Rodents: What You May Not Want to Know, but Should (Part 2 of 6)

MYTH:  Customers with cats and dogs will have fewer rodent problems.

FACT:   Not all cats are good “mousers,” and few cats will challenge a rat.  Many dog breeds tolerate rats, although some terriers bred to fight rats may attack those they encounter.  Most rats and mice can avoid pets in moving in and around structures.  It’s a safe bet that more rats and mice have been nourished by pet food than killed by pet cats or dogs.

Kaukeinen, Dale E.  “(More) Myths about Rodents.” Pest Management Professional May 2008: Vol. 76 No. 5.  Print.

 Last week we discussed identification of the House Mouse, nesting habits and setting up their territory.  This week we continue with the house mouse, his habitat and habits.

[The following information is taken in part from Truman’s Scientific Guide to Pest Management Operations, Sixth Edition]

Mice explore and re-explore their home territories daily and become familiar with the pathways leading to and from feeding and watering locations, burrow entrances, and spots to hide from their enemies.  When changes occur, the mouse reacts by investigating the changes.

When mice feed, they can best be thought of as “nibblers.”  If food is plentiful, mice may take 20 to 30 or more short visits to various food sites within their territories each night randomly nibbling on tiny amounts of food here and there.  Among their various food sites they often establish “favorite” feeding spots that they continuously revisit.  These spots are usually darkened corner areas and narrow, tight spaces that provide the mice temporary protection while out of the nest.  Piles of droppings and a strong mousy odor often identify the location of these favorite feeding spots.

Feeding peaks occur during the night with heaviest activity occurring at dusk and again shortly before dawn.  In buildings with continuous light, the mice may be most active during the quietest periods.  Constant sightings of numerous mice during the day indicate a severe infestation, but there are exceptions to this.

Ideally, the best way to control mice and rats is to make it impossible for them to gain entry into structures.  It can be difficult or impractical to exclude mice completely as even adult mice can pass through openings 3/8-inch wide.  Furthermore, mice commonly enter buildings inside merchandise.  Nevertheless, it is good pest management (for both rodents and insects) for building owners or pest professionals to rodent-proof a building as much as possible.

Bennett, Gary W., Owens, John M., Corrigan, Robert M. Truman’s Scientific Guide to Pest Management Operations, Sixth ed. Cleveland:  Advanstar Communications, Inc. 2005.  Print.

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