Mus musculus, the rodent popularly known as the house mouse, is one of the most common and determined pests in North America. Having mice in the home can be disconcerting; their tendency to ransack food left in cupboards and pantries, soil your home with feces and urine, as well as their capacity for quick reproduction, make them a particular nuisance. They can dwell in a great variety of places and infest both commercial and residential structures. Mice possess extraordinary resilience; effectively eliminating a mouse problem requires experience as well as knowledge of mouse biology and their habits.
Understanding the Threat Posed by Mice
Mice have lived alongside human beings for thousands of years, thriving in the structures built by man and on the food we store. Mice can do a tremendous amount of damage to human food supplies; a single mouse will eat around 3 grams of food every day, but the real danger is not in what they eat but in what they destroy. When mice get into a food supply, they contaminate what they touch with fecal matter, urine, and fur. In heavily agricultural areas like Wyoming, where combined revenue of wheat and barley regularly approach $100 million, mouse activity can ruin massive amounts of food and lead to millions of dollars in loss. In fact, estimates by the World Health Organization (WHO) suggest that mice may destroy as much as 33 million tons of food worldwide every single year.
In addition to their damage to food, mice may also carry a variety of diseases; they may also transmit many other diseases indirectly through ticks, fleas or mites that live on infected rodents.
Mice can reproduce at an astounding rate. In proper conditions, a female mouse is capable of birthing up to ten litters per year, each litter averaging about of 3-14 pups; this means that, in theory, a single pair of mice could multiply into hundreds within a single year. Their high rates of reproduction makes it necessary for homeowners to ensure that attempts to handle a mouse infestation are capable of eliminating – not just reducing – the mouse population.
How to Get Rid of Mice: Trapping vs. Rodenticide
People’s first instinct when confronted with a mouse problem is to resort to kill trapping with conventional mouse traps. Most people can catch a few mice this way, but conventional mouse trapping is usually not effective at dealing with larger mouse infestations. For one thing, most homeowners will not start setting traps until they have already noticed mouse activity in their home (droppings, food boxes with corners gnawed, etc); unfortunately, by the time the evidence of mice is found around the home the population has usually grown to the point that laying a few traps is not sufficient to take care of it.
Furthermore, most people do not know how to place traps effectively; successful trapping requires a knowledge of the habits and movements of mice in order to place the traps in the best locations.
Finally, trapping is unable to eradicate an entire population, which is of special importance given the ability of mice to reproduce quickly. In fact, pregnant females will rarely go out to scavenge during their pregnancy, which means you are very unlikely to catch them by individual trapping.
We must also consider the pheromone trails that mice leave behind wherever they go. Pheromone trails are chemical indicators that attract other mice. These pheromone trails remain even after the particular mouse that left the scent has been removed. Any mouse removal efforts will be unsuccessful unless all mice in the area can be eliminated. Mouse trapping is an effective indicator for determining the presence of mice in a given area, but in most circumstances it is not a suitable technique for eliminating entire populations of mice.
If an entire population is to be removed, an effective treatment must eliminate existing mice as well as prevent future mice from getting back into the structure. Creature Control’s technicians are skilled in not only treating mice but also identifying rodent entry points, pinpointing nesting areas, eliminating existing populations, and sealing up entry points to keep your house rodent-free. We will also suggest environmental changes and in most cases install tamper-resistant rodenticide bait stations to eliminate the existing mouse population. Rodenticide is capable of eliminating entire mouse populations, unlike trapping.
To schedule a mouse inspection, or for more questions about our mouse control and exclusion processes and how rodenticide treatments work, please call the rodent experts at Creature Control at 1-844-774-3284
Common Behaviors that Increase Rodent Activity
In many cases, mouse activity is encouraged by certain human activities that create conditions conducive to rodents. Some of these activities include:
- Boxed food stored on the ground in pantries
- Woodchips against the foundation of the house
- Pet food left out in the open
- Unsanitary living conditions
- Standing water anywhere in the house (except the sump basin)
- Improperly stored garbage or trash bags left out
- Garage doors left open at night
CONTACT CREATURE CONTROL OR CALL US AT 1-844-774-3284
Creature Control is a Wyoming-Colorado based company, locally owned and operated. We service the Fort Collins, Cheyenne, and Laramie metropolitan areas, as well as Larimer County, Laramie County, portions of Albany County, and parts of Weld and Boulder counties.
