House mice can live and breed in houses, buildings and other structures such as garden sheds, which give them protection from the cold and wet weather. Although an abundant supply of food is preferable, house mice can survive on relatively poor diets, eating between 3 to 4 grams of food a day and can survive without access to free water.
The ideal environments for house mice are buildings with dead spaces and disturbance free shelter, close to food and water. They are extremely good climbers, climbing walls, pipes, cavities and ducting. They have very hard incisor teeth that can penetrate materials such as concrete, lead and aluminium. This can result in expensive damage and even fires when electric cables are damaged.
House mice like to know the area where they live and don't travel very far, using familiar pathways. In most cases activity will be restricted to a radius of up to 10 m. House mice are inquisitive animals with sporadic and unpredictable feeding habits, feeding from many different sites each night rather than one or two sites close to their nest.
In urban areas, house mice are able to breed throughout the year, producing between 5 and 10 litters each of about 4-8 young. They can live for more than two years, though the average life span is about 10 months.
How to prevent infestations
- Don't leave open food out in the kitchen overnight
- Don't leave uneaten meal intended for a pet cat or a dog in dishes out overnight
- Remove all food and waste spillages as they occur
- Empty food waste bins in the kitchen etc frequently
- Place food in rodent proof containers
- Empty bins regularly, ensure that spillages and refuse is not allowed to accumulate in the yard or garden
- Seal structural defects in the house to prevent mice gaining access to your home (mice can squeeze through gaps in excess of 6mm.)
- fresh mouse droppings
- gnawing marks
- smears (produced when travelling familiar routes by fur rubbing on surfaces)
Take immediate action to control the infestation.
Mouse infestations can be treated using, traps and/or poison. If treating an infestation of mice yourself, don't leave mouse bait down for extended periods - remove as soon as the infestation has been controlled.
If a baiting program is to be successful it is vitally important to maintain an uninterrupted supply of bait available for the mice. This can be achieved by ensuring that all revisit appointments made with Pest Control are kept. Do not interfere with or reposition any bait stations laid as part of a treatment program and keep children and pets away from bait stations at all times.
Click on the link to the British Pest Control Association website for further information.