Mice will commonly enter homes in search of food or shelter. They are most often problems in homes during the winter months but can enter at any time of the year. Usually a house has either rats or mice, rarely both. It is important that the problem be accurately identified so proper control measures can be performed.
Mice are usually noticed in kitchen areas. They leave many small droppings (about the size of chocolate sprinkles) wherever they go. Their droppings or the odor of mouse urine is often the first indication that you have a mouse problem.
Damage can be caused to foods and your belongings. Besides eating food, their droppings and urine can contaminate remaining items and cause odours. People will not tolerate seeing these pests running about in their house or place of work. They may damage items with their gnawing. Sometimes electrical fires are caused by damaged wires.
The most common pest mouse in urban areas is called the house mouse. Like rats, mice are excellent climbers and jumpers. They can:
- climb any rough surface
- jump almost 30 cm (1 ft.) straight up
- jump more than 60 cm (2 ft.) horizontally
- pass through any opening bigger than 6 mm (1/4 in.) square
- walk along horizontal wires and climb vertical wires
- gnaw on almost anything
Mice breed very quickly. They reach sexual maturity in as little as 6 weeks and can have 5 or 6 litters of 5 to8 young per year.
Deer mice are generally in rural areas and also enter houses. They are of special concern because they carry the disease hantavirus.