Mice are one of America’s most common pests, especially in colder climates–14.8 million American homeowners reported seeing rodents in their homes in 2021 alone.
Mice in particular can be difficult to get rid of, as they rely on humans’ homes for shelter during harsh winters and can survive in your home even with scarce resources.
This is why it’s crucial to invest in professional pest control as soon as you notice common signs of a mouse infestation.
If you’ve recently seen a mouse in your house, you might be wondering–how long can mice stay even if there’s no food? Read on to find out, and to learn how to get rid of mice for good.
- Mice will leave if there is no food, but since they’ll eat almost anything, removing human food sources and pet food won’t deter them.
- To determine if there are mice in your house, listen for unusual scratching sounds and sniff for foul smells, look out for shiny droppings, gnaw marks, or unusual behavior from pets.
- When mice enter your house, they’re often seeking shelter from harsh weather, but they may be attracted to food sources or nesting materials within your home.
- There are a number of DIY methods for preventing rodents, such as baited traps and sprays, but help from a pest control company is the only surefire way to put an end to your mice problem.
Will Mice Leave if There Is No Food?
Mice are heavily dependent on food, much more than drinking water. Mice can only survive for about 2-4 days without a meal, despite their ability to go a month or more without directly consuming water (since they absorb a lot of the moisture that hydrates them through their food).
However, mice will eat almost anything (i.e. seeds, flowers, grass, paper, soap). So while cutting off general food supply and carefully cleaning food crumbs may help deter mice, it’s not guaranteed to permanently curb your rodent problem.
How to Determine if There are Mice in Your House
Common signs of mice in your home (aside from spotting live or dead mice) include:
- Hearing scratching sounds
- Unusual foul smells
- Shiny black or brown droppings (poop)
- Smudged pipes, beams, or holes
- Urine stains
- Gnaw marks on woodwork in your home
- Unusual pet behavior when your pets hear or see mice
If you notice any of these signs in your home, it’s best to call a pest control professional. In the meantime, you can invest in store-bought sprays and traps to keep the problem at bay, and seal any holes in your walls that may serve as mouse holes with steel wool.
You can even use peanut butter as bait–place a bit of peanut butter in a toilet paper tube at the edge of your counter next to a bucket or trash can, and mice will crawl into the tube and naturally topple over into the bucket trap.
Alternatively, sprinkle cayenne pepper to repel mice. Be sure to keep your home clean, dry, and clutter-free–clean any traces of food immediately, and don’t leave out fluffy nesting materials like blankets, old rugs, or laundry.
What Causes Mice to Get in Your House
If you’ve had a recent mouse sighting in your home, poor sanitation might be to blame. If you don’t clean your home regularly, store food in sealed containers, and dispose of food and trash properly, it will be easy for mice to locate food and water sources within your home.
Any leftover food that’s accessible to mice, even if it’s still sealed in food packaging, is worth setting up camp for. And once one mouse has made its home within yours, other mice will naturally flock to the area to breed, making mouse control all the more difficult.
Moreover, if your home is easy to access for mice, they’re likely to seek shelter, especially if their natural habitats (i.e. trees and bushes) have been depleted or if they’re on the run from a local predator. This is why it’s crucial to seal any holes or cracks that may allow stowaways to access your house, and immediately repair any damaged windows and doors.
Keep your yard well-maintained as well. An overgrown lawn provides ample spaces for mice to hide out or sneak inside. Especially during the harsher conditions of the fall and winter, mice will seek warm, dry shelter anywhere they can.
When to Call a Professional
If you’ve noticed any of the aforementioned signs of rodents, it’s likely there’s more than one around, so it’s best to call a professional pest control service immediately. If the problem is small, you may be able to get it under control yourself with store-bought baits and mouse traps (i.e. glue traps, snap traps).
However, if you’ve tried these DIY methods and still noticed signs of mice, it’s best to invest in an exterminator for your peace of mind and to ensure the problem doesn’t return.
Questions Others Are Asking
Below are answers to some commonly asked questions regarding mice infestations.
How do you know when all the mice are gone?
If you stop noticing signs of rodent activity, it’s likely that your mouse problem has been solved. For instance, no new damage or gnaw marks on your furniture, no more mouse droppings, no more holes or signs of nests in your walls, and no more nasty unfamiliar smells or suspicious noises are all good signs.
Spotting only younger mice is also a good sign, as older mice will only live in conditions that are very comfortable for them. Additionally, if the seasons change and the weather gets warmer in tandem with a decrease in signs of mice in your home, your infestation has probably been put to rest.
Will mice live in an empty house?
Yes. If a home offers shelter, especially if there are nesting materials available nearby, mice will take advantage of it, even if there are no humans and no new food source in the vicinity.