Identify Pest: Mice and Dealing with a Mouse Problem
If you have a mouse problem, there’s a good chance you won’t know it. The signs of a mouse in the house can be subtle, but their impact is not. And getting rid of a mouse usually involves more than a mouse trap. And watch out—if you have one, you have many. A female mouse can produce a litter of eight every four weeks.
A Mouse Problem Is a Big Problem
Getting rid of mice is important. The harm caused by house mice can be considerable. Mice cause damage. They can eat your food, leave food storage caches that rot and smell, chew through clothing and possessions, and leave urine trails and droppings that cause stains or permanently mar wood. But the harm doesn’t stop there. Mice attract other pests like fleas, tick and mites—and the diseases and discomfort those pests bring. Mice are themselves notorious vectors for diseases and parasites. They helped spread the bubonic plague through Europe in the Middle Ages, and, though extremely rare (the Center for Disease Control reports only three cases of the disease in New York since 1993), mice carrying the Hantavirus have been making headlines. And mice produce an allergen to which children are especially susceptible.
How to Tell if You Have House Mice
The chances of you seeing a mouse are low—unless you are a night owl. Mice are most active at night and they move fast. You are much more likely to see signs of a mouse in the house than you are to see the mouse itself. Here’s what to look for:
Droppings. Mice excrement is about the size and shape of a grain of rice and is dark brown to black in color. Look for excrement in cabinets and cupboards, drawers, behind trash receptacles and along baseboards.
Urine Pools and Trails. Mice use urine to mark territory. You can sometimes see drops in a line pattern leading to a hiding place and also something call a “urinating pillar”—a mound of debris including grease and dirt that is mixed with urine.
Nibble and Gnaw Marks. You might see evidence of chewing on boxes, bags and other food containers as mice try to get access to food. Pet food is a favorite, as is, believe it or not, soap. You might also see teeth marks on wood and sawdust nearby. A mouse may be trying to keep his teeth sharp.
Mouse Nests. Look for soft, fuzzy piles of material, paper or grass gathered into a pile. Mice will build cozy nests any place they can find a quiet places to hide such as behind appliances, in walls and in drawers and cabinets that are rarely used. Mice nests can also be found in upholstered furniture and even inside toasters and in blender housings. Since a mouse can fit through an opening as big around as a pencil, you might be surprised where they end up.
Squeaks, Rustles, Smells and Tracks. You might here a mouse stirring when your house is quiet at night. You might hear them scratching inside a wall. You might see dirt marks and smudges in areas where mice frequently scurry. Some people also report smelling an unusual musky odor.
Freaking Out Pets. Is your dog tracking something behind the trash can? Is your cat agitated and staring at something you can’t see? They might be on to something: a mouse in your house
How to Get Rid of Mice
Before you try to get mice out of your house, you need to figure out how they are getting in. They can wiggle in through narrow spaces around pipes and wires—a hole a quarter inch in diameter is big enough. It may take an expert inspection to determine how mice are entering and how to stop them. Here is a checklist [link] for places to find mice in and around your home.
The next step is taking action to get rid of them. Knowing the size of your problem is essential before you start. How many mice do you have? How long have you had them? Where are their nesting sites? It may be worth having an expert come in and do an assessment, even if you plan to deal with the problem on your own.
We suggest a multi-prong approach. No single method is appropriate for every situation. The presence of children and pets make some baits and traps unsuitable. The degree of infestation makes some poisons more effective than others.
Some so-called humane methods turn out to be not so humane or effective. Trapping and releasing a mouse may put that animal in the territory of another mouse that will kill and eat the intruder. Releasing a house mouse into a field also makes him an easy mark for a predator. And researchers have tracked mice swimming fast streams and crossing busy highways, traveling over four miles to return to their home—your home.
Mice are covered in our effective and affordable Integrated Pest Management Annual Package KO-12 Program that provides you with pest protection throughout the year.
Knockout Pest Control Can Knock Out Mice
Knockout Pest Control is your local expert at knocking out mice–and we keep them down for the count. Every member of our team receives over 100 hours of classroom instruction and in-the-field training so you are guaranteed a knockout punch to your pest problem every time. We serve all of Long Island, New York City, and Westchester and Rockland Counties. Call 1-800-244-PEST or 1-800-244-7378 We respond like every pest problem is an emergency with fast, 24 hour service seven days a week. We don’t have the big red boxing glove in our logo for nothing!
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