Though a mouse or rodent infestation is an incredibly common problem that people face, there’s still a great deal of confusion and self-consciousness such an occurrence can cause. “Is my house dirty?” “Are we all going to get sick now?” “Am I ever going to get rid of these mice?” are just a few of the questions we hear from homeowners who call us for extermination assistance.
In short, you’re going to be okay! And with the help of rodent extermination professionals, you’re going to be rid of your infestation. Not only should experts exterminate the mice you have, but they should also be helping you understand how you got them in the first place and how you can prevent new infestations from happening.
First things first: Do you think you have a mouse infestation? Get help!
We really cannot emphasize this enough. You need to tackle your mouse infestation right away, preferably with the help of professionals. Why is this such a time-sensitive issue? Well, it’s because of how quickly mice grow their population.
A mouse reaches sexual maturity at about one to two months. The gestation period for mice is also very short, typically around three weeks and sometimes even shorter. When they do give birth, they have, on average, about ten to fifteen pups per cycle, and can give birth to as many as ten litters in a year. On the high end, that’s 150 to 180 pups per mouse per year! Multiply that by the number of sexually mature mice in a “mischief” (the name of a group of mice) and you have an astronomical amount of mice on your hands.
Of course, we’re talking about this situation in extreme terms, but the fact remains that even if the average numbers fall on the low end, you still have quite a few mice to deal with. And dealing with them naturally brings up questions of health and safety for yourself and for your loved ones.
What health threats do mice pose to me and my family?
First, it’s important to point out that mice do indeed pose a potential health threat to you and your family, but probably not in the way you might think. The way that mice spread disease is through their urine and their droppings. Some of the health threats that mice are known to carry include hantavirus, salmonella, lymphocytic chorio-meningitis, and other ailments associated with the triggering of asthma.
These are serious diseases that pose serious potential consequences for you and your family. This is yet another reason why early intervention extermination services are crucial. You need to rid your home of the infestation and then safely and appropriately deal with the cleanup, which must be done carefully and thoroughly. Here’s a quick overview of how we recommend doing so, as guided by our friends at the Centers for Disease Control, who have taken great care in outlining the safest and most thorough way to clean up after mice and other rodents.
How do I safely clean up my home after a mouse infestation?
First things first, please read these instructions very carefully. Use the CDC resource, as this is more complicated than most standard house cleaning chores. Study the instructions. Get out all of the appropriate cleaning supplies and personal protective gear before you start working. Discard any food and disposable objects that the mice have made contact with. We know you don’t want to be wasteful, but this is for your safety.
It’s very important that you do not sweep, vacuum, or make any of the mouse waste, including dried urine, droppings, or their nests, airborne as you are cleaning. This is exactly where things can become harmful for humans. Were you to breathe in this contaminated air, you could be making yourself very sick. Put on clothes that you can easily wash or discard, wear protective goggles, and be sure to wear rubber or latex gloves. And don’t forget to mask up with an N95 or even a ventilator, should you have one.
Once you’re properly dressed for this, saturated the areas where mice have been with the CDC-recommended bleach and water solution. After coating it thoroughly, wait for about five minutes so that it may kill any viruses or bacteria. Using paper towels (so you can easily throw them away) wipe down all surfaces and objects. Floors, countertops, inside of cabinets, drawers
— make sure to cover any and all areas where the mice have been.
Once you completed this task, discard all items in the trash except for those clothes you’re wearing you plan to keep. Launder them immediately. Thoroughly disinfect whatever reusable protective gear you used during this process.
Alright. You’ve gotten rid of your mice with the help of professional pest control services. You’ve cleaned up after them. Now, how do you prevent them from coming back? Well, we can tell you!
How do I prevent future mice infestations?
Mice have infested your property and home because it has resources that they desire. Food, shelter, and water. Warmth and nourishment. It’s a safe place for them to nest and to grow their horde. So, in order to prevent them from making their way back inside or around your home, we need to remove those resources or remove their access to those resources.
Let’s start with shelter. Review the outside of your home or building where the mice infestation occurred. Are there any holes in your siding? Cracks in the foundation? Broken window or door seals? Crack in brick in either your home or your chimney? If so, you need to seal them appropriately. Though these breeches might seem small, a mouse is incredibly flexible, only needing an opening approximately the size of a dime to pass through. Oh, and don’t forget to look where utilities enter the home. For these sorts of openings, we recommend steel or copper wool, which is effective because it gets wrapped around their incisors and the mice are unable to chew through it.
Now let’s talk about food. Look around your property. Do you keep trash or recycling bins outside? What about compostables? Where do you store things like pet food, birdseed, and the like? We understand not wanting to store these materials inside your home, or in storing them in garages, sheds, and other outbuildings, but how secure are these containers? Again, mice need only a very small opening in order to gain access to a space. We recommend tightly sealed, airtight containers in order to reduce the odors associated with these items, as well as to limit access to them by mice and other pests. This will have a huge impact on the desirability of your home.
Lastly, let’s talk about water. In reviewing your property for sources of food and access to shelter, did you notice any standing water? Do you have any leaks or humid areas inside your home? Our recommendation is to remove all standing water from your property, as this will help keep away rodents as well as insects. Same goes for any areas inside the home where moisture is building up. Pests love these areas, which can encourage infestation and cause long-term damage to the home.