Signs You Have Mice - Rodent Infestation at Home

Do you suspect rodents have moved in to your home, uninvited? In the colder seasons, rodents seek shelter from the elements- squeezing into entry points as small as ¼ inch in diameter.

Don’t miss these signs of rodent infestation:

– You’ve seen a mouse or rat, or a glimpse of one.

– You notice droppings or a musky smell.

– You hear scratching, squeaking, gnawing or scurrying in the walls at night.

– Packaged goods like pet food, may have been chewed on.

– You find an area where rodents gnawed to create a point of entry.

If you’ve detected any of the signs above, here are a few reasons to take action immediately:

– Rodents chew wires which can result in electrical problems and house fires. Rodents are believed to be responsible for up to 25% of house fires in the U.S. every year.

– Rodents reproduce rapidly. A single female mouse can mother as many as 150 offspring in their 5-month lifespan.

– Rodents carry and spread diseases like salmonella, hantavirus, bubonic plague, and more. They can also introduce ticks, mites, fleas and more pests into the home.



When do You Need to Contact a Professional?

Once a rat or mouse gains entry to your home, it rarely remains a one-time occurrence. Rodents can be frustrating to deal with. Pest Management Professionals are will gain control of the situation quickly, using specialized tools and expertise.

Don’t hesitate to call an exterminator if you are struggling to gain control over an infestation. The longer a rodent problem persists, the more extensive the damage can become.



What Diseases do Rodents Bring?

Rodents can transmit disease directly via contact, or indirectly via contamination.

Directly-Transmitted Disease

  • Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome
  • Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome
  • Lassa Fever
  • Leptospirosis
  • Lymphocytic Chorio-meningitis (LCM)
  • Omsk Hemorrhagic Fever
  • Plague
  • Rat-Bite Fever
  • Salmonellosis
  • South American Arenaviruses
  • Tularemia

Indirectly Transmitted Diseases

  • Babesiosis
  • Colorado Tick Fever
  • Cutaneous Leishmaniasis
  • Human Granulocytic Anaplasmosis
  • La Crosse Encephalitis
  • Lyme Disease
  • Murine Typhus
  • Omsk Hemorrhagic Fever
  • Powassan Virus
  • Scrub Typhus
  • Rickettsialpox
  • Relapsing Fever
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
  • Sylvatic Typhus
  • West Nile Virus

The best reference to learn more about these diseases is the CDC’s website:

Elimination - Suggested Baits for Mouse Traps

  • Do you want to draw rodents to your trap? Sometime all it takes is a little incentive.

    Here are some favorite baits used by professionals:

    • Chocolate
    • Peanut butter
    • Freshly cooked bacon or hot dog
    • Pet food
    • Candy like peanut butter cups, snickers, gum drops and more
    • Acorns or sunflower seeds
    • Nest materials like fibers, thread, cotton

    Snap Traps: Bait snap traps before setting. Remember to keep the bait fresh and secured. See: HOW TO SET A MOUSE OR RAT SNAP TRAP

    Glue Traps: Catchmaster® glue traps and trays require no bait.


    Bait Blocks: Otherwise known as poison, will cause the rodent to die post-consumption. This method often leaves dead rodents in the walls. Poisoned rodents can become an environmental hazard if they are consumed by natural predators or domesticated animals.

How to Set a Mouse or Rat Snap Trap

Watch our video: How to Set a Snap Trap

Types of Mouse and Rat Traps - Choose the Right One

Choose an approach to pest management tailored to your needs.


  1. Do I have rats or mice? See: DO I HAVE MICE OR RATS?
  2. Where has rodent activity been detected? See: SIGNS YOU HAVE MICE – RODENT INFESTATION AT HOME
  3. Do I have children or pets? Glue or snap traps will need to be placed in inaccessible areas.
  4. How severe is the infestation? See severity levels and recommendations below
  5. Have I taken all the necessary measures of prevention? See: HOW TO PREVENT RATS AND MICE

Severity Levels:

Level 1: SERVERE INFESTATION 10 or more mice or rats suspected

We encourage you to promptly call an exterminator who can quickly, safely, and effectively eliminate the rodents. This problem is severe and disease transmission is a huge concern.

Level 2: INFESTATION 5-10 mice or rats suspected. Ambitious to take on alone.

Consider hiring an exterminator, especially if you have children or pets in the home.

