House mice are considered one of the most troublesome and economically damaging pests in the United States. They live and thrive under a wide variety of conditions, in and around homes and farms. House mice can also consume pretty much any type of food, which makes them highly adaptable to almost any environment. The big reason they pose a threat to human beings is that their faeces can contain bacteria that cause a number of dangerous illnesses.
How do you recognize a mouse infestation?
The first signs that you have a mouse infestation are droppings, fresh gnawing marks, and tracks along the walls and carpets. These clues will indicate areas where mice are active. House mice have a characteristic musky odor as well, and this will also give you an indication that there is a problem.
How can you prevent an infestation from occurring?
Effective mouse control involves sanitation and mouse-proofing your home. When a mouse infestation already exists in a building, some form of population reduction will almost always be necessary. Mice population reduction techniques include trapping and poisoning.
House mice can survive in small areas with limited amounts of food. No matter how well you sanitize a building in which food is stored, handled, or used, it will be prone to infestation if it is not mouse-proofed.
However, good sanitation is still very important. Poor living conditions are very likely to attract house mice and will allow them to thrive in greater numbers. Good sanitation on the other hand can help reduce the food supply and the number of shelters that the mice can use. If your home is fairly mouse proof, the mice will have a hard time finding a place to hide, rest, or build nests and rear their young.
What is mouse-proofing?
The best way to control mouse populations is to ensure that there are no openings, cracks or holes in the exterior of the home. You also want to make sure that you mouse-proof your food storage. Store all your dried grain and meat products in glass jars, metal canisters, or other resealable airtight containers.
Seal all openings larger than 1/4 inch to prevent mice from entering the home. A product to use here would be steel wool mixed with a caulking compound. The patching material also needs to be smooth on the surface in order to prevent the mice from pulling it out or chewing through it.
Another effective control method is trapping. When only a few mice are present in your home, it is usually your best option. Here are some of the advantages of trapping:
- You do not have to rely on hazardous poisons.
- You can make sure that the mouse is dead.
- You can dispose of the carcass easily, and avoid having it rot somewhere within the home.
Poison baits (Rodenticides)
Rodenticides are poisons designed to kill rodents. You can purchase rodenticides in hardware stores, feed stores, discount stores, garden centers, and other places where pesticides are sold. Pest-proofing your home and trapping are the most effective control methods. Make sure to only use rodent baits to supplement these methods.
Remember that rodent baits are poisonous, so you have to always make sure that they are registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and that you follow the label instructions. If baits are used indoors, be sure they are labeled specifically for interior use.
Do you need some extra help?
Dealing with any pest infestation can be tough without the proper experience and equipment. If you are having trouble dealing with a mouse infestation in your home, contact us today.