Mice and rats are common house hold pests. They enjoy living with the comforts of our homes. But of course, this is not a good situation. Mice and rats can carry diseases and contaminate our food. They are not sanitary and can leave droppings all over the place. We need to stop them at their source. How do mice reproduce? Mice reproduce sexually. They will mate if left together for two heat cycles, usually ten days.
Contrary to some wives tales, mice must mate to reproduce. Female mice have an estrous cycle, or reproductive cycle, that lasts 4 to 6 days long. The actual reproductive window is less than a day. The estrous can be induced by the scent of male urine. The male will court the female with high pitched calls that he will continue even into the mating process. These calls are usually induced by female pheromones. At this point, the female will produce a copulation plug that seals off the vaginal opening, preventing any other mating. At this point, gestation begins.
THE LIFECYCLE OF MICE
Mouse pups are born blind and without ears or fur. Between four and six days, ears and fur develop. Their eyes open at 2 weeks and they are fully weaned by 3 weeks. A female can mate and produce a full grown litter in about 25 days. A litter consists of 6 to 12 pups and she can have litters year round, maxing out at about 10 litters a year. That means one female is capable of producing 120 mice a year!
In the wild, mice usually don’t last too long. Because of harsh environments and predators, six to seven months is about average. But if a mouse finds an indoor home, free of predators and full of good food, its not uncommon for them to live anywhere from two to five years. Mice are both polygamous and polyandrous. This means that both male and female mice will mate with multiple partners in a given mating season. Scent is a huge part of their reproductive cycle. It can signal everything from starting the reproductive cycle to avoidance due to the possibility of inbreeding.
WHY DO MICE EAT THEIR YOUNG?
Mice in general become cannibalistic whenever they are under stress. As a rule, mice are never caught in a live trap because of this reason. Female mice will also do this when to their young if they feel stressed. Often, their first litter falls prey to this. If the father of the litter disappears, this can also trigger cannibalistic behavior toward the litter. Noises and vibrations can be enough stress to induce cannibalism. Also, if the female is in a high stress situation during pregnancy, she can simply absorb the fetus’s instead of bringing them to litter.
Mice are not the only species to do this. There can be many reasons for this. It was once thought that this is a pathological issue, but now scientists understand that this is a reproductive strategy. If resources are too scarce, it may be too risky to use resources on the litter, and then they become food. If the mother or the litter are unhealthy, this again can be too costly to maintain. Sometimes male mice can become overly aggressive and cannibalize the litter.
HOW TO DISRUPT THE REPRODUCTIVE CYCLE
If you are having a problem with mice in your home or business, it is of prime importance that you stop the reproductive cycle. Mice reproduce at alarming rates and can over run your home with an infestation very quickly. So upping the stress levels of the mice in your home can be very advantageous. Start by reducing the number of entrances and exits that mice can use to get in and out of your home. These pests are experts at squeezing into small spaces. They can get through a hole the size of a dime and chew their way through many materials. Sealing cracks in the side of the house with mouse proof materials can help tremendously.
Females are always looking for a protected and hidden nesting spot. This means that clutter in your home can be a great place for them to nest. It can also mean great hiding spots to escape to. Removing this clutter gives rodents less places to hid and nest, causing more stress in these animals. Keeping food and trash inaccessible makes your home much less inviting to pests. Don’t allow dirty dishes to stack up. Put trash in sealed plastic bins that can’t be breached by these little rodents. Keep all of your foods in the pantry in Tupperware or sealed containers. Reducing food smells can also help.
ELIMINATING MICE FROM YOUR HOME
A simple google search can reveal many natural remedies that will supposedly repel mice from your home. Sonic noise makers, scents from essential oils and other repellents are mostly ineffective. Mice are very resilient and get used to their surroundings noises and smells very quickly. Cats and dogs can be predators of these small rodents, but they usually can’t compete with the shear numbers of mice. Mice reproduction is based on quantity, not quality, and the few mice that your pets can kill in a day just don’t stack up against them.
So how do you get rid of these pesky pests? Its time to call an experienced pest control technician. Exterminators are well versed in mice behavior and how to best remove these pests from your home. They can seal exterior cracks in your home, removing the most likely entry points. They can install safe and secure bait stations and glue traps inside and outside of your home. And a good exterminator can pick the best bait for the time of year. Mice need different nutrients at different times of the year, so picking the right bait is a science.
Understanding how do mice reproduce can be a huge help in the fight against them. If you are in need of an exterminator in the Tulsa area, contact us here at TermMax Pest Control. We are here to help!