As professional pest control technicians providing expert mouse and rat control services in London, ON, we know firsthand the number of mice, rodents, and rats that can be found throughout Southwestern Ontario. It can sometimes be difficult to identify a common house mouse. In this blog, we share some information about house mice and how you can identify one in your own home.

What Is A House Mouse?

A house mouse (Mus musculus) is a rodent. It is nocturnal and is thus most active between sunset and sunrise. Seeing mice during the day could indicate a large infestation.

The house mouse is native to Asia and may have originated in northern India. It is believed to have spread to the eastern Mediterranean area by 13,000 BC. Early on, the house mouse attached itself to human settlements in order to take advantage of the grain stores and other available food. Initially, this slowed the house mouse’s spread; they did not reach the rest of Europe until around 1,000 BC. Today, the house mouse can be found virtually all over the world.

What Does a House Mouse Look Like?

Adult house mice can be 20 cm (7.9 inches) long from nose to tail tip, and they can weigh between 12 and 30 grams (0.42 and 1.06 ounces). Their short fur can range in colour from light gray or brown to black. The fur on their undersides is lighter than the fur on their backs or sides.

Are House Mice Dangerous?

While house mice aren’t aggressive and generally don’t bite people, they are hard to control – if not using the right pest control products and methods. They are also destructive, for they like to gnaw and can chew through wood, insulation, wires, and upholstery. A severe mouse infestation can actually cause structural damage to your house, apartment, or office.

The house mouse is a prolific breeder. A single female can have as many as eight litters per year, with an average of six pups in each litter. That means she can have nearly 50 babies in one year. Those babies are sexually mature by the time they are five weeks old, and they start mating about a week later. It doesn’t take long for a few mice to explode into hundreds or thousands.

Can Mice in Your House Make You Ill?

House mice can carry diseases like lymphocytic choriomeningitis. They are also hosts for pathogens such as Salmonella, Clostridium difficile, and E. coli, all of which can cause severe gastrointestinal symptoms that can sometimes be life-threatening. Even worse, house mice can carry the antibiotic-resistant strains of these pathogens.

Similarly, house mice can carry parasites like fleas, lice, and ticks – and these can also transmit diseases. House mice can also cause food poisoning by contaminating food with their droppings and urine.

What Attracts Mice into Your Home?

A house mouse will enter a home to get away from predators or bad weather. It will also enter a home while searching for food. Because of its small size, a house mouse can squeeze through a hole no bigger across than a dime.

What Do They Eat?

House mice are omnivores, but they feed mainly on plants. They especially like grains, dried food, and bagged food, including kibbles for dogs or cats.

What Are Signs of Mice in Your Home?

There are a number of ways to tell if you have a house mouse in your home or even a whole infestation. Signs of a mouse include:

Nesting Materials

In addition to seeing the mice themselves, other signs of an infestation can include the shredded paper and similar materials that they use to make their nests.

Droppings

Mouse droppings are also a good indication of an infestation in your home. A house mouse’s droppings are cylindrical with pointed ends. Some people have described mouse droppings as looking like black rice.

The Sound of Scratching

You may hear scratching or skittering sounds in the ceiling or wall on under the floor. Mice can also produce a musky or rank odor.

Where Will Mice Nest in Your Home?

Mice will find any hiding places and potential nesting sites in basements, attics, and spaces under cabinets or even between walls. They may seek food in the pantry or on unwashed dishes.

ASAP Pest Control provides commercial and residential pest control in London, Ontario and has been providing businesses and families with trusted pest control for a number of years. Get in touch with their expert team today learn more about our mouse and rat control services.