Residential Mice Removal
In a residential home, mice look for an undisturbed location to nest; this could be a wall cavity, attic, garage, basement or even an unused cabinet or dresser. Mouse nests will be lined with materials such as shredded paper or bits of cloth; deer mice may also use feathers or fur. Mice will usually nest somewhere near a food source – in residential homes, this usually means the kitchen. If you have seen evidence of mice in the kitchen, chances are the nest is within ten feet of that spot. Mice can squeeze their bodies through extremely small openings and move from room to room at places where pipes or wires penetrate the wall, if such places are not sealed off properly. Mice will generally try to stay out of the open, but if they do venture out they tend to keep one side of their body pressed against the wall, as this gives them a sense of direction and security since their eyesight is not good. They explore their territories daily in their search for food and are known to be very curious.
There is one reason and one reason only why mice have taken up residence in or around your home: a readily available food source. Their nest location is determined by its proximity to their food source; this is usually in the home near the kitchen, but can be outdoors as well (thick vegetation, wood piles and debris near the house are common nesting sites). Mice are attracted to grains and cereals primarily, but they also like chocolate, especially if it is made with peanut butter. Cereal boxes gnawed around the edges, bags of crackers or granola ripped into and finding chocolate bars half-eaten are all sure signs of mice.
Another visible sign of mice is their distinctive droppings and urine stains they leave behind. Mouse droppings are narrow and pointed, usually about 1/8” to 1/4” in length (this is a good way to distinguish mice from rats, as rat droppings are considerably longer and have blunted ends). Mice will also leave “rub marks” or smudges along the wall sides and floors along their commonly used trails. Mouse urine is phosphorescent and will show up under a blacklight. Most homeowners with mouse problems also hear squeaking, gnawing or scuttling noises from the walls at night; it is not uncommon to find tooth marks from gnawing on baseboards, trim and the bottoms of cabinets.
Since mice are always looking for food, they tend to foul up areas of the kitchen where food is stored or prepared, or even where things have come in
contact with food. For example, it is not uncommon to find droppings in silverware drawers, food preparation areas, tupperware drawers, in the pantry and around the stove. Mice are constantly defecating and urinating when they move, so the presence of droppings is the surest indicator of where mice are active.
Elimination of a residential mouse problem typically involves identifying how mice are getting in and our of the home, eliminating the current population, and sealing up your home so the mice cannot get back in. Contact a Creature Control expert today to discuss your home’s mouse problem and what steps we can take together to get rid of your mice and restore your peace of mind!
Commercial Mice Removal
Mice can be a big problem in commercial developments. This is especially true in restaurants and venues that serve food, but mice can infest any structure that offers them conducive conditions. Factories, offices, retail stores can all have rodent problems. It often happens that businesses have problems that are not their fault; perhaps they are located next to a restaurant whose dumpster enclosure is unsanitary, or otherwise have a neighboring business that is the source of the issue. Still, if the mice are in your establishment, they are your problem.
The last thing your business needs is a bunch of mouse traps laying all over the place. Forget conventional trapping. For a commercial rodent problem, Creature Control employs a combination of rodenticide bait stations to knock out existing populations and structural modifications to prevent future re-infestations. This last point is particularly important for businesses who may always be at risk due to proximity to a dumpster enclosure or other conditions conducive to rodent activity.
Creature Control also offer rat management plans for situations where rats are frequenting dumpster enclosures or getting into structures.
Creature Control’s wildlife control technicians can assess the situation, place discreet rodenticide bait stations that will eliminate the rodent population, and write up an estimate for repairs to seal your property against mouse intrusion. Let us handle your pest control business so you can get back to running yours!