When available, the house mouse prefers seeds and nuts, but this opportunistic feeder will eat almost anything available. When the temperatures outside drop, house mice begin searching for a warmer place to live. Attracted by the smell of food and the warmth of a structure, the house mouse can use as little as a ¼” gap to gain entry. These types of gaps are commonly found around utility lines and pipe openings and beneath doors.
Once inside, the house mouse will seek out a safe and secluded place to build a nest. It is common to find them close to food. The kitchen, of course, provides numerous food sources. In the garage it is common to find them feeding on pet food. It is always a good practice to keep all bulk food, including pet food, in sealed plastic containers.
House mouse populations can grow rapidly when conditions are favorable. The average litter size is 5 to 7 pups, the gestation period is 20 days, and pups reach sexual maturity in just one month. A mature female can have 6 to 10 litters per year. In other words, a small problem can grow quickly.
Here are three things to remember when dealing with a house mouse problem.
- Seal up all possible entry points.
- Clean up and remove food sources.
- Don’t underestimate the population. Put out a significant amount of control devices. They can always be removed after the problem is solved.
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