Researchers have found that 82+% of homes in the US currently have or have had a mouse infestation. Mice are the most common and economically important rodents in the Ann Arbor area. House mice are originally of Central Asian origin, but they are distributed worldwide and can be found throughout the United States. Mice may be cute and fuzzy but they can pose significant health and property threats.
Mice vary in color but most are dusty gray/brown with a cream belly. They vary in size from approximately 2 inches long to 5 inches long. In nature, mice prefer to eat seeds, insects, nuts and fruits. Inside structures, mice will consume nearly any human food but preferring grain based products. When supplied with an adequate food source a single mouse can give birth to 30-50 babies per year!
According to the CDC, worldwide, mice and rats spread over 35 diseases including Hantavirus and Salmonellosis. These diseases can be spread to humans directly, through contact with rodent feces, urine, saliva, or through rodent bites. Diseases carried by rodents can also be spread to humans indirectly through ticks, mites or fleas that have fed on an infected rodent.
Microdroplets of mouse urine and dander can cause allergies in children. Inhaling dust that contains dried feces may cause allergies or asthma flare ups.
Signs of an infestation
The first signs that you many have a mouse infestation are usually scratching, running and/or chewing in a wall or ceiling. Mice can be surprisingly loud when they are in your walls! Mice enter structures through gaps in outside walls and quickly make their way through the walls into your basement or attic. Once inside they build a nest and move from inside to outside collecting and storing food. Once they have established a population they start to explore the rest of your home. As they become comfortable in your home you will often begin to see small, black, rice sized droppings appear in your kitchen and basement.
The most serious property damage concerns in a residential setting are chewed wires in the home which pose a fire hazard, chewed wires in a vehicle which can be an expensive repair and chewed pipes which can cause water or sewage leaks. Mice also damage insulation in walls and attics reducing its effectiveness causing higher heating and cooling bills, they ruin stored food and destroy valuable clothing and linens to make their nests.
Trapping and poison baits are the primary means of controlling mice. In residential settings, trapping remains the safest and most effective method for removing mice. Mass trapping of unfinished spaces (attics and basements) allows pest control professionals to catch and remove the mice, track how many mice are present, locate where they may be entering and monitor for new mice after the initial trapping is complete. Poison baits are rarely necessary in a home. They pose a risk to children and pets and often lead to dead (stinky) mice in walls. The myth that the mice will eat the bait and go outside to find water is untrue. Poisoned mice typically die where they nest, which is often in walls and attics where they are difficult to find and remove.
Keeping mice out of a structure is called “exclusion”. Mouse exclusion is the most important part of a mouse prevention program. Keeping mice out of a structure includes, caulking, screening and patching holes under siding, around utility lines and many other areas where they may enter. Tree and shrub maintenance is another aspect of mouse prevention. Trees that are touching your roof act as a bridge for rodents to access existing holes or chew new entry points into your attic. Reducing forage (bird food, pest food etc) helps slow reproduction rates and attracts fewer rodents.
If you need mouse control in Washtenaw County contact us now!