The Pest Control Blog North America

Three Blind Mice, See How They…

The nursery rhyme about mice, with roots firmly planted in English history, dates back to around the time of Queen Mary I of England.

Another source sites Thomas Ravenscroft, a teenager at the time, who may have authored the rhyme in 1609. A timeless rhyme that you can hear just about anywhere in the world today. You’re probably humming it right now. There’s only one problem. Mice aren’t blind. While this isn’t earth shattering news, it may come as a surprise that mice have poor vision, as opposed to no vision.

So how do mice find our homes, kitchens and cupboards?Ah now we’re getting somewhere grasshopper! Mice are the decathletes of the mammalian world. They can only see clearly at a distance of about six inches and are color blind. However, that’s where their physical limitations end. Now the facts get cartoonish. They can climb walls with ease as long as the walls are textured, they can swim but prefer not to, and they can survive a fall from as high as 8 feet without so much as a scratch. Mice can also jump 12 inches high, and if that weren’t enough, they can also squeeze through openings around ¼” in size. These are the types of problems professional pest control is designed  to resolve for you.

The reasons mice find our homes and businesses are simple. Mice are curious, they are hungry and as the weather gets colder, mice want shelter. When near structures, mice follow warm air currents passing under door thresholds, and escaping out cracked windows or through utility lines. Mice also find and follow the food odors these air currents carry. These two scenarios bring mice, quite literally, to our doorstep.

And in case you think seeing a mouse means you only have one, think again. Mice are social mammals with established hierarchies complete with compatible, related males and females. Unrelated males and females are met with aggression and quickly evicted. Mice are prolific breeders reaching sexual maturity in 35 days. This is problematic since new mice begin breeding at 6-10 weeks with pregnancy lasting 19 days. With an average litter size of 6 mice, and the average female producing about 8 to 10 litters per year, a female mouse can produce a new litter every 40-50 days. I will leave the rest of the jaw-dropping math to those within arms reach of a calculator, or a really smart fourth grader!

The real problem is the filth mice introduce into our environments. Mice leave droppings just about everywhere they visit. Mice are known disease carriers and their presence is never a good thing. Among the organisms mice spread are Salmonella, a source of food poisoning caused by mice droppings, tapeworms (also via droppings) and Weil’s disease (infectious jaundice) caused by mice urine in food or water.

If you have mice, or if you know you get mice this time of year, the best time to get started on getting rid of mice is right away. As the old saying goes, “prevention is better than cure.” Besides, your health and the health of your family and pets depend on not letting three blind mice, turn into twelve blind mice…..

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