Mice can get into homes and become a real problem – building nests, contaminating food, causing damage, and spreading disease. But to get rid of them, you need to understand what they do and what they like. Here are some questions and answers to help you deal with fall rodent issues.
How do I know if I have mice?
Although the most obvious sign is that you have mice in your house, of course, seeing live or dead mice in your house. But there are plenty of other signs that can tell you that a mouse infestation may be an issue. These include:
- gnawed holes in stored foods, piled paper, insulation, shredded toilet paper
- rodent hairs
- runways – narrow pathways where dust and dirt have been swept clean, grease marks are noticeable, or urine trails can be seen under black light.
- nests or piled nesting materials (this goes back to shredded toilet paper and insulation)
- skittering scratches on hardwood or laminate floors
- the rank odor of a large infestation.
How do I know if it is a mouse or a rat?
Rats are much larger than mice: Mice are about 2 to 3 1/2 inches in length – plus another 3 to 4 inches of tail. The most common rats in the U.S. are the Norway rat and the roof rat. They will be about 14 to 16 inches in length, with tail length varying by species. Unlike mice, which rarely burrow, rats will dig under buildings, along fences, and under plants and debris.
A female Norway rat can have six litters of up to 12 young per year. These 70+ rats can start to breed when by the time they are three months old. Rats can enter a building through a hole as small as 1/2 inch in diameter. They are strong swimmers, so, yes, it’s true that rats will live in sewers and can enter buildings through broken drains or toilets. A rat will climb to get to food, water, or shelter. They will follow regular routines and paths each day. If new objects are set in its path, it will do whatever it can to avoid it – making it much more difficult to catch them.
What do mice eat?
Mice most prefer to eat cereal grains and plants, but they will feed on almost anything.
How long will a mouse live?
A house mouse will rarely live more than a year in the wild, but in a protected environment with food and water (like a house!), it can live up to three years. BUT the average female mouse can give birth to up to five litters of offspring a year. With an average of three to fourteen young for each litter, it means that this little pest can have as many as seventy baby mice a year.
Why do I keep finding shredded paper and black rice-like things in my basement?
It is very likely that you have found a mouse nest. A mouse will build its nest from about any soft material or finely shredded paper. And the little black “rice” is most likely mouse droppings.
Mice are nocturnal creatures, so they are most active from dusk up ’til morning light. They don’t usually like bright lights, but a mouse may sometimes be seen during the day, especially if its nest has been disturbed, it is seeking food, or there is a large infestation.
Why are one or two mice a problem?
Like we said earlier, the average female mouse can give birth to up to five litters of offspring a year. With an average of three to fourteen young for each litter, it means that this little pest can have as many as seventy baby mice a year.
How do mice get in my house?
A mouse can slip through holes and gaps as small as 1/4 inch – much smaller than appears possible. And if it’s not big enough to squeeze through, the mouse can gnaw it until it is big enough. Mice also can jump 13 inches high and can run along wires, cables, and ropes. Because they are excellent jumpers, swimmers, and climbers, mice can climb even rough, vertical surfaces.
What can I do to get rid of mice in my home?
You may be able to eliminate a couple of mice by placing traps and bait where they are known to travel. Be very careful that children and pets can not get harmed by the traps or inject the bait because if it can kill a rodent, it could certainly harm others. It’s entirely possible that you have more than a couple of mice – or will in the near future. You may want to consider getting professional help to control them.
CONTACT Holistic Pest Solutions to learn more about our treatment plans for fall rodent issues or give us a call at 434 842 1700. Whether you’re in Charlottesville, Waynesboro, or close by to either, Holistic Pest Solutions has the perfect plan for you. We’re mindful of our clients AND our Earth.
*Our Environmental Commitment: Holistic Pest Solutions is committed to the preservation of our environment. Our goal is to nurture the soils and plant life of lawns and landscapes. Utilizing holistic pest control practices that cause the least amount of impact on the environment.