Do Mice Eat Bugs? What is their Diet?

If you don’t like mice, chances are you don’t like insects either. They both like to live in our homes, eat our food, and can lead to infestations if not dealt with properly.

But, what if mice could get rid of insects? What if mice could cure your insect problem?

Because mice and bugs are both very common pests, it’s important to address all possible pest control methods and efforts. Keep reading to learn all of the facts.

What kind of insects do mice eat?

In short, mice eat insects. Although they are not an integral part of their diet, insects do provide nutritional value and can often be readily available to mice when other foods are not.

There are many, many kinds of small insects that mice will eat. These are some of their favorites:

  • beetles
  • caterpillars
  • grasshoppers
  • leafhoppers
  • spiders
  • crickets
  • centipedes
  • cockroaches

While house mice eat insects on occasion, it’s far more common for deer mice to eat them because they often live in fields and outdoor areas where insects can be found in abundance. However, all mice are opportunistic eaters. If food is scarce and a house mouse comes across some small bugs, he could definitely eat some.

Do mice eat cockroaches?

Yes, mice eat cockroaches. In fact, the mouse has been named as one of the roach’s top three predators.

However, although house mice would eat a roach or two, these rodents should not be relied on to get rid of them. While many people dislike cockroaches as much as (or more than) mice, the truth is that mice can also destroy your home. They can start electrical fires by gnawing on wires, carry and spread dangerous diseases, and they reproduce so quickly that infestations are bound to come on fast, be difficult to control, and hard to stop if action isn’t taken promptly.

Also, roaches can be very hard for house mice to catch. Therefore, it would be foolish to rely on your rodents to eat them all. A helpful comparison is cats and mice. Cats are known as effective house mice hunters, but they can be very difficult for them to catch, as well. If you have a mouse infestation and think that your cat (or cats) will serve as a long term solution, you are wrong. It’s the same with mice and roaches. Sure, on occasion, mice eat roaches, but not consistent enough to make a long term impact.

So, if you have roaches in your home, they should be treated as pests and eliminated as quickly and thoroughly as possible. There are far more effective methods to get rid of roaches than using rodents, and similar to a rodent control expert, an insect or cockroach exterminator might just be your best friend in this situation.

What do mice eat in your house?

Mice eat anything: they are opportunistic eaters. However, like all animals, they do prefer some foods more than others.

If given the choice, mice will choose plant-based foods over insects and meat scraps. Their favorite foods include fruits, nuts, seeds, and any snacks and treats high in sugar and fat. Foods that they go especially crazy for—and therefore work well as bait for mouse traps—are peanut butter, milk chocolate, marshmallows, gumdrops, and peanut butter (no really, try using peanut butter as bait for one of your traps and you will find out how much they like it!).

A mouse will go for insects usually only when none of these other options are available. Also, many insects are difficult for mice to catch. Therefore, it can be much easier for mice to crawl into your garbage, compost, or dumpster, than it is to chase a bug all day.

Another point to highlight is the difference in eating habits between deer mice and house mice. They are both opportunistic eaters (omnivores), but they go about it in different ways. House mice will typically eat the food that they find right away on the spot. If a house mouse finds an open bag of chips in your kitchen, he will sit there and munch away until he can’t eat anymore. On the other hand, deer mice hoard their food. If a deer mouse were to stumble upon the same bag of chips, he would carry some back to the nest, and perhaps take many trips to carry as much back as possible.

Does this mean I shouldn’t get rid of mice in my house?

If you’ve paid attention thus far, you will have noticed that both deer and house mice eat insects. So, let’s go back to the question mentioned in the Intro. Can mice get rid of bugs? In other words, can mice (house mice in particular) eat away all of the bugs in your home?

To answer it literally, yes, mice can get rid of bugs. BUT, can they (or will they) get rid of enough of them to act as an efficient pest control method? Unlikely…

If you truly have a bug problem in your home, you will have thousands of these tiny pests. Not only will your mice not be able to eat all of them, but they probably won’t be able to catch all of them either. And again, back to the main point of this article, mice won’t want to eat them if there are more appealing types of food available to them in your home.

Lastly, if there’s one thing worse than a standard insect infestation, it’s a rodent infestation. There are of course some exceptions (a cockroach infestation can be truly awful), but more often than not, you should never rely on your mice for eliminating any insects you might have do to the dangers and health risks posed by a potential rodent problem. So, DO NOT even think about keeping your mice around for the sake of trying to fix your insect problem.

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