Avoid a Mouse Infestation with The Pest Detective®
Feeding Habits, Diseases & Sanitation Factors
Mice normally feed 15 to 20 times per day and will eat pretty much anything a human will eat. Food preference is cereal or seeds, but mice will also gnaw through insulation or wires, sheet rock, storage boxes and other non-edible materials. Mice are nibblers. They do small amounts of damage to many food items in "home range," rather than doing extensive damage to any one item. While mice are nibblers and feed many times in many places, they have two main feeding periods, at dusk and just before dawn. They have to consume about 10% to 15% of their body weight every 24 hours and require extremely small amounts of water.
Disease & Sanitation Factors
Mice droppings sometimes are confused with droppings from the larger species of roaches, such as the American roach. Mice droppings are smooth with pointed ends, and are 1/8 to 1/4 inch long. In six months, one pair of mice can eat about four pounds of food and during that period produce some 18,000 fecal droppings. Mice may infect food with their droppings transmitting such organisms as salmonella and the microscopic eggs of tapeworms. For example, the deer mouse is a primary vector of Hantaviral infections which cause hemorrhagic fevers.
Other transmittable organisms include:
- Rat-bite fever via bites
- Infectious jaundice/leptospirosis/Weil’s Disease via urine in food or water
- Fungus disease (Favus) of the scalp either by direct contact or indirectly via cats
- Plague & murine typhus via fleas
- Rickettsialpox via the mite
- Liponyssoides sanguineus (Hirst) & lymphocytic choriomeningitis via droppings
- Poliomyelitis (polio)
Another problem is house mouse mite dermatitis which is caused by these mites when they feed on humans.
Prevention & Control
Good sanitation is essential for effective long-term control. Mice can enter any opening larger than 1/4 inch, making it virtually impossible to completely mouse proof a building.
The control of mice can be widely varied, depending on the individual situation. It may range from physically altering the conditions allowing the infestation, such as covering holes and filling cracks to baiting or trapping.
If you are concerned that mice have infiltrated your home, please do not hesitate to contact The Pest Detective for removal services. Here are some quick facts about mice and their daily patterns and eating habits:
- Mice travel over their entire territory daily, investigating each change or new object that may be placed there.
- Mice have poor vision; hence their activity patterns rely heavily on smell, taste, touch and hearing.
- Mice use the long sensitive whiskers near the nose and hairs on the body as tactile sensors. The whiskers and hairs enable the mouse to travel in the dark, adjacent to walls in burrows.
- Mice also have an excellent sense of balance, enabling them to walk along telephone wires, ropes and similar thin objects.
- Mice are excellent jumpers, capable of leaping at least 12 inches vertically.
- Mice can jump against a flat vertical surface using it as a spring board to gain additional height.
- They can run up almost any vertical surface; wood, brick, weathered sheet metal or cable.
- They can easily travel for some distance hanging upside down.
- Although they are good swimmers, mice tend to take to water only if left with no other alternative.
- Mice are basically nocturnal in nature.
- House mice breed throughout the year and can become pregnant within 48 hours of producing a litter.
- There are usually about six mice to a litter and females may produce as many as ten litters (about 50 young) per year.
- It takes 18 to 21 days for gestation, and 35 days for a mouse to mature. Most mice live anywhere from 15 to 18 months.
- They make their nests out of the same types of soft materials as rats, and as many as three females may use the same nest.
- They commonly nest in insulation in attics, also in stoves and under refrigerators.
- Mice do not travel far from their nest, about 12 to 20 feet.