If you want to take on DIY pest management, you are going to need a variety of heavy-duty professional-grade tools for the job. Deploy a liberal number of traps at a time (3-5 traps per rodent) to knock down populations quickly.

Rat management product suggestions:

    • Rat Snap Trap (Baited)
    • Easy-Set Rat Snap Trap (Baited)
    • Heavy-Duty Rat Glue Trays
    • Bulk Rat Glue Boards

Shop Catchmaster on Amazon

Mice management product suggestions:

    • Mouse Snap Trap (Baited)
    • Easy-Set Mouse Snap Trap (Baited)
    • Heavy-Duty Mouse Glue Trays
    • Pro-Series Multi-Catch
    • Mouse & Insect Glue Boards

Shop Catchmaster on Amazon


Fewer than 5 mice or rats suspected. Could be manageable if you move fast.

Remember there are always more mice or rats than you can detect. The longer they have remained indoors, the longer their populations have had the opportunity to proliferate. If you want to roll up your sleeves and take this problem on yourself, you will need the right tools for the job. Otherwise, call an exterminator.

Rat management product suggestions:

    • Rat Snap Trap (Baited)
    • Heavy-Duty Rat Glue Trays

Shop Catchmaster on Amazon

Mice management product suggestions:

    • Mouse Snap Trap (Baited)
    • Heavy-Duty Mouse Glue Trays
    • Pro-Series Multi-Catch
    • Mouse & Insect Glue Boards

Shop Catchmaster on Amazon


One “new” invader

We encourage you to attempt to catch the mouse or rat yourself with at least 3-5 traps. Do not ignore the problem. Once trapped, continue to monitor for new invaders with glue boards and trays. See: HOW TO PREVENT RATS AND MICE

Rat management product suggestions:

    • Heavy-Duty Rat Glue Trays

Shop Catchmaster on Amazon

Mice management product suggestions:

    • Mouse & Insect Glue Boards

Shop Catchmaster on Amazon

How to Prevent Mice and Rats

We encourage a three-pronged approach to rodent prevention:

Seal: Use caulk, or steel wool secured with caulk to fill any points or entry inside or outside the home.

Clean: Food sources and nesting sites need to be cleaned up. Be sure to store pantry food items in thick plastic or metal containers with a tight lid. Make sure your garbage cans and bins are rodent-proof and have lids.

Trap: Set snap traps to catch rodents and use glue traps to monitor for evidence of rodent activity. We suggest using a variety of traps as an integrated approach to pest management. Rodents can learn to avoid certain traps over time, so variation is key.

Learn more about these methods on the CDC’s website:

What Attracts Mice and Rats?

Rodents are experts in survival. They can adapt to most environments, tending to thrive alongside humans. 

Food: Rodents hoard and store food and nest-making materials in their den. They do most of their foraging between dusk and dawn. See: HOW TO PREVENT RATS AND MICE

Shelter: Late cold winters cause a huge surge in nuisance rodent problems. Rodents will gnaw their way indoors to stay warm and dry over winter.

Once inside, rodents enjoy the comforts of home. The food and shelter offer them a safe environment to reproduce rapidly. They contaminate your home with feces, urine, unwanted fleas, parasites, and more. See: WHAT DISEASES DO RODENTS BRING?


Fruit Flies

Fruit flies get their name because they feed on and are found on fruit.  They are small, beige flies or gnats typically just 1/8 of an inch in size.  They are most often found in the kitchen near your ripened or even rotting fruits and vegetable.  However, they can also breed in drains, empty containers and garbage.  Fruit flies can reproduce very quickly with the ability to lay about 500 eggs!  Besides being a nuisance around the home they are also capable of contaminating your food and making you ill.

Controlling Fruit Flies

Follow These Homeowner Tips to Keep Fruit Flies Out:

1.Inspect fruits and vegetables.

Carefully look over all fruits and vegetable whether coming in from your garden or that purchased at a store.  Fruit flies prefer ripened and over-ripened fruits and vegetables so pay special attention to those brought into the home.

2. Quickly discard of over-ripened fruit and vegetables. 

Fruit flies love ripened and especially over-ripened and even rotting fruits and vegetable.  Be sure to quickly discard of these produce items putting them in sealed containers outside of your home.

