Pest Advice - House Mice

What are they?

house mouse

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 and which provides them with the three essentials for survival - food, water and shelter. Although an abundant supply of food is preferable, house mice can survive on relatively poor diets, eating between 3 and 4 grams of food a day and can survive without access to free water, obtaining their daily needs from their food.

The ideal environments for house mice are buildings with dead spaces and harbourages free from disturbance and close to food and water. They are extremely good climbers, climbing walls, pipes, cavities and ductings. They have very hard incisor teeth which 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 will familiarise themselves with their home surroundings; in most cases activity will be restricted to a radius of up to 10 m. They use the same familiar pathways. This produces smear marks by the continual rubbing of their fur against surfaces.

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.

House mice are inquisitive animals with sporadic and unpredictable feeding habits and will feed from numerous different sites each night rather than one or two sites close to their nest. They will feed on almost anything, but generally prefer cereal based foods such as grass and canary seed. In some urban areas they have become unable to digest cereal based food, preferring high protein foods instead. These house mice have been termed 'behaviourally resistant' because their avoidance of normal foods seems to be genetically based.

How to prevent an infestation

  • Don't leave open food out in the kitchen overnight
  • Don't leave uneaten meals 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 
  • Store food in rodent proof containers
  • Ensure that 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 5 mm).

If signs of infestation are noticed, for example, fresh mouse droppings, gnaw or smear marks, take immediate action to control the infestation.

How can I treat them?

Mouse poisons* can be bought from most supermarkets, hardware stores and garden centres. Baits should be placed in several locations and checked every 4 to 5 days and replenished accordingly until no further poison is taken and mice are no longer active.

Traps are also readily available and should be positioned in several locations around the infested site.

Make sure traps and poisons are located away from children, pets and other wildlife.

*Always refer to the product instructions BEFORE use and follow these at ALL times.



Last Updated on Wednesday, May 8, 2024