July 30, 2002
With the recent significant increase in field mice in areas of Maui,
Hawaii and Kauai, the Department of Health (DOH) is advising residents
to take precautions and exercise preventive rodent control in and
around their homes and work places.
Recent mice trappings on Maui and Hawaii conducted by the Department
have indicated a four-fold increase in numbers from last year in some
areas. Highly affected areas on Maui include parts of Kihei, Kula and
the grassy former cane fields preceding Lahaina town. On the Big
Island, highly affected areas include Waikoloa, Kawaihae and South
Kohala. On Kauai, mice problems are primarily being seen in the farm
lots and residential areas of Waimea. The DOH has been actively working
to reduce the mice population in these areas and is closely monitoring
Mice should not be tolerated in or around homes because of their
potential to transmit disease. Rodents transmit disease, eat or
contaminate food, and can destroy property with their gnawing. Diseases
associated with rodents in Hawaii are leptospirosis, murine typhus and
Mice are often not seen during the day, their presence is usually
detected by: 1) fecal droppings; 2) gnawed holes in food containers,
window screens, washing hoses, and wall openings around utility pipes;
and 3) dirty grease marks along walls and pipes where rodents
To control mice indoors and prevent the
potential for their spread of disease:
Keep a clean home, especially the kitchen (wash dishes, clean
counters and floor, keep food covered in rodent-proof containers).
Remove food sources. Keep a tight-fitting lid on garbage; throw away
uneaten pet food at the end of the day. Other common food sources that
may attract mice around the home are bird feeders, and fallen fruits or
Set spring-loaded or glue rodent traps. Set traps near baseboards
because rodents tend to run along walls and in tight spaces rather than
out in the open. Poisoning is not recommended indoors because of odor
problems that may occur from mice dying in inaccessible areas. Food
eaten by the mouse in your home should be used as bait on traps. Traps
work best when all food sources other than those on traps are
Check traps daily and remove dead mice quickly (seal them in a
plastic bag or container and discard quickly). This is important. If
you control rodents but do not control their fleas as well, you may
increase the risk of infection with diseases such as murine typhus,
which is transmitted by fleas. Fleas will leave a rodent a day or so
after the rodent dies and will seek out other food sources.
To control mice outdoors:
Use mechanical traps for killing mice outdoors. Although mouse baits
for outdoor use are available, it is critical that they are placed in
areas where children and pets cannot get to them. For safe handling and
use, homeowners are advised to read and follow all label directions
fully and/or consult with store management for product use.
Property owners should contact licensed pest control operators for
serious rodent problems.
Prevent entry into homes. Seal all entry holes ¼-inch wide or
wider with mesh metal screen, sheet metal, cement, or other patching
materials. Common entryways are wide gaps under doors; unscreened
ceiling vent holes; unscreened roof gables; gnawed window screens and
holes in walls around sewer and water pipes.
Clear brush and grass from around house foundations to eliminate a
source of nesting materials.
For further information or assistance, contact your Hawaii
Department of Health on Oahu at 483-2535, on Maui at 873-3560, on
Hawaii at 974-4238, and on Kauai at 241-3306.
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