Anybody that has suffered a mice infestation will know only too well how much damage and destruction these creatures can cause. Infestations can have a disastrous effect as the invading army of mice eats their way through food supplies, belongings and furniture. |
When house mice live in or around structures, they almost always cause some degree of economic damage. In homes and commercial buildings, they may feed on various stored food items or pet foods. In addition, they usually contaminate foodstuffs with their urine, droppings, and hair. On farms, they may cause damage to feed storage structures and feed transporting equipment.
A single mouse eats only about 3 grams of food per day 8 pounds [3.6 kg] per year but destroys considerably more food than it consumes because of its habit of nibbling on many foods and discarding partially eaten items.
House mice living in fields may dig up and feed on newly planted grain, or may cause some damage to crops before harvest. But losses in stored foods are considerably greater. Mice destroy packaging materials in warehouses where food and feeds are stored. Much of this loss is due to contamination with droppings and urine, making food unfit for human consumption.
House mice cause structural damage to buildings by their gnawing and nest-building activities. In livestock confinement facilities and similar structures, they may quickly cause extensive damage to insulation inside walls and attics. Such damage also occurs in homes, apartments, offices, and commercial buildings but usually at a slower rate because mouse populations in such structures are smaller. House mice often make homes in large electrical appliances, and here they may chew up wiring as well as insulation, resulting in short circuits which create fire hazards or other malfunctions that are expensive to repair. Mice may also damage stored items in attics, basements, garages, or museums. Damaged family heirlooms, paintings, books, documents, and other such items may be impossible to replace.
Among the diseases mice or their parasites may transmit to humans are salmonellosis food poisoning, rickettsial pox, and lymphocytic choriomeningitis. Mice may also carry leptospirosis, rat bite fever, tapeworms, and organisms that can cause ringworm a fungal skin disease in humans. They have also been found to act as reservoirs or transmitters of diseases of veterinary importance, such as swine dysentery, a serious bacterial disease of swine often called "bloody scours." Economics of Damage and Control
Accurate data on mouse damage, control, and their cost are difficult to obtain. Estimates of losses of food-stuffs, structural damage, and the amount of labor and materials expended to control mice are usually only educated guesses. Certain levels of rodent contamination are grounds for condemning food commodities. Structural damage caused by rodents can be expensive.In one small swine finishing building near Lincoln, Nebraska, rodent damage required the producer to spend $5,000 in repairs to the facility only 3 years after initial construction.
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