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Open Access Publications from the University of California

What’s Up with House Mice? A Review


The house mouse is probably the most widespread invasive mammalian species, being ubiquitous worldwide. In commensal situations, they are known mainly for property damage, for consumption and contamination of stored foods, as a noise/sanitation/odor nuisance, and as a vector of some diseases. In some field settings, they also cause considerable damage to field crops and to natural resources, such as when introduced to islands. We rely heavily upon sanitation, rodent-proofing, capture devices, and rodenticides to control populations and reduce damage. However, a number of situations exist whereby these traditional methods are not adequate or appropriate: crop damage during “mouse plagues” in Australia, livestock feed consumption and contamination and disease hazards in poultry and animal facilities in the U.S., and natural resource damage on small islands. In this review, challenges and some potential solutions to house mouse management are presented, including genetic resistance to anticoagulants, the effectiveness of baits given abundant food resources, the re-invasion problem and need for perimeter strategies, efforts with fertility control, and the need for effective multi-capture trap devices. In difficult situations, an IPM strategy that incorporates a combination of methods closely integrated with land uses and management practices is necessary.

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