Although most people consider mice less objectionable than rats, mice are more common and cause significantly more damage. Mice are prolific breeders, producing 6-10 litters continuously throughout the year. The greatest economic loss from mice is not due to how much they eat, but what must be thrown out because of damage or contamination. Food, clothing, furniture, books and many other household items are contaminated by their droppings and urine, or damaged by their gnawing. House mice gnaw through electrical wiring, causing fires and failure of freezers, clothes dryers and other appliances. Mice also can transmit diseases, most notably salmonellosis (bacterial food poisoning) when food is contaminated with infected rodent feces.
Breathing dust that has come in contact with mouse feces has been linked to the deadly hantavirus in the northwest. The original motivation for the domestication of cats is thought to have been for their predation of mice and their relatives, the rats.
So basically, a mouse infestation is not something you want to ignore. While a mouse may contaminate your food suppy with it's feces and urine, they can also gnaw through electrical wiring, causing fires and failure of freezers, clothes dryers and other appliances. A mouse's tooth mark is about 1/8 inch wide and can do quite a bit of damage.
House mice normally live outdoors in fields, occasionally migrating into structures. In houses, they live behind walls and in cabinets and furniture.
They prefer to feed on grains but usually nibble at a wide variety of foods. House mice require only 1/10 ounce of food and 1/20 ounce of water daily, surviving on food alone if it has high moisture. Frequently house mice range 10-30 feet from harborages.
House mice are brown to gray in color with the tail as long as the body. Adults weigh about 1/2 ounce. Their droppings are 1/8 inch long and rod-shaped. House mice live about 1 year and reach sexual maturity in 6 weeks. They have 5-6 young per litter and up to 8 litters per year.
Rat or Mouse Droppings?
Since rats and mice are active at night and are rarely seen during the day, it is necessary to recognize signs of their activity.
Droppings and Urine - Most people first recognize rodent problems by finding droppings (Figure 2) or urine stains in and around buildings. Rodents usually have favorite toilet areas but will void almost anywhere. Old droppings are gray, dusty, and will crumble. Fresh droppings are black, shiny, and puttylike. Rodents urinate while running, and the streaks are characteristic. The urine glows under ultraviolet lights and glows blue-white when fresh.
Droppings of roof rat (1/2", left), Norway rat (3/4", middle) and house mouse (1/8", right).
Gnawed Objects - Rodents gnaw every day in order to keep their teeth short and sharp. Rats also gnaw to gain entrance or to obtain food. Teeth marks on food, building materials, wire, and edges of beams are indications of gnawing. They will gnaw holes in wooden walls, pressed wood, and posts. Fresh gnawing in wood is usually light-colored with sharp, splintery edges. Old gnawing is smooth and darker
Rubmarks - Along runways, dark greasy rubmarks appear from contact with the rodent's body. Rubmarks on walls appear as black smudges left by the rodent. New rubmarks are soft and will smudge. Old rubmarks are brittle and will flake when scratched.
Sound - Usually rodent sounds are heard at night or in quiet areas. Rodents moving at night often scratch, gnaw, and fight. The young often squeak while in the nest.
Rodentproofing - Rodentproofing is changing the structure of buildings in order to prevent entry of rats and mice. In considering rodentproofing, you must know that
Rats can squeeze through cracks ½ inch wide; mice, ¼ inch wide. Any place a pencil can be poked, a mouse can go.
You must find these openings and clode them up, using sheet metal, hardware cloth or Stuffit Copper Mesh
also check to make sure a rodent canot slide under the exterior doors. If your pencil fits under the door or anywhere around the door. You will need a door sweep to prevent rodent entry, or possibly you need a new door.
Search high & low on the exterior of the structure. Check around utilty lines and don't forget to check around the windows.
Once you have the exterior rodent proofed. Purchase traps and baits here in our store to capture and kill the mice on the inside.
Checkout the links below.
Mouse Control Products