Mice are creatures of habit and tend to follow a pretty similar schedule, both daily and yearly. Like all other mammals, their days revolve around eating, sleeping, reproducing, and excreting.
The behavior and living patterns of mice may seem complex at first, but fortunately there are only a few key points to know.
And while their movement patterns may seem trivial, knowing when mice are most active will actually help you keep them at bay. Let’s dive in.
What time of year are mice most common?
This question needs to be unpacked carefully. Mice are active all year round. They do not hibernate like some mammals. However, there are a few important things you should know.
First off, mice will typically reproduce at a much higher rate in the summer before the cooler weather comes. This is so that their babies have time to develop before the harsher temperatures arrive.
Secondly, as the cooler weather approaches, mice tend to head for the indoors for warm shelter and safety. This means that many homeowners often notice mice and signs of mice as winter approaches because this is when mice will typically seek out shelter. This period of “moving in” right before the cold arrives is often referred to as rodent season. The exact dates of rodent season are slightly tricky to identify because different regions and climates experience seasonal changes at different times. Generally speaking, however, rodent season begins when the weather starts to cool off dramatically. Depending on the region, this can be anywhere from late August to late October in the United States. Once rodent season begins, hoards of mice will begin their search for warm shelter (like our homes) where they can nest for winter.
Now you may be wondering…does rodent season ever end? Yes…sometimes. The season always “unofficially” ends when the ground starts to thaw and the temperatures gradually begin to get warmer, but this absolutely does not guarantee that any mice living in your home will move out. Many mice will begin to move back outside, but if have not sufficiently kept your home clean and unappealing for mice to live in (lack of traps, poisons, etc.), your mice may not see any reason to move out. That’s why it’s so important to attempt to get rid of mice when you have them and keep your home environment clean and unsafe for mice to live in.
Your best bet is to cut off the food supply in your home during the winter months. Winter food in the outdoors is more scarce than in the other months, so when Spring arrives, if mice’s natural food sources outside of your home are more abundant than what you unknowing provide them inside (i.e. easy access to food), they will make their way back outdoors.
So, what time of year are mice most common? Most homeowners would say the fall and winter months. However, there are some homeowners who will tell you that summer is the worst and is when they are most active because that’s when they multiple like crazy. If you have a mouse problem going into the summer months, you could have thirty, forty, fifty more mice on your hands by the time August comes around. But generally speaking, most people who first notice signs of mice will notice these signs in the fall right before the cold weather comes in.
What time do mice come out of their nest?
Mice are nocturnal and therefore come out of their nest at night time. However, in real life, their sleeping habits are a bit more complicated. Their sleeping habits depend on their particular environment.
Mice are most active when the least danger is present and least active when they sense danger. For mice living in the wild, they are typically most active around dusk and dawn, which is when they leave to nest to find food. The low light conditions at these times offer mice the most amount of natural protection from predators. Mice also have very poor eyesight and are very sensitive to bright lights, which is why they love dusk and dawn. Instead of using their vision to maneuver and find food, mice use their sense of touch and incredible sense of smell.
However, a house mouse is usually most active at night, and less so right at dusk and dawn, because people in a house are usually sleeping during the night but awake at dusk and dawn. This doesn’t mean that a house mouse will never come out during the day time in your home. If no one is home, or if it’s a quiet day and the mouse doesn’t sense any real, imminent danger, he or she may wander around looking for food, particularly if there is an oversized litter of young pups that needs to be fed. But generally speaking, because mice are nocturnal, mice are most active at night.
What time of year do mice come in the house?
Generally speaking, mice will come into the house right before the weather gets significantly cooler. The exact time of year depends on your geographical location, for different seasons experience the changing seasons at different times, and some regions don’t experience any significant changes in seasons at all.
However, for most of the United States, we can expect mice to seek out shelter in our homes in abundance in August, September, and October. Anytime before August will usually be too warm for mice to move in, for their concentration will mostly be spent towards reproducing. And once we get into November and December, most regions of the United States will be too cold and too unpleasant for mice to comfortably live outside.
How should I prepare my house?
How you should prepare your house for a potential mouse infestation or invasion all depends on how seriously you want to take this. You can be extra prepared, somewhat prepared, or not at all prepared and do nothing. In my opinion though, YOU CAN NEVER BE TOO PREPARED. You’d rather be over prepared and not have mice than underprepared and then struggling to get rid of mice when they eventually show up. To properly prepare your house, here a few steps that you should take:
- Keep your house clean. No seriously. Spotless. Pick up all clutter, crumbs and specks of food. Also store all food (including pet food) in solid, air tight containers.
- If possible, try not to keep plants, bushes, trees, and in general, any soil within a six foot perimeter around your entire home. Soil right up against your home means access points into your home. Mice are burrowing animals and could potentially burrow down into the foundation to get inside.
- DO NOT place traps or rodenticides out yet. These things should be used to get rid of mice, not keep them from entering your home. Traps and poisons can actually attract mice into your home rather than deter them if you do not already have a mouse infestation.
Where do mice hide during the day?
Mice hide in the nest during the day. They will spend most of the day sleeping and resting, while occasionally they will venture out of the nest for a snack or a stretch. However, a house mouse does not like to leave the nest during the day. It’s the safest place for him to be.
Mice tend to live a small, marked territory, usually a space of between 10-30 feet away from their nest. They like to keep their needs and movements confined to their nest and this distance away from their nest to search for food. Keeping close to the nest presents them with the least amount of danger as possible on a daily basis.
What attracts mice in your house?
Food. Food. Food. The number one thing that attracts mice in your house? Food. The essence of the life of a mouse can be summed out by searching for food. Mice are always on the hunt for food, especially on the search for a location that provides them with an abundance of easy to access food. Commonly, particularly in the winter months, these locations are people’s homes.
The smallest, most inconspicuous foods will attract mice in your house. Mice will go for pet food, two month old crumbs under your stove or refrigerator, boxes of opened (and closed) cereal, bird seed, acorns and other nuts and seeds stored in the garage, and anything left out in the open in your kitchen.
This is why it is so important to keep your house neat and tidy. Many home owners often report the first signs of mice in their homes being signs of nibbled on food or food packaging in their kitchen. Signs of mice are really tell-tale signs. Follow the signs! Mice go where the food goes. If you properly get rid of all food sources in your home, you just might get rid of mice, too.