A mouse in the house

Mice may be active year round.  Although, in the winter, there tends to be additional pressure from mice due to the fact that outside food sources become restricted and homes provide comfortable shelter.  When trying to eliminate mice from a location, there are typically two methods that may be implemented either independently or jointly.  Those are namely, trapping and baiting.  There are pros and cons to each approach.

Let’s discuss trapping first.  One of the best benefits that is derived from trapping mice is that when you catch one, you may then immediately discard it.  Traps may contain such items as food, like cheese or peanut butter, and also things like cotton balls or other fabrics which would be used as nesting materials.  Some of these items may be tied to a snap trap using a piece of string or thread to enhance the triggering mechanism.  One of the downsides to trapping is that if you are dealing with multiple mice you may catch a portion of the population, while the remaining mice avoid your traps.  The downside to trapping is that it can require a bit of patience and persistent  management, as you monitor your traps, replace bait items, and reset traps.  If you have one or two mice, and are able to quickly trap them and be done with it, then that is an ideal scenario.  It is difficult to know the exact number of mice infesting a structure.  In my experience, estimating mice populations it is more of an estimate like, a light, medium or heavy infestation based the length of time the infestation has persisted, the number of daily sightings and traffic observed, the amount of food they are getting into, and the amount of excrement they are leaving behind in an area.

Now, the topic of baiting.  Baiting is nice for a number of reasons.  Once bait is introduced into the environment, assuming that it has an attractive food matrix, it requires very little management.  Place the bait and wait.  Almost all bait placements should be implemented through the use of tamper resistant stations to prevent poisoning accidents with children and/or pets.  Places such as attics and some crawl spaces may not require bait stations, if there is no chance that children or pets will have access to those areas where loose bait is introduced.  Baiting can resolve many issues in as little as 24 to 48 hours.  Baiting requires and is enhanced by making sure that all other food sources are eliminated from the environment, so far as possible, so that mice are forced to take the bait.  Another benefit to baiting is that after the infestation has been cleared up, baits may stay down, so as to control reinfesting problems after the original problem has been resolved.  Baiting does have it’s downside.  The most frequently asked question regarding baiting is, “where are the mice going to die”.  The truth is that the mice will die somewhere in the structure.  The normally die in the wall voids and subfloors, but can really end up dead anywhere they are located when the lethal dose of the bait finally takes its toll.  There is no control over where the carcass will end up.  Most of the time people simply experience an absence of activity after a successful baiting strategy.  Then the follow up question tends to be, “will the dead mouse create an odor problem”.  The answer, maybe.  If a mouse dies in a wall void or sub-floor, there is normally no odor detected.  Variables such as temperature, moisture levels, concentration of the number of dead mice, location of the carcass in the structure are all things that can affect whether an odor issue is detectable or not.  A mouse typically decomposes in about a week or two should an odor problem arise.  Even if people did nothing, there exists a good possibility that a mouse might die a natural death anyway in a home since mice typically live up to a maximum life span of one year.


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