Mice, particularly house mice, are the most commonly encountered rodent pest that people find in their homes. They tend to make nests out of whatever unused materials they can find, and often begin to infest homes by crawling or digging through tight holes in walls. These kinds of mice are typically light grey with pale underbellies, and can be 2 ½-3 ¾ inches long. They also breed rapidly and eat a wide variety of human foods, which means that if you have a mouse problem, you may also find that they’ve been raiding your pantry. Here’s what you should know about their eating habits and how to prevent them from making a mess in your home.
House mice are omnivores, but prefer to consume simple foods like grains, fruits, seeds, and nuts. Contrary to popular belief, cheese is not a mouse’s favorite food, though they will eat it and practically anything that smells good, including pet food, depending on what’s available. They will also eat insects if they find them, and will get into trash cans to find food scraps. House mice usually feed at dusk and dawn, and occasionally in between.
Unfortunately, mice can also cause plenty of property damage and health risks, too. They are known to gnaw on electrical wiring and will use it both as a food source and for nesting material. Along with wiring, they may burrow into insulation, boxes, papers, and other cast-off materials to build nests and raise young. During the cold months especially, they can do a lot of damage inside a home, and may also infest vehicle engines to stay warm. Furthermore, their eating habits may endanger yours. They can carry many microbes and pathogens that are harmful to humans, such as hantavirus, and may contaminate your food as they search for it themselves.
Signs of a Mouse Infestation
Some of the most common signs of a mouse infestation include:
- Damaged food containers with gnaw marks on them
- Finding food scraps with nibble marks
- Finding small, rod-shaped feces
- Electrical damage from chewing
- Oily rub marks on walls and/or four- or five-toed footprints on the floor
Mice also reproduce quickly. A single female mouse can give birth to up to six babies every three weeks. This can prove dangerous not only to your pantry and electrical system, but also to allergies and asthma, as particles of mouse droppings and urine can get into the air and trigger these conditions.
How to Get Rid of Mice
If you think you might have a mouse problem, you can set out baited traps and poisons. Many people bait their mouse traps with peanut butter and other sweet-smelling or sticky substances. Also, doing preventative maintenance tasks around the home, like cleaning up crumbs and properly storing leftovers, can keep them at bay.
However, these mouse prevention and treatment techniques aren’t always thorough, so the safest and most effective way to get rid of them (especially if you already have a whole family of mice in your home) is to call in the professionals. At Dodson Pest Control, we know how to find and thoroughly get rid of mice in your home, and in doing so we can help prevent illness and ease pest anxiety. Contact us today for a free inspection!