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.

Mechanical traps are the ideal strategy for large house mouse infestations because they provide quick kill and a better ability to remove dead mice from an area. The best placement for traps is along frequently used routes near rub marks and on droppings. The further away traps are placed from mouse activity, the less likely they are to trap mice. When using rodenticide baits in a management program, the active ingredient cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) is an option for anticoagulant-resistant rodents and organic accounts. It also has a lower risk of secondary poisoning for birds and mammals than most anticoagulant baits.

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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. 

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