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How To Battle Mice

No matter where your home is, occassionally unwanted guests will visit you and, if left alone, will stay with you forever or their progeny will. I am speaking about mice. While not as scary as their larger cousins, the rat, mice infestations are still a serious problem.

Mice are prolific breeders, producing 6-10 litters continuously throughout the year. And the young are born hungry. Still, the greatest economic loss from mice is not due to how much they eat, but what must be thrown out because of damage or contamination.

They chew through wood and other materials. And their droppings spoil more than they consume. Food, clothing, furniture, books and many other household items are contaminated by their droppings and urine, or damaged by their gnawing.

Along with causing damage, mice also spread diseases and parasites such as:  Salmonella (food poisoning), Rat bite fever, Tapeworms and Ringworm.

There are many different kinds of mice, but most likely you will be dealing with the common house mouse (Mus musculus). Mice are small rodents, with pointed snouts, small ears, elongated bodies, and slender, hairless tails. Adult mice are about 3 inches long or a little more, not counting the tail.

How can you tell if you have mice, here are some signs:
  • Droppings:  Mouse droppings are about the size of rice grains, usually oblong in shape, but sometimes round.

  • Tracks:  You may notice a scattered patch of flour or talcum powder on the floor along the wall or other spot. Sytill not sure what is causing this? Then put a cracker or a piece of bread spread with peanut butter in the middle of your "tracking patch." If you find more tracks you have rodent problems.

  • Burrows:  You may find small tunnels in weedy places, under boards, under dog houses and near garbage cans or dumpsters.

  • Gnawings:  Any little hole with chewed edges is a sure sign. Check your kitchen cupboards for chewed packages. Look for shredded paper. Look for tooth marks.

  • Sound:  The scittering of tiny feet. Listen for gnawing or scratching in walls or attics, especially at night.

  • Nests:  Clumps of chewed paper or cloth (including gloves, carpet, clothes) are often found in boxes, drawers, basements or attics.

  • Odor:  Do you smell a rat, I mean, mouse? A musty odor usually indicates mice, not rats, are present.
So now you know what is running around your house when the lights are out. How do you get rid of these mice?

Good sanitation habits is the first course of action. Clean up your yard and garage, removing trash and debris. Inside the home, look for cluttered areas where mice can find shelter. If house mice do not have places to hide, they can not multiply into large numbers.

In the kitchen and wherever you store food, place rice and grains, etc., into metal containers with tight covered lids. Clean up any pet food left over from feeding your dog or cat. Mice do not forage far for food. If they can't find it in your house, or close by, they will move on.

Mouse traps are generally preferred over rodenticides (poisons). Traps are less hazardous to use around children and pets and they work. Conventional snap-type traps are easy to use and available at most supermarkets and hardware stores.

Many bait their traps by tying small pieces of bacon, gum drops, or raisins to the trigger with thread. I prefer to spread peanut butter on the trigger. Not surprising, there are many types of mouse traps to choose from including multiple-catch mouse traps (Ketch-All). This device can capture and hold a dozen or more mice before needing to be emptied.

Glue boards also are very effective against mice. Mice become entangled in the glue when they run over the boards, soon dying of suffocation. If by accident, glue from a glue board contacts the fur of a pet or the skin of a child, it can be removed with mineral or vegetable oil.

Regardless of which you use, traps or glue boards should be placed up against walls, behind objects, and in secluded areas where mouse droppings, gnawing and damage are evident. Snap traps should be oriented perpendicular to the wall, with the trigger end against the vertical surface. Multiple-catch traps should be oriented with the entrance hole parallel to the wall.

Once a trap has been sprung or a glue board captures a mouse, place it in a plastic bag and dispose of it.

Ultrasonic pest repellers can keep mice out of your home. hese devices uses ultrasonic vibrations that cannot be heard by people, cats and dogs, but can be heard by mice and other pests. These sounds irritate the mice to the point that they won't stay around. My mom uses such a device in her mobile home and hasn't been botherd by mice for years. Multi-units for different rooms and floors may be needed to be most effective.

In the wild, raptors such as howks and owls, snakes and coyotes control the mice population. In the home, you might want to keep a cat to do the same job. In the garden, you can plant mint. Mice are allergic to the mint flavors and will stay away from the smell, so indirectly from your home. Not a complete solution, but mint is a nice plant to have around anyway.

Always remember to throw away the dead rat otherwise it will give away a bad smell and it is always better not to use poison because that might pollute your home environment and cause accidents.

You have many options to control and keep mice from living in your home. With a little preperation and quick action, you can easily keep out these unwanted visitors.

About the Author:  Scott Harker is the publisher of several websites including: Magic Card Trick, Golf Shoes, Tattoo Finder, Diagnosing Yeast Infections, and On The Hook | Surf Fishing Rods.

News about Controlling Mice

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