We love to adore the mouse. Whether you call them “Mickey”, “Minnie” or even “Mighty” the house mouse (Mus musculus) is one of the single most adaptable and prolific animals on this planet.
Mice are specialists at using our food, water, and shelter, and adapting it to their needs. More problematic, however, is the fact that mice are also well known for transmitting disease. They cause damage to our buildings. They wreak havoc with electronics and utility systems with their nesting and gnawing activity. Their highly adaptable behavior lets them adjust to virtually any environment, and they can go without water for extended periods of time if necessary. Mice have been known to consume virtually every kind of food, and due to their nocturnal foraging, many times we don’t notice them until there are so many, the problem is huge. The first signs of mouse activity are usually droppings. They will inhabit buildings the entire year, but usually make their entrance to a building during the fall, as the weather turns from cool to cold. Once inside, if food is readily available the mouse becomes a permanent resident. The best way to prevent mice from gaining a foothold in your property is to prevent access and to keep all food properly stored at all times. This will include keeping the property clean and minimizing clutter.
A good rule of thumb on pest proofing a structure is this: if you can get a pencil into a gap, a mouse can get inside.
Use some steel wool, cement or wire mesh to seal these gaps when you find them. Areas by corners, doors and around piping are common areas for mice to gain entrance to a structure. It is a good idea to always be on the lookout for areas either low or high where mice can gain access. Mice will leave droppings in areas where they feed. Small, tapered droppings can be found in places where mice will rest, seek harbor, feed or run. Sometimes you will also find smudge marks in these places too. This is from their fur, rubbing against the surfaces as they run along. Mice will urinate as they move through an area and if you use a black light, you will detect this path. This is another reason to prevent the spread of mice. Garbage cans, especially outdoor cans, should be as mouse proof as possible. Metal drums, lined with trash bags, preferably with self-closing lids are ideal. Keep all clutter to a minimum indoors. Make sure that corners are swept and kept free of debris, along with the rest of the floor. Floor mopping should occur until the mop rinse water is clear to ensure floor is completely clear of debris. Keep all shelves and floor areas free of food debris, limiting all consumption of food to areas specifically designated for regular clean up. Clean up all food debris and do not allow food products to remain out for extended periods of time, unless properly stored. To facilitate clean up, keep wheels on shelving and other heavy units so they can be easily moved and cleaned underneath. Do not store items in cardboard boxes, replace these with plastic bins. Eliminate outdoor storage piles that can harbor mice. Keep all landscaping supplies (mulch, etc) well away from structures to avoid mice taking up residence in them. Clear weeds and excess plant growth away from structures as these can serve as food and shelter for rodents.
When you have to use traps to catch mice please keep the following in mind: Glue boards will only catch immature mice and will allow adults to continue breeding. Snap traps placed along the base of walls and in areas where mice are active are very effective. Traps should be set in the evening and collected the following morning.
ARE YOU PROTECTED?
If you believe you have a problem with mice around your home, call University Termite & Pest Control and have one of their professionals come over and take a look. They have the skill and knowledge to identify them and make a correct diagnosis the first time, every time.