House mice are by far the most commonly reported pest for any urban area – ask any local authority or property manager.

First thing to understand is that these creatures live in buildings – just like you! They are what is known as a ‘commensal rodent’..

They are born, live, breed and die all within the wall cavities, floor voids and roof voids of buildings usually without ever going outside – they emerge from these cavities at night to forage for the food we eat (or our pets eat).

The mice that live outside are called field mice – they nibble corn and get eaten by Barn Owls in rural areas; totally different species to house mice and not something urban dwellers need worry about.

Man has battled with house mice since Roman times and now they are very evasive when it comes to traps as well as being resistant to many of the poisons currently used in baits – this makes them virtually impossible to control if you persist with conventional approaches.

Ultimately whilst the holes are present allowing them to emerge from the building cavities and into our living areas, then they will always have access to our foods and the problem will persist.

The problem is that food availability gives them breeding capability – their formidable breeding potential of up to 10 litters per year with each litter comprising up to 14 young means they’ll simply outbreed any baiting or trapping programme provided they have access to a food supply that supports it.

Proofing, which is the blocking or sealing of these emergence holes, is by far the most effective strategy as it physically stops the mice entering the areas you live within as well as shutting them off from their food supply.

The beauty of an urban scenario is that buildings always have shared building fabrics – for example blocks of flats, terraced rows etc. – so the resident house mice simply move elsewhere (displace is the technical term) rather than try and regain access once a property has been sealed.

However successful mice proofing is actually extremely difficult – you need to ensure the following….

Right Materials

Expanding foam is useless and wire wool has its limitations – you need to engage proper mice proof materials such as Xcluder, HDPE, mesh and fibre-reinforced cements to successfully keep mice on the right side of any proofing for any length of time.

Right Holes

Those holes that lead to cavity areas are the ones to focus on – this includes stud walls, floor voids, wall voids and ceiling/roof voids. We therefore train our staff to have a good understanding of building construction so they know where these cavity areas exist.

Right Size Holes

We work to 4mm – generally speaking a 6 week old mouse is able to push through a 6mm gap if the substrate has a bit of give in it and so working to a tolerance of 4mm allows sufficient overlap.

Right Tools & Equipment

Many of these holes will be under and behind kitchen units – you will therefore need to be able to remove appliances and have equipment to both inspect, access and seal the areas right up to the underside of the work surfaces.

Right Approach

When you consider the above, there is a lot of ground to cover when proofing even a 1 bed flat. Success is mostly only achieved when all current and potential entry points are located and correctly sealed. To minimise human error and oversight, our approach is process driven and consistently achieved via a 72 point check sheet.

Right Experience

The more mice proofing you do, the better you become. You have to have an understanding of mice behaviour and what they are capable of (which can be learnt) but it’s the experience which really leads to good results. Builders aren’t pest controllers and therefore lack this – you’ll find they overlook entry points and/or inadequately seal them because it’s not their expertise. Our operatives proof all day every day and are trained pest controllers as well leading to a much, much higher success rate.

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