Disney’s Mickey and Minnie suggest mice are cute, cuddly and harmless; but that’s not true. Mice carry diseases like Hantavirus, Salmonella, Lymphocytic choriomeningitis, etc. We may cringe at the thought of hurting a mouse, but the health hazards make it necessary to take care of any mouse problem, no matter how small it may seem. And as with any pest problem, identification is the first step.

House MouseIn the Northeast, we worry about three kinds of mice: the House, the Deer and the White-footed. The HOUSE MOUSE is one of the most common living so closely with humans. Unlike others species, House Mice cannot hibernate so they often infest homes during the winter. House Mice are almost entirely grey, appearing dusty grey on top and light grey on bottom. They range in length between 2½-3¾ of an inch with a tail of 2¾-4 inches. In the wild, they typically live about a year. Despite their short life, House Mice reproduce quickly and become a real problem quickly. Females produce about six pups per litter and can have eight litters per year; meaning a family of six mice can become 60 in only three months!

House Mice are curious creatures climbing straight up walls, jumping up to 12 inches in height and falling a distance of eight feet without injury. They have extremely keen senses and are able to sense movement farther than they can see (mice can’t see beyond six inches and can’t see colors). All of these factors make them difficult to keep out of your home, especially if you consider a 1/4 inch hole is all they need to enter due to their ability to squeeze their torso into any space their skull can fit through. This means an entryway can be a gap around pipes, spaces under doors and even tiny weep holes in brick buildings.

Essentially, House Mice live in the shadows where they’re unlikely to be discovered. They venture out only when necessary, using cluttered or dark areas as camouflage. Their main feeding times are dusk and dawn, feeding on only about 1/10 of an ounce of food (mostly grains, seeds, and meats) and 1/20 of an ounce of water per day. However, mice do not need to drink water; often, they get the required moisture from the food they eat. You may not notice their presence until they’re well established, leaving droppings on your countertops and chewing through your paper and cotton products for nesting materials. House Mice can cause multiple problems in a home, including salmonella and other diseases that are spread through their droppings and urine.

white footed mouseThe WHITE-FOOTED MOUSE is similar to the Deer Mouse in appearance and behavior. They measure 3½-4 inches, with a tail of 2½-4 inches and are also bi-colored with a grey to reddish brown top and a white belly and feet. They live about 2-3 years, having about 2-6 pups per litter and 2-4 liters per year. The White-Footed Mouse is also nocturnal, nesting in almost any concealed space (old bird/squirrel nests, abandoned burrows, sumps, logs, etc.). The one feature that makes the White-Footed Mouse unique is, when alarmed, it will rapidly drum its front feet. Thankfully, similarities between the two species mean they can be controlled basically in the same way.

DEER MICE aren’t as common, but are still a problem. They’re bi-colored (pale grey to reddish brown on top with a white belly) and their body measures about 2¾-4 inches with a tail between 2-5 inches. In the wild, they live up to 2 years, but don’t reproduce as quickly as the House Mouse, having only 3-5 pups per litter and only 2-4 liters per year. Typically, Deer Mice nest outside (in old fencing, tree hollows, log piles, and the abandoned burrows of other animals). Usually, Deer Mice only cause problems in homes near wooded area!
Inside homes, Deer Mice nest in storage boxes, drawers, wall voids, furniture, basements and attics; but like the House Mouse, they try to avoid detection. They‘re aided by the fact they’re nocturnal feeding at dusk and dawn. Their diet consists of insects, seeds, berries, nuts and small fruits. If you have Deer Mice, keep bird seed and dog food indoors as opposed to your garage or shed. Also, be careful around droppings and nesting areas which are the main sources for Hantavirus. Hantavirus is contracted by inhaling dust contaminated with the urine, feces or saliva of Deer mice. People have died from Hantavirus contracted while cleaning a closed garage where Deer mice lived. If you suspect you have Deer Mice, ventilate the area well before cleaning it and protect yourself with gloves and a respirator!

IF YOU SEE A MOUSE IN YOUR HOME, call Accurate Termite & Pest Control. The rodent baits we use have a blend of ingredients and a flavor that mice love. And, without the proper use of baits and baiting techniques, it is difficult to control a mouse population on your own.

In addition to treatment, it’s also important to do a thorough inspection of your home for entry points. It is nearly impossible to eliminate all entryways; however, you can severely reduce them by:

1). Making sure all doors have proper door sweeps (this will also help reduce electric bills); 2). Filling holes and cracks in the foundation or around pipes with steel wool (mice cannot chew through it and reopen the entryway); 3). Inspecting your yard for bushes and shrubs with branches that are touching the ground (mice like to hide and nest under them). Trimming all branches will eliminate nesting areas near your home; and 4). Cleaning and decluttering basement and storage areas.

In the Northeast, many say mice are just something you live with; but, with Accurate Termite & Pest Control treating your home, that just is not true!

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