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Tips on How to Keep Mice Away: The Risks to Health and Resolving Its Problems

How to Keep Mice Away
Written by John Wells

Contents

Mice are dangerous little creatures that seem harmless at first, but once you learn how they ‘operate’ and how easily they can spread various fatal and non-fatal (but still painful) diseases, you’ll change your mind. Yes, they do look cute (kind of), but they are vermin; they not only cause damage to your home (inside and outside), they can also make you or your family sick. Pets aren’t immune to the mice either; since mice are mammals, they can carry fleas, ticks, and other insects.

So, in addition to being able to transfer diseases themselves, they also carry insects on them that can also carry diseases (which are, again, dangerous to both humans and animals). If they get out of hand, then you’re going to have to contact the exterminators, which are costly, so the mice are, in a way, a financial risk as well. Thanks to all of this, you should do your best to keep mice away.

They pose a major health risk mainly because you won’t be able to detect where they peed (if we’re talking about food). Mice mark their territory and pee whenever they need to. Sometimes, they will pee on your food and even if you do manage to smell something wrong, your pet might not. Also, it’s strongly encouraged to not let any children inside the home while there’s an extermination happening. Kids don’t know how some things are dangerous, and the mice might seem cute to them. You don’t want to deal with a child that wants a mouse as a pet, nor do you want it exposed to the mice. Keep them safely away from the home during this time.

We’re also going to be talking about various reasons behind a mice infestation, as well as offering some tips and advice on how to stop it. Let’s dive deeper!

Is One Mouse a Cause for Concern?

One Mouse

This question gets asked relatively often and that’s okay since it’s a very good question. Yes, even if you’re absolutely positive that there’s only one mouse, it should be reason enough for concern. You’re probably wondering how one mouse can cause so much damage that you need to get rid of it as soon as possible. Here’s why: One single mouse can leave as much as 9.000 droppings each year. Yes, that’s correct – Nine Thousand droppings. That’s a huge number. Let’s do some maths so we can be absolutely positive that even one mouse is a danger. There are 365 days in a year. If one mouse can leave that many droppings, the daily average is 25-26 droppings. Imagine running into these many droppings all over your home. It’s kind of obvious now; one single mouse is reason enough to react.

But here’s the catch: One female mouse can give birth to 10 litters per year. One litter usually contains between 5 and 7 mice. So, if there’s one mouse, there’s bound to be two. And if there are two mice, there are bound to be much more. Leaving them alone for even one month can have disastrous consequences, so act quickly!

Mice Infestation Signs

You’re most likely interested in finding out what signs can help you figure out if you have a mice infestation or not. And while most people think that this is difficult (to be honest, sometimes it can be but it’s rare), it’s fairly straightforward. There are a couple of things to look out for.

Easy Mode

Sometimes, the mice are bold enough to run right in front of you or your family whilst you’re doing something. For example, you might be sitting in the living room with a couple of friends and a mouse decides to take a walk in front of everyone to see. This doesn’t happen very often since they’re pretty careful, but if it does, it’s the easiest way you’re going to know they’re there.

Sneaky

Have you been hearing weird noises during the night that you can’t explain? Don’t worry; it probably isn’t a ghost! The much more likely scenario is that you have mice inside your walls. How’d they got there? Through small cracks of course! It comes to no one’s surprise that mice are able to squeeze into very tight spaces that shouldn’t normally fit a living being such as them, but, well, they’re flexible. Not only that, but they’re completely used to chewing through things to reach a shelter (if it’s obstructing their path). And the noises you’ve been hearing are actually made by the mice while they’re moving through your home.

Not So Subtle

Sometimes, the mice have no self-control. Well, to be honest, they can’t have self-control but nevermind. If you’ve been leaving food packets and other similar items out in the open, you might want to check the packaging. Oftentimes, the mice will chew on these items and you’ll be able to notice the chew/bite marks. You should also take a look at some wooden items or areas in your home; mice need to keep their teeth sharp and, similarly to hamsters and other rodents, they’ll do this by nibbling on wood.

Dirty

Mice don’t generally make choices on where they’re going to go to #2. If you’re a victim of a mice infestation, you’ll be finding droppings almost everywhere where they move around. Since they produce such a large number of droppings (a couple of mice can raise the daily number to several hundred), it shouldn’t be difficult to find …as long as you know where to look! Mice love tight spaces and dark corners, and this is usually where they leave their droppings. Check the insides of your cupboards, darker corners of rooms, and similar areas. You’re bound to find some there!

I’m Sure that I Have Mouse Problems. Should I deal With Them Myself?

