Basements provide an ideal habitat for house mice. Mice prefer the dark corners found in basements, and often crawl into the house through holes near the base of the home. Food storage is usually kept in the basement, which is a common target of house mice. Boxes found in basements provide mice with sheltered areas perfect for building nests. If you suspect mice are living in the basement, look along the walls, in the corners, and in any dark areas for signs of mice. They are most active at night, but visible signs can be seen in the day. These include mouse droppings, puddles of urine, tracks on the floor, fresh gnawing marks, and a musky odor.
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Mice are able to reproduce very rapidly. A female mouse can give birth to up to sixty young in a single year. If left untreated, a mouse infestation can quickly grow out of control. Mice droppings and urine can contaminate food and water with salmonellosis Mice also can carry airborne diseases such as Hantavirus. A population of mice will also cause damage to property by gnawing on surfaces.
Preventative measures include keeping the basement free of clutter, securing all food storage, and sealing any cracks that mice might use to enter the home. Metal or other hard surfaces must be used when sealing an entrance to discourage gnawing. Methods for controlling an existing population include mice traps, poison, and fumigation. The simple wooden trap is extremely effective and provides visual results. Bait the trap with bacon, peanut butter, or candy, and set the trap so it is very sensitive. Traps should then be placed in areas known for mice activity. Dispose of the body quickly to minimize the spread of disease. Glue traps can also be placed in areas of mice activity. These catch the mice alive and allow you to dispose of them properly. Poison should be used in areas inaccessible by pets and children, as all poisons can be dangerous if ingested. Only a professional should use single-dose poisons because it is more harmful to humans than multiple-dose poisons. Fumigants are very toxic and are only used by licensed professionals.