The adult mouse is about three and a half inches long, excluding its tail. They have quite large ears in relation to the rest of their body. They have brown fur on their back and are grey underneath. Their tail is the same length as their head and body combined.
Cost of Treatment
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The house mouse is the most common domestic pest and will nest in partitions floors and behind wall boarding. Mice are normally more active at night, but may also be active during the day. They are good climbers and can climb up vertical walls. They are not very dependent on having a source of water and will be able to gain enough water from their food.
Mice normally live for about one year, during which the female may breed up to six times, with an average size litter of six.
Mice are a health hazard and can be responsible for spreading disease. They eat food which may be intended for human consumption and can contaminate food with their urine, droppings and fur. If food is contaminated, then it should be thrown away immediately. As well as contaminating food, mice can also cause structural damage to property by gnawing through water pipes, woodwork and electric cables.
Signs of Infestation:
- Damage caused by gnawing
- Feeding holes
Prevention & control
It is possible to prevent or at least reduce the chances of mice becoming established and causing damage by ensuring that homes do not provide suitable environments for mice to live and breed. Two of the most important areas to consider in this respect are proofing and hygiene.
Preventing mice from gaining access to buildings will reduce the chances of them becoming established. Buildings can be proofed by blocking openings through which mice can enter. Check that air bricks are in place and intact (do not block them), and inspect for access points around gas, electricity and water pipes. Check that doors fit tightly. Such action helps to prevent mice entering from outside and will limit their movement between properties.
Improved hygiene will restrict the availability of food for mice, reducing the chances that they will remain at that site and breed successfully. Examples of how hygiene can be improved are:
- Keeping food in mouse-proof containers
- Sweeping up any spillages as soon as they occur
- Not leaving food intended for pets lying around
- Removing rubbish and other materials that can be used by mice
- Cleaning up under work units and other areas where food waste can gather
House mouse problems will sometimes occur despite hygiene and proofing action. In such circumstances, it will be necessary to take control measures to get rid of the infestation. There are two methods of control available, trapping and poison baiting.
Traditional break-back traps can be used successfully, particularly if there are only a few mice involved. To be effective, they must be sited and set correctly. They should be placed about two metres (six feet) apart or closer if circumstances require, and in areas where mice are known to be moving. Mice tend to move along the base of walls, so the trap should be positioned with the baited or treadle end of the trap against the wall, across the routes that the mice will be using.
Place the trap in a position where it cannot be accidentally set off by children or pets but allow sufficient space around the trap to enable it to work without catching on any obstructions. Baits do not have to be used on the trap in every case but can be useful. Suitable baits include biscuit, porridge oats, other cereals and chocolate. Check the traps daily until no more mice are caught and activity stops. If a mouse is alive in the trap kill it quickly with a blow to the head. Dead mice should be burned or buried.
A range of rodenticides is available for use against mice. It is important to read the label and follow the instructions so that treatments are safe and effective. Mice like to feed from a number of different places. Providing the label instructions are complied with, small amounts of bait should be placed in a large number of locations. This is more likely to be effective that restricting baits to only a few points. Regularly inspect the baits and replace any that have been eaten. It may take several weeks to achieve effective control.
Alternatively you may wish to use a professional pest control company.