Wednesday, January 2, 2013

House Mouse Pest Press

Have you noticed a lot more mouse activity in your schools this year?  I’ve trapped almost a dozen deer mice in my attic, but they keep coming!  Pest control companies are reporting as much as a 30% increase in deer mouse activity this year compared with last year – probably due to weather conditions (mild winters, warm and wet spring/summer) favoring population increases.  Because deer mice pose a health risk (asthma and hantavirus) and fire hazard (chewed wiring) we don’t want them, or any rodents, in our schools. 

  • This is an excellent time of year to do a thorough inspection in kitchen corners, under the shelving in the kitchen pantry, and in classrooms to  check for droppings, chewed food packaging, pest entryways needing to be sealed, and food left out of pest-proof containers (yes, especially those platters of cookie crumbs in the break room!).  If you have a contracted pest control service, talk with your provider about where and how you should supplement their mouse-monitoring.  Remember, your service is very unlikely to include classrooms, breakrooms, boiler rooms.  There is only so much your provider can do in a single 15-minute visit per month!
  • Set mouse traps. Snap traps work well.  Position them with the trigger firmly flush against the wall where ever you find evidence of mouse activity.  Check them daily.  Record captures in your IPM logbook. 
  • Please remind teachers to keep all food in pest proof containers or get it out of the classroom entirely!
  • Forward the link below to all school staff.  Although it downplays the negative impacts of deer mice, it gives a good overview of how to prevent, manage and clean up after mice that is applicable to both the house mouse and the deer mouse.

Best wishes for a healthy, productive and mouse-free New Year!

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