The house mouse is the most commonly encountered and economically important of the commensal rodents. House mice are of Central Asian origin, but they are distributed worldwide and can be found throughout the United States. House mice are not only a nuisance, but they can pose significant health and property threats.
House mice breed rapidly and can adapt quickly to changing conditions. In fact, a female house mouse can give birth to a half dozen babies every three weeks and can produce up to 35 young per year.
What Do House Mice Look Like?
House mice are typically dusty gray with cream-colored bellies. Fur color varies from light brown to dark gray depending on the mouse’s location. House mice have four legs and a round shaped body. Their muzzles are pointed, and their ears are large with some hair. House mice range from 2.5 to 3.75 inches long. Their tails are usually 2.75 to 4 inches long.
What Do House Mice Eat?
In nature, mice prefer to eat cereal and seeds, but they will also eat insects, nuts and fruits. Inside structures, mice will consume almost any human food, but prefer grain based products.
Signs of an Infestation
There are a handful of ways to tell if house mice have made your home their own, including the following telltale signs of an infestation:
1. Gnaw marks: Gnaw marks may be either rough or smooth.
2. Droppings: House mouse droppings may be either soft and moist or dried and hard. The droppings measure about 1/8-1/4 inch long. They are rod shaped and pointed on the ends.
3. Tracks: House mice leave 4-toed prints with their front feet and 5-toed prints with their hind feet.
4. Rub marks: House mice often leave oily rub marks on walls along which they travel.
5. Burrows: House mice burrow using nesting materials such as insulation.
6. Runways: House mice usually use the same pathways. Active runways are sometimes visible, with rub marks, droppings, and footprints along them.
7. Odor: The odor of house mouse urine may become distinct if there is a large number of house mice in a particular area. House mice use their strong-smelling urine to communicate with one another.
8. Damaged goods: Mice prefer seeds or cereals but will readily eat insects trapped on glue boards.
9. Actual rodent: If you see a mouse scurrying across the kitchen floor, there is likely a family of mice hiding out of sight.
How to Keep House Mice Away from Your House
To keep mice and other rodents out, make sure all holes larger than a dime and gaps wider than a pencil are sealed with silicone-based caulk, steel wool, or other construction material. Keep areas clear and store boxes off the floor, as mice can hide in clutter. Store food in sealed glass or metal containers. Leave surfaces clear of crumbs and food morsels, which may attract house mice.
If you are looking for quality pest control solutions for your home or business, reach out to Ready Pest Control today!