An interview with a house mouse

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With such a destructive pest, the house mouse can sometimes be polite. (PHOTO: ICEFRONT / ISTOCK / GETTY IMAGES PLUS / GETTY IMAGES)

Pest Control Journal (PMP): We have spoken to the Norway rat (Rattus norvegicus) in the past, but this month we will be talking to a house mouse. Welcome and thank you for joining us today.
House mouse (HM): Thanks for the invitation.

PMP: Mice have been named one of the most successful species on earth. Why is that?
HM: Well, rats often try to attribute their success to ourselves, but we think we ourselves are successful. We have enormous flexibility because we can survive with little food, little water and reproduce quickly. We pride ourselves on being one of the more than 2,000 species of commensal rodent that inhabit every continent, except perhaps Antarctica and some islands. But don’t worry. You can also rely on us.

PMP: Two thousand species of rodents?
HM: Is correct; but don’t take my word for it This information is published in the World Health Organization’s Public Health Significance of Urban Pests. A house mouse has only a few subspecies, so it is not a large group. But we are very effective.

PMP: Can you survive outdoors? Many people think that your common name implies that you must live indoors, or at least very close to a house.
HM: People notice us in and around houses, but we live in fields, barns and other areas that are not houses. We like to be around people because we like to share the table. Or rather, we want people to share their food with us. As with any pest, we need shelter, food and water. Usually we can get the water we need from food that people kindly share with us without thinking, e.g.

PMP: What makes life difficult for you?
HM: The hardest thing that comes as a surprise to us is success.

PMP: Success? Really?
HM: Yes. If people are too hospitable by being generous with food, water, and shelter or shelter, our population will explode. Then the competition gets tough. We can become our own worst enemy.

PMP: They say that you are so adaptable that if there is a little food shortage you will find it elsewhere. Water scarcity? No problem, you get it from the food source or even condensation on pipes. Lack of port? No problem, you will be moving.
HM: Right. Of course we like to be close to the things we need. But often when someone seals one access point, we can usually find another one. Preserving our energy is important; We don’t come out downstairs to eat. Like relatives who stay too long, it drives people crazy. However, when they bring in a professional, we worry.

PMP: What tips can you give pest controllers (PMPs)?
HM: Take your time and go to the source for food, shelter, and even water. A few extra minutes at work will reduce callbacks. Our best day is when DIY enthusiasts are trying to reset traps and we no longer hide from them. We just laugh. You don’t. However, PMPs are very good at detecting. It is not the control measures that are different. They’re just so good at getting along with us. They used to sell the use of rodenticides or the installation of traps. Today they are selling know-how with these tools and there is no fighting against that.

PMP: I think that’s why our industry is so valuable.
HM: Well, you’ll never get rid of us, but the pros keep our numbers down for sure.

PMP: Thanks for your time.
HM: Thank you very much.

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