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April 10, 2019

Mice in Michigan

By Lauren Hogarth

In recent years, rodent populations have seemingly increased. Mice in particular are common household pests that can become an out-of-control problem if not nipped in the bud. They multiply quickly and in great numbers; two can turn into twenty within weeks. While unaggressive, these rodents can cause quite a scare for homeowners and an infestation can lead to health problems along with potential fire hazards from their tendency to gnaw on electrical wires. Mice control requires three methods of defense: trapping and removing, baiting from the exterior, and exclusion…but more on those later! In Michigan we have 4 species: white-footed, house, deer, and field. It is important to properly identify which type of mouse we are dealing with before eradication, as each species comes with their own set of preferences and tendencies.

“How do mice get in my home?”, you may ask. Mice are notorious gnawers, and will chew their way into virtually any structure; including homes, cabins, restaurants, hotels, factories, nursing homes, hospitals, food processing plants, commercial kitchens, RV’s, air conditioning units, heat pumps, outbuildings, and airplanes. Mice chew through window and door seals, and are known to damage weather stripping.They can squeeze through holes as small as a dime!  Really there is no structure a mouse won’t chew its way into if given the chance.

Remediating an Existing Issue

There are three methods of defense to remediate and/or prevent future infestations from occurring; trapping and removing, baiting from the exterior, and exclusion. If the inside of your home is deemed to be infested by a licensed pest control professional, the mice must be trapped and removed by using various traps.  Snap traps and glue boards work well to catch mice on the interior as we will not and do not recommend that poisons are used inside. Using bait inside will cause the mice to die inside, creating a whole new problem.

Bait stations are set around the exterior of the structure so that the mice outdoors will be lured in. Our bait stations are designed to be the strongest on the market so that problems aren’t created with non-target animals, and pet safety is one of our biggest concerns. The stations are tamper-proof, weighted, and locked to ensure the bait is protected. We also scan our stations for digital data tracking. Exclusion is the process of sealing any cracks or holes around the exterior of a structure to prevent mice from squeezing through.

Hazards

While the mice themselves will not cause harm as they do not generally bite unless held. The real threat comes from the health problems they can cause. Mice are known to carry parasites, and their waste can cause diseases such as salmonellosis and hantavirus. Hantavirus is particularly threatening because it lives in feces and when disturbed becomes airborne. The virus can be contracted by so much as breathing in contaminated dust from nests and/or droppings, so it is important to call a licensed pest control professional for proper remediation and clean-up. If you believe to have come across a mouse nest in your home, do not touch it! During the professional clean-up, every effort will be made to avoid stirring up any dust as well as a respirator to ensure there is no inhalation.

Tips to Prevent an Infestation

  1. Eliminate food sources
    1. Proper storage of food sources in pantries, cupboards, and especially in garages can help to prevent mice from chewing their way in to access. Airtight containers and storing food off of the floor will also be helpful.
  2. Safeguard your garbage
    1. By storing your outdoor garbage in a contained space such as a tin lidded bin, rodents will be unable to access.
  3. Carefully tend your vegetable garden
    1. Any leftover fruits or vegetables are an attractant to mice foraging for food. Mice are omnivorous, which means they eat both plants, meat, fruits, seeds, and grains.
  4. Block entry points
    1. If you come across cracks or holes around the exterior of a structure, you may block them. Keep in mind any mice trapped inside may perish and cause a disturbing odor.
  5. Reduce clutter
    1. Reducing clutter creates less spaces to hide, nest, and travel. Mice are extremely resourceful and will use just about anything as nesting material. In homes, clutter is often found in attics, basements, and garages, the same sites of most mouse infestations.
  6. Protect your pool
    1. Pools are essentially giant water bowls for mice, who can easily fall in and drown. It is not uncommon to find deceased rodents in pools and jacuzzis. Always cover these when not in use!

By taking these steps, homeowners are able to make their property less appealing to mice and other rodents. The more you know, the more effectively we can work together.  If you believe to have found evidence of mice in your home do not hesitate to give us a call. We have been keeping homes in Northern Michigan mouse-free for 25 years! We look forward to solving your problem. 

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