“I Hate Meeces to Pieces”!
That’s the familiar quote Mr. Jinks (the cat) exclaimed on each episode of “Pixie and Dixie”, the cartoon by Hanna-Barbera which aired around 60 years ago. Well, I’m with Jinks.
It’s that sad time of year to start bringing things indoors for the winter. Some things, however, make their own way into the house. Mice. You can’t blame them. Like all of us, they want a nice warm, comfortable place with an abundance of food where they raise their young.
Walt Disney did an admirable job of creating a lovable character in Mickey Mouse. He was idolized and immortalized. By the way, Mickey will be 92 next month. How about Jerry from Tom and Jerry, Speedy Gonzales and the merry mice that made Cinderella’s gown? And, lest we forget the mightiest of all, Mighty Mouse. They are just a few of the scores of animated rodentia that have made their way into our lives. It’s the real ones that make their way into our homes that are the big problem.
Cause for concern is when you hear scratching or scampering in the ceiling or in the walls, usually at night. If you see the tell-tale signs of “droppings” along the walls behind cupboards or the sink in the kitchen, beware! Mice will eat most anything anywhere including electrical wiring which can cause house fires.
They eat 15 to 20 times a day. They expel around 70 poops a day or close to 25,000 bits of fecal matter per year — per mouse. Also remember, as every professional pest-control technician will tell you … there is no such thing as “one mouse in a house”. Then there’s the urine. All bad things, some of which can make you very sick or even kill you.
Know that any mouse can squeeze through a hole the size of a dime. Now, do a walk-about your home and look for possible entry points a cute little critter will have access to. Pathways to the land of plenty.
Replace worn weather-stripping — metal ones are the best. Wrap steel wool around pipes before caulking or plugging holes. There are lots of options for plugging cracks in walls and foundations.
Look for leaky pipes or taps. Mice have to drink, too. Store dry food in glass or metal containers.
The gestation period for a female mouse is about 20 days and she might have a litter of six or even up to 12. She is ready to have more kiddies in 25 days bringing as many as 60 pixies into your loving home in one year. A female mini mouse can start producing pups of her own after about six weeks. A busy mother mouse can give birth to more than two thousand mice in her lifetime.
There are lots of ways to get rid of them. Poison is one but be careful, especially if you have kids or pets. My preference is the trap. Again, lots of options. Some people still prefer the age-old time-tested trap with cheese. I use, ah, I mean I have a friend who uses a more modern version with peanut butter as the lure.
Check traps every day and most importantly, wear a mask and rubber gloves for cleanup. Dampen droppings and debris with a solution of bleach and water before wiping up. Wear gloves to dispose of dead rats and mice. Double bag the bodies of dead rats and mice in plastic bags and put in a garbage bin with a secure lid. Wash hands and exposed clothing thoroughly after clean-up. Never sweep or vacuum dry droppings. The dust that’s raised can make you sick.
If you think you have a mouse problem, don’t wait for spring – do it now. DIY or call a professional pest practitioner.
Personally, I love meeces in pieces.