As cold weather approaches, so do mice. Find out these secrets about the rodents to keep your home from getting infested.
Mice are always on the hunt for non-threatening spaces that radiate warmth. Like humans, they seek out food, water, and shelter. So when they squeeze under the garage door of a suburban home during the first cold snap, they will usually lay down a trail of urine filled with pheromones that are like perfume to other mice. The more they lay down, the stronger the scent becomes. Sooner or later, the mice of the area say, "the house on Jones Street is being used by my community, I should try it too."
They’re flexible—but not that flexible
They can squeeze into some pretty small places, but they have a backbone and a skeleton just like other mammals. Their skulls typically measure about six millimeters high—about the size of a dime. If they can fit their heads under a door or through a pipe, their backbones are flexible enough that they can fit the rest of the way through a six-millimeter hole.
Cheese isn’t necessarily their favorite food
The cartoon Tom and Jerry may have immortalized the idea that cheese is their favorite food, but they’ll nibble anything you leave out for them. That might mean a piece of cheese that fell off the counter, or it could be some blueberries that you left out. Really anything that they can get access to. In fact, they like variety: they’ll also nosh on cockroaches—a great source of protein—and they have a taste for chocolate too.
They’re big breeders
If their bellies are full (they only need one-tenth of an ounce of food every 24 hours), they’re going have lots and lots of little mice. Female house mice produce between six and eight pups per litter. And they can do that between five and ten times a year. With mice reaching maturity within six weeks, it’s not hard to imagine how quickly a litter can turn into an infestation.
They can wreak havoc on your wiring
The word “rodent” comes from the Latin for “to gnaw.” That’s what they love to do—whether it’s the electrical wiring in your car or the gas lines inside your house. It can also shut down the appliances in your kitchen, every dishwasher repairman will tell you that. The damage can be dangerous: gnawing the wrong wires in your attic, say, could cause a short and spark a fire.
They may be carrying some nasty germs
Slinking around dirty places like alleyways, crawl spaces, ditches, and sewers means they’re likely to pick up some scary, antibiotic-resistant germs. Researchers from Columbia University trapped hundreds of mice in apartments around New York City and released their results earlier this year. They found that these so-called ordinary looking mice out there were carrying four of the most important germs associated with food-borne illness; —C. difficile, E. coli, Shigella, and Salmonella. Wild mice can carry up to 35 diseases, so when they are skittering across your countertops, it’s not just a little mouse in the house. It can be a potential health risk.
They have different risk levels
Just like humans, they count both daredevils and nervous Nellies among their ranks. When a female mouse gives birth to a litter of five pups, that will likely reflect the variation. Some tend to take chances, like 17- and 18-year-olds with new driver’s licenses. Those are the ones that will get easily trapped. Others will skedaddle in the presence of humans, but they can get aggressive if cornered.
They’re wary of that trap you set out
Many of them are what’s known in the industry as “trap-shy.” When you put one out, they might not know that it’s a trap, but they’re very attuned to the fact that something in their environment has changed. That said, there’s plenty of rodent-cam footage of them running around the traps. So how can you break down their resistance? Ask GONE Pest Management about our NO Snap Trap - 100% RODENT ELIMINATION achieved on every job, by our state of the art system.
They get stressed out too
It may seem like life is great for them with lots of crumbs available, plenty of soft places to sleep, and many wires to chew on. But they’re constantly scurrying about, afraid they’re going to get killed by a dog or a cat or a human or a trap. And they start fighting with each other too. If they get a full year in, that’s a good life for a mouse, but usually it’s seven, eight, nine months.
But cats don’t necessarily frighten them
Just like mice have different appetites for risk, felines vary in their levels of ferocity. Some cats have zero interest in the hunt, especially if they’re well-fed and taken care of. GONE Pest Management has seen a lot of infestations of mice where people had two or three cats and the mice were thriving on cat food. but a young male cat that’s feeling territorial may quickly dispatch with a mouse that wanders in on a cold night.
They’re not scared by those electronic devices
Those gizmos people are selling online that claim ultrasonic sound waves can scare mice away? There’s no credible scientific evidence they work. Homeowners love the idea that they don’t need poison, they don’t need those yucky traps, and/or that they can just plug in this magic machine and it chases vermin out of their house. Well, if it were that simple, we wouldn’t need a single pest control professional anywhere in the world.