Along with crickets, which I described in my previous article, the house mouse is another all too prevalent fall invader. As temperatures drop, mice attempt to enter structures for what I refer to as the Survival Triangle; food, water and shelter. Our home and work environments pro vide those necessities to us; unfortunately, it provides it to mice as well. Mice only live for about one year, but are prolific breeders, sexually mature at 35 days, and capable of having its first litter of six to eight pups at 60 days old. With up to eight litters per year possible, one pair of mice and their offspring could potentially translate into 500 mice in one year.
Though not particularly intelligent creatures, they do have survival skills. Mice are excellent jumpers, with the ability to leap about one-foot up and six-feet down without injury. They can also climb straight up a wall in seconds. Their most extraordinary feat, however, is their ability to squeeze through a 3/8-inch opening. Mice and their droppings have been linked to a variety of diseases, salmonella, E.coli and hantavirus to name but a few.
• Home and business owners can help prevent mice with some basic steps:
• Keep exterior garbage and recycling areas clean. Be sure pails are tightly closed.
• Be sure windows and doors are tightly fitted. Seal up exterior openings, especially hose spigots, phone, cable, electrical and other utility lines.
• Landscape installations should be at least one-foot from a building. If possible, low-growing shrubs such as junipers should be avoided as rodents frequently burrow beneath them.
• Contact a Pest Management Professional. He or she can tailor an appropriate treatment strategy if needed.
(Great Neck resident Irwin T. Levy is president of Aladdin Pest Control, Garden City Park. He can be reached at 516-248-6350 or firstname.lastname@example.org)