How do you know when all the mice are gone?
Caught one mouse, is there more? Well, if I found a mouse in my house and I would wonder if there could be more. Mice behave as a population and they are therefore never really alone. Actually, mice can easily go between homes by travelling through the void space and following the pipework.
So, whether the mouse I caught in my house is the only one depends on if my house has already been colonised or not?
How mice move?
Mice are able to move freely outdoors and will take on any opportunity to get into a building that will offer them shelter. Thus, House Mice have evolved alongside humans to take full advantage of their habitation.
Most of our homes are either terrace houses or purpose build flats. As you go from one home to the next so do some pipework and cables.
Furthermore, the buildings have not been designed to be mouse proofed. At basement and foundation level, or a roof level, there are plenty of gaps between brick work that would allow mice through.
Found mouse droppings but no mouse?
Mice are elusive and are often most active in the evening and during the night. And I frequently come across clients who thought they only had a few droppings at the back of the microwave, when they actually had hundreds underneath the kitchen units.
Where there are droppings, a mouse made them. So, the first thing that one should do it to open the kitchen kickboard and check for the presence of more droppings at void space level: the more droppings, the bigger the mice infestation.
The second next thing would be to remove the mice droppings and to check after a few days, or weeks if fresh droppings appeared. If you find fresh droppings in the control area, then you suffer from an ongoing mice infestation.
I found a mouse in my house. What do I do?
If I got mice in my house, I would immediately contact my neighbours living below and/or sideways to let them know. Simply put mice do not appear from thin air and they are more likely to come from within the building rather than the garden area.
Having said that, I am not suggesting to accuse the person leaving next door to be the cause of your infestation. It is more a matter of raising awareness and getting them to check underneath their own kitchen units for the presence of droppings.
Mice actually travel 10-12 metres around their nest. Hence mice would be either nesting inside your home, or possibly coming from a place that is 1 or 2 houses removed.
Mice coming out during the day?
The circadian rhythm of mice makes them more active toward the end of the day and during the night. Not truly nocturnal then, it is not unusual to see them during the day.
In some instances, mice can grow accustomed to feeling unthreatened in the property they are coming from and would almost seem cocky. But in general, mice come into the living space when they feel it is quiet and safe enough, or because it is under tremendous pressure.
Do mice leave on their own?
Can mice just leave your house? Mice population builds up and spread under the pressures and limitations of their environment. As a mouse would intrude for the very first time inside a home, it will survey it for food and possible harbourage. If conditions are more favourable that the place it came from, the mouse may decide to settle down.
If the conditions, are less favourable, it will most likely return where it is coming from. But this will not stop mice from returning every so often to gather food stuff and even nesting materials.
If mice settle down, and colonise a property, it will be because that property can sustain them well enough. Under such conditions, mice would never have any incentive to leave unless the conditions suddenly turn unfavourable. The introduction of a cat may tip the balance? An ultrasonic device may upset them enough to make them leave to the next house?
If there is no food, will mice leave?
Basically, it is down to population dynamics. Mice need a place to nest, and food nearby in order to survive and multiply. In a context where you would suddenly remove the food, the environment would suddenly not be able to sustain such a large number of mice, and therefore, mice would look for more favourable environment.
But in practice, it is not so clear cut. Even if a home would have no food whatsoever, mice nesting nearby would still keep on surveying it every so often to check if conditions changed. Mice are relentless, and they never stop looking.
Dealing with mice in House.
When mice have colonised a property, you cannot simply wish them away. There are a number of things that can be done.
The most effective method is to trick them into eating something that will actually kill them without them even noticing.
There are a wide variety of bait formulation available. The key is using a formulation that mice will actually want to eat. Think that if you would mix up the best poison with sand, mice would never eat it. Seeds are possibly the most successful, and nicer seeds are better than boring seeds.
The bait that I value the most is based on canary seed bait, and another one is a little bit like crunchy peanut butter. Whole-wheat bait in comparison is quite plain and would have trouble competing with the food debris that can be found in our homes.
Traps will only remove one individual at a time. And it is unlikely that you will trap them faster that the mice can breed.
Keeping them out
Mouse proofing is by far the strongest long-term strategy. But as you carry the mouse proofing, you better make sure that mice have been taken care off. Otherwise you may end up blocking one in?
Mouse proofing and baiting works hand in hands. The mice treatment first depletes the stock of mice that are infesting the property, then it will protect the proofing from future oncoming mice.
How do you know when my mice infestation is gone?
The level of infestation increases from the time mice access the property for the first time until the local mice population reach an equilibrium state. That equilibrium state is a balance between how many mice are there and how many mice this environment can sustain.
As this critical point is achieved and as mice keep on breeding, the excess of mice population will have to expand toward the surrounding areas where competition is lesser. Thus, a mice infestation spreads from home to home.
As the mice population increase, the evidence of mice infestation will increase accordingly and the tenants will be more likely to take notice. There are tenants who may be more on top than others and would take notice earlier. And that time would normally be considered as the Action level.
In plain words, how do you know when all the mice are gone? Most people will consider that the mice infestation is over, when they stop noticing signs of activity such as sightings or droppings. However, most would only look at living space level and would not notice the activity taking place at void space level.
One of the best ways to find out is to place a control bait point at void space level, and monitor it on a regular basis as well as the appearance of new droppings. Simply remove the old droppings thoroughly underneath the sink unit, and placing a fresh control bait in the middle then monitor on a regular basis.
Do mice return to the same place?
Mice infestation tend to be recurring at a certain frequency that depends on how much pressure exist around your home. So, if the conditions that lead to your infestation still exist, it will only be a matter of time for the surrounding mice population to recover, build up in numbers and start infesting you again.
When you place quality bait, the mice take it and in effect you remove the rodents from your home. But once the bait is all gone, there is nothing left to protect the home, and from there any mice returning may start recolonising the property and you are back to square 1.
The more frequent these cycles of mice activity, the bigger the surrounding established mice population. If you would live on the top floor of a tower, it is obvious that the mice affecting you must be coming from the floors below since they do not fly. Ideally you would want to be rid of mice before they reach you, but this would involve treating the areas below possibly as part of a Block Control Program.
In term of statistic, a property once infested, is 5 times more likely to be re-infested than a property that has never been infested.