Signs of a Rodent Infestation: Winter Warning Signals in Visalia, CA

where do mice go in the winter Studies show that 14.8 million out of 124 million homes have seen rats and mice. As such, these pests are a big health concern in the US. These rodents can carry and spread harmful bacteria and viruses. As winter chills the air, snuggling under a warm blanket is the perfect dream. But for some creatures, finding shelter from the cold is a big challenge. Mice, those nimble survivors, stay active all year. So, where do mice go in the winter? In the cold season, mice hide in warm attics, crawl spaces, basements, garages, and inside furniture. Here’s how to know if they’re already inhabiting your home:


Mice droppings are more than just gross surprises. They’re a major clue to a potential infestation in your cozy haven and can cause pest diseases. Mice use them to mark their territory and communicate with each other. So, how do you identify mouse droppings? Think tiny, dark pellets, about the size of a grain of rice, with pointed ends and a slightly bumpy texture. You’ll likely find them near food sources like kitchens, pantries, or pet bowls. If walls, baseboards, and behind furniture in your home have these droppings, it’s a sign of mice infestation. A few droppings might suggest a one-time visitor. However, a consistent trail or piles of droppings indicate a resident mouse population.

Gnaw Marks

Mice become like miniature carpenters in winter, wielding their teeth as tiny chisels and leaving behind gnaw marks. Just like your fingernails, their ever-growing incisors need constant sharpening. Wood, plastic, and even wires become their whetstones. They need wood or insulation to construct comfy nests and cozy tunnels. Mice also leave behind gnaw marks as they search for food and water. Gnaw marks are rough, uneven, and often concentrated in walls, cabinets, or near pipes. Check the material, since mice usually go for softer materials like wood, plastic, or even cardboard. Gnaw marks can also lead you to hidden nests or entry points.

Scratching Sounds at Night

Winter nights are for cozy fires and peaceful sleep, but what if the only lullaby you hear is the pitter-patter of tiny feet? Those creepy-crawly sounds could be mice. Mice are nocturnal, meaning they do most of their scurrying and exploring after dark. They use their claws to navigate walls, pipes, and furniture. You might hear a soft tapping, like nails against wood, or a high-pitched scraping sound as they run along surfaces. As they move through insulation or nesting materials, you might hear a faint rustling or shuffling sound. Mice might bump into walls or furniture in their quest for food and warmth, creating a subtle thud or knock. Pay attention to the location and frequency of the sounds. Sounds from mice are usually concentrated in specific areas like walls, attics, or behind furniture.

A Lingering Stale, Musky Odor

That lingering, stale, musky odor that just won’t disappear might be more than a forgotten dish or a dusty corner. It could be a sign of mice setting up camp in your cozy haven. The odor comes from tiny droppings of mice you might find scattered around your home. Shredded paper, fabric, and even insulation can trap and absorb the natural odor of mice. As such, they can be a bit smelly. Mice’s fur and skin produce natural oils that can add to the unpleasant aroma.

Nesting Materials Missing

Mice become resourceful builders, and your home might be their hardware store. Paper, fabric, and insulation are their favorite building blocks. Shredded paper makes the perfect nest lining, keeping mice warm and snug. So, if you notice paper, fabric, or insulation mysteriously disappearing, it could be a sign of mice. Look for other clues like droppings, gnaw marks on furniture or walls, and scratching sounds at night. These are all telltale signs of unwanted guests. Get rid of clutter and debris in attics, basements, and garages that mice can use. You should also keep an eye out for grease marks along walls or baseboards and hire a pest control company. Mice leave oily trails as they navigate their winter wonderland.

Pet Panic

Your pets can be surprisingly sensitive to mice, even before you notice any signs. Cats and dogs have incredibly keen senses of smell and hearing that humans lack. They can pick up on the faintest whiff of a mouse or hear their tiny scurrying even through walls. As pets pick up on these signs, they might focus on areas where they detect the mice. Expect them to try to get closer or mark their territory. Cats might meow or hiss, while dogs might bark or whine excessively. Your cats or dogs might also suddenly zoom around the house, seemingly following invisible mouse trails. But is pet panic a surefire sign of mice? While it can be a helpful clue, it’s important to look for other signs, like droppings, gnaw marks, and scratching sounds. If your pets’ behavior seems unusual and persistent, it’s worth investigating further. Keep an eye on your pet’s food bowls. If they’re mysteriously emptying faster than usual, it could be an infestation.

Unexplained Food Disappearances

Mice are always on the lookout for a midnight feast. So, if they infest your house, you’ll likely find crumbs on the counter or a half-eaten cereal box. Mice love a good snack, and winter only makes them hungrier. So, what’s the preventative maintenance strategy for this problem? Seal up any tiny holes with the help of rodent-proofing services, store food safely, and keep things clean. You should also hire pest control or extermination services to remove them from your property.

Now You Know the Answer To: Where Do Mice Go in the Winter?

One of the top questions on homeowners’ minds this winter is: where do mice go in the winter? Mice become like smart explorers, searching for the warmest, coziest spots to stay warm and comfy. Your house might be at the top of their list as they look for a safe place out of the cold. If you’re a homeowner in Visalia, CA, dealing with pest issues, Pest Control Now is here to offer you peace of mind. Whether insects, fleas, or rodents are bothering you, our fully trained and licensed pest experts can help. Schedule free consultations to see the difference we can make in your home.