The house mouse is one of the pests that we receive calls about all year round. One of the most common problems, the house mouse, appears to be small yet presents a host of health and property damage threats to your home and family.
What is a house mouse?
The house mouse is actually very cute and often mistaken as harmless. House mice are a dusty gray in color with light tone underbellies. The average length is about 3 inches long, and their tails add another three to four inches to their bodies. The cuteness comes from a tiny, pointed nose with a link tip and their ears are soft and rounded.
Like many other types of mice, the house mouse breeds very quickly and can give birth every three weeks! The female averages four to six babies per delivery. It only takes a few of these house mice to create an infestation.
How do I know I have a house mouse infestation?
The good news is that these mice are drawn to food sources. In your outdoor living area, they survive eating birdseed, seeds, and fruit from trees. In your home, they are active in the kitchen and prefer human food, especially grain products. They are adept at finding food in basement play areas, home offices, and bedrooms when a family member may leave behind crumbs and food.
Pestworld.org created a comprehensive list of telltale signs that you have an infestation:
- Gnaw marks: Gnaw marks may be either rough or smooth.
- Droppings: House mouse droppings may be either soft and moist or dried and hard. The droppings measure about 1/8-1/4 inch long. They are rod-shaped and pointed on the ends.
- Tracks: House mice leave 4-toed prints with their front feet and 5-toed prints with their hind feet.
- Rub marks: House mice often leave oily rub marks on walls along which they travel.
- Burrows: House mice burrow using nesting materials such as insulation.
- Runways: House mice usually use the same pathways. Active runways are sometimes visible, with rub marks, droppings, and footprints along with them.
- Odor: The odor of house mouse urine may become distinct if there is a large number of house mice in a particular area. House mice use their strong-smelling urine to communicate with one another.
- Damaged goods: Mice prefer seeds or cereals but will readily eat insects trapped on glue boards.
- Actual rodent: If you see a mouse scurrying across the kitchen floor, there is likely a family of mice hiding out of sight.
Can a house mouse cause damage to my home?
Yes, a house mouse is capable of causing property damage, and excessive gnawing creates a welcome entry for other pests such as carpenter ants, termites, and other common household pests.
Mice will cause severe structural damage to homes and businesses. They breed quickly, and these large amounts of mice gnawing on wood, insulation, and electrical wires pose a serious threat. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention lists the many health threats that can occur through the spread of bacteria and harmful diseases, including Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome.
What can I do to get rid of house mice?
Prevention is the key to keeping mice and rodents out of your home. The National Pest Management Association provides this comprehensive list of tips. Fortunately, there are many ways homeowners can proactively prevent and get rid of rodent infestations in their homes:
- Install door sweeps on exterior doors and repair damaged screens.
- Inspect screen vents and openings to chimneys.
- Seal cracks and holes, including areas where utilities and pipes enter the home. Use caulk, steel wool, or a combination of both.
- Store food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly.
- Keep attics, basements, and crawl spaces ventilated and dry.
- Replace loose mortar & weather stripping around basement foundation and windows.
- Eliminate all moisture sites, including leaking pipes and clogged drains. They are a host and breeding site for pests.
- Inspect all items brought into your home, especially from big box stores.
Lastly, ensure after the mice are caught and removed, you thoroughly clean and disinfect all areas. Illness, disease, and viruses will remain long after that little mouse is gone. Never vacuum mouse droppings or infested materials. Always wear gloves and properly dispose of the cleanup in an outdoor garbage receptacle.
Protect your home from the house mouse with AccuShield.
Once the house mouse infestation has been curtailed, and a maintenance plan is in place, it is time to look for permanent solutions to repair damage and avoid further infestations. Protect your home or business with AccuShield. The Accurate Pest Control experts will evaluate the structure and locate areas where pests and nuisance wildlife can enter. A complete evaluation is performed and reviewed with the homeowner or business owner, and a course of action is determined.
Contact us to learn more about keeping your home and family safe and healthy.
Resources: special thanks to the following resources for their valuable insight and information: The National Pest Management Association and https://www.pestworld.org/pest-guide/rodents/house-mice/