Confirm that you have a mouse problem

Mice are like tiny, four-legged ninjas who make themselves scarce, but when you have a potential rodent problem, you might spot one scampering away out of the corner of your eye. Once you see one inside your house, you should immediately suspect you have a nest somewhere—in your walls, in the attic, in the garage, wherever.

Most people don’t even realize they have mice until things get really bad. The most obvious signs of a mouse problem are droppings. Though it’s tempting to just wipe them up, make sure you take extra safety precautions, such as wearing gloves and masks when handling the droppings. This includes disinfecting the area afterward, and throwing away food that might’ve been contaminated. The last thing you want is to get sick at the same time you discover an infestation.

You may also find chewed up food packages or pieces of your wall along the floor from the mice having drilled through them. You may hear scratching in your walls or attic, or the pitter-patter of tiny little feet at night. And if all that wasn’t gross enough, you may also find pillars comprised of body grease, dirt and urine, which build up into small mounds up to two inches high and half an inch wide. And yes, these smell bad.

Any or all of these mean you’ve got a potential infestation on your hands. The good news is that getting rid of mice is simple in principle. The bad news is that it could take a lot of work or money.

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