Ever feel peckish around mid-afternoon? It’s too late for a respectable lunch, and too early for a hearty dinner. So you might decide to pop into the kitchen and fix yourself a quick snack. Your taste buds start to kick into gear as you throw together a simple (but oh-so effective) sandwich. You feel the scrape of the knife along the coarse bread. The aroma of the tangy mayo tantalises your nostrils. You discreetly lick your lips as you eye the sliced ham. You look around for other little treat to add to your secret feast.
Suddenly, you realise you are not alone! Something darted across your peripheral vision. You stand still, well-buttered knife held aloft. Then you hear it. The unmistakable pitter-patter of tiny unwanted feet…
Mice are unwelcome intruders in any part of your home. However, the presence of mice in your kitchen can be a particularly upsetting dilemma. This, after all, is where you prepare and maybe even consume your food. But who are you sharing your titbits with? And how can you protect your sanctuary?
Why do they want in?
What usually brings you into your kitchen? The desire for food, of course! And that’s what attracts mice too. Your kitchen is most likely a treasure trove of tasty morsels, including bread, rice, pasta, cereal, vegetables, chocolate and biscuits. And cheese! And the easier it is for mice to nibble on your food, the more mice you’ll attract.
Mice, like humans, have other basic needs as well. They need shelter and, as winter settles in for the long chill, they crave warmth. A hot corner behind a stove can become a cosy refuge for them.
Unfortunately for you, they may also be seeking a breeding ground, safe from the dangers of the wild outdoors. And mice don’t waste time when it comes to breeding. If you see one mouse, chances are a whole family of rodents is now calling your house their sweet home.
How do they get in?
Before they can settle down in your hidden corners, mice first need to gain access. This is not usually much of a problem for them. They are very resourceful and flexible! In fact, they can squeeze their bodies through tiny holes in walls, windows, floorboards, tiles and slates.
If you have an old house, you may find it impossible to completely seal yourself away from mice. After all, you don’t want to live in a prison either. However, inspect your property to see where the weaknesses are, and be vigilant! Bear in mind that drainpipes and air vents are often rodent hotspots.
What will they do?
Mice are obviously unpleasant intruders. Nothing can ruin the ambience of a delightful dinner party more quickly than the sight of a well-fed mouse scurrying across the worktop with the entrée snack clasped in its jaw.
Because mice are indiscriminate eaters, no food is safe from them. Grain, seeds, fruits, chocolate and insects are all known to satisfy their appetites.
In addition to diminishing your food supplies, mice can damage wires and fabrics throughout the house. Don’t forget how strong and sharp those tiny teeth are!
What are the risks?
The most obvious risk caused by a mouse infestation is the spread of disease. They are known to carry salmonella, fleas and tapeworms, for example. They can also cause allergic reactions for some people as well, especially asthma suffers.
Remember how mice like to nibble on electric wires? This can also become a serious risk to your property as it could lead to electrical shorts and even fires.
How can you tackle them?
Okay, you’ve seen a mouse in your kitchen, and you’ve got all the screaming and jumping up on chairs out of the way. What next?
Mice will not leave on their own accord. You are going to have to take action in order to get rid of them. Surprisingly, one of the most effective ways of tackling a mouse infestation is one of the traditional solutions: mouse traps! Once you see evidence of mouse activity (eaten food; droppings; nibbled paper or fabrics; frayed wires), focus on this area. Set the traps according to the manufacturers’ instructions, and be sure to check (and replace them) regularly.
Where should you set the traps? Your first line of defence should be wherever you see evidence of mice. But also try to find the source of the problem. Where did the rodents build their nest? Once you locate the nest, set traps near all access points. If you are unable to locate the nest, consider seeking help from professional pest controllers.
If you find the thought of killing mice with traps unappealing, consider alternatives such as humane traps or sonic repellents. Be sure to assess their effectiveness, however. If you want to relocate live mice, release them far away from your property. Otherwise, they will simply come back in!
How can you prevent them?
The most effective solution to mouse infestations is to prevent them from gaining access to your property in the first place. Remember that mice can contort their bodies through very small cracks in the walls and timber. Check your property for holes and cavities, and fill them in. Steel wool provides a good barrier, for example.
Mice come inside in search of shelter, warmth and food. Don’t make it easy for them! Store all foods in sealed fridges or airtight containers. Clean up all scraps. Watch out for tiny crumbs on the floor around ovens or under tables. Remember to clear away and store all foods at the end of the day. And ensure all bins are properly lidded.
By taking these simple precautions, you can reduce your chances of being invaded by these pests. If they do get a foothold on your property and you feel overwhelmed by the scale of the infestation, contact your local pest control service.
Professional rodent control
A professional pest controller has a range of rodent control options available to help successfully remove rodents from your property, ensuring that the infestations doesn’t re-occur again.
Have a rat or mouse problem? Get in contact with Rentokil for a FREE survey.