3. Ensure that windows and doors are not left open and are properly screened. 

Fruit flies can also enter from the outdoors so just as with house flies properly securing entryways into your home will reduce your chances of getting a fruit fly infestation.

4. Ensure that all stored food and drinks are well-sealed.

If fruit flies have the opportunity they will get up under the lids of canned foods or drinks and lay their eggs resulting in a major infestation, especially if these items were stored in an out of the way area.

5. Clean recycling buckets regularly. 

Fruit juice spills that are left in areas like garbage or recycling cans can result in thousands of fruit flies.  Clean these cans regularly to eliminate their breeding sites.

House Flies

This is the most common type of fly you will find around your home.  The house fly is about a quarter of an inch long and dark in color.  They often enter through open doors and windows and can be frustrating to catch once inside.

Not only are flies a nuisance to have around your home they are also able to spread disease.  In fact, according to the National Pest Management Association, house flies are responsible for around 100 different diseases to humans including salmonella, tuberculosis and more.  Flies breed and land in filth, they feed on fecal matter, decaying food, dumps, sewers and more and then carry those germs to your food and food preparation areas.   They also pass disease along through their saliva and constant defecating.

Although they do not bite, these annoying, uninvited house guests are fast breeders and if left unchecked can establish large populations inside of your home quickly.

Controlling House Flies

Follow These Homeowner Tips to Keep Flies Out:

1. Keep a very clean home.

Flies are known to feed and breed in unclean conditions such as animal waste, compost, exposed or rotting food, garbage and other decomposing matter.  Special care should be taken to remove or minimize these conditions by doing things like taking the garbage out regularly, keeping garbage cans tightly sealed and away from entrance ways, keeping organic debris and compost to a minimum, removing pet waste and covering exposed food.  Proper sanitation is a critical first step in controlling unwanted pests.

2. Seal them out!

Make sure all exterior doors and windows have screens and that they are in good condition.  Also seal any cracks or voids that lead directly to the outside and double check gas and water pipes which are known entryways.

3. Catch the ones that make it in.

Catchmaster™ offers  many products that are designed tocapture flying insects that are chemical-free and safe to use in your home.  Gold sticks are supplied with bait and can be placed in the home in inconspicuous locations.  It is always beneficial if they can be placed in an area that gets some external source of illumination like near a light or sunny window. Fly strips can be hung in likely flight pathways to provide the linear landing surfaces that flies prefer.  Whenever possible, install your fly control products between entry points and food sources.

4. Treat outside problem areas. 

Install pre-baited fly bags outside in areas that may pose potential problems like waste collection sites, dumpster areas, dog kennels and stables.  In cases with large persistent infestations it is recommended that you consult a professional pest control operator to evaluate your situation and apply chemical control methods if necessary.

5. Promptly remove pet droppings.

Leaving pet droppings in your backyard will attract flies and other pests to your lawn and increase the chance of them making their way inside of your home.  Clean up pet droppings quickly and dispose of them in well-sealed containers.



Identifying Bed Bugs

It is not very common to see bed bugs, even in an infested room.  Bed bugs are nocturnal and will find a dark hiding spot within close proximity to their blood meal.  However, when changing sheets, performing an inspection of a bedroom or mattress and box spring and surrounding area you may come across one and be able to positively identify it as a bed bug.

Adult Bed bugs are:

  • Visible to the eye but very small, about ¼” in length
  • Have six legs
  • Flat bodies if they have gone without a blood meal for awhile
  • Engorged bodies if they have had a recent blood meal
  • Red to brown in color, depending upon their last blood meal

You may also notice:

  • Sticky, white eggs approximately 1mm long, comparable to a sesame seed
  • Young bed bugs, also known as nymphs, which have no color to them, comparable to an apple seed
  • Empty bed bug shells (also known as casings)

Signs of an Infestation

Identifying a bed bug infestation early on and acting on it makes a big difference when it comes to controlling bed bugs.  Be aware of the following signs that may tip you off to an infestation:

  • If anyone in the house is suffering from red, itchy, unexplained rashes it could be bed bugs.  Keep in mind that only about half of the people will have such a reaction from a bite.  Therefore, two people could both be sleeping in the same bed, both be bitten by bed bugs but only one have a reaction or rash.
  • You may notice bug casings which are bed bug shells, white, sticky bed bug eggs, blood stains on the bedding or crushed bugs and blood stains in and around the mattress area.  Blood stains are often said to look like sprinkled pepper on a mattress or sheet.
  • Heavy infestations may give the room a sweet smell.
  • Note that the signs above may appear in couches, chairs, other sleeping areas of the home and even any soft furnishings in the home.

