Sanitize, Control and Trap!
House Mice Facts
The house mouse is one of the most troublesome rodents in the United States. They can live under a variety of conditions. Homes, commercial structures, open fields and agricultural lands all can house mice. They are small rodents with large ears and small black eyes. They weigh about 1/2 an ounce and are typically brown to gray in color. An adult's range in size is about 5 1/2 to 7 1/2 inches long, from nose to the tip of the tail.
House mice are great climbers and can run up any vertical surface. They can run across rope or wire cables and can jump one foot down to the floor.
Signs of House Mice
- Mouse droppings: Usually found in sheltered areas.
- Fresh chew marks: Mice can cause damage to insulation inside walls and also by chewing on electrical wires.
- Mice Nests: Mice build their nests from fine shredded paper and other fibrous materials, usually shredded areas.
Mice can spread diseases to humans including:
- Salmonella (food poisoning)
- Rat bite fever
Because of these dangers, mice should be kept away from schools, child care centers, nursing homes, hospitals, restaurants, food storage areas, warehouses, office buildings or cafeterias.
House Mice Management
SANITATION, CONTROLLING AND TRAPPING
There are three steps to remove, and keep mice away:
- Sanitation: Remove places where mice can find shelter. They prefer indoor places that have cluttered areas. If house mice do not have places to hide, they can not multiply into large numbers. First, remove ALL food sources that mice could potentially have access too. Make sure to place food in plastic or metal air-tight mouse proof containers. House mice eat many different types of food, especially foods that are high in fat, protein and sugar.
- Control: Keeping mice out of the home is the most successful and permanent form of control. Following the instructions below will help "Build Them Out":
- Seal all gaps or openings larger than 1/4 inch
- Use heavy materials that can not be chewed through to seal openings such as, wire hardware cloth, liquid foam, plaster, plywood or metal sheeting
- Use 1/8 inch galvanized steel mesh to cover openings 1/4 inch or larger
- Seal cracks in buildings, vents, metal or concrete
- Replace damaged window screens
- Seal gaps around pipes and wires
- Trapping: Trapping is a good way to control mice, but it does take time. The best places to use traps are in homes, garages, businesses, restaurants, food storage warehouses, hospitals, schools, nursing homes and other places where poison would be hazardous to humans and pets.
- Bait traps with soft food that can not be removed, like peanut butter. Mice love it and it is cheap!
- Set traps at the base of walls, behind objects and in dark places. Set the trap so the trigger, the part which holds the bait, is against the wall where mice travel.
- Glue traps also work. Mice get stuck to the glue as they pass the trap. Place glue traps up against walls and replace when they are dirty.
Sonic, sound and electronic baits do not work!
Natural options to repel mice include hot pepper, mint or peppermint in some places. Ground cayenne pepper can be used to keep mice from chewing on trees, shrubs and fences. House mice do not like some tastes and odors, but chemical repellents rarely work well to solve mice problems. Chemical rodenticides can kill mice, should but be used as a last resort. Follow the directions on the label carefully
The Mouse Life Cycle
- In a single year, a female may have 5-10 litters of usually five to six young each
- Young are born 19-21 days after mating
- They reach the adult stage in 6-10 weeks
- The life span of a mouse is usually about 12 months
- Breeding occurs year round when mice live indoors
- Breeding occurs from spring through fall when living outdoors