Comprehensive Pest Wildlife Removal Information On All Things mice Related
MICE – SOME OF THE MOST COMMON HOME INVADERS
During inspections a wildlife professional will commonly find mouse activity in a home. The homeowners are often unaware of the mouse infestation; they may of originally contacted a wildlife company to solve a bat or squirrel problem, only to be informed they also have mice. Mice cause less damage than other animals but should not be underestimated. A large infestation of mice may result in bad odors in a home due to their droppings. If you are finding mice in the living quarters of your house it may be a sign of a larger problem of mice in your attic. Our professionals know how to get mice out of the attic
Often, pest control technicians don’t know whether they are dealing with house mice or deer mice in an account. While the house mouse occupies urban areas, the deer mouse is more common in rural or semi-rural areas. It is important to know the difference if you live in areas that have a history of Hantavirus cases.
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THE DEER MOUSE
The deer mouse, Peromyscus maniculatus, often referred to as a white-footed mouse, is the most abundant and widely distributed mammal in North America. A member of a large group of species and subspecies of the genus Peromyscus, deer mice are very proficient jumpers and runners that received their name due to their agility.
Almost all of them have characteristic white undersides, legs, and feet and dark to light brown backs. Their tail is bicolored, with white on the bottom and the darker color on top.
Deer mice that live in woodlands are typically larger and have larger tails and feet than deer mice that live in prairies.
Deer mice are a particular concern because they spread hantavirus, which can be deadly to people. Because deer mice prefer forests, grasslands, and agricultural crops, they aren’t normally found within urban and residential areas unless fields, forests, or other suitable habitats surround those areas.
DEER MOUSE BIOLOGY AND BEHAVIOR
The deer mouse is found in all types of habitats including forests, grasslands, scrublands, and agricultural lands.
Deer mice are nocturnal and spend the day in refuges or nests. Nests consist of stems, twigs, leaves, and roots of grasses and other fibrous materials and may be lined with fur, feathers, or shredded cloth. Nest sites include tree hollows, stumps, and roots as well as the underside of rocks and logs. Deer mice also nest above ground and have been known to utilize abandoned squirrel and bird nests or nest inside buildings. Deer mice don’t hibernate, but they may become dormant (torpid) when the weather is especially severe. They nest in family groups throughout the winter.
Deer mice are predominantly granivorous, feeding on a range of seeds. However, they will also consume fruits, invertebrates, fungi, and to a lesser extent green vegetation. Deer mice are often known to cache their food and store some of their food near their nests, especially in autumn when foods such as tree seeds and nuts are most plentiful.
Deer mice don’t usually breed during winter. However, the chronology and duration of breeding varies within and between populations. In the presence of abundant food supplies, reproduction can be prolonged and mice can breed over winter. In warm regions, reproduction may occur year-round.
Litter size is typically between three and six young. Female deer mice can be reproductively active as early as six weeks of age. In the wild, deer mice rarely survive for more than two years.
DEER MOUSE DAMAGE
Because of their small size, deer mice can gain entry into many buildings and often enter vacated homes, cabins, and other structures where they build nests and store food. Deer mice damage upholstered furniture, mattresses, clothing, paper, or other materials they find suitable for constructing their nests. Nests, droppings, and other signs left by deer mice are similar to those of house mice. However, deer mice have a much greater tendency to cache food supplies such as acorns, seeds, or nuts than do house mice. This may help in the identification of the species of mouse responsible for the observed damage.
This cute-looking rodent is the primary carrier of hantavirus in the U.S. Hantavirus is transmitted primarily through the inhalation of contaminated air as well as through contact with mouse urine, feces, saliva of infected rodents.
THE HOUSE MOUSE
The house mouse, Mus musculus, is one of the most troublesome and costly rodents in the United States. House mice thrive under a variety of conditions; they are found in and around homes and commercial structures as well as in open fields and on agricultural land. House mice consume and contaminate food meant for humans, pets, livestock, or other animals. In addition, they cause considerable damage to structures and property, and they can transmit pathogens that cause diseases such as salmonellosis, a form of food poisoning.
While it has “house” in its name, this species of mouse is often called a field mouse because, when it isn’t living with humans, Mus musculus can be found in fields and prairies. But, this is a creature that prefers to live off the generosity of humans, and this brings them into man-made structures. Once inside, they are happy to stay.
HOUSE MOUSE IDENTIFICATION, BIOLOGY AND BEHAVIOR
House mice have relatively large ears and small, black eyes. They weigh about 1/2 ounce and usually are light brownish to gray. An adult is about 5 to 7 inches long, including the 3- to 4-inch tail.
Droppings, fresh gnaw marks, and tracks indicate areas where mice are active. Mouse nests are made from finely shredded paper or other fibrous material, usually in sheltered locations. House mice have a characteristic musky odor that reveals their presence. Mice are active mostly at night, but they can be seen occasionally during daylight hours.
Although house mice usually prefer to eat cereal grains, they are nibblers and will sample many different foods. Mice have keen senses of taste, hearing, smell, and touch. They also are excellent climbers and can run up any rough vertical surface. They will run horizontally along wire cables or ropes and can jump up to 12 inches from the floor onto a flat surface. Mice can squeeze through openings slightly larger than 1/4 inch across. House mice frequently enter homes in autumn, when outdoor temperatures at night become colder.
In a single year, a female may have 5 to 10 litters of about 5 or 6 young. Young are born 19 to 21 days after conception, and they reach reproductive maturity in 6 to 10 weeks. The life span of a mouse is usually 9 to 12 months.
HOUSE MOUSE DAMAGE
When house mice live in or around structures, they almost always cause some degree of economic damage. In homes and commercial buildings, they may feed on various stored food items or pet foods. In addition, they usually contaminate foodstuffs with their urine, droppings, and hair. On farms, they may cause damage to feed storage structures and feed transporting equipment. A single mouse eats only about 3 grams of food per day (8 pounds [3.6 kg] per year) but destroys considerably more food than it consumes because of its habit of nibbling on many foods and discarding partially eaten items.
Mice commonly damage containers and packaging materials in warehouses where food and feeds are stored. Much of this loss is due to contamination with droppings and urine, making food unfit for human consumption.
House mice cause structural damage to buildings by their gnawing and nest-building activities. House mice often make homes in large electrical appliances, and here they may chew up wiring as well as insulation, resulting in short circuits which create fire hazards or other malfunctions that are expensive to repair. Mice may also damage stored items in attics, basements, garages, or museums.