The house mouse is a rodent that is prevalent in Bucks County and throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey. It is also known as the Common House Mouse and Domestic House Mouse. These mice are highly adaptable to their surroundings. House mice require only a ¼” opening to fit inside of a building. House mice are pests that can contaminate food, spread disease, and cause structural damage.
House mice have small, black eyes and large ears. They grow to be anywhere from 5-7” in length, including their hairless tail. Their coloring can range from grey to light brown, and they weigh about a half an ounce.
House mice prefer to eat cereal grains and seed, even insects; however, they will eat what is available to them in their current environment. They will eat “people” food such as butter, chocolates, bacon, nuts, etc. and any food that is high in sugar or protein. House mice can live without free water for a long period of time, as they obtain their moisture from the food that they eat. A lack of water in their environment will inhibit their breeding potential, so they will drink water where it is available to them.
Since house mice are highly adaptable, they can live almost anywhere. Open fields, commercial properties, farms, homes, farmland, are all suitable environments for the house mouse. When the weather turns colder, however, house mice will move toward more temperate locations such as inside a home or office building.
PROBLEMS WITH HOUSE MICE
House mice can cause structural damage to a building due to their gnawing and their nest-building. This, in turn, causes economic damage by ruining insulation within walls and even electrical components. Their activities can cause a fire hazard and can be expensive to repair.
House mice also contaminate food - human food and food for livestock, resulting in more economic damage and possible disease outbreak. They can cause damage to the containers the food is stored in, as well as other precious items like heirlooms, books, paintings, and important documents that might be stored in an area where they have built a nest (such as a garage, attic, etc). They are highly adept at swimming, gnawing, jumping, and climbing; making it easy for them to build their nest virtually anywhere they are sheltered.
Mice are nocturnal creatures that are endlessly in search of food. They usually travel no further than thirty feet from their nest to find a food source. Additionally, they avoid going outdoors unless it is necessary to do so. A female house mouse can have five to ten litters every year, with five to six young in each litter. Baby mice are born three weeks after conception and reach sexual maturity at just six to ten weeks. A house mouse can live to be up to one year old.
The average house mouse carries with it a number of health threats that business and homeowners should recognize. These include carrying diseases such as rickettsialpox, lymphocytic choriomeningitis, leptospirosis, tapeworms, ratbite fever, salmonellosis (food poisoning), as well as parasites that cause ringworm.
Livestock owners should be aware that the average house mouse can transmit swine dysentery which is also known as “bloody scours.”
Adult males leave microdrops of their urine to mark their territory, and this urine can cause severe allergies in children. Mice can also transport ticks, lice, mites, and fleas into a home or office building.
SIGNS OF A HOUSE MOUSE INFESTATION
The most common method of identifying a house mouse infestation is by the presence of mouse droppings. Mouse droppings are about ¼” long and resemble a grain of dark colored rice. Tracks might also be obvious on dusty surfaces. Homeowners can use flour to see if mice leave tracks. House mice will often leave shredded paper or some other type of fibrous material behind where they have built their nests. Gnaw marks may also be visible on wood, drywall, and storage containers. They also exude a musky odor that is obvious in their presence.
The key to prevention is to eliminate what house mice are looking for to survive, namely, food, water and shelter.
• Ensure kitchen, and other food areas are clean. Pick up spills and crumbs, and keep food (both human and pet) in air-tight containers. • Maintain an environment that is free of clutter and garbage. • Repair leaky faucets and dripping pipes to prevent attracting mice into the home or business. • Lawns should stay mowed, and garbage should be hauled away on a regular basis. • Seal all holes that are larger than the diameter of a pencil. • Keep storage boxes off of the floor.
HOUSE MOUSE CONTROL
Business and homeowners may set traps to catch mice. However, it is most likely that this method alone will prove ineffective in eliminating the entire mouse population living on the premises. In addition, even when the homeowner believes the house mouse infestation may have been eliminated, it is still possible for re-infestation to occur. The holes or cracks where the original mice entered the home are likely to have gone unseen and therefore, not repaired. This is why calling a licensed pest control service is the best way to ensure the proper and complete eradication of a house mouse infestation.
The products and treatments used to effectively eliminate house mice can only be obtained by a professional pest control service.