Mouse Control: How to Get Rid of Mice

Mice (Mus: Rodentia)

Mice (or house mouse) is a a small, slender, dusky gray rodent with a slightly pointed nose, small black protruding eyes, large scantily haired ears, and a nearly hairless tail with obvious scale rings. House mice are considered among the most troublesome and economically important rodents in the United states. In the Pacific Northwest and the Greater Seattle area, not only are they found in houses and the workplace, but in other structures as well.

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General Facts/Information of Mice

In the state of Washington, mice are the most common mammal in cities next to humans.

Habitat. House mice live in and around homes, farms and commercial establishments, aw well as in open fields and agricultural lands. The onset of the cold weather each fall in temperate regions causes mice to move into structures in search of shelter and food. One of the first or most common signs indicating their presence in structures is their droppings.

Food Habits. House mice eat many types of food but prefer seeds and grain. They do not hesitate to sample new foods. Most are "nibblers," sampling many kinds of items that exist in their environment. Foods high in fat, protein, or sugar may e preferred even when grain and seeds are also present. Such items include bacon, chocolate candies, peanut butter, butter, and nutmeats. These mice can get by with little or no free water (obtaining most of their water needs from the food they eat), although they readily drink when it is available.

House mice consume and contaminate foodstuffs and animal feed. A single house mouse eats only about 3 grams of food per day (8 lb/year), but since they nibble on many foods and discard partially eaten items, they destroy considerably more food than they consume.

House mice cause structural damage to buildings by their gnawing and nest-building activities. In buildings they may cause extensive damage to insulation inside walls and attics. House mice often make nests in large electrical appliances where they may chew up wiring as well as insulation, resulting n short-circuits, possible fires, or other malfunctions that are expensive to repair. Additionally, house mice may damage stored items and wiring in attics, basements, garages, or museums. Damage to family heirlooms, paintings, books, documents, etc., may be impossible to repair.

Pest Control of Mice (or House Mouse)

General Biology, Reproduction & Behavior. House mice are mainly nocturnal, although at some locations considerable daytime activity may be seen. Seeing mice during daylight hours usually indicates a high population is present. House mice may burrow into the ground or around structures when other shelter is not readily available. Nesting may occur underground or in any sheltered location. Nests are constructed of shredded fibrous materials such as paper, burlap, rags, bark, or similar items, and generally have an appearance of a "ball" of material loosely woven together.

Litters of five to six young are born 19 – 21 days after mating, although females that conceive while still nursing may have a slightly longer gestation period. Weaning soon follows and mice are sexually mature when 6 to 8 weeks old. House mice may breed year round, but when living outdoors usually are most actively reproducing in spring and fall. The female may have five to ten litters per year, allowing populations to grow rapidly under good conditions. Breeding and survival of the young slow down greatly when population densities become high. House mice have physical capabilities that enable themto gain entry to structures by gnawing, climbing, jumping, swimming, and other tactics.

Other Mice pests of Washington

White-Footed Dear Mice. One of the most common mice found in agricultural and forest areas are deer mice.

  • Habitat. The deer mouse occupies nearly every type of habitat within its range, from forest to grasslands. It is the most widely distributed and abundant mammal in North America.
  • Food Habits. Deer mice are primarily seed eaters, but also feed on nuts, acorns, and other similar items that are available. In addition, they consume fruits, insects and insect larvae, fungi, and some green vegetation. They often store quantities of food near or in their nest sites, particularly in the fall. These mice will occasionally dig up and consume newly planted seeds in gardens, flower beds, and field borders. Their excellent sense of smell makes them highly efficient in locating and digging up seeds.
  • General Biology and Reproduction. White-footed dear mice are nocturnal animals with a home range of 1/3 to 4 acres. A summer population may reach as high as 200 animals per acre.More typically, however, breeding occurs from spring until fall. Females may have from two to four or more litters per year.

The white-footed dear mice generally nest underground. Sometimes deer mice nest in above ground sites such as hollow logs, fence posts, or unoccupied buildings and/or your home. It is important to note, the deer mouse is the primary carrier of the virus that causes hantavirus pulmonary syndrome. White-footed deer mice can also be a problem when they consume field grains, forest tree seed, and enter rural homes. White-footed deer mice are uncommon in urban or suburban residential areas unless there is a considerable open space nearby.

Meadow Mice. Meadow mice or voles, sometimes called orchard mice, are larger than house mice or deer mice.

  • Habitat. Meadow mice and/or voles occupy a wide variety of habitats. They prefer areas with a heavy groundcover of grasses, grass-like plants, or litter.
  • Food Habits. Voles (or Meadow Mice) eat a wide variety of plants, most frequently grasses and forbs (or herbaceous flowering plants). In late summer and fall, voles store seeds, tubers, bulbs, and rhizomes.
  • Damage & Damage Identification. Voles cause extensive damage to landscaped yards, orchards, and forests by girdling seedlings and mature trees. They also eat entire plants, but rarely enter homes.

Pest Fighter pest control company is a professional, licensed and insured pest control operator (PCO) located in the Greater Seattle area, serving King County, Pierce County and Snohomish County. Pest Fighter not only prevents pest problems, but we offer an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) solution for both treating pest problems and monitoring for the presence of pests and pest damage. For help in controlling mice in your area of Washington, contact your local Pest Fighter or pest control operator (or PCO).