The House Mouse is found in buildings as they seek the warmth and shelter for nesting sites and food. The House Mouse body length ranges between 60-90mm, and the tail can add 100mm. They weigh less than 25g, and their fur colour varies between light brown and grey.
House Mice have an acute sense of hearing, frequently using ultrasound to communicate, and is especially sensitive to any sudden noise. Their presence is usually detected from their dark-coloured droppings or damage to stored foods in the larder, packaging or woodwork
House Mice live in nests that they build out of cloth, wool and paper. Nests are often built inside houses, in places such as roof spaces, under floors or in wall cavities, and wherever there is access to a good source of food, especially during the winter. House Mice can squeeze through cracks as small as 5mm, but mouse holes are typically 20-30mm in diameter. House Mice are mainly active at night and can often be heard running about as they search for food.
Mice are erratic, sporadic feeders, nibbling at many sources of food rather than taking repeated meals from any one item. They do not need free water to drink as they generally obtain sufficient moisture from their diet. Their favourite foods are cereal products, although they will eat almost anything.
Why control House Mice?
House Mice have been known to spread some nasty diseases to humans such as Salmonella, Listeria, which can cause food poisoning.
These nibbling nuisances have a compulsive need to gnaw to keep their incisor teeth worn down to a constant length. Electric cables, water pipes, gas pipes, packaging, and woodwork, may all be seriously damaged by mice - many instances of electrical fires and floods have been attributed to them.
House Mice can ruin an organisation's reputation. If clients and customers spot evidence of rodent infestation in the premises you manage, they are unlikely to want to do business with you.
Signs of mouse activity
- House Mice droppings - Droppings are often black, rod-shaped and 3-6mm long. Fresh droppings will be soft and moist. Each mouse can leave approximately 80 droppings per day. Common places to find mouse droppings are under the kitchen sink, around central heating boilers and in roof spaces
- Smear marks - These are dark grey marks left on surfaces by repeated contact with the oils in mouse fur.
- Nests - Sometimes nests can be found indoors for example in lofts, under floorboards or in airing cupboards
- Gnawing - House Mice gnaw continually on materials such as wood, carpets, paper, pipe cables and furniture. Check for damage to foodstuffs in cupboards
How to prevent House Mice
Eliminate any harbourage points such as sealing gaps around
pipes and under sheds; Mice only need a gap of 5mm to gain entry, but normally
they are 20-30mm in diameter.
Remove potential nesting sites by keeping yards and gardens clean and tidy, by cutting back overgrown areas and clearing any piles of wood/debris.
Cover any household waste where House Mice can get access to it, close dustbin lids and cover compost heaps.
How to get rid of House Mice
It is important to get rid of mice quickly, as House Mice are adaptable, highly mobile and breed rapidly - this combination can make mouse control a difficult task for the untrained individual. For any mouse infestation, we would always recommend contacting a professional pest control company, preferably a member of the BPCA. They are trained in mouse control and will have access to a range of professional use rodenticides which are not available to the public.
If you decide to carry out the work yourself, then you can buy amateur use poisons and traps from a hardware store or garden centre. However, due to their habits, traditional baiting techniques and trapping frequently do not work, and a combination of rodenticides may be necessary.
An alternative to using poisons are break-back traps. You may catch mice if baited with nutty chocolate, raisins or similar attractive food and placed close to signs of mouse activity. Ironically, cheese is a comparatively poor mouse-bait. Place traps close to and at right angles to walls so the treadle may be activated from either direction.
When placing poison or traps, make sure they are in a safe and secure location out of reach of children and pets. Also, proofing all means of entry as much possible will help to prevent entry. Blocking holes with wire wool embedded in quick-setting cement, and fit metal strips to doors to prevent mice from entering.