Things That Go Bump in the Night
The house mouse is considered to be one of the most troublesome pest for homeowners in the U.S. House mice can thrive in almost any condition in and around your home. Consuming food meant for humans or pets, contaminating counter tops with feces and relentless chewing are just a few of its characteristics. They are not so smart when it comes to being elusive, leaving behind evidence of their presence & loudly chewing into the structure of your home make the pesky inhabitants well known.
Per The National Pest Management Association, 21 million homes will be invaded by mice in 2015. Will your home be included?
Do I have Mice?
Recognizing the house mouse can be rather simple as they tend to leave many things behind, salmonella for starters.
When you encounter mouse feces, be sure to immediately disinfect the surface and surrounding area. The feces of the mouse can contain the bacterium that causes food poisoning, salmonellosis. They also leave behind footprints, or tracks, and are not shy about the gnawing of materials in your food cabinet or your home. Mice build nests of finely shredded papers and other materials and often seclude their nest for protection. Finding that location can be as easy as following the tracks, the feces trail and discovering the entrance, which is almost always a freshly gnawed hole or crack in the structure of your home.
House Mouse 101
- Mice are grey,brown or black in color with large ears, small eyes and a long tail.
- Mice have no rib cage, so if they can fit their nose through an opening, they can fit the rest of their body through there as well.
- Mice have a sense of hearing, smell and touch.
- Mice can jump up to 13 inches from a flat surface.
- In a single year, a female mice will produce 5-10 litters, with 5-6 baby mice in each.
- Baby mice mature within 6-10 weeks of birth.
- The lifespan of a mouse is generally 9-12 months.
Mice Prevention & Control
Effective mouse control involves sanitation, mouse proof construction and population reduction. When a mouse population is already residing in your home, population elimination options are trapping or poisoning.
Mice can survive almost anywhere, feeding on any available source. Sanitation is key in homes or buildings where food is stored, handled or used. Good sanitation techniques are surely not enough to eliminate the mice infestation, but poor sanitation can lead to the exact opposite, allowing them to flourish and increase in number. Secondly, the most successful form of house mouse control & prevention is to “build them out” by closing and sealing all openings in which they have previously entered a structure. All places where food is stored or prepared must have all openings eliminated.
Trapping and poisoning are very effective control measures, but remember to always wear protective gear, such as rubber or plastic gloves, when disposing of dead rodents. Traps can also be cleaned with a part bleach & water mixture. After disposing & sanitizing all areas, be sure to thoroughly wash your gloved hands and then remove the gloves and cleanse your bare hands. Preventing the spread of possible salmonella and other diseases possibly encountered by contact with the house mouse is the most important step of all.