Updated: Jun 16, 2019
This month we are looking at mice, whether they are house mice, wood or field mice all will be unwelcomed visitors in your home. You may hear them scratching and scrabbling about on your ceiling on running along the skirting. All of them can cause damage, spoil stored food and can carry bacteria and viruses including salmonella. They are very resourceful and can squeeze through a gap of 5 mm or more, about the size of a pencil. The most frequent places to find them will be under kitchen units, in food cupboards and rood spaces.
Mice feed sporadically (meaning they eat small amounts in different places), they will explore everywhere leaving a trail of small dry droppings, the size of a broken pencil lead and they urinate frequently. Mice don’t need a water source (unlike rats) as they get all of the moisture they need from the food they find. Try to keep you house free of dropped food and rubbish, especially in the kitchen. I went to a house recently where there were mice living in the sofa eating dropped food where the occupants were eating food whilst watching television. The occupants didn’t know they were there.
Where one mouse is seen there will always be more, normally a family group of 1 dominant male, 2 to 5 females and many young. Mice breed very quickly normally weaned at 28 days.
The first line of defence is to stop our furry friends entering in the first place, anything larger than 5mm may allow mice in, so fill any holes in your walls, with wire wool, mastic or cement. Set mouse traps in multiple places, mice like all sorts of food so try chocolate, peanut butter, grain or cereal. Mouse bait (available from garden centres and various other shops) should be used with great care. In some areas of the country mice are resistant to some of the poisons on the market, so if you are continuously putting out bait and it is getting eaten but you still think you have mice, you may well have poison resistant mice. In the case of suspected resistance call in a professional who will use a variety of poison which should work, and may spot any unseen entry points.
Always read instructions and keep traps and baits away from children, pets and wild animals particularly birds. Use disposable gloves when handling baits and traps, check baits and traps regularly as leaving injured rodents in traps is cruel and illegal.
Make sure any professional you use is qualified, insured and has the necessary waste disposal certificates. Make sure they quote a price before starting work and explain what they are doing. It’s your house you have a right to know. Ask them to take photos and show you what they mean.
Next month we will be looking at bed bugs and how not to bring them home from your holiday. Call us for free advice on any pest issue if you need to, see our advert for details.
Andy - First Choice Pest Control Ltd