Mice: advice and information
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Mice are difficult to control because of their breeding rate and ability to colonise new areas. The best way to discourage mice is to ensure premises are in good repair and no food is left around the house or garden.
Poison bait can be bought from chemists, hardware shops, and garden centres. Bait must be made readily available to the mice, but not accessible to other animals or humans (particularly children). Poison bait packaging will have detailed instructions on use and safety - follow the instructions. When the bait is not being taken any more it can be assumed that the infestation has been eradicated. All remaining bait should be removed and disposed of according to the manufacturers instructions. Mice that have taken poison return to their nest and die. This may cause a smell, however, this should go after a short while depending on how warm the nest is. Nests are difficult to locate so it is not recommended that you attempt to remove them. It is essential to repair mouse damage to prevent further infestations.
An adult house mouse weighs 30 grams and is 90 mm long (excluding tail). It has brown fur with grey stomach and large ears (in relation to the body) and small feet. The tail is approximately the same length as the head and body.
Mice can be confused with young rats which have smaller ears, larger feet and thick tails which are shorter than their body. They are widely distributed throughout urban areas and in farm buildings.
The house mouse is the most common domestic pest and will nest in partitions, floors, and behind wall boarding. Mice are mainly active at night and occasionally during the day. Mice are excellent climbers and can scale vertical brick walls. They are not dependent on having a source of water and obtain sufficient moisture from food.
The life expectancy of a mouse is a year. Females may breed up to six times (with an average litter of six) and start producing babies at 2 months.
Mice are a hazard to health and can be responsible for the spread of disease. They may eat food intended for human consumption and contaminate with urine, droppings and fur. All contaminated food should be disposed of. Mice can also cause structural damage by gnawing woodwork, water pipes, electric cables and household items.
Signs of mouse infestation include damage caused by gnawing, feeding holes, smears and droppings. Mice nibble from the centre of a grain, whilst rats often leave half grains or pieces of debris. Nest entrance holes are about 20mm diameter and appear in the ground, floors, walls and the base of doors. Footprints may be evident in dusty environments. The amount of droppings present indicates the size of infestation and how long it has been there.