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Handling House Mice and Understanding Rodenticides

Anywhere around the world, house mice are considered to be one of the most troublesome of all rodent pests. They are even named to be the most economically significant pest in the United States because of the magnitude of the damage that they can give both in the farm and household setting. This article will discuss in length the things you have to know about house mice, including the most widely used method of controlling them.

Physical Appearance of a House Mouse

While knowing how to classify rodents may seem a little bit overboard for some, with the threats imposed by the likelihood of house mice infestation, it has become a must for homeowners who want to secure their families from the dangers brought by house mice to know a house mouse when they see one. Unlike other mice who prefer the great outdoors and would rather inhabit places that would keep them away from any human interference, house mice are very comfortable living inside houses, food establishments and other buildings where they can easily sneak and steal food that is intended for human, pet or livestock consumption. Thus, it is very important for a homeowner or a building-maintenance officer to identify a house mouse, even when it is not inside any building (yet).

As a general description, a house mouse looks so much like Mickey -- large eyes, two flat front teeth and small black eyes. However, unlike Mickey, an adult house mouse weighs approximately half of an ounce and spans only about five to seven inches long with a tail that is almost as long as their bodies. Most house mice have gray to light brown hair color.

Following Clues of Possible House Mouse Infestation

Apart from the actual sighting of a house mouse or the obvious squeaking and mouse-run sound, there are other indicators which a homeowner might want to look on to. House mice are not really concern about where they leave their feces. A house mouse dropping is about an eight of an inch long (although sometimes they can reach up to half an inch), black in color and has pointed tips. Droppings can be seen in room corners and edges, but in most cases, they are found where the house mouse has recently gnawed something, like a box of cereals perhaps.

Since house mice gnaw at almost anything, tiny pieces of paper shred uniformly also indicate house mice infestation. They also gnaw on clothes, faux leather, electrical wirings and whatever it is that their teeth can cut through. Apart from the gnawed pieces of just about anything, house mice also have a distinctive smell. You would know that you are close to their nesting area when you smell a musky odor (you'll know it when you get to smell it).

Just like any rodents, mice are nocturnal creature so are most active during nighttime. The best time to look for house mouse infestation indicator is early in the morning when they have just finished nibbling on your stuff.

What happens when you let mouse Scott-free?

I can only think of three outcomes when you let house mice live in your house:

(1) They eat all your food, destroy all your things and then blow-up your house because of faulty electrical wiring (they have nibbled your wires too).

(2) They contaminate the water that you drink and drop infected feces or urine on the food you eat, then you die of salmonellosis (bacterial food poisoning).

(3) You become immune to the presence of mice in your house and then become Rat Man ;)

Of course, the third possibility is ridiculous. By trying to live with mice, you will only be exposing yourself to incalculable harms, not to mention that you also expose your family to the same degree of harm by not doing anything.

Best House Mice Management Options

The best way to keep mice out is to seal all possible entry points that they can use to get inside your house. Considering their size, you have you cover all cracks that are bigger than half an inch in diameter, or if you want to be more thorough, cover all holes, cracks and crevices that you can see. Vegetations such as bushy shrubs and over-arcing braches of trees should be trimmed and kept distant from the walls of your house. Moreover, storing and keeping food properly is also very effective in depriving house mice with food, thus the reason to stay in your house. Be very wary though because mice can survive even with just a very small amount of grain so be thorough about your food keeping too.

After you have done everything to prevent any more mice from coming in, it is time for you to eliminate the ones that are already inside your house. Mechanical mouse traps and glueboards are very popular devices used in catching house mice. When using these devices, use effective baits too just like sweets, fatty and protein-rich foods. Mice caught using these types of trapping devices should be removed soonest they are trapped. Don't forget to wear protective rubber gloves (their bite might sting, plus they might give you diseases).

Another very popular way to eradicate mice is through the use of rodenticides. Although many experts say that the use of rodenticides is harmful because of its toxic nature, many people still do so because it is the fastest and easiest way to kill mice. When using rodenticides, be very careful to follow the instructions stated in its label and to make sure that children and pets do not come in close contact with it.

More about Rodenticides

The most widely used rodenticides today are anticoagulant, meaning; they kill mice by causing internal bleeding. Dying through internal bleeding is very painful that is why some mice die because of cardiac arrest too. Essentially, from the word anticoagulant, this type of rodenticides inhibits blood to clot resulting to severe capillary damage. This method of killing mice is very effective because anticoagulant rodenticides do not alter the taste of the bait nor cause premature symptoms of poisoning. The mouse will eat as much of the bait mixed with the rodenticides and will continue to do so as long as there is a continuous supply of such "food". Eventually, the mouse will ingest enough rodenticides and then die a gruesome death. Normally, mice should be fed with bait food for two week. Because of this characteristic, anticoagulant rodenticides are very effective is mouse control when placed in suitable locations.

A Warning about Anticoagulant Rodenticides

You should know that anticoagulant rodenticides, when ingested, do not kill rodents alone but also all kinds of mammals -- including humans (in higher concentration). The effect of anticoagulant rodenticides to rodents is generally the same to almost all kinds of warm-blooded animals whether domesticated or wild. Carcass of house mice or other animals that died due to anticoagulant rodenticides ingestion can also cause the same amount of harm to scavengers and predators. Thus, it is very important to properly dispose dead house mice the soonest that they die.

The use of anticoagulant rodenticides is also not advisable when there are little children in the house. When improperly kept, children might ingest the rodenticides and experience early symptoms of internal bleeding like lethargy or loss lip and gum color. In general, Vitamin K is used as an antidote for anticoagulant rodenticides ingestion. But in severe cases, a full blood transfusion might be necessary.

Check this article about the types of rodenticides to learn more on this particular subject.

All the best,
Sergiu Zburatoru
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