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FEBRUARY 25 2022 /
With the arrival of colder temperatures and bugs becoming fewer and farther between, it’s easy to think that pest season is behind us.
Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a pest-free season in Manassas. While insects might be giving us a break, winter is the season for mice infestations. If you’re not careful, you could be attracting mice to your Manassas property.
Many mice spend the summer months outdoors. Field mice are especially suited to the outdoors, while house mice tend to live inside buildings no matter what the season.
House mice can survive outside in the warmer months, but once they take up residence inside, they usually stay there year-round. Field mice, on the other hand, prefer the outdoors in the summer months, but when winter arrives, they often end up inside.
The reason for this is simple: They do it to survive.
Like most living creatures, mice need food, water, and shelter to survive. As summer gives way to fall, and fall to winter, food supplies become scarce.
Similarly, the weather eventually gets cold enough for outdoor water sources to freeze and mouse burrows become less cozy than they were during the warmer months.
When these three essentials become short in supply, mice’s survival instincts kick in and they look for a place to go that can fulfill these needs. Homes and businesses usually provide for all three.
Although they’ll take any shelter over none at all, mice are smart and will choose a location that best suits their needs if given the chance.
Certain things can make your Manassas home or business more attractive to mice than other buildings, even before they have a chance to set foot inside.
As previously discussed, mice are in search of three things: Food, water, and shelter. These three things can often be directly outside of your or business.
Trash, drainage, and debris all serve as a hospitable environment for mice year-round, and though these mice remain outdoors during the summer months, a steady source of sustenance and shelter will draw them closer to your structure.
Before mice will get close to your house or commercial facility, they’ll need a way to get there that doesn’t expose them.
A lawn or property that provides plenty of sheltered areas will be far more attractive to mice than one that offers a lot of exposure.
Tall grass provides camouflage as a mouse moves about. If your property has landscaping elements with a lot of shrubbery or rock walls, mice will find plenty of places to hide during the day.
Other elements that provide shelter include wood piles, leaf litter, fallen branches, and more.
Food can often be found around your property.
If you have pets that enjoy a snack or a meal outside, mice will be happy to share it with them. Bird feeders are also a way to draw mice onto your property.
Fruit trees and gardens will further attract mice to your property, as will open or easy to access garbage bins.
If you don’t have a pond or other natural water source on your property, you may not think that your land provides a water source, but there are many sources of water that are not as obvious.
Leaving a water dish out for a pet or having a bird bath on your lawn will attract mice. Low spots in your lawn or on your driveway can collect rainwater. Clogged gutters provide a water source for a thirsty mouse.
Once mice have gotten used to being around the outside of your structure, they’ll eventually find their way inside.
Of course the inside of buildings that are actively being used offer the warm shelter that mice are seeking, but they’ll be even more attractive if they provide plenty of areas to hide.
Mice are often found in attics, basements, and storage areas that don’t see a lot of foot traffic, but do provide boxes and other things to hide inside and behind.
Leaving food out in the open in your home or office is another good way to attract mice.
Food stored on counters, dirty dishes left in the sink, overflowing garbage cans, and messes and crumbs not cleaned up are all a feast for a mouse.
Similarly, food that is stored in cardboard boxes or plastic bags are easily accessible to a mouse.
Water sources are plentiful inside a house, whether it be from your pet’s water dish or a drippy faucet in the bathroom. If you have a leaky pipe you’re unaware of, it will also offer a steady water supply that mice will appreciate.
If mice got inside and simply huddled in a corner of the attic, they might be nothing to worry about, but the fact is that mice are dangerous and you do not want them getting into your Manassas home or business.
First of all, mice carry and spread diseases through their feces, urine, saliva, and bites.
As they travel through your home or business, they contaminate food and surfaces, leaving you susceptible to salmonella and rat bite fever.
Exposure to or inhalation of their droppings, urine, or saliva can lead to the sometimes deadly hantavirus. Mice bites can even cause bubonic plague.
Mice also introduce parasites into your home or business. External parasites, like ticks and fleas, are often found on mice and can cause many uncomfortable and dangerous problems for humans. Internal parasites, like tapeworms and roundworms, are also common in mice.
