Recently, I was called out to service a home in South Toms River, NJ to help a homeowner having an issue with mice entering a home, an all-too-common problem this time of year when temperatures drop and mice are looking to escape the harsh weather. The homeowner was particularly concerned because she was at a loss as to how the mice could possibly be entering the home. I explained to her that mice only need the tiniest of gaps and cracks to gain entry because of heir diminutive size. People are surprised to learn that a mouse weight less than an ounce!
The homeowner found out that she had mice in the most unpleasant way. She observed droppings in her basement while she was getting her Christmas decorations assembled for the holiday season. Finding mice droppings is the quickest way to stop any holiday cheer.
With a mouse infestation, I am always focused on finding their entry points into the home. I’ve found that one effective inspection technique that works well for me is to work in the dark! I will turn off all the basement lights and look for areas where light may be shining through. If I can see daylight, it means that there is usually plenty of space for mice to squeeze inside. Obviously, this works best on bright, sunny days.
Here, with the lights off, I saw light coming in the house around wires and pipes. This is a common rodent entry point because the sealing around pipes and wires starts to disintegrate over time. Upon closer inspection, I observed a few droppings in the areas around these gaps. These weren’t potential entry points; they were actual ones.
My preference is to set the bait traps before sealing the holes. I want to give the mice a way out of the house after ingesting the bait so they die outside and the homeowner does not have to deal with mouse carcasses in the home. Holes that are closed too soon may trap the dying mice inside. I placed several traps along the interior perimeter of the basement.
Finally, I advised the homeowner that I would return for a two-week follow-up where I would seal all of the entry points. She was relieved that I was able to locate the openings and had a plan in place to rid her home of these pesky mice.