Protect Yourself

Bed bugs are becoming more and more common and can be easily picked up on an overnight stay, in a movie theater, cab or even a friend’s home.  Educating yourself and those in your home on how to avoid bed bugs, recognize an infestation and take action early will reduce your risk of having to deal with the expensive, inconvenience and mental anguish that a bed bug infestation can cause.  Catchmaster recommends the following 3-Steps to protect your family and property from bed bugs:

PREVENT             Learn how to avoid bringing bedbugs home

INSPECT              Learn where to look and how to determine if you have bedbugs

DETECT                Use BBEDS™ monitors to assist in detecting bedbugs as early as                                     possible to avoid a major infestation

Bed Bug Detection

Now that you are well-educated on what bedbugs look like and have an inspection checklist on hand, let’s talk about how to detect bedbugs early to prevent a full-blown infestation.

Note that detecting a small bedbug infestation is very difficult but finding an infestation while it is still small can make a huge difference in treatment.  Even a trained professional can have a hard time spotting a small bedbug infestation, therefore, we strongly recommend you utilize a monitor to uncover bedbug infestations early.

BBEDS™ monitors (Bedbug Early Detection System) are a part of a regular inspection plan to dramatically increase the probability of bedbug detection.  The device utilizes what we know about bedbug biology – where they like to hide, what kind of materials they favor – to create a bedbug “safe haven.”  Simply place BBEDS™ monitors in key areas around your bedroom or sleeping area and check regularly.


Bed Bug Prevention

Bedbugs are excellent hitchhikers able to latch onto our clothing, luggage, furniture and other items.  We unknowingly bring them into our home and, if left undetected, they will grow into a serious infestation.  Here are some of the most common ways that bedbugs are brought into our homes:

Traveling – Bedbugs are easily introduced into hotel rooms making this one place you should be extra vigilant.  These steps will help you to avoid picking up bed bugs on your next trip:

  • Treat your luggage before you travel.  Consider our luggage spray (link to store) that prevents bed bugs from latching onto your things.
  • Before moving into a hotel room, do a visual inspection of the room.  See our Do-It-Yourself Bed Bug Inspection Checklist (link to downloadable checklist) for tips.
  • Store your luggage on a hard surface away from the bed in the room.  Inspect and then use a luggage rack, a desk or dresser.  If you are especially concerned, consider storing your luggage in the bathtub.
  • Upon returning home, wash and dry all of your clothing on the hottest setting; vacuum your luggage as an extra precaution; do not return your luggage to your room or store it there, keep it in the garage or area away from the bedroom.

Used Furniture – Do not bring used furniture into the home. If you must, be sure you inspect it carefully for bed bugs.  NEVER pick up a used mattress, there is a good chance someone disposed of it due to a bedbug infestation.

Seal Cracks & Crevices – If you live in a multi-unit building you can become infested from a neighbor with bedbugs.  Bedbugs can slip through a crack as thin as a credit card.  Seal all cracks and crevices around your home with caulk to reduce your chance of becoming infested by a neighboring unit.

Avoid Known Infestations – Check for bedbug infested hotels/motels on or  Also, be aware of known infestations in movie theatres and office buildings.  If you have been exposed to bedbugs wash and dry your clothing and any bags or belongings you had with you on the hottest setting allowable for the material to kill bedbugs and their eggs.

How To Monitor

In a typical room, place monitors in and around key areas of the room.  We recommend that you use 1-3 BBEDS™ monitors in each of the following areas of a room which are some of the most common bedbug hiding areas.  Note, for maximum effectiveness you must replace the monitors every 1-3 months.

