n A mouse can enter the home by squeezing through a hole smaller than a dime.
n The house mouse is small and slender, 5 to 7 inches long from nose to end of tail, and is usually light gray in color. In optimum conditions, a female house mouse can produce 42 to 60 offspring in a year.
n Deer mice are small, tan or brown on top with white feet and underbellies; and have a bicolored tail that’s longer than half, but usually less than the length of head and body combined, and covered with short hair/fur.
n White-footed mice are about 8 inches long with tail, and have large ears.
Signs of infestation
n Gnaw marks. New gnawing or holes tend to be rough, whereas, old gnawings are smooth from wear.
n Droppings. Fresh droppings are soft and moist, whereas, old droppings are dried and hard.
n Tracks/footprints. Front foot four-toed and print is in front of hind print with five toes. Fresh tracks are clear and sharp.
n Rub marks. Look for a slight discoloration along batting and PVC pipes.
n Burrows. Indoors, they often nest in or under insulation. If active, it is free of dust and cobwebs, and the entrance is usually with material packed or compressed, and rub marks are sometimes visible.
n Runways. Frequently use the same paths, usually along walls, stacked merchandise, etc., and to interior objects. Active runways are free of dust and cobwebs, with fresh droppings. Tracks may or may not be visible.
n Damaged goods. Mice prefer seeds or cereals.
n Mice defecate wherever they travel, but mostly where they feed. Mouse droppings indicate where control efforts should be concentrated.
n Territories are small and rarely exceed 20 feet in diameter. Traps and bait stations must be placed within this area for effective control. If a trap or bait is unused after 48 hours, move it, because the mice are elsewhere.
n Mice are nibblers. Put a little bit of bait in many bait stations to increase exposure and consumption.
n Mice are inquisitive. Move things around when traps, stations or glue boards are introduced, so mice will explore to establish new movement routes. This makes traps and bait more successful.
n Mice like nesting material nearby. Use nesting material on the trigger of snap traps and in the center of glue boards.
n Mice are attracted to certain foods. Bait traps with prunes, fresh pineapple, salted peanuts, or whatever they are feeding on at the time.
n Seal gaps and holes inside and outside the home, and install weather strips at the bottom of exterior doors. If you can stick a pencil under the door, a mouse can enter your home.
n Trim branches, plants and bushes that hang over the home.
n Keep the home interior clean, storing all food, including pet food and garbage, in properly sealed containers. Don’t leave dishes in the sink, or pet food out over night.
n Elevate firewood and store it as far from the home as possible.
n Take precautions when cleaning rodent infestations by not stirring dust when sweeping or vacuuming up droppings, urine or nesting materials. Mice are public health threats. Deer mice and the white-footed mouse are carriers of hantaviruses, which can cause flulike symptoms. Rodents can also carry a viral infectious disease that can cause encephalitis, and with droppings or urine, can cause food poisoning. They also carry fleas and mites known to spread other diseases.
n Contact a licensed pest control company to help in identifying and eliminating rodent problems.