After checking your sticky traps for roaches, you may have noticed an odd phenomenon—roach legs are stuck on the trap, but the body is nowhere to be found. You don’t have any pets who could’ve eaten the pest, so maybe you have another creature in your home. This begs the question: Do mice eat roaches?
If you have ever wondered this, you aren’t alone, as homeowners who either experience this same phenomenon or those who spot these uninvited critters around their homes, garages or other areas of their property have asked themselves the same thing. After all, if mice feed on roaches, having mice around might not be all that bad.
The simple answer to the question of whether mice eat roaches is yes. A typical mouse diet can include cockroaches, both German and American varieties. Rats also happily dine on various species of cockroach, both large and small. Mice have even been included as one of the top three enemies of cockroaches (with humans listed as the number two enemy, and cockroaches themselves as their own worst adversary, due to their habit of eating their own kind).
Although mice will eat cockroaches, these rodents should not be relied on for pest control around your home, garage or yard. While cockroaches are unwanted pests for a variety of valid reasons, mice can also become a nuisance on your property. These creatures carry diseases, destroy property and reproduce quickly, often leading to infestations that can be difficult to control.
Furthermore, cockroaches are often rather difficult for mice to catch, whereas people provide both rats and mice with far more readily accessible food sources in their pantries and pet bowls. This means cockroaches might be more of an occasional treat than a mainstay in a mouse’s diet.
If you have mice or cockroaches—or both—in your home, they should be treated as the pests that they are, and eliminated as quickly, safely and thoroughly as possible. Read on to learn more about mice habits and what to do if you find evidence that these pests are active in your home.
What Do Mice Eat?
Many people who’ve spotted a mouse in their home or garage wonder, “What do mice eat?” Anyone who’s ever had a mouse problem, however, knows that a better question might be, “What do mice not eat?” because there isn’t much these omnivorous critters won’t chew their way through. Mice need to eat frequently, often 15 or 20 times a day, and their natural diet includes fruits, seeds, grains and insects. These rodents have adapted quite well to living closely with humans, in large part because humans provide them with steady access to various nutritious food sources, as well as water and shelter.
Mice are actually so well adapted to living with humans that they will eat plenty of things that aren’t in their natural diet—even things that aren’t particularly nutritious, such as cardboard, clothing, bedding, furniture and other non-food items. Of course, some of this “eating” is not actual consumption, but rather instinctive chewing behavior. Mice chew for a variety of reasons, including to access actual food (such as chewing through a cardboard box to reach the cereal inside); to gather materials to bring back to their nests; or to keep their long, sharp front teeth filed down.
Like rats and many other rodent species, mice have front teeth that grow continuously throughout their lives, which means they must gnaw frequently to keep their teeth from growing too long and sharp. Thus, mice living in people’s homes or garages might chew through drywall, wood, plastic pipes, concrete or even electrical wiring. While they might not technically be consuming these items, it often appears to homeowners as if mice have been eating away at their homes—and either way, the damage can be extensive.
Cockroaches, of course, are well within a mouse’s natural diet. Mice eat many types of insects, and while cockroaches can be difficult for a mouse to catch since they move so quickly, they are worth the mouse’s effort to catch, as they are an excellent source of both protein and fat, both macronutrients that mice need to survive. Cockroaches also contain minerals that are important for a mouse’s diet; even their wings and other parts of their exoskeleton can assist in a mouse’s digestion.
With all of these food sources readily available in your home, it may lead you to wonder about how quickly one or two mice can turn into an infestation.
How Fast Do Mice Reproduce?
This is a wise question to ask, since the reproductive rates and habits of mice have a big impact on how quickly their nests can grow, giving way to a full-blown infestation. A follow-up question may be, “How many mice is considered an infestation?“, and quite frankly, due to their breeding habits, just one or two mice can lead to an infestation much quicker than you would like to believe.
A female mouse births five to six babies per litter and can have anywhere from five to ten litters in her yearlong lifetime, and sometimes even more than that. These baby mice mature in just five to seven weeks, at which point they can begin reproducing themselves.
Mice without access to adequate food, water and shelter don’t live as long as those that can readily satisfy these basic needs. This is why the house mouse has adapted so well to living indoors with humans—because our well-stocked pantries, our pets’ food bowls and the multiple sources of water within our homes, such as our sinks, showers and utility rooms, together provide mice with an abundant source of everything they need to thrive. When mice can build warm, cozy nests within our walls, ceilings, attics or garages, they can happily reproduce at a dizzying rate.
