The rodent Mus musculus, commonly known as the house mouse, is one of the most persistent and invasive pests in North America. The presence of mice can be unnerving; many people are frightened by the sight or even signs of a mouse in the home. Their tendency to get into food stored in cupboards and pantries, pollute areas of the home with urine and feces, as well as their ability to reproduce quickly, make them a particular nuisance. They infest both residential and commercial properties. Mice are extraordinarily resilient; properly eliminating them requires knowledge and experience of mice and their habits.
The mouse has lived alongside humans for thousands of years, thriving in and around residential homes and commercial structures. They are capable of doing a considerable amount of damage; a mouse will consume about 3 grams of food per day, but they destroy a considerable amount more than they eat, contaminating it with fecal matter, urine and fur. In agricultural areas, they are capable of ruining massive amounts of food; the World Health Organization estimates that mice destroy around 33 million tons of food per year. Mice may carry a variety of diseases; in addition they can transmit many other diseases indirectly through ticks, fleas or mites that live on infected rodents.
Mice can reproduce at an astounding rate. Under the right condition, a female mouse can have up to ten litters per year, each litter averaging about of 3-14 pups; this means that, in theory, a single pair of mice could multiply into the hundreds within a single year. Their high rates of reproduction makes it incumbent upon homeowners to ensure that any attempts to deal with a mouse infestation are capable of eliminating (not just reducing) the population.
How to get rid of mice
When people realize they have a problem, conventional, individual mouse trapping is often the first thing they attempt. It is not difficult to catch a few mice using individual traps, but trapping usually is not sufficient to deal with larger mouse infestations. For one thing, most homeowners do not start trapping until they have already found evidence of mouse activity in their home (feces, urine trails, cereal boxes with the corners gnawed, etc.); unfortunately, by the time this happens the mouse problem has usually become so critical that laying a few traps is no longer sufficient to handle it.
Another factor is that many homeowners do not know how to place traps effectively; successful trapping requires a knowledge of the habits and movements of mice in order to place the traps in the best locations.
Finally, individual trapping is unable to eliminate an entire population, which is especially important given the mice’s ability to reproduce quickly. In fact, pregnant females will seldom venture out during their gestational period, which means you are very unlikely to catch them by individual trapping. Mice also leave pheromone trails behind wherever they go; pheromone trails are chemical indicators that attract other mice, even after the mouse that left the trail has been removed. Any removal efforts will be ineffective unless all mice in the area can be eliminated. Individual trapping is an effective indicator for the presence of mice in an area, but is not a suitable technique for eliminating entire populations in most circumstances.
In order to remove an entire population, something is needed that can both take care of existing mice and exclude any future mice from getting into the home. Creature Control technicians are experts in identifying rodent entry points, locating nesting areas, and removing and excluding mice to keep your home mouse-free. Our technicians will begin by talking with you about the activity you have witnessed, followed by a thorough foundation to roof-line inspection (including the attic) which will identify entry points, nesting sites and potential problem areas. Our technicians will give quotes for repairing entry points, suggest environmental changes and install tamper-resistant rodenticide bait stations to eliminate the existing mouse population.
To schedule a mouse inspection, or for more questions about our mouse control and exclusion processes, call the rodent experts at Creature Control at 1-800-441-1519. Please visit our commercial and residential tabs on the side of this page to learn more about your specific mouse problem.
Common behaviors that increase rodent activity
In many cases, mouse activity is encouraged by certain human activities that create conditions conducive to rodents. Some of these activities include:
- Boxed food stored on the ground in pantries
- Woodchips against the foundation of the house
- Pet food left out in the open
- Unsanitary living conditions
- Standing water anywhere in the house (except the sump basin)
- Improperly stored garbage or trash bags left out
- Garage doors left open at night
Creature Control is a Michigan based company, locally owned and operated. We service ten counties, including the Ann Arbor, Lansing, Grand Rapids, Grand Haven and Jackson metro areas, as well as Livingston County and western Oakland County.
Residential Mice Removal
In a residential home, mice look for an undisturbed location to nest; this could be a wall cavity, attic, garage, basement or even an unused cabinet or dresser. Mouse nests will be lined with materials such as shredded paper or bits of cloth; deer mice may also use feathers or fur. Mice will usually nest somewhere near a food source – in residential homes, this usually means the kitchen. If you have seen evidence of mice in the kitchen, chances are the nest is within ten feet of that spot. Mice can squeeze their bodies through extremely small openings and move from room to room at places where pipes or wires penetrate the wall, if such places are not sealed off properly. Mice will generally try to stay out of the open, but if they do venture out they tend to keep one side of their body pressed against the wall, as this gives them a sense of direction and security since their eyesight is not good. They explore their territories daily in their search for food and are known to be very curious.
There is one reason and one reason only why mice have taken up residence in or around your home: a readily available food source. Their nest location is determined by its proximity to their food source; this is usually in the home near the kitchen, but can be outdoors as well (thick vegetation, wood piles and debris near the house are common nesting sites). Mice are attracted to grains and cereals primarily, but they also like chocolate, especially if it is made with peanut butter. Cereal boxes gnawed around the edges, bags of crackers or granola ripped into and finding chocolate bars half-eaten are all sure signs of mice.
Another visible sign of mice is their distinctive droppings and urine stains they leave behind. Mouse droppings are narrow and pointed, usually about 1/8” to 1/4” in length (this is a good way to distinguish mice from rats, as rat droppings are considerably longer and have blunted ends). Mice will also leave “rub marks” or smudges along the wall sides and floors along their commonly used trails. Mouse urine is phosphorescent and will show up under a blacklight. Most homeowners with mouse problems also hear squeaking, gnawing or scuttling noises from the walls at night; it is not uncommon to find tooth marks from gnawing on baseboards, trim and the bottoms of cabinets.
Since mice are always looking for food, they tend to foul up areas of the kitchen where food is stored or prepared, or even where things have come in
contact with food. For example, it is not uncommon to find droppings in silverware drawers, food preparation areas, tupperware drawers, in the pantry and around the stove. Mice are constantly defecating and urinating when they move, so the presence of droppings is the surest indicator of where mice are active.
Elimination of a residential mouse problem typically involves identifying how mice are getting in and our of the home, eliminating the current population, and sealing up your home so the mice cannot get back in. Contact a Creature Control expert today to discuss your home’s mouse problem and what steps we can take together to get rid of your mice and restore your peace of mind!
Commercial Mice Removal
Mice can be a big problem in commercial developments. This is especially true in restaurants and venues that serve food, but mice can infest any structure that offers them conducive conditions. Factories, offices, retail stores can all have rodent problems. It often happens that businesses have problems that are not their fault; perhaps they are located next to a restaurant whose dumpster enclosure is unsanitary, or otherwise have a neighboring business that is the source of the issue. Still, if the mice are in your establishment, they are your problem.
The last thing your business needs is a bunch of mouse traps laying all over the place. Forget conventional trapping. For a commercial rodent problem, Creature Control employs a combination of rodenticide bait stations to knock out existing populations and structural modifications to prevent future re-infestations. This last point is particularly important for businesses who may always be at risk due to proximity to a dumpster enclosure or other conditions conducive to rodent activity.
Creature Control also offer rat management plans for situations where rats are frequenting dumpster enclosures or getting into structures.
Creature Control’s wildlife control technicians can assess the situation, place discreet rodenticide bait stations that will eliminate the rodent population, and write up an estimate for repairs to seal your property against mouse intrusion. Let us handle your pest control business so you can get back to running yours!