Mice are common visitors in Pittsburgh area homes
By Rex Rutkoski
Published: Thursday, March 21, 2013, 7:36 p.m.
Unless their names are Mickey and Minnie, mice remain among the most unwelcome visitors to our homes.
That doesn't stop them from inviting themselves in for a long stay if they can get away with it, which they often do, especially in the Pittsburgh area, according to information just released in the Census Bureau's American Housing Survey.
That report found the seven-county Pittsburgh metro area had the fourth-highest percentage of homes with signs of mice among the 29 largest metro areas in the country. The results don't surprise Ian Ferguson, owner of Critter Control of Greater Pittsburgh, or Shawn Linnan, CEO of Affordable Extermination Services, Ross.
This is their busy season. “I know when it is mouse season, because the phone doesn't stop ringing,” Ferguson says.
The number of older homes with cracks, crevices and gaps in roofs, and the number of heavily wooded areas in the region keep them busy. “Anywhere they can feel warm air coming in from the outside, they will come in,” Linnan says.
Give mice an opening as small as a quarter of an inch, and they'll not only take a mile, but often grab an all-access pass to your home, Ferguson suggests.
“You've got to know your enemy,” Linnan adds.
If knowledge is the key to regaining control of your home, here are tips from those on the front lines to lock and load in this battle:
• Clean up inside and store food in glass and metal containers. Human and pet food should not be left out overnight unprotected.
• Mice hoard food in inaccessible areas, so removal of supplies may not reduce infestations immediately.
• Traps should be placed flush to walls, with trigger plates facing wall, and in paths where the rodents travel. Study details of a variety of traps for pros and cons.
• Popular bait includes peanut butter, pineapple, nuts, doughnuts, cake, fried bacon, raisin, chocolate, gum drops.
• Leave traps unset until bait has been taken at least once.
• Rodent-proofing plays a vital role. The goal is to close all present and potential openings that may serve as entries for unwelcome visitors.
• Never underestimate a determined mouse. They have capability of chewing through wood just to get through an opening, and they can jump 12 inches high, run up the sides of buildings and cross cables and wires.
• Thoroughly inspect your home and locate openings larger than a quarter of an inch (Rule of thumb: if a pencil can fit into it, a mouse probably can, too) and openings where utilities enter. Check floor drains and sewer-pipe grates. Make sure doors, windows and screen are fitting tightly.
• Use rodent-resistant material, such as sheet metal, heavy wire mesh, concrete, brick and mortar to close openings. Steel wool can be a temporary substitute when other material is not available.
• Mouse tracking: Check for mouse tracks by dusting suspected areas with light coating of unscented talcum powder or mason's chalk dust. Wait a day and shine a flashlight across the area.
• Don't forget outside: Eliminate weeds around the outside entryways, keep all drains covered and secure, make sure hoses are not leaking, repair defective pipes and drains and remove junk, old boxes and other items.
• Place garbage in trash cans with lids.
• Eliminate all sources of water, such as condensation or leaks from faucets, pipes or other sources.
• Rodents are potential carriers of disease. To avoid sending dust containing viruses into the air, do not sweep or vacuum mouse droppings until you have wet the affected area with detergent, bleach and water.
• Wearing protective gloves, place a dead rodent and/or droppings in a plastic bag and seal it; then place it in a second bag, seal and dispose in the trash.
• One pair of mice may produce 200 offspring in four months.
• Don't expect your cat or dog to keep mice away. The best way to control mice is to keep them out in the first place.
Sources: Allegheny County Public Works Department, Yahoo.com, New York State Department of Health, Terminix, Orkin
Rex Rutkoski is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4664 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Agents remove dogs from unlicensed kennel
- Weather delays cleaning project
- Retirees, senior citizens anticipate annual holiday program
- Local crews ready for wintry mix
- Survivors recognized during West Mifflin Area ceremony
- Penn State New Kensington men fall in opener of road trip
- Baldwin-Whitehall board hits ‘magical line of dissatisfaction’
- For Steelers defense, it’s all a matter of trust
- Sears to spin off Lands’ End business
- Latrobe couple accused of using car trunk to end son’s fear of the dark
- Long-overdue memorial to region’s World War II vets opens