With the temperatures starting to dip as we approach the colder months, mice are searching for a warm and safe place to spend the winter and continue to raise their young. Houses, cabins, and storage sheds all offer protection from the elements for these tiny creatures, and most offer a steady supply of food.
The house mouse (mus musculus) is a small rodent with beady small eyes, relatively large ears, and weighs in at less than an ounce. They are typically dusty gray or brown in colour, with lighter underbellies. With its keen senses and inquisitive nature, the mouse is very adaptable to indoor living and will take advantage of this living arrangement whenever the opportunity presents itself.
Mice are reportedly able to squeeze through openings as small as 1/4 inch and thus any unsealed openings, such as from utility lines or pipes, make the shelter easily accessible. Once inside, mice are able to procreate quickly and under ideal living conditions, a single mated pair can produce 100 direct offspring within their lifespan. Each offspring reaches sexual maturity at 5-6 weeks of age which can result in a large population within a very short period of time.
Damages and risk factors from a mouse infestation include:
Food Losses Food loss occurs not only from actual consumption by the mouse population, but also contamination from feces and urine resulting in pantry items and feed, such as grain and pet food, needing to be discarded.
Structural Damage Mice gnaw and chew on a wide variety of items for numerous reasons. They often make nesting material from insulation or upholstery furniture. They may also chew through electrical wires, resulting in not only costly repairs, but also fire hazards.
Noise and Odour Despite their small size, mice can be quite noise intrusive, especially at night when they are most active. It is not uncommon to hear mouse activity in the walls and bare floors as they navigate their way throughout the house. Urine and natural oil build-ups along common travel paths can result in a persistant, musky odour.
Health Issues Mice can carry life threatening viruses such as Hantavirus and Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis. Seemingly healthy rodents may not show any symptoms, but humans can become ill from direct contact with mouse droppings or fluid secretions from infected animals. Hantavirus can also be contracted by inhaling ‘nest dust’ – airborne particles from decaying fecal matter. Salmonella bacteria can be spread on food prep surfaces if the mouse tracks fecal matter with it’s paws.
Don’t invite mice into your home this season… Call Cottage Country Pest Control at 705-534-7863, or email us, to book your fall pest control maintenance service.