Mice are cute little creatures when they appear in a Disney movie, but not quite so endearing if they’re pooping in your pantry and chowing down on your Cheerios. In a home, a mouse infestation is annoying and unpleasant, but in a business, it’s downright devastating. Make no mistake, your food hygiene rating won’t be a ‘5’ if the inspector spots mouse droppings on their visit. Imagine how well that will work out for you on Google reviews.
In the UK, mice are one of the most common infestations. One leading insurer reported that infestations surged during lockdown in 2020, when food businesses closed and bin collections decreased. It was bad news for residents working from home and unable to ignore the patter of little feet under the floorboards, in the attic, and behind walls.
If you’re concerned you might have a mouse infestation in the kitchen, here are the main signs to watch out for. Note that they apply to commercial kitchens as well as residential ones.
Mouse droppings are the sign most people notice first when there is an infestation. Mice poop a lot and one mouse can leave as many as 80 droppings in one day. Let’s say you have 10 mice living in your kitchen – do the maths, it’s frightening! Mice droppings are small, like black grains of rice. If the droppings are fresh, they are moist and soft.
Mice like to stay out of sight and don’t come out during the day. They will scurry around under and behind things, like appliances, on the hunt for food and water. In a kitchen, look for mouse droppings inside cupboards, under units, behind the cooker, in the pantry, and anywhere away from the main thoroughfare. Be especially vigilant if there are gaps around pipework entering the kitchen, such as under the sink.
Ransacked Food Boxes
Mice love to snack on anything they can get their sharp little teeth into. This could be your boxes of cereal, bags of nuts, and anything else accessible and tasty. Mice aren’t fussy. If food is stored in non-plastic or metal containers, it’s fair game.
If you find chew marks in food boxes or bags, alongside other signs mice are living in the kitchen, it’s a good idea to call in the best pest control in Bristol to eradicate the problem. Hygiene is a massive problem if you have a mouse infestation. Mice can spread nasty diseases, in particular, the salmonella bacteria.
Coming into contact with mouse droppings and urine, which is inevitable if they are all over your food stores, is a huge food poisoning risk. Even if you clean the kitchen daily, until the infestation is eradicated, the problem won’t go away.
A Nasty Smell
Aside from actually seeing live mice – which, by the way, is a huge red flag – pay attention if your kitchen stinks of ammonia and the dog swears blind it wasn’t him. Mice pee a lot and the smell is very strong when there is an infestation.
Don’t delay if you think you have mice living in your kitchen – call in the experts.