Unless their name is Mickey or Minnie, you may have a cause for concern if you see a mouse in your house. Mice, although they might look cuter than rats, are also rodents. They are undesirable residents for a number of reasons. In this article, we will detail what to do if you spot a mouse in your house, as well as ways to prevent mice from entering your home.
Should You Worry if You See a Mouse in Your House?
Mice make people sick
There are different species of mice, and the threat they pose to human health varies. Mice contaminate the areas where they nest and eat. They can spread listeria, hantavirus, and salmonellosis. Although it takes only one mouse to spread illness, a mouse infestation is a major health hazard.
If you see a mouse, remember that one, single mouse is never alone. Female mice can breed year-round and have between five to ten litters of baby mice in a year. On average a litter of mice is between six to eight babies. However, short gestation periods mean that a family of six can turn into 60 in only three months.
A mouse infestation can destroy a home. By chewing through electrical wires, mice can burn down a building. Mice are nocturnal and build nests in the attic and walls and set to work on destroying wiring. Although gnawing on the wires shortens their teeth, it allows them to gain access to places that wiring was preventing them from getting into. It’s not just wires they chew through. Mice can gnaw through gas lines, as well as aluminum, soft concrete, insulation, wood furniture and structures, plastic pipes, rubber, and drywalling.
Not only will they chew through just about anything, but mice will also eat anything and everything. Mice love eating grain, crackers, and cereal. They eat a lot and they eat often, up to 20 times per day. That is why they will nestle down close to a food source like your pantry or kitchen. If you can’t find the snacks and candy your kids are hiding in their bedrooms, the mice certainly will.
Mice operate with a single-mindedness of purpose. If they want in, they will get in. Any cracks like poorly fitted doors, and holes in the walls, are an open invitation for mice to explore when seeking access to a home. Like water, they will take the path of less resistance. This willfulness extends to cracks and gaps in windows, external pipes, chimneys, and roof vents. In fact, mice can climb, jump and swim.
Be on the lookout for chewed food packaging inside your home, and also where the trash can is kept outside. Signs of mice also include noises that sound like the pitter-patter of little feet emanating from walls and ceilings. Smells in odd places can also be warning signs. Lastly, mouse droppings provide concrete evidence that you have squatters.
To prevent a mouse problem in your home, start by checking the outside of buildings and sealing cracks and holes. Remove garden debris next to foundation walls. Relocate woodpiles away from the walls as well. Next, seal and caulk around pipes and wires where they enter the house. Do the same around external doors and window frames. Inspect the roof and roof vents and keep gutters clear. On the inside, make sure dry goods including pet food are stored in air-tight containers. Take out the trash frequently. Make sure your kids are aware of the danger of hiding candy and snacks under the mattress or in the closet. Lastly, to get rid of mice for good, call an exterminator.
Additional Reading: Identify and Prevent Rodent Infestations
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