The mouse (Mus musculus) is considered one of the most troublesome and economically important pests in the United States. House mice live and thrive under a variety of conditions in and around homes and farms. House mice consume food meant for humans or pets. They contaminate food-preparation surfaces with their feces, which can contain the bacterium that causes food poisoning (salmonellosis). Their constant gnawing causes damage to structures and property.
Recognizing Mouse Infestations
Droppings, fresh gnawing and tracks indicate areas where mice are active. Mouse nests, made from fine shredded paper or other fibrous material, are often found in sheltered locations. House mice have a characteristic musky odor that identifies their presence. Mice are occasionally seen during daylight hours.
mouse trap. Trapping is an effective control method. When only a few mice are present in a building, it is usually the preferred control method. Trapping has several advantages:
(1) it does not rely on inherently hazardous poisons
(2) it permits the user to make sure that the mouse has been killed
(3) it allows for disposal of the mouse carcasses, thereby avoiding dead mouse odors that may occur when poisoning is done within buildings.
The simple, inexpensive wood-based snap trap is effective and can be purchased in most hardware and grocery stores. Bait traps with peanut butter, chocolate candy, dried fruit or a small piece of bacon tied securely to the trigger. Set them so that the trigger is sensitive and will spring easily.
Multiple-capture live traps, which can capture several mice once set, are also available in some hardware and feed stores. Set traps close to walls, behind objects, in dark corners and in places where evidence of mouse activity is seen. Place them so that mice will pass directly over the triggers as they follow the natural course of travel, usually close to a wall. Traps can be set on ledges or on top of pallets of stored materials if mice are active in such locations. Use enough traps to eliminate the rodents quickly. (Using too few traps is a common error by individuals attempting to control mice.) Mice seldom venture far from their shelter and food supply, so place traps no more than 10 feet apart in areas where mice are active. Leaving traps unset until the bait has been taken at least once (prebaiting) often increases the success of trapping.
Getting rid of mice problems is only half of the battle. Once traps are set and the mice are caught, you may be open for a rude awakening when their relatives return. Take these added precautions to ensure that the mice are gone for good.
(1) Seal all possible entry points into your home. Mice are capable of crawling through holes the size of your pinkie finger. If possible seal these with caulk. For a more temporary solution, use steel wool.
(2) Ensure all possible food sources are tightly sealed in plastic (or similar containers). Mice have no problems gnawing through cardboard boxes or paper bags, so these will not be sufficient.
(3) Clean your house regularly and take out the trash often. If mice find a regular supply of food, they will make themselves at home. If you leave the trash sitting full for days on end, or crackers fall behind your furniture, mice will find it, and they will keep coming back for more.
How to Rid Your Home of Mice if your home has garden, you'd better visit it.