Commensal rodents constitute a majority of the rodent problems in both commercial and residential properties. Commensal rodents consist of the Norway Rat, the Roof Rat, and the notorious House Mouse. The word "commensal " means these rodents live off man and return nothing of worth. The only possible category where they could be considered beneficial would be as garbage removal, and that is stretching it even for devoted animal activists.
These rodents are not native to the United States, they came from Europe with early explorers and settlers. Once they discovered the "New World" they, like the early settlers, multiplied and infested the entire continent.
There are species of native mice that occasionally invade houses, but the house mouse (mus musculus) are the prominent species that invade houses and businesses.
The House Mouse is found throughout the United States. They are omnivores, feeding on cereal grains, seeds, fruits, vegetables, and meats. Seed is the preferred food. They eat at multiple sites eating small amounts at each site. (20-30 sites per day) Daily consumption is about 1/10 of an ounce leaving the balance contaminated.
Mice can be found in cultivated fields, woods, below ground, or on the top floor of the Empire State building. They are excellent climbers and are inquisitive. They explore their home turf daily and inspect any new object.
Mice are prolific breeders and under ideal conditions will breed year round. The female will have an average of eight litters per season with an average of six pups per litter. At five weeks old, the pups are capable of mating. It is not unusual for a female to be lactating her young and pregnant with a new litter.
Recently there have been numerous outbreaks of Hantavirus in the United States carried and spread by the house mouse. The virus is contacted by humans through inhalation of dust in contaminated rodent areas, usually where droppings and contaminated food tend to collect. If you have or have had a mouse infestation, always wear a respirator when cleaning the area. Symptoms of Hantavirus are similar to the flu including fever of 101 +, chills, body ache, and troubled breathing. It can be fatal, so if suspected see your doctor.
House Mouse: Some interesting facts