  1. Headboards – Place monitors tightly along the back edges and corners.  Being one of the least disturbed areas in a bedroom, it is a prime hiding spot – in close proximity to their feeding site.
  2. Between Mattress and Box Spring – Position monitors at the four corners of the bed, between the mattress and box spring.
  3. Openings in the Walls – This is particularly important if you are living in a multi-unit housing environment.  Vents, ducts, electrical sockets, wall switches, plumbing openings, light fixtures and any opening between units are often the first places that bedbugs will use to enter from a neighboring unit.
  4. Wall Hangings – Picture frames, artwork, mirrors and other decorations are often overlooked but prime bedbug hiding places.  Hide monitors along the back edges to detect activity.
  5. Upholstered Furniture – Any soft furnishing in the room is at risk to be infested. Place monitors between cushions, along the backside of furniture and around the legs.
  6. Closets – This is especially important if you store your luggage in the closet.  Hitchhiking bedbugs will escape contaminated luggage into the closet area, place monitors accordingly.
  7. Nightstands – A popular bedbug hiding spot, place monitors under, behind and on the back of nightstands.
  8. Bed Frames/Posts – Consider positioning monitors around the bottom side of the legs of the bed.  This would prevent them from climbing up to the bed.

Inspection Checklist

Bedbug researchers and experts all agree that the single most effective way to manage and minimize the bedbug epidemic is to implement effective inspection practices that can help identify a bedbug problem as early as possible and deal with it before it becomes a major infestation.

Homeowner’s Do-It-Yourself Bed Bug Inspection Checklist

We put together this comprehensive checklist so you can perform your very own Bed Bug Inspection.  We give you all the secrets of the pros to finding bed bug hiding spots in your bedroom.   Before you embark on your inspection take some time to learn more about bed bugs.  Visit the Resource Library for sections on Identifying Bed Bugs and Signs of a Bed Bug Infestation.  Now, grab a good flashlight and let’s get started.

Signs of an infestation will sometimes just be evidence that bed bugs were present in the room.  You may not see actual bed bugs, you are also looking for evidence that they are in the room.  Look for:

  • Shed skins of the bugs which may be found within the folds of the mattress, the bedding or other areas in the room.
  • Their eggs, which are very small, white in color and sticky.
  • Small blood stains on the bedding or mattress which is often described as looking like sprinkled pepper.
  • Crushed bed bugs and blood stains in and around the bed.

Places to Inspect:

  1. Begin with the bedding.  Carefully remove each layer of bedding looking for evidence of bed bugs, crushed bugs, blood stains or eggs.  If anything is discovered carefully place all of the bedding into a large trash bag and tie it very tight.  You do not want to drag bedding through your home dropping bed bugs throughout the space, this will spread your infestation.  Next wash and dry your bedding on the highest temperatures possible to kill the bed bugs, their eggs, larvae and nymphs.
  2. Inspect the bare mattress on both sides.  Look inside of the folds for bed bugs, casings or eggs.  Examine the sleeping area for blood stains.
  3. Take special care to examine the box spring, especially the area underneath.  Bed bugs love to hide in the underside of the box spring.
  4. You next want to check around the headboard and footboard.  Remove each from the bed as well as the wall if it is attached. Inspect each and every crack and crevice on both sides of the board with a flashlight.  Don’t miss those screwheads that are popular bed bug hiding spots.
  5. Look behind framed art, mirrors and any other décor that may be hanging on the walls.  Bed bugs love to hide in close proximity to their host (you or your pet).
  6. Closely examine the furniture in your bedroom including all sides of a nightstand, the drawers and the back side and underneath the furniture.
  7. Look around the window, window frame but especially any window treatments in the room.
  8. Thoroughly search closets.  Look thoroughly in cracks and crevices and around trim.
  9. Inspect any upholstered items in the room closely.  Bed bugs prefer “soft furnishings” like upholstered chairs, bedding, mattresses and box springs, drapery, etc.

When Bed Bugs Are Found

If you positively identify a bedbug in your home take the following steps to minimize the risk of them spreading:

  1. Try to uncover how the infestation started:  an infested piece of luggage, possibly from a neighboring unit?  Isolate any infested materials in plastic bags and seal it tightly.  Wash and dry on the hottest possible setting any clothing, bedding, etc. that may have been infested.  If you believe it is from a neighboring unit seal any cracks and crevices you can find to minimize more bugs from entering.
  2. Thoroughly vacuum the entire area.  Turn furniture over for a thorough treatment and remember to use a good attachment to get into the cracks and crevices where bed bugs are most likely to hide.
  3. Wrap and discard the vacuum bag outside of your home or building.
  4. Do not move to another room in the home to avoid them!  Bedbugs will follow, increasing the infestation area in your home.
  5. We highly recommend contacting a Pest Management Professional at the first sign of an infestation.

Hiring a Professional