Creature Feature

House Mouse

The house mouse probably originated around northern India and stowed away in grain supplies as people migrated around the world. It is now a worldwide pest and, in most cities, it is the top rodent pest. In addition to being transported to new areas as stowaways, house mice are able to enter smaller structural openings than rats and require very little living space. They also require less water than rats because, if necessary, they are able to meet their body’s moisture requirement by producing metabolic water from food. Once indoors and a food resource is established, they can breed throughout the year.

House mice contaminate our food and environments with their saliva, urine and feces. They may spread food-borne illnesses by leaving pathogens on food, preparation surfaces or utensils. Allergic reactions, including asthma attacks, can occur from repeated exposure to mouse urinary proteins. House mice are the primary carriers of a virus, lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCM), which occurs in about 9% of wild populations and may cause neurological disease in people. Fortunately, they do not carry hantavirus or rabies.

Trapping is the ideal strategy for large house mouse infestations because it provides immediate kill or removal. The best placement for glue traps is along frequently used routes (indicated by rub marks) because over time these routes are followed blindly. Snap traps and multiple catch traps should be placed near rub marks and on droppings. The further away traps are placed from mouse activity, the less likely they are to trap mice. While snap traps need to be baited, multiple catch traps take advantage of the house mouse’s inclination to explore shadows and openings. They do not need to be baited and have the added benefit of trapping multiple mice per setting.

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Rodent Biology, Behavior and Management

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The commensal rodents are highly intelligent and adaptive pests that must be managed because of their ability to cause sickness and diseases. Understanding their behavior is the root of effective rodent management. After completing this course, you should be able to identify the commensal rodents and Peromyscus mice, recognize the diseases carried by pest rodents, understand how these rodents sense and navigate their environment and then recommend the proper management methods for each. Note: due to the scope of material covered this class is 104 min in duration.

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