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Ridding a Home, School, or Business of Mice

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Because mice produce large litters in a short period of time, an infestation can equal big trouble for any home, school or business owner. Rodent experts say that the infestation of mice will continue to grow as long as competing species, shelter and food will allow. Fortunately for humans, most mice in the wild do not survive past three months due to heavy predation.

Damage
Outdoors and in the garage, mice will damage autos, lawn tractors and bicycles by chewing through insulation, fuel lines and seat upholstery. Indoors, their urine and poop can stain and contaminate pantries, food and dishes and their incessant gnawing can ruin bagged foodstuffs, scar furniture and spill pet foods. Farmers lose untold amounts of grain and seed to the country cousins every year.

Identification
House mice have large ears, are 2 to 4 inches long, brown to grey with dark tails about the length of their head and body combined. Their feces are 1/4 inch long and rod shaped.

Control
Ridding a home of mice once they have become established may be difficult but glue/sticky traps and the old reliable, snap traps may be the best least-toxic solutions. Fluffy the cat may only be effective against newly colonizing mice and not those already homesteading, so use her if you got her, but realize that she has her limits. Note: Some mice have reportedly become resistant to the anti-coagulant effects of baits and as with any poison, non-target species(pets and humans) and predators(owls, hawks and snakes) are at risk, so poisonous baits should not be used. Ultrasonic pest repellers have not proven to be effective in the lab or in field testing. So, once the whiskered critters have been banished from Shangri-la, how can they be kept out?

Prevention
Seal, raise, cleanup, discard and store could be a mantra for mouse prevention. Seal utility entrances and attic vents with metal flashing or heavy mesh and install door sweeps and thresholds. Raise woodpiles off the ground one foot and move them away from the house at least six feet. Wrap outdoor pet cage legs with sheet metal if mice have been climbing them. Do not allow leaf and yard debris to accumulate. Move compost piles well away from the house and keep weeds and brush cutback from the home's foundation. Recycle all clutter that could make a nice mouse condo, especially straw and paper. Store pet food, indoors or out, in metal or hard plastic containers that resist gnawing. Maybe the hardest one, but stop feeding the birds and squirrels as mice will scavenge the spilled seeds and see them as an invitation to come inside for a buffet.

Still have mice?
Play Dick Tracy and sprinkle baby powder or flour on floors so that the marauders will leave a trail from where they enter and exit. Reinforce those areas so that not even Houdini could find a way in or out. Rest on your laurels but keep an eye peeled as like the Terminator, they will be back again.
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