Mice

The house mouse, and sometimes the long-tailed field mouse, seek the warmth and shelter of buildings for nesting sites and food. Their presence is usually detected from their dark-coloured droppings or damage to stored foods in the larder, packaging or woodwork.

Mice become sexually mature in eight to ten weeks, and a pair may produce eight litters, each of 16 young, in a year. Multiply those and you arrive at horrifying numbers of mice! They climb well and can squeeze through very small gaps.

These nibbling nuisances have consumption need to gnaw in order to keep their incisor teeth worn down to a constant length. Electric cables, water and gas pipes, packaging and woodwork may all be seriously damaged by mice - many instances of electrical fires and floods have attributed to them. They contaminate far more food than they consume and they are capable of carrying many diseases, particularly food poisoning. The average mouse deposits 70 droppings in 24 hours and urinates frequently to mark its territory.

Mice are erratic, sporadic feeders, nibbling at many sources of food rather then taking repeated from any one item. They do not need free water to drink as they normally obtain sufficient moisture from their food.

Remedy

Because of their habits, traditional baiting techniques and trapping frequently do not work, and a combination of rodenticides may be necessary - in addition to mouse proofing, as far as possible, all means of entry e.g. by blocking holes with wire wool embedded in quick-setting cement, or by fitting metal strips to damaged wooden doors.

For many years, the most widely used and effective rodenticide was warfarin. This is an anti-coagulant drug which prevents vital blood clotting. Mice feed on it, without suspicion or growing weaker, until they die. The disadvantage of warfarian-based baits is that they take several days to work and depend on repeated feeding by the mice.

In most urban areas of Britain, however, mice have now become resident to warfarian. Other rodenticides are available for professional use only, traps are also available.


 

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