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Mice Biology: The house mouse is the most common pest in and around human living and working places. They damage and destroy materials by gnawing, eating your food (especially cereal products or nuts), attacking decorations such as floral or harvest/grain" arrangements. They can carry human diseases and ectoparasites that may bite people or pets. The house mouse has a head-plus-body length of about 2.5 to 3.5 inches, and is gray with dull white belly fur. An adult only weighs about an ounce, but they eat often (nibble) and leave their typical `calling card' droppings at places where they sat down to feed for a little while. Mouse droppings are long and pointed compared to the larger, blunt droppings of rats.
Nuisance Concerns: Mice can spread more than 20 kinds of organisms that can cause diseases of humans and pets. These include a variety of food poisoning bacteria like Salmonella, Shigella, E. coli, and others; tapeworms, mites, ticks, and rickettsial pox. Other rodents, which are widespread and may also come indoors for the winter such as deer mice and white-footed mice which can carry and spread other disease organisms like Hantavirus, plague and Lyme Disease.
Hantavirus is a deadly disease spread over most of the U.S. As of June 2002, of the 318 human cases reported by the CDC, from 31 states, 37% have been fatal. Deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) are a major host of the virus. The virus is transmitted to humans via dust that is inhaled after it has been contaminated by the mouse’s saliva, urine, and feces.
The white-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus) is distributed through the contiguous 48 states of the U.S. This mouse plays a vital role in the life cycle of Lyme Disease. According to the CDC, over 15,000 human cases of Lyme Disease were reported during the year 2009. Although it is infected ticks that bite humans and pets, the white-footed mouse is the source of the bacteria that causes the disease. The larva tick, soon after it hatches, feeds on the mouse and gets infected. Elimination of this mouse species near homes and businesses can reduce this public health threat.