Mice are the uninvited house guests of autumn | Local news from Grand Island

Mice may be cute, but chances are you won’t want them as house guests this time of year.

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Temperatures are falling and that can only mean two things. Halloween is coming soon and the mice will start wandering inside.

Now, take a few steps to ensure that the “guests” who come to your home are the cute, costume-clad guests, not the furry, unwelcome ones.

House mice are frequent guests when outside temperatures drop. These small, light gray, furry rodents have large ears and a long tail. Their preferred diet is grain, but they eat almost anything. One reason mice can be a problem inside is their ability to reproduce quickly. Each year a female mouse can produce 5-10 litters, with around 5-6 cubs per litter. Mice build nests out of materials like paper, feathers, or other fluffy materials.

Elizabeth Exstrom

Elizabeth Exstrom

Understanding how mice work helps with control. They have relatively poor eyesight and are nearsighted. To make up for this deficit, they use their whiskers to feel the walls as they move. Mice also have extreme physical abilities. You can climb vertical surfaces, balance along wire ropes, jump 10 inches high or over a 3-foot gap, and survive a 9-foot fall. Her most impressive feat is squeezing her body into one-quarter inch diameter holes that are the size of a pencil.

If you don’t want these guests to become permanent residents, there are several methods you can use to control mice around the house. Exclusion is the most common in the fight against house mice. Prevent mice from entering buildings by removing openings that are 1/4 inch or larger. Use sealant or mortar to fill in the gaps. Spray-in-place foams and steel wool pads fill in the gaps, but they won’t do much to keep mice from getting in. Make sure doors, windows, and screens are tight. Cover the edges of doors and windows with metal to prevent gnawing.

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