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House Mice

Because house mice are so small, they can gain entry into homes and other buildings much more easily than rats. As a result, house mouse infestations are probably 10 to 20 times more common than rat infestations.

Mice enter homes through cracks and holes found in walls, floors and foundations. Homeowners commonly do not recognize mouse holes until other signs of infestation appear. Due to their soft cartilage, mice are capable of fitting through holes much smaller than their size.

Mice have keen senses of taste, hearing, smell, and touch. They also are excellent climbers and can run up any rough vertical surface. They will run horizontally along wire cables or ropes and can jump up to 12 inches from the floor onto a flat surface. Mice can squeeze through openings slightly larger than 1/4 inch across. House mice frequently enter homes in autumn, when outdoor temperatures at night become colder.

Mice may also enter the home through gaps in windows or ceilings, as well as through sewer lines. If drainage pipes are not properly sealed, mice may enter homes through sink or bathtub drains. They are also known to find their way inside via entry holes of plumbing and oven gas lines.

As a result of dropping temperatures, infestations tend to begin in fall. After a colony enters a structure and finds it to be safe and warm, they rarely venture outside again. Mice proliferate quickly and populations may exceed 200 specimens within a matter of months.

In order to prevent mice from entering the home, all cracks, opening and holes should be sealed with metal or cement. All doors and windows must close properly. Store foods in glass or metal containers with tight lids and be certain to dispose of all food waste as soon as possible.

Effective control involves sanitation, exclusion, and population reduction. Sanitation and exclusion are preventive measures. When a mouse infestation already exists, some form of population reduction such as trapping or baiting is almost always necessary.

A key to successful long-term mouse control is limiting shelter and food sources wherever possible. Trapping works well, especially when a sufficient number of traps are placed in strategic locations. Trapping also can be used as a follow-up measure after a baiting program. When considering a baiting program, decide if the presence of dead mice will cause an odor or sanitation problem. If so, trapping may be the best approach. After removing mice, take steps to exclude them so that the problem doesn't recur.

While good sanitation seldom will completely control mice, poor sanitation is sure to attract them and will permit them to thrive in greater numbers. Pay particular attention to eliminating places where mice can find shelter. If they have few places to hide, rest, build nests, or rear their young, they can't survive in large numbers.

Exclusion is the most successful and permanent form of house mouse control. Build them out by eliminating all gaps and openings larger than 1/4 inch. Stainless steel scouring pads make a good temporary plug. Seal cracks in building foundations and around openings for water pipes, vents, and utility cables with metal or concrete. Doors, windows, and screens should fit tightly. It may be necessary to cover the edges of doors and windows with metal to prevent gnawing. Plastic screening, rubber, vinyl, insulating foam, wood, and other gnawable materials are unsuitable for plugging holes used by mice.

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Cleaning Up Mouse Droppings

Mouse droppings may contain harmful bacteria and virus, that can cause health problems in humans. Though, the long-term remedy for this problem is mice extermination, you must also know how to clean and dispose off mice droppings safely. So, cleaning mouse droppings must be done carefully, after taking sufficient precautionary measures. You must use protective gloves and tight fitting face mask, while cleaning mouse droppings. These feces should not be disturbed, as they may emit the harmful microorganisms, that can cause disease from mouse droppings. So, it is wise to avoid removing it with a vacuum cleaner. It is always better to sweep the droppings gently and carefully and dispose them in a plastic bag. You may also use paper towels to pick up mice droppings. Make sure to sanitize the broom and dust pan with a disinfectant spray. If you find droppings in any of the kitchen utensils, wash them and those kept in the nearby areas in the dishwasher with the dishwasher detergent. You can also wash them in the kitchen sink with dish washing soap or a mild bleaching solution. Make sure to discard the uncovered food, that was kept in that place. Use a mild bleach solution or disinfectant spray to clean the whole area. Even contaminated clothes and bedding have to be cleaned with disinfectants and hot water.