Mice and Health Costs


Infants and the Elderly are Especially Vulnerable to Disease-Spreading Rodents

Mouse droppings are the most obvious and dangerous sign of infestation. Other signs of infestation include the appearance of small holes in furniture and floorboards and tracks which denote the most heavily-traveled paths that mice might take. If you do discover mouse droppings in your home, however, it’s best to exercise caution when approaching them and clearing them away; the fecal matter of mice is rife with a number of harmful bacteria and diseases.

Mouse droppings are small, cylindrical, and dark in color. They should only be removed with the use of proper cleaning materials as well as protective clothing. If these droppings are disturbed or simply vacuumed up, they can break apart and release bacteria into the air, which may prove especially dangerous to children or the elderly, as their immune systems don’t function as efficiently as those of healthy adults.

The presence of mouse feces indicates areas in which mice are most active, particularly in or around nesting areas, although they can sometimes be found in other, more secluded areas as well. Fecal matter may also appear near items or objects that have been chewed or otherwise destroyed during the nesting process.

For example, they can often be found in or near chewed cardboard boxes, damaged electrical wiring, and vacant drawers. Typically, these droppings are around 4 or 5 millimeters in length and appear in a pill or granular shape. They are usually black or very dark brown in color. Because of their minute size, mouse feces is often mistaken for that of cockroaches or rats, which can only complicate matters when trying to determine just what kind of pest is threatening infestation.

The chief reason that this fecal matter is so dangerous is that it can very easily spread viruses and other dangerous bacteria. To illustrate the ease with which these viruses can be transmitted, it’s worth noting that Hantavirus—a disease that causes the lungs to fill with fluid and can be fatal in its later stages—can be spread through the inhalation of airborne fecal particles.

That said, any fecal matter should be removed only with the use of protective gloves and a respirator. As you might reasonably assume, the chances of creating contaminated airborne particles tends to increase when the droppings are disturbed, so attempting to sweep or vacuum areas in which feces has been found is not recommended. Alternatively, carefully picking up the droppings and depositing them in a plastic bag is a safer and more effective course of action.

Following the disposal of the larger droppings, any and all surfaces suspected of having been in contact with mice should be thoroughly disinfected. Afterwards, any sort of cloth or towel that might have been used for cleaning should likewise be immediately disposed of, as should gloves and other clothes worn during cleaning.

All contaminated clothing should be placed in tightly sealed plastic bags and placed, in turn, inside another sealed plastic bag for optimal protection. These bags may be deposited in outdoor garbage bins and the newly cleaned area should be exposed, if possible, to several hours of sunlight and fresh air.

If mice have made unsightly appearances in your home, call Cantu Pest Control at 972-562-9999 (Dallas and Fort Worth areas) or 713-956-7822 (Houston area) and schedule an appointment today with one of our friendly, experienced pest control experts.