I’ve got traps everywhere, but I’ve caught no mice! They’re too smart so we called you guys.
We just heard this at a commercial stop in Dedham yesterday. Yup, rodents love getting into just about anywhere this time of year, even a non-food service commercial account. It’s all about opportunity and survival. With 3+ feet of snow on the ground, how could one little brown or grey mouse ever have a hope of not starving to death during the winter unless he heads inside? During spring and summer mice can easily survive on a diet of berries, seeds or small insects found outside. But in this weather? Poor little thing wouldn’t have much of a chance out there. Plus, if you were a medium sized predator such as a hawk, or owl or even a desperate coyote, wouldn’t it be real easy to spot a brown mouse with all this bright white background (ok, mostly white, getting rather dirty looking lately though)?
So what makes a mouse check out your home or business rather than someone else’s? It’s all about opportunity and wind current. Mice aren’t fancy, they don’t carry expensive weather monitoring devices and they don’t watch the weather channel. But what they do have is VERY sensitive whiskers. With weak eyesight, these whiskers have really evolved into their strongest ability. The whiskers themselves can easily detect the faintest air current and heat from the smallest opening in the structure. Mice are very good climbers, but they’re typically very lazy. They’ll search for any openings along a structure (as small as a dime), usually at ground level or a short climb. If the mouse detects air current (especially warm air), they’ll pop in and check it out. Once inside all the heat and wonderful smells are enough to make the mouse never think about the outside again. They’re mammals just like us. I don’t see too many people stomping through snow to find food; they’re all in the supermarkets.
Once they’re inside the search is on. Food establishments offer everything these little guys desire. But what about an office building? Why are mouse droppings near my desk or even sometimes in my desk drawer or on my keyboard? That’s because you usually eat right there. If you want to gross yourself out, tip over your keyboard once in awhile. Along with dust and dead skin (gross), you’ll find all those little crumbs and jagged potato chip pieces that survived that fall off your mouth. Ever hide a snack in your desk drawer? This is always the best discovery. Holidays come and go and you thought you’d be nice and put out some candy for everyone. Everyone includes that annoying guy Josh in accounting who somehow always finds time to keep coming back to your desk. Each time he takes another piece thinking you won’t notice. You finally learned your lesson and somehow you managed to keep a few pieces of Christmas chocolate for yourself! Good for you, better for the mice. How thoughtful of you. You keep seeing the exterminator come to the office, baffled why there are more and more droppings or sightings of mice but the traps and bait boxes are untouched. Show him your desk and whatever is left of your favorite candy. That is what he should be using to catch the mouse. Why would a mouse want stale peanut butter or waxy mouse bait when you’ve been feeding the entire litter with delicious Andes mints chocolates? Do yourself a favor and keep the candy in a sealed container!