Beyond the health risks associated with a mouse infestation, there are also risks to the structure itself. Mice are incredibly destructive, causing all kinds of problems for home and business owners.
This is primarily due to their constant need to chew. Mice have incisors that never stop growing, so they must continually gnaw on objects to keep their teeth at a manageable length. Unfortunately, this spells disaster for the homes or businesses where they live.
Mice will chew through boxes and the contents inside, ruining belongings as they search for food and nesting materials.
They’ll gnaw holes in sheetrock walls and chew up the insulation inside, as well as use it as a nesting material.
Mice chew through wiring, which not only can cause electrical problems in your home or business, but can also become a fire hazard.
They also will chew through pipes and ductwork, which can cause a number of plumbing problems.
Discouraging mice from entering your home or business takes work, but it is not impossible.
Understanding what attracts them will help you eliminate many of the things that will bring them close to your structure. Consider the following tips to protect your Manassas building from a mice infestation:
⭐ Keep the grass on your lawn trimmed short.
⭐Clean up yard debris, including fallen branches and leaf litter.
⭐ Keep wood piles away from your structure.
⭐ Consider eliminating or reducing the number of landscaping elements that provide hiding spots for mice.
⭐ Do not leave pet food outside.
⭐ Remove bird feeders and clean up any fallen seeds.
⭐ Consider relocating fruit trees or gardens farther away from your home or business facility.
⭐ Put tightly fitting lids on outdoor garbage bins and store them away from the side of your building.
⭐ Build up low spots on your lawn and driveway to prevent water from pooling.
⭐ Keep pet water dishes indoors.
⭐ Remove bird baths.
⭐ Clean out your gutters on a regular basis.
⭐ Look for items where water may unexpectedly collect, such as a tire swing, and make sure they stay dry.
⭐ Check around the outside of the structure for areas where mice could get inside. Keep in mind that they can fit through holes the size of a dime and can often chew away at a smaller opening until it is large enough to fit through.
⭐ Seal all cracks you find in your foundation.
⭐ Repair holes in your siding.
⭐ Seal gaps around doors and windows.
⭐ Fix any tears or holes in window and door screens.
⭐ Cover all vents and openings, such as at the bottom of downspouts, with wire mesh.
⭐ Fix any roof, soffit, or eave damage that you find.
⭐ Keep all food stored in hard plastic or glass containers with airtight lids or in the refrigerator.
⭐ Clean up after every meal by wiping up crumbs, spills, and messes, and washing dishes or placing them in the dishwasher.
⭐ Remove the garbage on a regular basis.
⭐ Sweep or vacuum regularly.
⭐ Pull large appliances out of their spaces to clean underneath and behind them every so often.
⭐ Periodically check for leaking pipes under sinks and in the basement.
⭐ Clean out storage areas and remove as much clutter as possible.
While following all of these tips won’t guarantee you won’t end up with mice in your Manassas home or business, they make it far less likely that they’ll target your structure.
If you do end up with a mouse infestation, you may be tempted to set out some traps and call it a day. There’s a good chance that you’ll catch a mouse or two this way, maybe even three or four.
Unfortunately though, traps alone rarely eliminate an entire mouse population. Mice breed rapidly and once a couple of them get into your house or place of business, they’ll quickly multiply.
Although some may be lured in by the bait in a trap, mice are wary by nature and have an excellent sense of smell, so most will bypass the trap out of fear especially if they catch even a whiff of the mouse you did catch.
In order to ensure that you eliminate every mouse that has made its way into your house, you’ll want the help of seasoned professionals.
American Pest has been providing rodent control services for nearly 100 years. In that time we’ve been able to perfect our methods while staying up-to-date on the latest advances in pest control technology and innovation.
American Pest will safely eliminate your mouse infestation, as well as provide the exclusion work you need to prevent mice from getting into your home or business in the future. Keep your Manassas home or business safe from the many threats mice bring with them.
Contact American Pest to schedule an inspection with one of our rodent control specialists.