(Field?) mice #492575 - Ask Extension


(Field?) mice #492575

Asked October 28, 2018, 10:25 AM EDT

I live in a densely-populated subdivision of older homes with small yards. I have managed my lawn and plant beds strictly organically for decades. I make extensive use of compost that I produce myself, and my flower beds are densely planted with perennials and ground cover (virtually no bare soil). This has all evidently created a very mouse-friendly habitat; I see them scuttling about almost every time I go out to tend my little fiefdom. I don't mind them a bit; none have ever entered my house, I am a live-and-let-live sort of person and, well, they're just so darn cute. My question is, does this population of mice pose any risks or problems I may be blithely overlooking, or is it safe for me to just let the little critters be? Thank you.

MSU Class of ... well, never mind.

Wayne County Michigan

Expert Response

Hello Steve,

There are disease issues of which you should be cautious. These would be transmitted by exposure to the droppings, urine, or bedding, or by being bitten or scratched by a mouse. There are some ticks that live on mice.

That said, outdoor mice are difficult to control. And, disease transmitted from outside mice is very rare- I could find no references that discussed it. A few mice are a natural part of the ecosystem. Hawks and other birds of prey, and neighborhood cats, are ‘natural’ controls. Populations will fluctuate based on weather and food supply, too.

Do be diligent about keeping them out of your living spaces. This is where, after an accumulation of the above mentioned contaminants, people most often can be exposed to disease. If you have to handle any material, including a dead animal, be sure to wear disposable gloves and a mask. If you have a compost bin watch that mice do not start invading it. You will have to screen it off, and trap the mice there,  if they are present in your bin.

I am including articles that discuss details of control and cleanup should you need them in the future. Thanks for being eco-friendly! and for using our service.






Laura Sheffer Replied October 28, 2018, 1:53 PM EDT

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