Mouse in the House? A Quick Fall Guide to Pest Control in Your Own Condo

As warm summer days give way to the inevitable march towards cooler, crisper months ahead, you might be welcoming unwanted house guests if you’re not careful.  Changing seasons often bring awkward transitions in the natural world around us, as plants and creatures big and small prepare for winter.  You’d certainly notice if a small family of deer wandered through your French doors in search of a new home this September.  But would you notice a small family of mice scampering through in search of a warm, dry place to settle in for the winter? 

When it comes to mice in the fall and pest control year-round, what do we need to know to keep our homes free of unwelcome critters?   

Things Condo Owners Should Know About Pest Control in the Fall

1. Mice move indoors in the fall, looking for a warm new home for the winter. 

As temperatures drop in the autumn, droves of mice search for a safe place with a food source to shelter for the winter.  Most commonly, they enter condominiums through balcony and patio doors, but also enter through ground-floor entrances that have been propped open.  Project Coordinator Noah Huot at Catalyst Condo Management Ltd explains that, “when we turn on a building’s heating system in fall they tend to run a little hot, leading people to open patio doors to cool off.”  Open doors in situations like this, along with unexpectedly warm autumn days, create a perfect opportunity for mice to sneak inside without notice.  

2. Mice can climb. 

If you think your condo is high enough from the ground to prevent mice from entering through your balcony, think again!  Mice can be exceptional climbers, scaling surfaces leading up to balconies and even gaining entrance to higher levels by climbing up waterspouts that drain from a building’s eavestrough.  So if you live on an upper level, keep in mind that your height doesn’t necessarily make your unit immune to mice!  

3.  Keep balconies/patios clear of garbage bags, recycling bags, and other debris.  

Intrepid mice often find shelter on balconies and patios themselves before gaining entrance to our homes.  Garbage and recycling bags stored on our balconies emit food odors that will attract all manner of wildlife, including skunks, coyotes, and mice.  But they also provide shelter from the elements – even BBQ covers can provide mice with sufficient shelter in autumn temperatures.  Then as we leave our doors open in the fall, nearby mice sheltered on our balconies may be waiting for the ideal opportunity to make their move indoors.  To keep your condo free of pests, keep your balconies and patios clear, especially in the fall.  

4.  How to know if you have a mouse.  

Mice are sneaky creatures by nature.  If you haven’t actually seen one of the critters for yourself, how can you tell if you have mice?  

Noah tells us condo owners should keep a lookout for mouse droppings.  The small size and stealthy habits of mice might keep them out of sight, but their droppings are a dead giveaway.  Droppings may appear anywhere a mouse has been, but are most often found in the kitchen.  Inspect your counters and floors near your stove and refrigerator for the tell-tale black pellets – they’re unmistakable.  

5.  Mice in your condo are your responsibility, so know your bylaws.  

An infestation of mice in your condo is ultimately your responsibility to resolve, although it’s true that different condo buildings often have different rules.  “It’s a condo owner’s duty to know their bylaws and understand what they’re responsible for,” Noah tells us, as these are community rules that define our rights and responsibilities to one another in a condo building.  Owners are individually responsible for mice inside their own units, whether they choose to deal with the problem themselves, or hire a pest control company for help.    

6.  When should I contact building management?  

Noah tells us that you should contact him directly at Catalyst if you’ve found more than one mouse in your unit, or immediately if you find any other creature where it shouldn’t be.  Noah is the ‘go-to guy’ for pest control, and will contact your condo board on your behalf should they need to be notified of an arising issue, or if the bylaws are unclear about where responsibilities lie.  

Preventing mice and other critters from entering your condo is the simplest way to prevent a costly infestation.  Follow these simple guidelines this fall to keep your condo mouse-free for the winter, and don’t hesitate to be in touch with Catalyst Condo Management Ltd if you have any questions about pest control in your condo!