What Do Mice Eat?
By Zachary Ciras on October 8, 2021.
When it gets chilly outside, Mice come in for a meal and more!
Every year in the fall we receive an increase in calls for mice in the home. Often, the caller will explain how they have already tried seemingly everything to curtail the invasion – from box store poisons and traps to inventive remedies they read on the internet. These tactics may work for some, but eventually the infestation and exhaustion of sharing your house with uninvited residents leads to a call to the professionals. Rodent populations appears to still be on the increase, and the behavioral changes in humans have lead to more interactions with mice.
One of the most common things we are told is that the family is very good about not leaving food out for the mice. They clean up immediately after dinner, the children are not allowed to eat in their bedrooms, and the pet food is picked up off the floor every night. “So,” they ask, “what are the mice eating?” You are correct that the mice must be eating something, or else they would not stay long in your home.
Mice in the wild, Mice in your home
Mice are omnivorous and resourceful. They have always adapted well to just about any environment, and they always find something to eat. Sure, they have their preferences, but the veracious appetites of mice will be satisfied in a number of ways.
The natural setting for field mice, such as the Deer mouse (a carrier of Hantavirus among other illnesses) and the White-Footed Mouse (the primary carrier of the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi which leads to Lyme disease) is out of doors. There, these mice feast on insects and seeds primarily, but will switch to whatever source of nutrition is available. This include Poke berries in the fall along with your Halloween gourds, corn, and pumpkin decorations. (See Afraid of Pests? Beware of Halloween Pumpkins! Acorns and maple seeds are also favorite edibles for field mice. Mice will bring these foods inside of your home and store them for winter feedings!
House mouse have adapted to living with people for centuries. These rodents are considered commensal (from the Latin: To Share One’s Table) and will take full advantage of any food you may have to offer. This includes scraps in the garbage, pet food, and snacks in drawers and cabinets. House may are prolific breeders and can sustain themselves fully inside of your home. House mice are especially crafty when it comes time to storing food inside of the walls of your home. A favorite treat is pet food, which they will grab and hide in cavities for later consumption. Even during the day, mice have been known to run out to grab a few kibbles from the bowl, often even when the cat or dog is nearby! If there are enough resources, animals will live together and share their food! See How Did Dog Food Get Inside The Wall Void? Think Mice and Feed the Dog, Feed the Mice.
Also see Extra Stored Food Can Result in Food Moths and Beetles!
In apartment settings, it is very common to see mice living symbiotically with other urban insect infestations. It is known now that German Cockroaches enjoy feeding on bedbugs and mouse droppings. Mice find a good meal in cockroaches. These pests literally feed off of each other and perpetuate the joint infestation when given the chance. Mice will enjoy the larval stages of other household insects, such as clothing moths as food inside the home as well. See It’s Our Fault that House Mice Exist.
Mice will eat any form of protein, grease, carbohydrate, seeds, nuts, and anything else they can get their paws on. Cheese, despite your favorite cartoons, does not appear to be a favorite, but Hazelnut Spread and anything Chocolate are!
At Colonial Pest, we understand the habits of the opportunist animals known as mice. We can use their appetites against them to control a population, and we have the resources and know-how to prevent entry into the home in the first place!
As the nights get cooler, reach out to Colonial Pest Control to prevent unwanted visitors from feeding in your home! Call us at 800-525-8084 for a free quote, and take control of who is ordering from your family’s menu!