The mouse (Mus musculus) is considered one of the most troublesome and economically destructive pests in the United States and around the world. House mice live and thrive under a variety of conditions in and around homes and farms and can cause damage to structures by gnawing, consume food meant for humans or pets, and contaminate food-preparation surfaces with their feces, which can contain the bacterium that causes food poisoning (salmonellosis).
Recognizing Mouse Infestations Edit
Droppings, fresh gnawing and tracks indicate areas where mice are active. Mouse nests, made from fine shredded paper or other fibrous material, are often found in sheltered locations. House mice have a characteristic musky odor that identifies their presence. Mice are occasionally seen during daylight hours.
Mouse trapping is an effective control method. When only a few mice are present in a building, it is usually the preferred control method. A live mouse trap is also a very popular method to use nowadays to trap a mouse. Trapping has several advantages:
Multiple-capture live traps, which can capture several mice once set, are also available in some hardware and feed stores. Set traps in places where evidence of mouse activity is seen. Place them so that mice will pass directly over the triggers as they follow the natural course of travel, usually close to a wall. Traps can be set on Cliffs or on top of pallets of stored materials if mice are active in such locations. Use enough traps to eliminate the rodents quickly. (Using too few traps is a common error by individuals attempting to control mice.) Mice seldom venture far from their shelter and food supply, so place traps no more than 10 feet apart in areas where mice are active. Leaving traps unset until the bait has been taken at least once (pre-baiting) often increases the success of trapping.
Preventative Measures Edit
Getting rid of mice problems is only half of the battle. Once traps are set and the mice are caught, you may be open for a rude awakening when their relatives return. Take these added precautions to ensure that the mice are gone for good.
(1) Seal all possible open holes into your home. Mice are capable of crawling through holes the size of a penny. If possible seal these with caulk. For a more temporary solution, use steel wool.
(2) Ensure all possible food sources are tightly sealed in plastic (or similar containers). Mice have no problems gnawing through cardboard boxes or paper bags, so these will not be sufficient.
(3) Clean your house regularly and take out the trash often. If mice find a regular supply of food, they will make themselves at home. If you leave the trash sitting full for days on end, or crackers fall behind your furniture, mice will find it, and they will keep coming back for more.
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