NB! - This is another post from the series of my articles about mice infestation. More coming up next, so stay tuned. I decided to address this issue as detailed as possible due to the high volume of requests I get via email lately.Why Prevent Mouse Infestation?
One thing very remarkable about house mice, considering their size, is the fact that they are considered to be one of the most economically significant pests in most parts of the world. House mice infestation can lead to damage and contamination of agricultural and processed goods. Most of the damage that they cause is not due to how much of these products they have consumed but of the magnitude of the goods that have to be thrown away because of their contamination.
In localized home settings, house mice are equally disturbing because many people consider rats more detestable thus making homeowners more lenient to the presence of one or two house mice (rather than rats) in their homes. Nonetheless, because house mice are very prolific breeders, they can multiply in number by up to tenfold in just one year, resulting to severe mouse infestation. They can damage properties by gnawing at almost anything that they come in contact with. They would gnaw through house wirings and cause electrical failures. They would also gnaw through books, clothing, furniture and all sorts of human and pet food. Apart from all these troubles, they also spread diseases like salmonellosis (food poisoning due to bacteria) through urine and feces contamination.
Understanding the Mouse Psyche
Mice are rarely seen during daytime because they nocturnal creatures by nature. Obvious indicators of the presence of mice at home includes:
(1) Nibbled food containers like boxes and packetsIf you are not familiar with mouse droppings, they look like black rice grains having a length that ranges from half of a quarter of an inch to a full one half inch. These droppings are usually found in areas where they nib the food that they eat. A good point to remember is that house mice do not forage far from their nesting place. The farthest that mice can get is about 25 feet away from their nest, but in cases when there is an adequate supply of food close to their nest, they would only forage to as far as a couple of feet. Thus, mouse traps and other mouse control devices and materials are most effective if placed in areas where most of the mouse activities happen.
(2) Gnawed pieces of papers and/or of other materials
(3) Squeaking or gnawing sound, including the sound of them running through and fro
(4) Presence of mouse droppings and the most obvious of all
(5) The actual sighting of a mouse.
Moreover, mice also tend to familiarize their territory within this range, thus they would identify if something has been altered or changed around their forage areas. For this reason, if the mouse seems to be avoiding a trap that has been placed in a specific area, move the trap to another area (still proximate to the mouse activity).
Wall edges and room corners are very strategic locations to place traps too because mice are most comfortable with traversing their foraging area through these passages.
Mice don't feed and fill themselves before they leave their food alone so they scurry back to their nests after nibbling a small portion of the food. On average, a mouse visits around thirty food sites in a single night. They love feeding on grains and seeds but they also very fond of anything that is high in fats, sugar and protein. Keep this food preference in mind when choosing appropriate bait for your trap.
The same familiar saying "When in Rome, think like a Roman" also applies to mouse control -- you have to think like a mouse in order to eradicate them for good.Use your knowledge about their behavior and characteristics as a weapon against them. For example, you know that a mouse would not enter your house through your front door (possible, but very unlikely) so you look for cracks around your house which might serve as an entry point for mice and other small animals or pests. Mice are especially skillful in fitting through holes that are smaller the barrel of their bodies. Any hole with a size a quarter of an inch or larger should be covered and sealed.
Another very effective way to control mice infestation is to store food properly. Food foods in plastic containers; seal and sanitize cabinets where you put food that are kept in boxes and papers bags. Be wary about the fact that mice can survive even with very little amount of food, so you should allow them to have at least that little food that they need for survival.
Handling Present Mouse Infestation
After doing everything that is necessary to prevent mice infestation, of course, you also have to take care of the mice that are already residents of your house. When mice become established in their habitat, they tend to be very difficult to throw away (like a tenant who's been renting for years). You can just scare them away or starve them to death. Sometimes, it is faster to eradicate their presence in your home if you hire a professional mouse-buster. But if you are not ready for such expenditure, there are three control options that you can use and perform by yourself. Here are these three:
1. Glue boards
Glueboards are often used to catch flies and mosquitoes when one stays outdoors but there are glueboards too that are especially developed for catching mice. They are very effective against mice and make a very good addition to mouse traps. You can place food baits on the glueboard and attract mice to step on it. Once caught by the very sticky substance used in the board, the mouse can die of starvation or suffocation (or because of you killing them -- acting so brave because they are entangled in the glue). Glue boards make an excellent mouse control option for homes where children and toddlers live since mouse traps and toxic mouse poison pose a danger to them.
2. Mouse Traps
You might have seen Jerry (the mouse) easily snapping the mouse traps intended for him to Tom (the cat). You should know that the cartoon made a shrewdly depiction of the effectiveness of mouse traps. The use of mouse traps is actually very effective in mouse control, most especially if proper baits are used. Mouse traps are cheap and they come in many different designs too. Some traps have expanded trigger levers to snap even with very little mouse disturbance while some are designed to catch up to twelve mice. Mouse traps are most effective when placed against walls, in corners and other dark, secluded places around the foraging areas of the mouse. When placed against walls, the trigger of the trap should be places against the vertical surface.
Check mouse traps (and glueboards) often in order to dispose the mouse as soon as it is caught. Don't forget to use rubber gloves when disposing mice -- carcass of dead mouse or the bite of a living mouse can both cause diseases.
The use of rodenticides is very effective in mouse control; in fact, food-bait mixed with rodenticides can kill a lot of mice in an instant. However, because rodenticides are toxic, it can be dangerous when used in homes where children and pets also live. Rodenticides are only advisable for use when there is severe infestation or when traps and glueboards do not work.