The question, “how much is pest control for mice?” is difficult to answer definitively. Mainly because the pest control cost varies with what the professional finds. A good pest controller will survey your property for signs of other pests as well as mice because they are all attracted by food and shelter. He or she will prepare an extermination plan depending on the findings and give advice on ways you can prevent pests from returning. He will then lay the traps. Good pest controllers will return after a specific time to see if the problem has been solved.
Average pest control prices will vary depending on which pest is being targeted and the level of infestation, however, the price for laying four poisoned bait traps for mice will cost about £100 including the survey. You can buy rodent poison a lot cheaper and do it yourself but you will miss out on the exterminator’s specialist knowledge, his survey and his extermination plan. If you don’t fix the cause you will have a mouse infestation again.
If you live in an ‘at risk’ area, it might be better to ask the exterminator about a monthly plan. For a set amount each month, the exterminator will visit regularly and keep on top of any infestation you may have. Check with your local exterminator for advice on this. Always get three quotes for the work and ensure the contractor is a member of the British Pest Control Association. Look on the UK government website for further advice on pest control.
If you see a mouse scampering about your house, there are three things that might be going on:
- It may not be a mouse in the first place.
- It may have just come in from outside because of the cold or because it is hungry.
- It may have been in your home for a few weeks, in which case it isn’t alone and there is probably a nest hidden somewhere.
You may be surprised that the problem may be any of these and in fact may not be a problem at all. Firstly, before we start talking about getting rid of the supposed infestation, let’s just talk about those possibilities and try to squeeze some more of information out of them.
By the way, if you decide that you have an infestation, there are many pest control products available for the DIY exterminator. But if you have tried and failed to solve the problem, the local pest control guy doesn’t cost too much to hire.
When is a mouse not a mouse?
The only real problem that humans have is with the House Mouse (or Mus musculus). There are many animals that may look like a house mouse but if we look deeper we can see that they are an integral part of the natural countryside and don’t really want to be in our house in the first place. So what else might this “mouse” be?
- The vole. This is a rodent like a mouse but lives in fields, by water and in woodland. There are four species native to the UK, the Water vole, field vole, bank vole and the Orkney vole. They usually live for about 3 to 12 months but some of the larger species live for up to 18 months. They mainly feed on fruits, seeds, roots, small insects and nuts. Water voles will also eat frogs and tadpoles.
- The shrew. This is not a rodent but is related to the mole and the hedgehog. They look very much like a vole and there are only four species native to the UK. It eats insects, slugs, snails, worms, spiders
- Field mouse. These are the most common species of mouse in the UK and live in woodland, rough grassland and gardens. They eat seeds from trees and plants, snails, berries, fruit, nuts and fungi. They are nocturnal and sleep in burrows during the day. Their main predator is the owl. Because they sometimes live in your garden they could find their way into your home. Usually, this is by accident and only really occurs if there is a spell of very cold weather. Don’t worry though because this mouse will get back outside again as quickly as it can, where it can find its food.
- Harvest mouse. This is the smallest rodent in Europe and makes its nests from woven grass in patches of long grass. It lives in grassland, reed beds, hedgerows and woodland. The harvest mouse feeds mainly on seeds and nuts but sometimes eats worms, insects and snails.
- Yellow-necked mouse. This lives in areas of southern England, areas o the Midlands and parts of South Wales. It feeds on seeds, nuts and small insects.
- House mouse. Of course, the small furry rodent you see in your home might be the House mouse. Unlike the other species of rodent, already mentioned the house mouse has a very strong odour and you will certainly know if it is sharing your house with you. The house mouse likes to live with humans because we tend to leave our food lying around. Although you might think that cheese is their favourite food, you would be wrong. They actually prefer to eat cereals but if there is nothing else they will eat almost any food. The main problem with the house mouse is that if they get into your food store they will leave their droppings and urinate around the place and contaminate everything. Unlike its other relatives, the house mouse likes to live with humans and relies on us for food and shelter. Mice also like to gnaw on electrical cable insulation so can sometimes be a cause of electrical fires.
Do they attract other pests?
