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Home > Blog > Recognizing the Signs of a Mouse Infestation: How To Find Mouse Nests

Recognizing the Signs of a Mouse Infestation: How To Find Mouse Nests

Nov 10, 2021

Did you know that mice and other rodents such as rats contaminate at least 20 percent of the world’s food each year? 

Mice look for things such as food, water, and warmth to survive. They are also smaller than rats and build nests in soft, dark areas such as inside insulation. Rats prefer to live in woodpiles or garbage. 

Mice feed up to 20 times a day and prefer not to find food 30 feet further from their nest. A mouse can live up to 2 years old, and its nest usually consists of one male and several females with babies. 

After a mouse has established a nest, it’s challenging to remove them. In this article, you will learn how to find mouse nests to help eliminate your mouse problem.

How to Tell You Have Mice in Your Home

Several clear signs can help you determine whether these rodents have taken residence in your home. 

Mice Excrement

Mouse droppings are full of bacteria and viruses that can cause severe illness. Mice excrement is different from rat droppings. They are smaller (about 3 to 6 mm long) and cylindrical. 

Fresh droppings are shiny and have a play dough-like texture. Old droppings crust over and become hard. You will usually find droppings in the following areas:

  • Near pantry items
  • Small corners of the house
  • Drawers and cupboards
  • Under sinks and behind toilets

Gnaw Marks on Food Products and Furniture

A brown shipping box that has has the corner gnawed away

You find gnaw marks on food packages and walls or baseboards and wires or furniture. As they make their way through your home, appliances and other parts of your home are subject to damage.

Mouse Tracks

Tracks or runways are pathways mice use to find food and bring it back to their nest. Since mice can’t see very well, they use their whiskers to smell and feel their surroundings. The easiest way to spot runways is by using a blacklight, and you will see footprints, smudge marks, and urine stains.

Strong Odor

Much like the smell of cat urine, mouse urine smells very similar to ammonia. The odor is likely to be stronger in the morning after their peak activity levels.

All About Mouse Nests

Baby mice burrowed into a mouse nest made of shredded paper and plastic

So, you have found clear signs of a mouse infestation. Your next question may be, “where is the mouse nest, and what am I looking for?” Mouse nests are easy to spot but are hard to reach. 

What Are Mouse Nests Made of?

Mice like to make their nests warm, soft, and comfortable to breed and create a safe place for their young. An average nest consists of:

  • Ripped clothing pieces
  • String, twine, or wool
  • Mattress stuffing or carpet underlay
  • Insulation
  • Soft pieces of fabric
  • Food wrappers

Mouse nests are messy and look like a pile of junk with one entrance hole. If you notice ripped paper or materials scattered around your house, that is a clear sign of a mouse infestation. 

What Does a Mouse Nest Look Like?

House mouse nests vary in appearance depending on where they choose to create their home. Some nests look dome-shaped, with materials leading into the ground or corner of your home. Other nests are circular piles of junk around and inside boxes, dressers, and other storage areas.

How Many Mice Live in a Nest?

A female mouse nursing her babies

Once a mouse finds the perfect spot to nest, they breed very quickly and take over. Mice don’t have specific breeding seasons. Instead, they reproduce all year long and can have up to 10 litters a year. A mother can give birth to 6 to 14 pups at a time. 

How to Find Mouse Nests in Your Home

Since mice don’t like going too far from their nest, you will mainly find them hidden in kitchens. If you notice small holes in the corners of your home or along baseboards, you likely have a mouse infestation. Mice build their home indoors, whereas rats will build their nests outside or above ground.

Typically, mice will choose secluded or abandoned places to nest on your property. Some ideas on where to look for mouse nests include:

  • Attics
  • Basements
  • Big appliances motor compartments
  • Cabinets and drawers
  • Cluttered indoor and outdoor areas
  • False ceilings
  • Gaps under the floor
  • Sewers
  • Under car hoods close to the engine
  • Voids in the wall and underfloor cabinets

If you’re having trouble locating a nest, you can use fluorescent tracking gel. Once the mice step on this gel, it gets stuck to their feet and bellies. Turn off the lights, and you should be able to follow the path to their nest. 

Although finding a mouse nest in your home can be tricky, what you should do after finding one is more important.

How to Get Rid of a Mouse Nest

A mouse in a metal cage

There are many ways you can get rid of mice, such as:

  • Mousetraps
  • Catch and release traps
  • Poison
  • Rodenticides

However, the best way to get rid of mice is through prevention methods. Ensure you sweep your floors daily. Find any small holes inside and outside of your house, and clean any debris you find. Make sure you’re wearing protective clothing such as long sleeves, a mask, and gloves.

If you find a nest, quickly but carefully put it in an empty box. If there are still mice inside, let them go or exterminate them, then burn the nest outside afterward. 

Once all debris of mice contaminants is clear, ensure you clean the area carefully so that they cannot re-track their scent back to your home.

Damages Caused by Mice

Exposed copper wires in a wire that has been gnawed by rats

Damages caused by mice can be extreme, from chewed wires and insulation to lasting smells after they are gone. Not to mention the bacteria and viruses they leave behind can make you very sick. 

Mice can eat through various types of materials with their teeth that never stop growing. Damages they cause include:

  • Making nests in your car’s engine
  • Eating through your home’s insulation
  • Chewing on electrical wires
  • Damaging things in your garage, such as car tires
  • Eating any food not stored inside plastic or metal containers, especially grain
  • Feeding on plants and digging up recently planted crops

It’s best to rid your house of mice as soon as you spot the minor signs because it is not worth the risk of getting your household sick. Not to mention the amount of money you’re going to spend to fix the damage caused.

Mouse Nest Removal Experts

Mice and rodents can wreak havoc on your home, but Romney Pest Control has you covered. Don’t wait for further damage to take place once you spot the signs of a house mouse. 

Even with your best efforts, getting rid of a mouse nest and cleaning the remnants alone will not eliminate your mouse problem. A professional at Romney Pest Control can adequately handle a mouse nest from removal to preventative steps. Our experts are located in Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, and Houston, TX.

We have provided pest control services for over 10 years and can handle any pest problem. Call us today to get started with a free quote!


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