Rodents can carry a wide variety of diseases transmissible to humans. Here’s how to control mice naturally without using toxic baits.
Mice are important rodent pests that often enter homes and warehouses for food and shelter. These rodents eat any kind of food meant for humans, pets, livestock or other animals. They also contaminate 10 times as much food as they eat with urine, droppings and hair.
A very real problem with the infestation of mice is the Hantavirus which has been a threat in the arid southwestern part of the country. Another major concern is salmonellosis which is transmitted by mice and is a concern in food storage and preparation areas.
Mice are brown to gray in color with the tail as long as the body. Adults weigh about 1/2 ounce. Their droppings are 1/8 inch long and rod-shaped. These rodents have a very prolific reproductive system breeding year round and having as many as eight litters annually. Females can start having their litters at the age of one and a half to two months. Life expectancy for a wild mouse is no more than one year.
Here’s how to get rid of mice using a safe and sane approach to pest control:
Mice are very tenacious in their ability to enter a dwelling and only need an opening the size of a dime. Thorough examinations need to be made periodically to assure that all points of entry (foundations, utility pipes and wires passing into the house) are secure.
In those areas that are not secure, wire mesh or quick-drying cement can be used to plug cracks around drainpipes and other small areas of entry. Also, galvanized window screening can be balled and stuffed into larger openings that are then finished with caulking or cement. Expanding-foam insulation can also be used for filling small to medium size openings.
A clean uncluttered home will make it hard for mice to find hiding places and food. Actually, mice can live on crumbs! Keep food and garbage in mouse-proof containers (metal or heavy-duty plastic with tight fitting lids), or in mouse-proof cabinets (including the refrigerator).
Early fall or winter is the time of the year when mice move in as part of their normal movement patterns. Mice can be humanely live-trapped and put back in their own environment. The use of snap traps is also very effective.
Suggested baits: Cheese, bread and butter, small nuts, cherry pits, oatmeal, sunflower or similar seeds. Mixed peanut butter and oatmeal, gumdrops.
Baits are a convenient and effective method of control and work well when pests are plentiful.
Ultrasonic devices can also be used to keep mice out of a designated area. These products produce sounds that are inaudible to humans or non-rodent animals. Other commercially available mouse repellents combine the effectiveness of essential oils with the convenience of “place pack” technology.