If you have mice, then you are probably leaving food waste around the kitchen and not cleaning up after a meal. If this is the case, then you will probably have other pests too. Cockroaches, ants, houseflies, bluebottles, fleas and other nasties. All of them will gladly collect our leftovers or will live on the animals that do. There is no need for us to suffer from this. There are many cheap pest control products that we can buy from DIY stores, supermarkets and online. In the UK, we don’t have too many different pests and those we do have are not actually poisonous except for certain stinging or biting insects. The majority of pests are those that cause problems by contaminating food supplies, spreading disease and those that are just a nuisance. As we are talking about mice in this article, we won’t spend too much time on the other pests except to mention the most commonly encountered ones and give a general idea of what we are up against.
- Ant pest control. There are DIY products available that are useful for an isolated problem. If you see a load of ants swarming all over the marmalade spoon after breakfast and carrying the food away, then you have a large infestation and you need to find professional help. Pest control services have access to chemicals and other methods as well as specialised knowledge that will definitely get rid of them.
- Flea pest control. Fleas like to live on warm-blooded hosts. They get their next meal from the host’s blood, not from the food we eat. Unfortunately, their hosts do. Fleas tend to jump from host to host, so if your pet cat or dog likes to pick up flea ridden mice and bring them home as a gift for you, then the chances are that your pet will be carrying the fleas as well. Before you know it your home is jumping with fleas and they are everywhere. Fleas in your home are a difficult infestation to solve and will need a systematic DIY extermination plan to make sure you don’t miss anywhere. It is easier to hire a pest control professional who will work with you to rid your home and pets of fleas.
- Cockroach control. There are about 4,600 species of cockroach of which about 30 like to live near humans. Out of these about 4 species are actually pests. Cockroaches prefer to live together in groups near where they can find food. Our houses are ideal because they love eating the same food as we do. They are not easily exterminated by DIY methods but respond to specific insecticides containing hydramethylnon fipronil, and boric acid. They tend to keep out of sight so if you see one or two you know that you have a large infestation lurking in the shadows. Call in a professional at the earliest opportunity.
What other damage do the pests do?
Apart from actually seeing the little blighters running around the place, how can we tell if we have a mouse infestation in our homes?
- Mice are very active at night so you will hear them scratching around under floorboards, inside walls and above ceilings.
- Mice leave their droppings wherever they go so you will find small black pellets about the size of a rice grain in the kitchen and other places around the house.
- Gnawed holes. Mice will gnaw through packets of food such as rice or cereal boxes. They also damage furniture, wallpaper and like to shred paper for their nests.
- Unpleasant odour. Can you remember what a pet shop smells like? That smell is mainly caused by mouse urine. It is an unpleasant musty smell that you will notice right away.
- Missing pet food. If you have cats, you will often find that mice will steal and hide dried cat food pellets for consumption later. This happened at my house a few years ago. Our cat would sit and look at an armchair all day long. I eventually moved the chair, only to find a little pile of dried cat food and a few mouse droppings. Now, why didn’t the cat catch the mouse?
What can we do about mice?
It is always better to deter pests from setting up home rather than removing an infestation. It is a lot easier too. Although pest control prices are not too expensive, and if you have an infestation they are worth every penny, it is still money leaving your bank account that would be better left where it is.
Some of the ways to deter mice:
- Get a cat. Although having a cat in the house didn’t help us (as I mentioned earlier), most dogs and cats will hunt mice and they are fully aware of this. Hopefully, they will give your house a wide berth if you have a cat.
- Sonic repellents. There are high pitched sonic deterrents that give off a sound that mice don’t like. These are available from DIY stores and online. If you use one continuously, however, the mouse just gets used to the noise and ignores it like we would background music. It is better to buy one that changes the frequency every now and again.
- Seal the holes. This is not very easy to do as it involves searching through your house and closing up all tiny holes that a mouse can use to access your property. They can crawl through holes larger than 6mm. Most common access areas are where the pipes come through the floor into the kitchen, but as these are often behind or below kitchen units it can be very hard to reach. Don’t assume that this will solve the problem because they can always walk in through the door!
Pests in the home are not only a nuisance they are also a health and hygiene problem too. Mice are one of the commonest pests to be found in the UK, but make sure they are mice before you exterminate them. Although you can use many DIY methods to get rid of mice, contact a professional who will be able to exterminate them humanely and work out if there is a specific cause attracting the mice and whether you have other pests sharing your home.