Serving Chicagoland’s wildlife and pest control needs for over 40 years!

What Do Mice Do In Winter

Blog, Mice Off 7510

What Do Mice Do In WinterNow that December is here and the temperatures have dropped, people can be seen bustling around in their parkas, scarves, and mittens.  To get through these frigid months, we bundle up, turn up the heat in our cars and houses, and rely on lights to keep our homes bright when the sun goes down earlier and earlier.  But what do mice do in winter?  Reports of mice sightings increase exponentially during the cold part of the year.  This rise in mouse encounters is caused by many factors, but the simple answer is that people see more mice in their homes because there ARE more mice in their homes.

The nuisance rodent population undergoes a huge boost in the winter due to mice who wouldn’t normally live indoors looking for shelter.  When it’s warm outside, most mice will live in an outdoor habitat like the roots of a tree, bushes, tall grass, or hollow logs where nuts, berries, seeds, and other varieties of foods they prefer are easier to come by.  But when the weather turns too cold to withstand and their food sources disappear, mice need to find someplace where they can survive until spring.  Houses and other buildings offer warm, secure attic and wall spaces as well as access to food and water, which attracts these mice seeking a winter home.  Even structures that aren’t temperature controlled, like garages and sheds, offer protection from the elements.

While most mice prefer to reside outside, plenty live inside year-round.  Though one may have a mouse problem even in the summer, it might not become a noticeable problem until winter.  Mice that have a permanent den inside a building will spend a great deal of time outside looking for food and water when the weather is warm enough.  But in the winter, they won’t risk braving the cold to forage for sustenance, which means they’re much more likely to be spotted since they are indoors the majority of the time.   Like most rodents, mice hoard and store material.  They will create large caches of food in or near a structure so they are able to feed throughout the winter without leaving the security of their den.

Spikes in the number of indoor mice can also be caused by the birth of new litters.  Mice mate throughout the year (up to 10 litters of 5-6 young each year), but breeding peaks in the fall.  Mice take about a month to reach maturity, meaning that once winter arrives, there are large populations of newly adult mice entering homes to escape the cold.  It also means that once inside, these mice are producing broods of their own that are then able to reproduce within a month.  You can see how a very small number of mice can escalate into a huge infestation in little time.

Lastly, new entry points allow a much greater opportunity for mice to get into a home.  Low temperatures cause building materials to contract.   The winter can create cracks, crevices and holes that may not have been there before, meaning it’s simply easier for mice to get into your house when it’s cold.

If you see mice in your home, especially during the winter, it’s likely to be an indication of a much larger problem.  Contact a professional rodent control company that has a thorough mouse treatment program.  The most effective plans involve a complete inspection, placement of rodent bait stations in strategic locations, and several return trips to the property to monitor mouse activity.  This should be followed by the sealing of all gaps where mice can enter the structure.  While mice may merely be trying to survive the cold, they cause a great deal of damage to homes and are also carriers of disease, so don’t hesitate to act immediately.

Image courtesy of Ronnie Meijer via Flickr Creative Commons

About the author / 

Vito Brancato

Contact Us Now!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

What They Say About ABC Humane Wildlife

I arranged for them to install wire screening on 2 sides of a concrete stoop to prevent animals from digging under my porch. (I have used this company in the past to remove animals from other parts of my property. They suggested this proactive work.) They called to remind me several days before their appointment. They came as promised. They did a great job of preserving landscaping gravel on the side before they dug. After digging down approximately 18 inches, they installed wire mesh screening down the 2 sides of the stoop. They then covered the area with the dirt and final layer of landscaping stones. You couldn’t even tell the area had been excavated when they were done!
Debra Walker – Downers Grove, IL
We had bees crawling under exterior siding through a gap between siding and brick wall and wanted them eliminated. Phil the technician from ABC arrived at the scheduled time. He observed the bees and identified them as yellow jackets. Phil said he could eradicate them with a powder treatment and the bee activity would die down in a couple of days and we would be finished with the problem. Phil said if we still noticed bee activity after 7 days to call ABC and they would come back to re-treat the nest at no charge. It is just 3 days since Phil treated the nest and we have observed zero bee activity. We are very happy with the service and the remedy to our problem.
Elizabeth Monahan – Chicago, IL
One by one, they removed a family of nine flying squirrels from our attic. The attic was completely cleaned and sanitized, and new insulation as blown in. All went well. It was easy to make appointments with ABC Humane Wildlife Control, and they were all very profession and prompt with their service. We dealt with many on their staff while trying to catch all the squirrels, and each of the representatives were friendly and helpful. We had some issues with the condition of some of the traps, but that was eventually resolved. They are a very helpful organization and the staff is very knowledgeable.
Martha Buchan – Lincolnshire, IL

Skunk Smell Removal

Skunk Smell Removal

Help! My dog was sprayed by a skunk!

The first step in “de-skunking” your pet is to rinse him/her off with a hose bath and pet shampoo outside. After that, bring him/her indoors for a warm bath with dish soap. Get our "de-skunk" recipe!

ABC Wildlife Scholarship

ABC Wildlife Scholarship

Women in STEM Scholarship

As a woman-owned corporation operating in a largely male field, we understand the remarkable impact women can have. We want to pave the way for other women pursuing their dreams in the scientific world, which is why ABC Wildlife has created a scholarship for women in STEM. Learn more about the scholarhip.

Help Injured or Orphaned Wildlife

Help Injured or Orphaned Wildlife

How to Help Sick, Injured, or Orphaned Wildlife

To protect the health and safety of people and wildlife, members of the general public should not handle wildlife. Learn what to do if you find a sick or injured animal.

ABC Humane Wildlife Better Business Bureau A+
Greater Chicago Pest Management Alliance
National Pest Control Association