In order to properly identify what type of threat you’re looking at during an infestation, you need to understand how mice live and what it’s all about. Mice are a pretty big threat to the health and safety of homeowners all over the world since mice have habitats almost everywhere. Thinking that there’s no way you could be attacked by mice is wrong. They can, and will, risk their lives if they sense that what your home could offer them is good enough. Also, knowing the differences between mice and rats will give you a pretty nice advantage.
They’re in a constant search for food, water, and a shelter. They prefer human homes because they’re warm during the winter (when most infestations happen) and have easy access to both of their bodily needs. In some rare cases, they might manage to infest your home even if you did everything you could to prevent such an occurrence from happening.
See, the issue most people have is that they don’t know how to react. However, once you start learning about their habits and way of life, things get easier. Think of it as getting to know someone who wronged you. You’d want to know as much as you can about them in order to know where to strike. (Don’t be vengeful!)
The same concept is applied here, except you have free reign to do whatever you want. And the reason you can do whatever you want is that mice pose a major threat to humans and animals alike. They aren’t doing things consciously, but they’re still dangerous. And they’re dangerous because they carry diseases which can be life-threatening to people (and some animals). You don’t want to catch the Plague, Lyme Disease, or Salmonella!
The whole point of mice extermination is to be relentless and not stop until every single mouse in your home is taken care of. You don’t have to kill them, of course, but it’s an option. Killing mice aren’t anything bad; after all, they aren’t an endangered species and can reproduce extremely quickly (we’ll cover this part soon). And if your family and pets are in danger of contracting such a deadly disease, you’d do anything in your power to prevent it from happening.
People usually opt for poisons or traps, and the most common traps are glue traps, snap traps, and catch & release traps. Glue traps are usually considered inhumane and ‘overkill’ due to the fact that the animal can’t run away and it has to endure hours upon hours of the painful remainder of their lives. They usually die of dehydration or lack of food.
If this type of trap isn’t for you, then maybe check out snap traps or electronic mouse traps. Both of these provide a swift death to the mice, with the electronic mouse trap being instant. Snap traps are the cheapest option which isn’t always effective, but in large numbers, they’re just as good as any other traps.
Catch & Release traps are your best bet if you can’t stand indirectly killing an animal. They work by trapping the animal inside. However, you need to constantly check these traps to see if there’s an animal inside. Once such a trap catches a mouse, it’ll be your job to release the animal back into the wild. Just make sure it’s far enough from your home that it can’t return.
Now, let’s take a look at how mice live their lives and why it’s so important knowing their lifestyle.
Imagine the following situation: You’re spending time in the kitchen making some lunch. You turn around to grab an ingredient and you catch a glimpse of an animal somewhere in the hallway. You aren’t sure what it is and think that you’re probably seeing things. Maybe you’re just too hungry? You continue making lunch but you hear some small steps and sounds coming from between the walls. You hear something behind you and turn around. Suddenly, you see a mouse running across the kitchen, attempting to reach the next room.
So, you’ve seen a mouse. You’re probably thinking that it’s only one mouse so you aren’t too riled up because of it. Unfortunately, you may have forgotten that mice aren’t solitary animals; they live in ‘families’ inside shelters.
What does this mean? It means that the mouse you saw probably wasn’t alone. And if there’s one mouse, there’s many more. One major problem with mice is that they reproduce very quickly. They can increase their population tenfold in just under a year. One female mouse usually gives birth to around 100 mice on a yearly basis. And when you look at their lifespan (which is around 1 year, but there have been cases where they lived for 2 and even 3 years!), it’s no surprise why mice infestations are such an issue around the world.
Continuing on this fact, we’d like to bring one fact to light. There are over 20 million mice infestation cases yearly in the United States. This is shocking. We can’t say that people are doing something wrong since you can’t always stop a mice infestation, but there are possibilities to lower this number drastically. All it takes is more care regarding hygiene.
There are many cases of improper baiting against mice. Part of this is due to movies and cartoons telling us that mice love eating cheese and that they can’t get enough of it, but the truth is far from this.
Cheese doesn’t provide the mice with almost any necessary nutrients and it simply isn’t appetizing enough to them. Although, they will eat it if there’s nothing else available. However, if you’re looking to bait them into your traps, it’s a terrible choice.
Mice love eating grains and fruits, but not even these are the best possible bait. If you want to bait mice and force them to exert even more force trying to take the food away, use peanut butter. Peanut butter has a strong scent which attracts them and it’s sticky enough to stay on/inside a trap. They have to try harder than usual to take the peanut butter away and, in most cases, this will activate the trap.
So, why are their eating habits so important? Well, if you’re a farmer or live in a rural area, you should take special care of your home, your garden, and your fields. Mice have been known to devastate an entire crop field in a matter of hours, and no one wants that happening. You probably have it tougher than others if this is the case, but it isn’t impossible to try and minimize the chances of the mice coming over and eating everything you’ve planted.
A couple of other things to remember about their diet is that they consume around 3 grams of food each day. This is a very small amount, but with enough mice, we’re looking at over 100 grams of food eaten each day. Each mouse leaves around 40 droppings daily. The droppings are tiny and are easily distinguishable from rat droppings.
Should you notice mice droppings in your home, make sure you act swiftly. There are diseases which spread through mice droppings and urine and can even get transmitted to you if you inhale dust particles infected with mice dropping particles. The sooner you react, the better it’ll be.
Mice usually like building shelters on the ground but if there’s no suitable spot available, they’ll settle for dark areas. They also like creating their own shelters from whatever materials are nearby; metals, wood, wires, and others.
Speaking of wires, did you know that mice can cause house fires? Since a large part of their lifestyle is sharpening their teeth and keeping them short. They do this because their teeth never stop growing and this can prove to be a problem to us humans and our homes. Chewing on wires is nothing foreign to them; in fact, house fires are rather often attributed to mice. When a mouse chews through wires, the outer insulation layer is destroyed. And a wire that doesn’t have insulation is a potential fire hazard. All it takes is a small spark or short-circuit and you’ll have a fire on your hands.
When it comes to infestations, make sure you take a close look at your basement and attic. Both of these locations in people’s homes are enticing enough to the mice that they would settle in them. Usually, it’s the basements but they don’t shy away from settling in attics either.
How to Act During an Infestation?
The most important thing during a mice infestation is staying calm. You won’t be able to think properly if you panic, which will just prolong the infestation and give the mice more chances to survive than they deserve.
Start by purchasing some traps. We already mentioned some good ones, so get yourself a couple of those. Make sure you use a combination of different traps because using only one type usually won’t help you get rid of a mice infestation. Remember to use proper bait and don’t fall for any commercial tricks (whatever they might be).
Place the traps around your home in places that the mice use to traverse and wait. The results should start appearing in a day or two, so keep checking your traps on a daily basis. You can use poison as well, but remember that it’s dangerous to humans and animals as well. If you choose poison, take your kids elsewhere or at least prevent them from reaching the areas which are laden with poison.
Using natural repellents is also a good idea and, even though their effectiveness isn’t that good during an infestation, they will still help.
As we mentioned at the beginning of the article, knowing as much as you can about them is going to give you a fairly large advantage. Keep researching and try to find out everything, even though some information might seem trivial.
Remember to use proper traps and trap placement; making mistakes here will just minimize your success and the mice will keep evading you. Use mice repellents, traps, and everything you come across and, if you don’t succeed, give the exterminators a call. They are expensive but will take care of your problem completely.