During the cooler months, mice and other rodents may make their way indoors. A field mouse might just end up spending some time as a house mouse if it can find a way into your home. Of course, you know mice and rats are a nuisance if they get indoors. They eat your food, chew up wires, chew furniture and walls, but one of the most common questions we’re asked is: are mice dangerous?
The truth of the matter is mice in your house are dangerous. It’s not because they bite or because they have poisonous fangs or some hidden stinger, but because mice pose a number of health risks for a number of different factors. This is why getting rid of mice in your house is so important, and the sooner you can, the better.
If you have seen the signs of mice around your home, you should contact your local Ehrlich Pest Control specialist right away. We’ll track them down, offer the best mouse control solution for your needs and provide advice on how to keep mice away.
Are mice in the house dangerous?
The short answer is – yes. The fact is a number of serious illnesses and health risks have been traced back and attributed to mice. Rats, too, but when it comes to mammals, the second most populous ones outside of humans are mice.
The problem is mice make a huge mess. In order to mark a place as their own, they start to urinate and defecate all over the place. It is messy and nasty, to be sure, but mice waste also carries a number of known pathogens that can be very serious and lead to health problems. For example:
- Hantavirus – this is most often found in deer mice. Found in rodent urine and feces, the virus can be transmitted to humans if they come into contact with either of those substances. What’s more, mouse feces and urine can dry and turn into a dust and that can carry the virus as well. Hantavirus starts like so many other illnesses with a fever and chills, combined with aches and pains. However, if not treated, it can quickly turn more serious and lead to shortness of breath and kidney-failure which can lead to death.
- Salmonella – because rodents like mice go looking for food, and will eat just about anything they can get their tiny paw and sharp teeth on. That means they will walk over kitchen counters or all over your pantry and cabinets, tracking dirt and bacteria across other food substances that might also be in there. One of the most dangerous of those is salmonella, which if often just referred to as food poisoning. Fevers and severe stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhea are symptoms and it can become very serious and dangerous.
The other thing to remember is that mice and other rodents are not neat and do not shower every day. This means they are often covered in parasites like ticks and fleas. Several diseases have been linked to parasites mice carry, including:
- Lyme disease – which is transmitted via ticks, which mice often carry with them. Ticks can easily become an infestation and they can transmit this very serious, very health-averse disease which can have long-term effects.
- Plague – yes, the Bubonic plague was thought to be caused by mice and rats, but it turned out to be caused by the fleas they carried. Fleas eat blood, just like ticks and mosquitoes, and can transmit this potentially lethal disease.
- Colorado Tick Fever – another very serious and life-threatening disease transmitted by ticks carried by rodents like mice.
There are other mouse-related diseases linked to the parasites they carry. Getting rid of mice inside your home is more than just saving the furniture from having holes chewed in it, it can be dangerous to leave them on the loose.
Why are mice dangerous? What are the health risks to mice in the house?
The reason mice and a mouse infestation the home is so dangerous mostly stem from the diseases they carry. Mice do not generally bite (unless handled), so that is not the risk, the biggest problem that turns them from nuisance to danger is the health risks they bring with them from diseases and parasites.
However, there are other risks such as their tendency to chew on wiring in the walls. They will destroy property because their teeth keep growing and in order to manage their chompers, they have to chew on wood and other hard things to keep them filed down. If they end up inside the walls, they might chew on wiring, too. Exposed wiring can cause a short and that can cause an electrical fire behind the walls.
Mice can contaminate food and food surfaces. They are a key contributor to spreading diseases and bacteria which can be risky and potentially lethal to humans.
How do mice get inside the house?
Mice can get in from the smallest of spaces. If there are holes or cracks in a foundation or around the home. This includes cracks or broken siding or roofing tiles which have been torn or ripped open. All mice need is a tiny space and they can chew their way through wood, fiberglass and other items used to build houses to get inside.
Mice can also get inside from holes due to other things. For example, areas of the exterior of the home where wiring or pipes come out of the walls to connect to exterior utilities. Just a space the width of a pencil is enough for a mouse to squeeze through, since they are capable of collapsing their entire skeleton and all internal organs to get through.
A mouse is a determined animal, too. They can crawl up pipes and the sides of a house to find an opening and if they can’t find an opening, they can chew their way through.
Where do mice like to hide?
Mice like to hide behind walls and any place where they can find relative peace and quiet and easy access to food. This includes attics, basements, behind baseboards. They will find spots in closets or even within furniture. Mice will chew up insulation, paper and newspaper to create nests for themselves and begin to breed.
Finding Mice can be tricky. They can be found in just about any space. Air conditioning vents, closets, unused rooms, behind furniture, inside cabinets and drawers. Nooks and crannies of almost any size can be used by mice.
What are the signs of mice in the house?
Signs of mice include urine and fecal stains. Finding chewed holes in walls, baseboards and furniture. Piles of chewed and shredded paper, wrapping paper, newspaper and other soft materials for nests. Dirty smudges on the walls and baseboards can be evident because they will use the edges of the room to navigate around since they have very weak eyesight.
Mice leave dirty, tarry, smears, which is waste material, but they also leave pellets behind in little piles. All of them are potentially dangerous, and not be touched.
Of course, you might hear mice chewing away at wood, such as furniture and other materials and you might see mice. They are mostly nocturnal, so if you see some gray, furry, thing dash past your feet, it is possible you have a rodent problem and, more than likely, a mouse problem.
How to get rid of mice
The best way to get rid of mice in the home is to block them out and keep them away. Remove high grass and vegetation, which mice will use and then seek additional warmth and food by getting inside homes. Sealing up the spaces they can use to gain access are key too. Including:
- Sealing up cracks in the foundation
- Repairing siding and the roof
- Sealing up spaces around wires or pipes leading to outdoor utilities
- Making sure garage doors and any doors leading outside extends all the way to the ground. Install door sweeps where necessary.
Once mice get inside, they are very difficult to get rid of. Trying to do so on your own can put poison or dangerous traps in the path of family members, children or pets. There are numerous over-the-counter methods out there, but none are as effective as what a pest control professional can use.
Ehrlich gets rid of mice
Ehrlich Pest Control mouse control specialists know all of the places mice can hide. They understand the risks and can spot even the smallest signs of mice around the home or property. They also have the training and experience to know what kind of mice you have and where they might be getting in. Working with you, your dedicated pest specialist can develop an effective method of removing the mice and stopping them from returning.
If you think you’ve spotted the signs of a mouse infestation in your home, heard their little feet scampering in the walls, or worry about mice on your property and their potential health risks, just contact Ehrlich and set up a free property inspection.