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Planning Retirement Online

A Mouse in the House

December 2012  

A Mouse in the HouseThe general thought is that mice aren’t as bad as rats and certainly a whole step up from cockroaches! But even so, few of us wish to welcome these tiny furry creatures into our home.

Winter is the time when they may start coming in. Mice are warm blooded and in cold weather they need to find shelter in barns, buildings - and in our nice warm houses. They will search vigorously for tiny little openings in the foundations, in ventilation pipes or shafts, or any tiny gap and then they are in.

Then, they will want to make themselves at home. They will quietly move around the home seeking out tiny scraps of paper, fabric and other items to make into a little nest behind radiators or inside the insulation of walls and ceilings. They may nest behind or in cupboards or behind the boiler or in the insulation in the loft.  They are very good indeed in adapting to create a warm and well hidden little home for themselves.

Interestingly, mice have very poor eyesight and navigate mainly using their whiskers. They usually come out at night and are most active at dawn and dusk.

Food of course is a constant requirement, and they will hunt through rubbish bins, behind cupboards and cookers, anywhere for their nourishment - they are excellent climbers. And a house mouse doesn’t need to break into the fridge for cheese! It is happy to nibble its way through virtually any spilt or left over food it can find anywhere. It really isn’t a fussy eater!

The bad news is that they breed anytime and a female can have perhaps nine or ten babies in a single litter, so they can multiply quite rapidly. 

You may not actually spot mice in your home, but usually eventually something gives them away, maybe their little droppings or a scratching noise, or evidence of a musky odour or gnawing.

While they can look pretty cute it is not a good idea to have wild mice living in a home; they can carry a number of parasites and diseases that can be harmful to humans including salmonella and listeria. The gnawing can also be a particular problem because they have been known to not only damage furniture and fittings but also gnaw through electrical wiring.

So, if you feel you have a house mouse, what do you do? There are a number of options available including a range of mouse traps and mice repellent spray that can be bought at large supermarkets and specialist shops. The traps are available in many different models including traps and baiting systems where you capture the creatures so you can release them outside and electronic and glue traps which kill the mice.

The environmental health department at your local council will be able to give you good advice and the professional pest control companies such as Rentokil have well proven systems to rid domestic homes of mice.

Once you have ensured your home is clear of mice, then you need to do what you can to stop them returning. Patch up any holes and entry points, including on the upper floors of a house - mice are great climbers. You can wedge steel wool in little gaps that are difficult to seal.  And of course cover and dispose of rubbish and left over food as quickly as possible to stop the scent wafting around which could attract interest from unwelcome rodents.

Mice look sweet little creatures, but they can wreak havoc in a domestic home. If you have any suspicions that there may be a mouse in your house, immediate action is needed before the situation gets out of hand.

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