Mouse droppings look a lot like tiny black grains of rice.
Mice have to defecate, and they'll tend to do it in the areas where they're spending the most time.
These droppings can clue you into where these pests live.
2. Keep an Eye Out for Mice – Alive or Dead
If you find dead mice, it’s a sign that you've got a mouse problem.
And if you manage to see a live mouse out-and-about during the day, that's a pretty good indicator you have an extensive infestation.
Mice like to remain hidden; seeing them during the day means there are plenty more you don't see!
3. Learn the Scent of Mouse Urine
Few people know what mouse urine smells like (thank goodness).
But those who've smelled it tend to remember it.
It's strong and smells a bit like ammonia.
The odor is usually one of the first signs you'll notice and is a sure-bet that mice are infesting your property.
4. Listen for Squeaking and Scratching
There are a few telltale signs that there’s a mouse infestation in the complex, such as hearing squeaking or scratching:
Inside the walls
From small spaces between the walls
Behind door sweeps
Under trash cans
Between kitchen appliances
Mice want to avoid detection by humans. So the fact that you're hearing them means that there are a lot of them.
5. Keep Your Eyes Open for Nesting Material
Mouse nesting material consists of shredded fibrous materials. Common nesting materials include paper, string, cloth, wires, food wrappers, and insulation.
Look for shredded-up material in drawers, cupboard corners, and boxes. If you notice these signs, a little gang of house mouse intruders is trying to make a home and start a family inside the complex.
6. Watch for Mouse Chewing Damage
Mice tend to gnaw on non-food source materials to keep their teeth sharpened and honed.
Check behind wooden shelves, in cabinets, and along baseboards for gnaw marks that could signal a mouse infestation.
7. Pay Attention to Signs of an Infestation
If left unchecked, an infestation can wreak havoc on your entire apartment complex. Mice can spread germs and odors. But even worse is the structural harm and electrical damage they cause by gnawing on wires and wood.
Of course, some property managers do decide to handle their mouse problems in-house. If that's your preferred approach, keep reading!
Option #2: Handle the Mouse Problem Yourself
Getting rid of a mouse problem on your own, DIY style, starts with a few different tools.
Here's what you'll need:
Peanut butter (makes excellent bait for the mouse traps)
A poison bait station (like these, which you can buy on Amazon)
Cotton balls and peppermint oil (yes, this is a real thing, we'll talk about it in a minute)
A safe food storage solution that won't attract any more critters
Now, let's talk about how you can use these supplies for DIY mouse control to get rid of the pesky vermin once and for all.
Getting Rid of Mice at the Apartment Level
From your role, it's difficult to know whether there's a mouse infestation going on inside a unit unless the tenants report it.
For this reason, you're more likely going to end up treating an infestation in the maintenance and public areas of the apartment complex.
But when they’re living in a unit, the complex's lease agreement should give you specific guidelines for:
Who's responsible for getting rid of mice
Who's responsible for paying for the extermination
What counts as an "infestation"
Sometimes, it'll be up to the renter to get rid of the problem. But usually, this task will fall to the property manager.
The best way to deal with this is to contact an exterminator.
Yet, if you're dead-set on getting rid of mice on your own, here are some techniques that you can use to quell the infestation at the apartment level.
1. Set Snap Traps
This strategy is pretty straightforward.
Set up some simple snap traps, and bait them with peanut butter. Then, place them near the garbage can, on the counter where dirty dishes sit, in the closet, or anywhere else the mice may travel.
You could also pass some of these traps off to the tenant and ask them to set them.
2. Place Glue Traps
As an alternative to snap traps, you can also use glue traps.
Traps of any kind may not work in an apartment where animals or small children run around. In such cases, special care is necessary to place the traps out of reach.
3. Set Up a Poison Bait Station
A poison bait station works well because it keeps pets out of the poison while still giving small vermin (like mice) access to it.
For best results, use poison bait stations in conjunction with traps.
4. Use Steel Wool To Block Holes Until You Can Plug Them Permanently
You can stick steel wool into small holes in the wall or the backs of cabinets/closets to block them. Sure, mice may try to chew through the steel wool. But in doing so, they'll likely ingest some of the steel and die from it.
5. Tell Your Tenants To Use Peppermint Oil and Cotton Balls
Give your tenants some peppermint oil and cotton balls. Then, instruct them to soak the cotton balls in the oil and place them in areas where mice may enter or exit the apartment.
Mice hate the strong smell of peppermint and will try to avoid it.
Let tenants know they may need to repeat this process as the oils dry out and lose their potency.
Getting Rid Of Mice In Maintenance/Public Areas
Getting rid of mice in public areas will involve the same five steps that we discussed above.
But there is one extra step that you can take in these areas to end the mouse problem:
6. Use Mice Repellent
Mice repellent usually comes in a liquid spray that you can apply to the outside of your complex to keep mice and other critters at bay.
There are many different types of repellent available on Amazon. For example, you can get natural peppermint spray. Or you can try other types to control entry points where mice may gain access to your complex.