Mice (Mus musculus)
There are two types of mice in Britain which can become pests: the house mouse and the field mouse. The house mouse is most likely to be a domestic pest, weighs about 30 grams (1 ounce) and is about 90 mm long (3 1/2 inches) excluding its tail. It usually has a brown back and is grey underneath. Its ears are fairly large in relation to its body and its feet are small. Its tail is the same length as its head and body. The long-tailed field mouse is more common on agricultural land but is not generally considered a pest unless it takes up residence indoors.
Have you got mice?
- The most common way to detect mice is to see them or their gnaw marks or droppings, hear them gnawing or scuttling behind walls, particularly at night
- Droppings in your cupboards - one mouse can do up to 80 a day
- Distinctive smelling nests built out of any available material, often somewhere you will not be able to check easily, such as under floor boards, in wall cavities or lofts
- Mice will live anywhere where their food and water needs are met, although they only need small amounts of water and often get enough within their food
- If you can push a ball point pen under a door or through a hole, a mouse can get in.
What damage do they do?
- Mice are carriers of diseases such as salmonella, hantavirus and lyme disease and can spread this contamination to every surface in your home
- They ruin more food than they eat through gnawing or leaving urine/droppings
- They can damage vital and expensive parts of your home such as electrics and wall or loft insulation. Damaged wiring is a major cause of house fires and is unlikely to be easily spotted
- Mice burrow holes in walls and cupboards and pull up carpets and which can be difficult and expensive to repair.
- Mice breed very rapidly
- The life expectancy of a mouse is around one year during which time a female may breed up to six times, with an average litter size of six
- Breeding is all year but mainly in Spring and Autumn.
How should you discourage mice?
- The best way to deal with mice is to discourage them before they establish a breeding colony in your home, by ensuring your house is in good repair and that no food is left around it or your garden
- Above all, mice need food, but not much – three grammes of solid food will feed a mouse for a day. They eat mainly grain, but will eat almost anything, including soap and candlewax if nothing else is available. Keep food out of reach from mice; don't leave food out unnecessarily and check for damage to packets or cupboards. Mice are often attracted by ill-stored refuse
- Mice need shelter so protect your home by keeping it in good repair. Ensure mice cannot get into it through pipes or small cracks by filling these or covering them with fine mesh netting
- Keep your garden tidy, including the compost heap, secure sheds and keep plants cut back. Mice will climb creepers on a wall and even rough brickwork
- Mice do not need much water but they do need some form of water supply
- Proofing your house against them will reduce the appeal of your home to mice.
How can you get rid of mice?
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