Mice can be polarizing: some people find them cute, while others find them terrifying. The only thing we can all agree on is that mice should not be in our homes! Mice can do serious damage to your home and introduce the risk of infection to your food. Not only can they contaminate food but they can also spread dangerous infectious diseases. Learn more about the problems mice present and how to handle your mouse problem.
Mice are very small members of the rodent family. They are remarkably adaptable creatures which inhabit almost every environment on our planet. Able to reproduce within the first two months of their lives, mice are prolific breeders capable of producing litters of 10 to 12 pups at a time. Due to their position as prey, mice rarely live longer than a year in the wild, but they can live as long as three years when protected.
Why They’re Pests
Mice are herbivores with a particular fondness for grains. They tend to enter homes in search of food sources. Because we humans like to store our grains in cardboard boxes and tubes, we tend to be easy pickings for mice, who appreciate the simplicity of having a warm home with ready food. Mice are particularly invasive during the cold months of the year when food is scarce. Because of their small stature, mice also find it easier to enter our homes than other pests. Mice only need a hole ¼ of an inch in diameter to find their way into a home.
Are They Dangerous?
Because of their size, it’s difficult for mice to be physically threatening to you, even if they bite. Still, it is essential that you be careful and not handle a mouse without thick gloves: mice have very sharp teeth, and there’s just no need to risk getting an infection from being bitten.
How mice are dangerous, however, is in the amount of damage they can do to the inner parts of your home where they’ve been living. In addition to using your attic or walls as their own private bathroom, your mice have been sprucing up the place to their liking by destroying your insulation to build their nests with and gnawing on your support beams and electrical wiring. Mice can and will gnaw electrical wires down to the metal, which can potentially lead to an electrical fire.
Do They Carry Disease?
Mice carry salmonella, hantavirus and many other zoonotic diseases (diseases spread from animals to humans),which humans can contract through contact with mouse excrement. Mice are indiscriminate about where they defecate, so they often end up doing so in the human food they have been eating. Unwitting humans can catch salmonella and hantavirus through eating mouse contaminated food. Hantavirus can also be contracted through breathing in dust that has come in contact with mouse excrement.
In addition to these excremental diseases, mice can also harbor fleas and other parasites that can spread through a home.
Because of the exponential growth mouse populations go through, it is vital to bring in a professional exterminator to remove your mouse population. You simply will not be able to remove all of the mice from your home with a few snap traps once they’ve started to breed. Professional exterminators will be able to not only remove the entire mouse population quickly and efficiently, but they will also be able to reduce the chances of mice returning to your home. As a part of this, they may offer you mouse exclusion services to find possible entryways for mice and block them. Since mice can get through holes as small as ¼ inch, it is wise for most homeowners to seek out pest control companies that have trained experts in wildlife exclusion services as it can be difficult for inexperienced homeowners to find every adequately sized hole in their home.