As Winter Nears Mice May Try to Take Up Residence in Your Home


Lincoln -- Withthe weather getting colder, now is the time homeowners might find a fewunexpected house guests.

Stephen Vantassel, a University of Nebraska-Lincolnprogram coordinator for the Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management,said this is a common time to see mice take up residence indoors.

Themain reason that mice come into homes this time of year is to get warm,Vantassel said.

"Smallanimals spend a lot of energy trying to keep themselves warm," he said."They are desperately looking for a warmer place to reduce their caloricneeds."

Allmice need to enter a home is a hole that measures three-eighths of an inch orlarger. It is important to inspect the house for these openings and seal them,Vantassel said.

Micecan climb, so be sure to inspect the entire house, not just the foundation.

"Establishweed-free zones around the foundation," he said. Bird feeders should bemonitored so that food does not spill out of them and attract mice.

Vantasselsaid there are ways to tell if mice are in your home before seeing them. Micelive in the walls of homes and people might be able to hear their vocalizationsor may notice pets scratching at the walls before they actually see a mouse inperson.

"Ifyou are seeing a mouse in the living space running across the floor in thekitchen, chances are you've had mice for a while because mice will live in thewalls long before they are exploring beyondthem,"he said.

Toget rid of mice, Vantassel recommends setting at least a dozen traps, a highernumber than most people would think to set.

"Youwant to make sure you are controlling them quickly and aggressively," hesaid.

Formore information on how to control mice, visit the UNL Extension NebGuide"Controlling House Mice" available from a local extension office oronline at: