House mice live and breed in houses, buildings and other structures such as garden sheds which protect them from the cold and wet weather and can provide them with food, water and shelter. Mice can survive on relatively poor diets, eating between three to four grams of food a day and they can live without drinking water if the moisture in its food is above 15 to 16 per cent. They are inquisitive animals with sporadic feeding habits and will feed from numerous different sites rather than one or two sites close to their nest. They will feed on almost anything but generally prefer cereal based foods. An average litter size for a house mice is around five to six young and they can produce several litters in a year if breeding conditions are favourable.
Mice, like rats, are a hazard to health and can be responsible for the spread of disease. They eat food which may be intended for human consumption and contaminate much more with their urine, droppings and fur. All contaminated food should be disposed of. They are extremely good climbers and have very hard incisor teeth which can cause structural damage to property by gnawing through woodwork, water pipes, electric cables and household items.
How do I get rid of them?
Removing easily accessible food and shelter for mice are among the most basic and important preventative measures. A mice problem can be resolved if the guidance below is followed:
- Don’t leave open food out in the kitchen overnight
- Don’t leave uneaten pet food in dishes out overnight
- Remove all food and waste spillages as they occur
- Empty food waste bins in the kitchen frequently
- Place food in rodent proof containers
- Empty bins regularly, ensure that spillages and refuse is not allowed to accumulate in your yard or garden
- Seal structural defects in your house to prevent mice gaining access to your home (mice can squeeze through gaps in excess of 5mm)
- If you see signs of mice, for example, fresh droppings, gnaw marks or smears, take immediate action to control the infestation. Organise treatment or seek advice from an expert straight away. If you decide to carry out your own baiting, you must ensure that any bait is completely covered up in areas where pets or other wildlife have access. Secure bait stations, poisons and traps can be purchased from local hardware stores or garden centres. Please make sure all manufacturers instructions are followed.
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