The house mouse (Mus musculus) is the most frequently encountered common pest rodent. Unfortunately, house mice are more than a nuisance: they damage property, contaminate food, carry diseases, and even start fires!
Experts believe house mice were originally native to Asia. Today, however, they’re found all over the world. House mice are extremely common throughout North America and the US. Wherever you live, house mice live nearby.
Mice are nocturnal and very social. Related males and females are compatible, but unrelated male mice will typically behave aggressively toward one another. House mice tend to create and then protect home “territories,” which they mark with urine. Mature mice behave aggressively when another mouse enters their territory.
House mice prefer to build nests inside their territory in dark, cramped, secluded areas where they can remain hidden. They build these nests out of any soft, chewable material they can find near prospective nesting sites. Most mice stick to a set foraging range inside their territory, though they may range further if necessary. Mice like to move between different cover and shelter when foraging, so they can remain as hidden as possible.
Adult house mice are about 2½ to 3½” long, with a tail that’s around 2¾ to 4” long. They weigh around ½ to 1 ounce and have smooth, dust-grey, brownish, or dark grey fur. House mice have a pointed muzzle, small eyes, un-grooved incisors, large ears, and short, broad feet. Their tails are uniformly dark, scaly, and semi-naked. In general, house mice look smaller and skinnier than rats.
House mice are highly prolific breeders. They reach sexual maturity in just 35 days. Pregnancy lasts an average of 19 days. Under ideal conditions, a female house mouse can give birth to 36 to 72 offspring per year. These offspring, in turn, will reach sexual maturity in 35 days and begin reproducing. Mouse infestations quickly get out of hand when left alone, simply because mice tend to multiply so quickly.
House mice reproduce all year, especially if they can get indoors during the winter. Life expectancy for most house mice is less than 1 year, but some mice may live as long as 6.
CONTROL AND PREVENTION
Mice enter homes to get to food, water, warmth, and shelter. If you can make sure they can’t get those things, they’ll leave you alone. Start with food. Keep all dry pantry good in airtight, hard plastic containers. Thoroughly clean dining and food prep areas after every meal, and vacuum up crumbs and food remains immediately. Take out your garbage every night and make sure you don’t leave residue behind in your bins. Look for other food sources like bird seed, and make sure they’re inaccessible to would-be rodent invaders.
Next, control the moisture and humidity in your home. Patch up drafts, fix plumbing leaks, and look for any stray water sources mice could exploit. Consider investing in a dehumidifier. To keep mice from finding warmth and shelter, you’ll have to close up their access points. Seal gaps around doors and windows, utility lines, and baseboarding. Make sure you’re thorough; mice can fit through any gap the size of a dime! Inside, keep nesting and hiding materials like boxes and bags elevated and as inaccessible as possible.
If you have a house mouse problem, contact Plunkett’s Pest Control right away. Don’t wait–the sooner we arrive, the faster we can stop your rodents from multiplying out of control. Don’t be ashamed; nearly everyone deals with house mice at some point. Let us help you deal with yours.
First, Plunkett’s technicians will identify the access points where house mice are getting into your home. We’ll make small repairs to seal up access points ourselves and recommend how to repair the larger ones. Then, we’ll strategically set up rodenticide bait stations in house mouse territories where they’ll be as effective as possible.
In some cases, we’ll set bait stations both inside and outside, around foundation walls or under decks. When necessary, we may also apply rodenticide tracking powder into infested structural voids directly. If our exclusion and baiting procedures don’t yield quick enough results, we may also use snap traps. Whatever the mouse problem, we’ll solve it quickly, un-intrusively, and permanently.