Despite the fact that they will happily eat our food and are prolific breeders, if mice eat roaches, are they really that bad to have around?
Are Mice Dangerous?
It’s a fair question—after all, mice are small, furry and many people even keep them in cages as pets. How bad could they really be?
The truth is that mice are just as bad as cockroaches to have in the home, if not even worse. Mice eat and contaminate our food, and their gnawing habits can cause extensive damage to our homes’ structural integrity, as well as to our belongings. Their gnawing can even be a fire hazard if mice chew through electrical wiring. Perhaps worst of all, mice are disease carriers; they can transmit several dangerous illnesses to people and their pets, including tularemia, lymphocytic choriomeningitis, hantavirus and the plague (yes, that plague—the one famous for wiping out millions of people in Europe during the Middle Ages). Mice can transmit these diseases through their urine and droppings, as well as their nesting materials, not to mention by way of their bites. Then, there’s the potential for even further infestations or diseases mice can bring along with them on their backs—yes, mice often have fleas or ticks themselves that can be transferred to you and your pets.
Considering all the problems mice can introduce when they infest our homes, people should definitely not rely on these rodents for pest control, even if they do make a small dent in cockroach activity around the home.
After speaking with your neighbors, you may have come to the realization that you’re the only one dealing with this situation, which leads you to wonder why you’re the one who’s fallen victim to an infestation.
Why Do I Have Mice In My House?
For homeowners with unexpected mouse problems in their homes, it is natural to ask, “Why do I have mice in my house?” Like many unwanted critters, mice are opportunists. They seek out easy access to food, water and shelter, their three most basic needs for survival. If you have holes in baseboards or screens, or gaps in your plumbing, you could be giving mice easy access to your home. After all, these small critters can fit through gaps that are the size of a dime.
If mice have started nesting in your home, it means they have found a reliable source of food or water, first and foremost. Thus, if you want to make your home less appealing to mice and other rodents (not to mention cockroaches), it’s important to keep your stovetop and counters clean; keep all food put away in tightly sealed containers, including pet foods; and make sure you don’t have leaky faucets or other sources of freshwater that pests like mice, rats and cockroaches can easily access.
Signs You Have A Mouse Or Roach Infestation And What To Do About It
If you spot small, brown, cylindrical droppings, about a quarter-inch in length; tracks in dusty areas, such as along the tops of cabinets; signs of gnawing on baseboards, drywall or furniture legs; greasy smears along baseboards or rafters or an actual mouse (or more than one), these could be strong indicators of mouse activity in your home.
Another common sign of mouse activity is hearing squeaking or rustling noises coming from inside a wall or ceiling, indicating the presence of a rodent nest. Pets can also detect these sounds; homeowners with cats or dogs might notice their pets scratching, sniffing or staring fixedly at a seemingly random portion of the wall, ceiling or floor. Any of these signs might mean you have a mouse problem on your hands, or even a full-blown rodent infestation.
Incidentally, signs of roaches are not dissimilar from signs of mice in the home, including finding their droppings—small brown spots or smears that show up on walls, in cabinets and anyplace else where roaches crawl, especially in places like the kitchen, bathroom or utility room. Signs of roach activity also include books or cardboard boxes with small areas that appear to have been eaten (roaches consume paper, cardboard and glue along with many other substances), as well as actual roach sightings, whether alive or dead.
While some homeowners claim that there are some smells that keep rats away, some of these products can be dangerous if accidentally ingested by pets or children, such as ammonia. Limiting pests’ access to food, water and shelter is an important step in keeping them out of your home, but if you find yourself with a pest problem on your hands, whether due to mice, roaches, rats or any other unwanted creature, it’s best to have a trusted pest control specialist handle the infestation.
ABC Can Handle Your Rodent Problem
The experienced professionals at ABC Home & Commercial Services can handle any pest problem, including when mice and other animals make your home theirs. Our experts will make a thorough inspection of your home to determine the nature and extent of the problem, and then devise the best strategy for eliminating pests that keeps the well-being of you, your family and your pets in mind. We can also set up a maintenance schedule that will ensure your home stays pest-free, giving you peace of mind, year-round.