You see the signs before you see the culprit usually. Tiny droppings on the kitchen floor or counter. Or perhaps a bag of sugar with a hole in it. Then perhaps you think you see something, out of the corner of your eye as you are watching television. Something small, dark and fast darts along the floor, following the edge of the baseboard.

You know you have a problem. You have mice.

Do You Have Mice?

At first you don't think too much of it, perhaps a strange noise coming from another room, papers shuffling, or something falls over but there is no explanation for it.

Or you think you saw something small and dark run across the floor, along the edge of the wall but you aren't sure.

The final tip off comes when you find little dark droppings or scat on a white surface such as a kitchen counter or floor, or perhaps a bag of sugar has a little whole in the bottom.

Chances are you have a house mouse, or even worse, a rat, or family of the rodent variety taking up residence in your home. Uh-oh....

Mice and rats have a tendency to want to come inside. For a couple of reasons.

 1) warmth in the winter, and;

 2) food sources. No matter the reason why they are inside, you want them out, never to return. Rodents are great carriers of disease, nasty stuff that you don't want anything to do with, trust me. Some of them, especially the mice, might even look a little cute at first glance, but they are trouble.

Hopefully we'll be able to help with some tips and tricks for ridding your life of mice and rats and keeping your home verim free.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, there are a few things to watch for which should help you discover if you have a mouse in the house. They are:

1) Mice tend to stick to the 'edges' that is, they move along the edge of rooms, alongside the walls, because they don't have very good eyesight. Those are the places to look for small dark droppings, tiny little spots that might not even show up on a basement floor unless you use a flashlight.

2) Keep an eye on the pantry. Look for unexplained tears and holes in bags of food like flour and sugar and potatoes etc. If you have food in the basement store it on metal shelves off the floor. This won't stop a mouse but it might slow him down.

3) Watch your cat or dog, particularly in the basement. If you have rodents, cats and dogs, even if they aren't good mousers, may show an interest in some areas of the basement, where they can smell the rodents. That's the time to get out your flashlight and start looking for signs. You might also hear slight rustling noises in the walls or ceiling, particularly at night when the house is quiet. Your pet might be more intuned to these noises than you, so watch them.

4) If you suspect a mouse, but aren't sure, sprinkle a little talcum powder or similar substance around the area where you think the mice might be travelling and watch for droppings and tracks in the powder.

5) All of the above not withstanding, one sure fire way to find out if you have mice is to set a mousetrap and see if you catch one. If you do, you can be pretty sure there are more. Particularly when it comes to mice. One mouse means you have mice as far as I am concerned. Rats sometimes are alone, although left unchecked it will be no time before you have more.

In the next article we'll discuss how to deal with mice and rats once you have them.

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