steal our food — but we’re getting ahead of ourselves. These rodents are one of the most common pests across the country and invade homes of all sizes in every season. Let’s take a closer look at these persistent pests to see what they do and how you can prevent house mice from making a mess of your home.

All About the House Mouse

One of the most common rodents in the U.S., house mice usually invade homes through gaps in the exterior. In fact, they fit through holes the width of a nickel! House mice are typically most active at night because they’re nocturnal. This natural preference works in their favor since they don’t have great vision anyway. But make no mistake, house mice have an acute sense of both hearing and smell that allows them to search around their habitat for food and water.

House mice are some of the most cartoonish-looking rodents, with features including:

  • Light brown or gray coloring
  • White bellies
  • Large ears
  • Long tails
  • Length of 3 inches

Since their teeth are open-rooted, house mice chew on everything in sight. They need to keep their teeth filed down to prevent them from growing too long and rendering the mice unable to eat. This is exactly why house mice cause so much structural damage to a house. They chew through drywall, furniture, insulation, and wiring. 

House mice also reproduce multiple times within the span of a year. They can have up to 35 babies per year, averaging a new litter about every 3 weeks. Although they are commensal rodents — pests that live near humans to fulfill their needs — house mice don’t want to get too close to us. They will scurry, climb, and jump to a new hiding spot that protects them in between their time spent scavenging for food.

The Risks

Speaking of food, this necessity is also one of the main catalysts for a mice infestation. They spend a lot of time scavenging for enough food to sustain their ever-growing families. House mice do most of their scavenging at night to have as much protection as possible. This unfortunately means that if you see one mouse in the kitchen, there are many more hiding nearby. 

Every pest carries its own risks — sometimes literally. There are three main reasons why house mice are an unwelcome presence in the home:

  1. Food Contamination. House mice love our food and will do everything they can to steal it for themselves. Their favorites are cereals, grains, seeds, protein, nuts, and sweets. These mice carry up to 200 harmful pathogens and contaminate everything they touch with their droppings, saliva, and urine. 
  2. Structural Damage. As we mentioned earlier, house mice have strong teeth that they use to constantly gnaw on objects. They will chew through all kinds of household features, including drywall, insulation, air ducts, certain furniture, wiring, and pipes. Repairs for damages caused by house mice get pretty expensive when the mice spend more time in one place.
  3. Disease Transmission. House mice are disgusting pests that cause health issues for the residents of an infested home. They spread salmonella through their droppings, which can also aggravate allergy and asthma symptoms if the droppings are left to dry out. These mice can even bring their own pests, including ticks, fleas, mites, and lice.

It’s easy to see why preventing house mice is important when we examine the risks. These pests invade houses all year long, so there’s never a bad time to keep an eye out for the signs of an infestation. 

Infestation Signs

Like any other pest, house mice leave signs of their presence once they invade a home. Even these sneaky pests can’t hide from us forever!

The most common signs of a house mice infestation are:

  • Mouse droppings and urine anywhere in the house
  • Gnaw marks on anything
  • Damaged food packaging, especially small rips and holes
  • Oily marks on the walls
  • Strange sounds like scurrying, scratching, or squeaking
  • Dark runways (paths) on the floor
  • Scattered nest materials (torn fabric, paper, cotton, insulation, etc.)
  • Any live or dead mice in the house

If you see one or more of these signs, it’s a good idea to contact your local pest control professionals. House mice are tricky to eliminate since they reproduce so often, so an infestation is best solved by an experienced technician and their targeted treatments.  

How to Prevent House Mice

It can feel overwhelming to read about the disease and destruction that house mice bring, but don’t panic! There are plenty of ways to prevent these pests from claiming your home as their own. Plus, professional pest control is always a great idea, but more on that later.

For now, these are the most efficient ways to prevent house mice:

  1. Clean crumbs and spills. These mice love accessible food sources, so make sure to clean up any crumbs and spills with an antibacterial cleaner of your choice.
  2. Store food properly. Most packaged food comes in flimsy packaging, but the food is protected when it’s stored in glass or acrylic airtight containers.
  3. Protect pet food. Rodents love pet food. Keep the bag of dog or cat food in a secure container, and remove their food bowl after each meal.
  4. Take out the trash. Since mice like our trash, keeping it in lidded trash cans and taking out the bag when it’s full are essential practices. 
  5. Trim back greenery. House mice hide in thick plants while they search for a way inside. Trim back all plants, bushes, and tree limbs at least one foot from the house.
  6. Clear out clutter. A room full of clutter is a mouse’s invitation to hide out. Keep your storage areas as tidy as you can, especially in the garage, basement, and attic.
  7. Use sturdy containers. Speaking of which, anything stored in cardboard boxes is at risk of being invaded by house mice. Use plastic bins with good lids to protect your stored items.
  8. Stay on top of the chores. Washing the dishes and doing the laundry aren’t the most fun activities, but they are essential in keeping house mice away. These pests will even eat the scraps and stains found on our used items! 

In short, preventing house mice is all about removing their food sources and hiding spots. But these pests are determined creatures, so it’s still possible for one to slip through the cracks (literally) and get inside a clean home. Enter: Phenom Pest Protection.

Protect Your Home With Phenom

Mice are never a welcomed guest in the house, but store-bought traps and treatments will only encourage them to stay longer by retreating further into hiding. This is where Phenom Pest Protection comes in. Our team of highly-trained experts is dedicated to solving each pest issue as efficiently as possible. During a series of inspections — exterior, yard, entry point, and interior — our team searches for all signs of pest activity. From de-webbing to nest removal, we do everything it takes to eliminate each pest. Contact us to learn more about our environmentally-friendly services and how Phenom will keep house mice out of your home!


House mice. (n.d.). Pest World. Retrieved February 9, 2024, from 

House mouse. (n.d.). Pointe Pest Control. Retrieved February 9, 2024, from 




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