“How much harm can a few mice do?” A mouse in your home may seem like no big deal, but don’t let their small size fool you. They’ve got the benefit of numbers, and any vulnerable spot in your property can be an invitation for rodents to move in. The trouble starts once they infiltrate and begin occupying areas such as crawl spaces.
This can easily lead to structural damage and serious health risks. A cold winter only adds to the danger, since mice find homes more attractive as a place to escape the freezing temperatures. This guide will alert you to the dangers posed by mice in your crawl space, and what you can do before calling the professionals.
The Signs of Mice in a Crawl Space
Seeing a mouse indoors is a sure sign of a problem, but you should also be alert for other indicators. Chewed food sources, droppings, holes in walls or floors, unpleasant crawl space odors, or sounds of scratching should be taken seriously.
Keeping your eyes and ears open for these signs is only the first step in tackling the problem. Responding effectively to the threat mice pose to your home requires a greater appreciation of the danger they bring along with them. Here’s why your vigilance must become action right away.
Mice Are a Major Threat to Your Home
Mice bring their own built-in bother to a crawl space, but they can also open your property up to wider damage. They are difficult to keep out when they want in; when they do get in, they cause problems such as:
- Mouse Infestations
One sighting is usually a sign of many others – mice create nests that can contain from 12 to 24 occupants.
- Transmitting Deadly Diseases
Mice can carry a number of diseases transmitted by air or contact, including but not limited to leptospirosis, hantavirus, salmonellosis, and even bubonic plague. These infections can do everything from exacerbating existing conditions like eczema and asthma to attacking major organs like the heart and kidneys. Mice also contaminate human food sources with diseases while searching for their own share.
- Damage From Chewing
The nibbling of mice inside a crawl space can compromise electrical wiring and moisture barriers. Even tough materials like plastics, aluminum, wood, and soft concrete can suffer damage.
- Bringing Other Pests
Mice allow other threats to piggyback into your home, such as fleas and ticks.
Understanding these facts will help homeowners prevent a mouse infestation from becoming a disaster. The good news is that there are some key steps every property owner can take to better mouse-proof their crawl spaces before contacting foundation repair services.
6 Ways to Make Crawl Spaces Mouse-Proof
Proactive property owners can minimize crawl space problems if they act quickly and safely. The following best practices can help ensure that mice won’t get the run of your property:
1. Call Foundation Maintenance Services for Crawl Space Leaks
Leaks attract mice as a water source and can quickly become a breeding ground for mold, mildew, and other bacteria harmful to humans. Consider crawl space encapsulation and a quality dehumidifier to combat moisture and get the jump on mice and mold.
2. Light Up Your Crawl Space
Mice prefer the dark and will be scared away by an effective light source. Sodium lighting is particularly effective, as are strobe lights, which are typically motion-activated and give a short burst of radiance when mice are nearby.
3. Don’t Store Food or Boxes in Crawl Spaces
This greatly decreases the chances of attracting mice, because they are always searching for an easy source of sustenance. Avoiding boxes of any kind further limits the chances of providing nesting material.
4. Clear Crawl Spaces of Debris
Small amounts of loose insulation, torn fabric, string, wood chips, or paper can make ideal nesting material for mice. They can also become depositories for droppings and urine. Clean the crawl space, but do it safely (more on that below).
5. Check the Home’s Exterior
Bushes, long grass, and brush close to your house can initially conceal mice that may then transition onto your property and into the crawl space.
Trim back or remove these to reduce the risk of them becoming the bridge for an infestation, and look for any exterior gaps, such as around piping and vents.
6. Close Any Cracks or Holes
Even the smallest breach in your crawl space can be an entry point for mice. Their skeletons are extremely flexible, and even a dime-sized hole is enough to invite trouble. Experts recommend sealing any openings with steel wool or silicone caulk.
These tips help property owners better guard crawl spaces against mice, but they must be sure they don’t become a casualty themselves in the process. Sometimes professional help is the most effective fix, and the safest.
Common Pitfalls of Tackling Mice Alone
DIY mouse-proofing can be effective in some instances but can expose you to other dangers. Consider the following carefully before tackling the job yourself:
- Entering a mouse-occupied crawl space carries the risk of being bitten. A mouse bite could transmit any of the diseases we mentioned above.
- Inhalation of harmful mold or mildew and/or exposure to electrocution are hazards to be aware of, depending on the kind of crawl space damage the mice have caused.
- Catching a disease isn’t limited to bites. Inhalation of any material contaminated by mouse droppings or urine also carries a serious risk of infection.
- The “common sense” ways of disposing of mice droppings or urine, such as brushing, sweeping, or vacuuming, can make the problem more dangerous. The Centers for Disease Control has guidelines for safe cleanup.
The whole point of crawl space care is ensuring that property and people don’t come to any harm. This is why we recommend contacting foundation repair professionals to get the mouse-managing job done right.
Let LUX Protect Your Crawl Space Against Mice
Have the specialists appraise your crawl space for total peace of mind. Contact LUX Foundation Solutions today to discuss your residential or commercial building crawl space repair needs in Northern Virginia or West Virginia.