Up close, these little fellas look sweet and innocent, but when underfoot, scurrying across the room, and popping out of pantries, the house mouse takes on a whole new image. Did you know that they don’t mean to scare you? They are just making themselves at home, in your home, because it is warm, dry, safe (even from cats), and there is food … lots of food.
Say, “hello”, to the house mouse. House mice are gray or brown in color, with large ears, small eyes, and averages five to seven inches in length (counting the tail).
The house mouse is the most comment rodent in the world. What makes it so popular? Probably the fact that a single female house mouse can produce upwards of 150 babies a year.
House mice usually feed on cereal grains, not cheese like most people think, but given the chance they will eat just about anything they can get their teeth on.
Now you know the most common facts about the house mouse, what are some things not so well known about the house mouse?
House Mouse Facts:
The house mouse has a keen sense of taste, hearing, smell and touch. That is why they can see and sense the traps laid out to catch them. They can sense that the environment has changed. If you really want to trap a mouse, set out several traps and dab each trap with different bait (peanut butter, bacon grease).
Living close to humans, and relying on them for food and shelter, betters their chance of survival. They make themselves at home in and around houses, barns, warehouses, granaries, fields and farms. In cooler weather, they almost always make their way indoors for warmth.
Nests are made in dark, quiet spaces, in between walls, cabinets, closets, basements, attics, storage areas, rafters etc. The house mouse prefers to keep their food source and nest close together.
The house mouse can squeeze into some pretty small places. If they can get their head into the space, then their body will follow. They have a backbone and skeleton just like other mammals.
House mice prefer to feed on grains and plants, but they will eat meat and dairy products if given the chance. They will even eat their own droppings to acquire the nutrients produced by the bacteria in their guts.
A house mouse produces between 40 and 100 droppings per day. That could be more than 35,000 droppings a year.
If they have a reliable food source, the house mouse will produce lots of pups. A single female can produce upwards of 150 babies in a year.
The word ‘rodent’ is Latin for ‘to gnaw’. Mice will gnaw through most barriers including plastic, rubber, vinyl, insulating foam, wood, drywall, and electric wires.
They HAVE to chew – a mouse has a tiny mouth and tiny teeth, but unlike humans, mice teeth never stop growing. They HAVE to chew in order to keep their teeth from getting bigger than their mouth.
Mice can run up any rough vertical surface. They will run horizontally along wire cables or ropes and can jump up 13 inches from the floor onto a flat surface.
Rooting around dirty floors, alleyways, and sewers means mice are likely to pick up germs along the way. Mice are constantly exploring and leaving behind urine, feces and hairs in our food and clothing.
You can pick up these germs by: ingesting food or water contaminated with mouse urine or droppings, inhaling dust contaminated with urine or droppings, direct contact with an infected animal or its excrement, bites from infected fleas, ticks or mites
Prevention and Control
Like most pest control remedies, the best offense is a good defense. Preparing your home against mouse infestation is better done BEFORE they mice arrive than after. Effective mouse prevention includes cleanliness and mouse proofing your home, and mouse control requires population reduction.
Prevention does not mean elimination. Making sure your home is clean, and your food is properly stored, doesn’t mean you don’t (or won’t) have mice. All places where food is stored, processed or used should be made mouse-proof. Dried grain and meat products should be stored in glass jars, metal canisters or other resealable airtight containers. A clean house and well stored food does reduce the likelihood that mice will set up shop in your home, but you also need to make sure they can’t get in in the first place.
Eliminate the openings to your home by which mice might enter is another preventative measure against house mice. Seal any openings larger than 1/4 inch to exclude mice. Seal cracks and openings in building foundations and openings for water pipes, vents and utilities with metal or concrete. Doors, windows and screens should fit tightly.
Finally, along with preventive measures, you need to prepare for crowd control. Trapping is an effective control method when only a few mice are present in a building, but where there is one mouse there are surely more to follow. This is where help from a certified pest control professional comes in. They’ll know what to do if you have mice. They’ll know what to look for and how to remedy the situation.