House mice are in the top 5 most common pest in and around residential homes. Mice infestation is not getting better, but worse. Why are mice such a problem in both urban and suburban areas? One main reason is their ability to breed rapidly, for example, according to the National Pest Management Association under their very informative Field Guide, mice reach sexual maturity in 35 days. They're ready to mate when 6-10 weeks old. How long is pregnancy? an average of just 19 days. The average litter size is anywhere from 5-8 mice. This means that a female mouse can have a new litter of mice about once every 40-50 days!
Other facts are that mice can climb very well, and can run up roughened walls with ease. Its no problem for them to run up the sides of brick or concrete exterior walls and into a cracked or open window. They too can run across ropes and wires easily, even upside down. They can jump up at least 12" high and without injuring themselves jump down 8 ft. Mice can even fit through holes no bigger than a quarter.
Outside mice adapt very well, even thrive. They can be found quite abundantly in open fields living in burrows, vegetative debris and hollow trees. Because they're nocturnal by nature this allows them to avoid predators like birds and stray cats. They also make their homes in yards making their way into garages, stored firewood, old unused vehicles and broken concrete slabs. They can also survive extreme temperatures. With all these above mentioned abilities, how can mice infestations be prevented in residential homes?
Like humans, mice want to be warm and sheltered from the dangers of the outside world. To prevent mice from invading your home and even your outside property, start with a thorough inspection. Mice thrive in clutter as do most pest. Keep your yard clean from vegetative debris, and unused stored items. If mice can't hide from their predators they're least likely to come on your property. Keep garbage cans clean, tops securely fasten and garbage off the ground.
Do you have pets? If so make sure pet food is not left out as this will attract not only mice but other pests like raccoons. Feeding birds also attract pests. If feeding birds, clean up all bird seeds from the ground, seeds are one of mice favorite diet.
Now take a look at the structure. Are there any repairs or replacements to be made? For example, does the door close properly and securely? Remember mice can fit through openings as small as a quarter. Is the threshold in good condition, set firmly and securely in place? If there are spaces between the ground and threshold, mice can easily squeeze through. Do you need a door sweep,or does the one you have need to be replaced? Door sweeps are designed to keep pest out. If you see any daylight around the perimeter of your door, it needs to be corrected.
Take a close look at any plumbing penetrations on the exterior walls, examples are HVAC lines and/or water faucets. Are they caulked or sealed properly? These are one of the main areas mice enter homes.
Do you have a crawlspace? Make sure the crawlspace door and openings have metal mesh installed.
When it comes to garages, especially attached garages, it's important to make sure the garage vehicle door is in good condition and closes properly. Just as important are the components on the garage door such as the weatherstrip at the bottom of the door. It's not uncommon for the weatherstrip to go unnoticed, but it is often in bad shape and in need of replacement. The picture to the right shows how mice are entering this house because the weatherstrip has deteriorated leaving an opening in the corner.
Creating an environment that is unsafe for mice and their search for food unsuccessful are key ways that will help you keep your property inside and outside pest free.
Wednesday, January 16, 2019
Tuesday, January 1, 2019
A common question among home and business owners is 'how can I get rid of mice?' It's a common question because mice infestation is on the rise, not only in inner cities, but also in suburban areas. Besides houses rodents are found just about everywhere, such as schools, restaurants, deli's, nursing homes, movie theaters, warehouses, subways as well as open fields just to name a few. With a number of factors involved, it appears this problem will only get worse.
Mice droppings and hole behind stove
In addition to being a nuisance by suddenly running across a room and hearing them in walls and ceilings, house mice can damage/destroy building materials like drywall because of their need to gnaw and their ability to make nests in wall cavities. They pose a fire hazard as well because they often chew electrical wires. Just as important, however, is the fact that house mice are carriers or vectors of disease. One way they transmit diseases and food poisoning like Salmonella and tapeworms, is by contaminating stored food via droppings and urine. Research shows that mice defecate wherever they travel, but mostly where they feed and up to 50 times a day!
Mice droppings and hole behind stove
It's important to find where activity is happening within a structure. Do an inspection, look behind appliances such as your free standing stove. If possible pull out the refrigerator from the wall. Look under kitchen sinks where plumbing is introduced through the floor or wall. These are areas where you will likely find evidence of an infestation in the form of droppings, gnawed holes or both at the bottom of the walls or floors. It makes sense to look in these areas because mice will find food around them, plus like roaches they like the warmth that refrigerator motors give off. These areas are also dark and undisturbed which is ideal for their survival.
When Activity Is Found
When activity is found, such as shown in the picture above, sealing holes tightly with steel wool or repairing the walls with metal plates and Joint Compound found at the local hardware store will help reduce the mice route of travel and harbor-age.
The use of snap traps is very helpful in quickly eliminating an infestation and is considered a humane way of killing mice, however proper placement of snap traps is critical for success. Placing a small amount of bait such as peanut butter, cheese, chocolate,or bacon securely to the trap with the trigger facing the wall, as shown in the picture to the right will produce results because mice mostly travel along the perimeter of walls. Use as many snap traps as needed, but placement should be on, or about 4 to six feet apart.
Glue boards are also useful. Like snap traps glue boards should be baited with a small amount of bait placed in the center. Remember mice are nibblers and don't require large amounts of food.
Finally keeping all areas of the interior clean, free of clutter and food properly stored away, such as in plastic containers will increase the chances of mice being attracted to the bait on the snap and glue traps.
Mice treatment, when done properly, will make your home or business comfortable and safe.