Depending on the size and severity of the problem, taking care of them will either work or it won’t. What we mean by this is that you may be able to get rid of them yourself if the infestation isn’t big enough yet and the number of mice is low. Also, the duration is important in determining what the better choice is. If you’ve been suspecting that there are mice in your home for a week or two, you still have a chance at dealing with them yourself. After all, the worst case scenario is that there are newly born mice and a couple of older ones (it’s worth noting, however, that this is true only if you’re absolutely certain about the start of your mice problem). You will most likely be able to finish them off with a couple of strategically placed traps. Make sure to use a couple of different types of traps to maximize your chances of getting them. If you manage to solve the problem yourself, start researching about mice deterrents – you’ll want to prevent them from ever coming back.

Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes, the mice are so sneaky that you couldn’t have known if they’re in your home or not. And once you find out and are certain, it’s already too late as the infestation has grown in size. This is when people usually call the exterminators and takes that financial hit (which isn’t as much as it sounds, but it’s still more than what you spend when taking care of the problem yourself).

Mice exterminators are a necessity and are very good at their jobs. They’ll figure out where the mice are hiding and they’ll know where to place the traps. They are also qualified in handling dangerous chemicals such as mouse/rat poison, although this isn’t their first choice of ‘weapon’. In any case, your home will be cleansed and they’ll give you a couple of tips on how to keep your home equipped with mice deterrents so such a problem doesn’t happen again.

Health Hazards

Health Hazards

As we mentioned before, mice pee on just about anything. Imagine cutting fresh vegetables on a cutting board that was peed on a by a mouse. You can imagine the health risks associated with this. But this isn’t the most dangerous thing in their unintentional arsenal. No, the most dangerous thing is LCM (Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis). Humans can contract this dangerous disease by breathing in dust which has been contaminated with mouse urine and droppings. So, even if they pee far away from any items or food, even if they’re hiding somewhere deep inside your home – you can still get sick.

LCM has symptoms which are similar to other diseases such as nausea, fever, headaches, a lack of appetite, and others. If you don’t visit a doctor once you contract this disease fast enough, there’s a high chance that it will start causing brain damage. Thanks to the symptoms, it’s difficult to detect in the first place. However, only 5% of the mice carry the disease. But imagine 100 mosquitoes in a room and only 5 are carriers of Malaria. Would you be willing to be in a room with them for two minutes, knowing full well that they can and will bite you and suck your blood, whilst 5 of them may cause you Malaria? Of course not! And you shouldn’t be static once you figure out that you have a mice infestation; act fast!

You should also know that these small rodents can cause domestic fires. They’ve been known to chew through wires and electrical equipment, and you know very well that unprotected and non-insulated wires can cause fires. The reasoning is quite simple: Electricity generates heat, and it can cause fires. So if there’s a naked wire close to some wood or other flammable material, it’s only a matter of time before fire bursts. Another reason to act quickly.

What Does Keep Mice Away?

peppermint

For starters, let’s talk about ways to keep mice away in the first place. You can use a couple of methods:

  1. Mothballs – Mothballs is an okay choice, but they’re quite dangerous. The main ingredient in mothballs is a chemical which is toxic to both humans and animals. If left unprotected, your child or pet might get severely sick by mothballs.
  2. Peppermint Oil – This is becoming a very popular choice for homeowners mainly because it’s simple to use and cheap. Soak cotton balls in peppermint oil and place them strategically all around your home (tip: the cotton balls you place outside should be protected from the rain). Once you stop smelling peppermint, it’s time to change the cotton balls.
  3. Ultrasonic Pest Repellers – These devices work by emitting high-frequency sound waves that should annoy the mice and cause discomfort. However, their effectiveness is questionable and the whole topic on these devices has been the subject of controversy.

What to Do if You Find a Mouse Infestation In Your Home

  • Don’t panic – Mice infestations are normal and shouldn’t cause you to worry too much. Keep your calm and think about how you’re going to solve the problem.
  • Ask for tips – If you end up calling the exterminators, ask them for some tips on how to prevent further mice infestations from happening. Follow these tips closely!
  • Ask for help – If you don’t have time to clean your home properly and are afraid that you aren’t doing a good job cleaning, why not contact the cleaners? Both independent contractors and cleaning companies do a great job cleaning!
  • Keep pet food sealed – Pet owners sometimes leave their pets food outside so it’s easier to feed them. You’ll have better chances at keeping the mice away if you simply seal and keep the food somewhere else.
  • Check your basement – It’s not unusual for people to keep various stuff (and trash) in their basement since that’s usually what it’s for. However, it’s better to clean everything and get rid of the useless stuff because mice love to make small, dark places their shelter.

Conclusion

Mice are a major health risk and don’t belong in your home. They will sometimes risk it all just to make it inside and make themselves comfortable. Your job is to make them leave by any means. Keep yourself, your family, and your pets safe.

About the author

John Wells

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