As I roll out of bed 3 times a week to explore the miles of trail in the South Mountain Park Preserve, I am most often reminded of the barren beauty that envelopes Phoenix. With the hard, dry, dusty ground, it is hard to believe that anything lives out here. The cacti scattered between the trails are no surprise, but the amount of wildlife that thrives is. My early start before the sun has risen lends itself to many encounters with wildlife that ranges from birds to Phoenix’s infamous rodents. Below our Phoenix pest control experts discuss how and why rodents may make their way into your living space.
Half a block from Phoenix’s baseline road I found myself running with company. A healthy coyote was trotting along just ahead of me leading me into the foothills. He seemed familiar enough with humans like me to continue nonplussed. This is quite common for scavenging animals and sheds light on rodents such as mice and rats in the area. Phoenix rodents quickly learn that humans provide a lot of what they need with very little accompanying threat. This allows them to shelter quite comfortably in close quarters near humans that provide them with shelter from predators (like my coyote companion) and food (like that crumb that fell off your sandwich the other day).
The point of being a scavenger is being opportunistic. A mouse doesn’t need to aggressively rip food out of your hands while you relax on the couch. It simply waits for something to fall unnoticed. This may be behind your fridge or below your bird feeder. A mouse doesn’t need much for calories to live (just around 100 and could be less depending on genetics and environment), so it can just sit back and wait for the next morsel to appear.
In addition to needing far less food than most would estimate, mice don’t need a water source to thrive. This is why mice do so well in the desert dust and sand found throughout Phoenix and its suburbs. Mice are able to extract enough hydration from the food they consume to stay well hydrated and healthy.
My House is Your House
When we build our homes, we think of what we need to be comfortable. Walls that stop large animals from roaming through our yards, shelter from the summer heat and cold winter nights, and all of our other amenities. Fortunately for mice roaming Lower Buckeye, Camelback, or any other street around here, all of these amenities suit them just fine as well. They are more than happy to squeeze through that decorative hole or functional gap (mice may need less than 1/4 inch gap to squeeze in!) in the fence line to avoid predators. They are more than grateful for an a/c unit that provides shade. And they are all too happy to squeeze into your garage and into your home.
Piles of Opportunity
It isn’t just the main structures that the mice adore. Phoenix is full of piles. Sometimes it is piles of wood against the fence line. Sometimes it is a collection of pool toys on the edge of the pool. Whatever it is, the lack of precipitation lulls us Phoenix folk into storing things in the yard and against the walls of the garage. All of these piles -large and small- are perfect harborage spots for mice (and scorpions, but we won’t divert into those critters right now). And if my chihuahua or your pit bull drops a piece of food near there, well, we can be sure the mouse hanging out will pick it up before the dog will.
Close Quarters Means Sharing
The city plan for Phoenix includes synergy from close quarters. This provides wonderful benefits from neighbor to neighbor, but also may include costs. The rodents of Phoenix benefit greatly from this setup and therefore require extra caution and attention from us as residents. Additionally, even if you remove all of the harborage possible from your yard, your neighbor may not. More importantly, you are unlikely to be aware of what surrounds you.
What to do About Phoenix Mice & Rats
Whether summer, fall, winter, or spring, the time is right to be on top of the mice. A regular inspection that looks for:
- signs of mice
- harborage points
- potential entry points
- food sources for mice
will help determine where efforts should be focused.
Control efforts for mice include:
It often helps to have a rodent control expert in your corner. The rodent gurus at Rove Pest Control are ready and willing to answer any of your rodent questions and help set up a rodent control plan that will keep mice where they should be (anywhere else).