All about Mice
The house mouse is just about what you’d expect a mouse to be – small (2 to 3 inches), gray-brown, with an almost naked tail as long or longer than its body and weighing less than an ounce. The mouse, however, can eat about one-tenth of its weight each day. Its origin is Europe accompanying the early settlers on their ships to the New World and has since established
themselves almost continent-wide.
As you may guess with the name House Mouse, these creatures prefer life indoors, whether it is an apartment complex or single-family dwelling. They prefer the comfort of niches between walls and behind cabinets and appliances.
The House Mouse has a very prolific reproductive system breeding year round and having as many as eight litters annually. Females can start having their litters at the age of one and a half to two months. Life expectancy for a wild mouse is no more than one year.
Mice have a diet of a variety of foods, such as seeds, grains and nuts requiring only about 1/10 ounce of food each day, and can live without access to fresh water up to a year as long as their solid food is fairly moist.
One of the main problems faced from having a mouse in your house is their contamination of food with their urine and feces. Their gnawing on wood, paper, cloth, books and insulation on wiring can also pose a real threat for any homeowner. This can be noted by observing gnawing leaves paired tooth marks about 1/8 inch wide and also seeing droppings which are rod-shaped and about 1/3 to ¼ inches long. Mice can also consume considerable quantities of stored seed and grains from farmers and granaries.
Mice can carry a wide variety of diseases transmissible to humans. A very real problem with the infestation of mice is the Hantavirus which has been a threat in the arid southwestern part of the country. Another major concern is Salmonellosis which is transmitted by mice and is a concern in food storage and preparation areas.
Mice are very tenacious in their ability to enter a dwelling as they only need an opening no larger than the size of a Number 2 pencil and can easily climb interior walls making exclusion very difficult. Thorough examinations need to be made periodically to assure that all points of entry (foundations, utility pipes and wires passing into the house) are secure.
Baby powder or talc can be sprinkled along the inside perimeters of walls and thresholds which can show tracks where mice are active and can be instrumental in helping decide where exclusion efforts are needed.
In those areas that are not secure, wire mesh or quick-drying cement can be used to plug cracks around drainpipes and other small areas of entry. Also, galvanized window screening can be balled and stuffed into larger openings that are then finished with caulking or cement. Expanding-foam insulation can also be used for filling small to medium size openings.
Good housekeeping procedures need to be in place in order to keep these pesky critters out of your house. Removal of all food sources is essential, and all foods that are accessible to mice should be stored in metal or plastic containers. To keep mice at bay, you need to keep the perimeter of your house free from weeds and vegetation at least 18 inches away from your foundation
Early fall or winter is the time of the year when mice move in as part of their normal movement patterns. Mice can be humanely live-trapped and put back in their own environment but would probably not do well, but many people are willing to try