If you have a mouse problem, there’s a good chance you won’t know it. The signs of a mouse in the house can be subtle, but their impact is not. And getting rid of a mouse usually involves more than a mouse trap. And watch out—if you have one, you have many. A female mouse can produce a litter of eight every four weeks.

Getting rid of mice is important. The harm caused by house mice can be considerable. Mice cause damage. They can eat your food, leave food storage caches that rot and smell, chew through clothing and possessions, and leave urine trails and droppings that cause stains or permanently mar wood. But the harm doesn’t stop there. Mice attract other pests like fleas, tick and mites—and the diseases and discomfort those pests bring. Mice are themselves notorious vectors for diseases and parasites. They helped spread the bubonic plague through Europe in the Middle Ages, and, though extremely rare (the Center for Disease Control reports only three cases of the disease in New York since 1993), mice carrying the Hantavirus have been making headlines. And mice produce an allergen to which children are especially susceptible.