Spotting a mouse running across your living room floor is not an experience anyone enjoys or soon forgets. However, does one mouse mean that your home is now a biohazard zone? How concerned should you be if you spot one of these pesky rodents inside, and should you immediately call an exterminator to help solve the problem?
Unfortunately, these questions are more challenging to answer than you might expect. To understand why these questions aren't straightforward, you'll first need to understand how mice typically enter residential structures and the factors that lead to an out-of-control infestation.
What Causes Rodent Infestations?
Rodents, such as mice, enter your home for the same reason you do. These critters are typically looking for a warm, safe place to spend time, which is why many homeowners first notice rodent problems during the winter. Unfortunately, rodents may also flee into homes during the summer to escape higher temperatures or seek water during dry weather.
In general, mice don't enter your home on purpose. Instead, they tend to explore their immediate surroundings and venture inside areas that seem to offer food or protection. Since mice are incredibly curious animals that can fit through very tiny spaces, there's a good chance that mice living around your home will eventually find any gaps that allow them to enter.
In other words, the underlying cause of any rodent infestation is a structural condition that allows them to make entry. These conditions may be rotted wood, gaps around windows or doors, or poorly maintained trees that provide a method for mice to climb onto your roof. Whatever the case, the best way to solve an infestation is also the best way to prevent one: don't let the mice in.
How Do Infestations Progress?
A single mouse in your house doesn't necessarily mean that you have an infestation, but it does mean that you have a problem. The mouse you see may have entered your home to explore, and it may leave again. However, other mice will invariably find their way in the same way. More importantly, mice multiply relatively quickly, so one taking up residence in your home will quickly cause problems.
However, you still shouldn't panic. Instead, you should treat the mouse you see as a warning sign and contact a pest control expert as soon as possible. If you've only seen one mouse, there's a good chance you still have time to address the problem before it becomes more severe. While you can try do-it-yourself control methods, there's no guarantee you'll catch every mouse or find every entry point.
On the other hand, a professional can evaluate your entire home for weak points and determine the areas where mice are most likely to enter. Once you patch these vulnerabilities, you can deal with your current infestation, if any. This approach gives you the best chance of keeping mice out of your home once and for all.
Contact a local mice control service to learn more.