Since mice are nocturnal, it is unlikely you'll spot one until after you have a full infestation on your hands. Instead, you'll want to keep an eye out for any evidence that a mouse has been lurking around your home.
The most obvious form of proof is mouse droppings. Once you come across droppings, you'll need to confirm that they are indeed from a mouse and then clean them up following the proper protocol to avoid contracting any rodent-related diseases.
Examine the Droppings
Without touching the droppings you come across, take a good hard look at them. You may even want to use a magnifying glass if you have one. Rodent droppings are relatively smooth and taper off at each end. Since rodents groom themselves like cats, they also swallow some hair, which can sometimes be found in their feces.
The educational institution goes on to point out that examining the size is the best way to tell the difference between rat and mouse feces. Rats are bigger in size than mice and their droppings reflect this. If the feces are 1/4 inch in length, they most likely come from a mouse, as rat feces tend to measure 1/3 inch.
Use Your Sense of Smell
Although mouse feces don't have a strong odor, you can use your nose to locate urine-soaked areas. This rodent's urine will smell like ammonia. If the urine has already dried in an area you suspect a mouse has visited, you can use a black light or an ultraviolet light to illuminate it.
Be Aware of Potential Diseases
Before you begin cleaning up the mice droppings, you'll need to be fully aware of the potential diseases that can be transmitted through the excrement. The following diseases are known to be contracted through coming in contact with mice droppings:
- Bubonic plague: Also commonly referred to as "Black Death," the bubonic plague is a bacterial infection that often presents with flu-like symptoms. Those infected will develop swollen lymph nodes, headaches, vomiting, and fevers.
- Murine typhus: Murine typhus is a form of typhus that develops as a result of the Rickettsia typhi bacteria. Common symptoms include a cough, rash, stomachache, loss of appetite, and muscle weakness.
- Spirochetal jaundice: When bilirubin levels rise in the bloodstream due to an infection with Leptospira icterohemorrhagica, a person has come down with spirochetal jaundice. The disease causes patients to itch and have yellow skin.
- Leptospirosis: Another bacterial infection, leptospirosis is serious and can lead to a host of complications. A few of these include meningitis, respiratory illnesses, and kidney disease. In some cases, leptospirosis can even lead to death.
- Rat-bite fever: Rat-bite fever is a bacterial infection that makes joints swell and ache. Additional symptoms include fevers with the chills, headaches, and wounds that are slow to heal.
- Bacterial food poisoning: When mice urine or food droppings come in contact with your food, you can suffer from bacterial food poisoning. Sufferers may experience vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhea, and bloody stools.
Use Caution When Cleaning Up the Droppings
In order to prevent contracting any mice related illnesses, it is best to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's guidelines on the matter. The CDC suggests donning a pair of cleaning gloves and soaking the affected area with a disinfectant for 5 minutes before using a paper towel to clean up the waste. After tossing the waste in the trash can, mop the floors with disinfectant and then remove the gloves and wash your hands with soap and water.
After you've successfully identified the droppings and disposed of them, you'll want to give Pest Control Services, Inc. a call. The professional exterminators are equipped with the necessary information and equipment to completely eradicate your home of these unwanted pests.