There are many types of rodents that can infest rural homes, including deer mice. Here are five things you need to know about deer mice.
How do you identify deer mice?
Deer mice are small, round-bodied rodents. They reach lengths of between five and eight inches, including their long tails. The fur on their heads and backs is brown, but their underbelly and feet are covered in white fur. Like other types of mice, they have large ears and eyes.
Where do they live?
These mice are found throughout most of North America. They are absent from Alaska, Hawaii, and Florida, but in all other states, you can encounter deer mice.
Within their range, deer mice prefer to live in areas like woodlands, fields, and deserts. You may find them living beneath a pile of debris or a hollow log in your backyard. If they enter your house, they will hide in out-of-the-way places like attics or crawlspaces.
Why are they pests?
Deer mice prefer to live outdoors, but they become pests when they venture inside people's homes to look for food or shelter. While it's well-known that all rodent species are a nuisance, deer mice also have the distinction of being the usual host of hantavirus. If you're exposed to this virus, you could develop hantavirus infection, a serious disease characterized by flu-like symptoms such as fever, muscle aches, and shortness of breath.
The virus spreads in their feces, something that mice produce a lot of—18,000 fecal pellets in 6 months. Those pellets can contaminate the air you breathe, the surfaces you touch, and the food you eat, which can lead to infection.
How can you prevent an infestation?
Like other rodents, deer mice can squeeze through impossibly-small openings. Any gap in your home that is wider than the diameter of a pencil could allow a deer mouse to slip inside. The best way to prevent an infestation is to leave no way for mice to get inside.
You will need to examine your house closely to find all of the possible mouse entryways. You may find gaps in your roof, around vents, around the holes where pipes and wires enter your home, and in many other locations. These gaps can be sealed with materials like caulk or cement.
How can you control an infestation?
If deer mice move into your house, you need to seal entryways to keep more from coming inside. The deer mice can then be killed with snap traps. These traps should be placed along baseboards, inside cupboards and closets, and in other areas where you have seen either the mice or their droppings. Once you catch a mouse, be careful: wear gloves and a mask while disposing of the mouse due to the risk of hantavirus. If you're not comfortable doing this yourself, a pest control company like Godfather's Exterminating Inc can catch and dispose of the deer mice for you.
Some people choose to use live traps as a humane alternative to snap traps, and then release the mice outdoors, but this is not a good idea. The problem with this is deer mice are very good at finding their way back, even if you release them far away from your home. Deer mice have been released as far as 1,980 meters (1.25 miles) away from where they were trapped and found their way back. Even more surprising, these tiny mice are able to traverse rivers, rocky outcroppings, predators, and other obstacles on these long treks; nothing will stand in the way of getting back to your house.
Deer mice can spread serious viruses, so if you encounter them in your home, take action right away.Share
6 January 2016
Do you spend your spring and summer months battling the pests that enter your home? There are many ways to prevent the intrusion of ants, roaches, flies, mosquitoes, mice and other pests in your home. I own several rental properties that I have to be sure do not get infested with all sorts of pests and have learned a lot about preventing the intrusion to begin with. You can learn from my personal experiences and keep the pests from ever becoming a serious issue in your home. With a few minor changes to the home and working with a skilled pest control agent, your home can be pest-free forever!