Yes. I know mice can be really cute! That may be the case until you have to deal with them. These furry critters often invade homes once the weather grows colder.
They will gnaw their way through your home, leaving droppings while tracking bacteria and disease. Along with a host of health hazards, there are known neurological and emotional effects resulting from a mouse infestation.
To address an infestation, your first move to determine just what you’re dealing with. It’s important to distinguish mice from rats and to identify the specific species that is causing your problems. Once you learn about several common species of mice that are found throughout homes, you can take steps to rid your property of them and prevent more from returning.
Mice range from small to medium in size. They generally grow around two to three inches as adults. Some can grow even bigger. Different species can vary in color, but most mice are grey, brown or black. They all have small paws with nails, and their heads are characterized by whiskers and large eyes and ears.
While mice can bite if they feel threatened, the biggest problem is in the diseases they transmit, including salmonella, hantavirus, and forms of meningitis. Mice teeth never stop growing, so they’re constantly gnawing and chewing on rough materials in order to file them down. This causes them to chew through wiring and insulation inside homes.
Differences Between Rats and Mice
Mice are more curious than rats and more likely be seen running around.
On average, most mouse species are smaller than rats.
Mice like to burrow within walls, while rats dig under buildings and plants.
True to its name, house mice like to situate themselves inside human homes, where it uses all the materials it can find to feed and build nests. They’ll use shredded material like paper, cloth, and cardboard for nests but will also eat glue, soap and residue. House mice are also known to transmit typhus, salmonella and bubonic plague.
How To Identify:
1/4 to 1/2 inch
Found throughout the U.S.
Can destroy wet and decaying wood
Pose a serious structural threat; consider seeking professional help immediately
Deer mice are known to transmit Hantavirus, which is a potentially fatal respiratory disease. They’ll often be found in outdoor structures, such as sheds and barns, and they can be prevented by sealing up common hiding spots. Keep an eye on small holes, cracks and crevices around your property.
How To Identify:
Slightly larger than the average house mouse, on average.
Can grow to 5” to 8” long
Light to dark brown with white feet and white belly
Found throughout the U.S., but tend to cause the most problems in rural areas around outdoor garages and sheds
Known to chew through wires, insulation, furniture and clothing
White footed mice are known to make their way inside homes once the temperature begins to drop, so closer to Winter and Fall. Like other rodents, they can spread bacterial diseases after coming in contact with food, and they are also known for spreading lyme disease through ticks that they pick up in the brushy, forested areas they live in.
How To Identify:
Average adult length is 6” to 8”
Fur color can range from light to reddish brown, with white feet and bellies
Found in colder regions, such as the Northeast United States and Canada
Tend to thrive in bushy, forested areas
Omnivorous diet that includes insects, wood, seeds, nuts and fruit
So now what?
You should also be sure to contact a mouse control expert if you’re seeing widespread signs of an infestation, such as mouse droppings, home damage, and other significant signs of mice and rats.
Remember that exterminators can’t end your mouse infestation if you don’t take their advice. If your pest control technician applies traps or poisons, you will still need to heed their suggestions to seal up tiny entrances, keep dirty dishes from piling up, and store food properly. By working with exterminators as part of a team, even a rapidly multiplying mouse infestation can be controlled.