When it comes to household pests, the deer mouse is often overshadowed by its more notorious relatives, like the house mouse or the Norway rat. However, deer mice carry their own unique set of challenges and dangers, especially when they find their way into homes. Effective Pest Services would like to share some of the hidden dangers of deer mice and some effective control methods for these tiny pests.
What is the Difference Between a Deer Mouse & a Regular Mouse?
Deer mice have some distinctive markings, habits and preferred diet. By knowing these distinctive features of the deer mice, it can help you better know of their presence.
• Appearance: Deer mice are small, with a white underbelly, brown or gray fur on top, large ears and beady eyes. Their most distinctive feature is their bi-colored tail, which is dark on top and white underneath.
• Habitat: They are often found in rural settings, including fields, forests, and farms, but can also venture into homes, garages, or sheds in search of food and shelter especially during winter.
• Diet: Typically omnivorous, their diet includes seeds, fruits, insects, and other small creatures.
Do Deer Mice Carry Diseases?
Deer mice have a number of dangers and problems they can pose for homeowner’s. Some of the key dangers or issues with deer mice are:
• Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS): The primary concern with deer mice is their ability to spread HPS. The virus is transmitted through the urine, droppings, and saliva of infected mice. Inhalation of the virus, especially through air born particles from mouse droppings or urine, is the most common mode of transmission to humans. HPS is a severe respiratory disease that can be fatal.
• Ticks and Fleas: Like other rodents, deer mice can harbor fleas and ticks, which can transmit other diseases to humans.
• Property Damage: Deer mice, like other rodents, can chew through materials, leading to structural damage or even electrical fires if they gnaw on wiring.
How to Get Rid of Deer Mice in My House
Here are some of the best methods homeowner’s can do to prevent and control deer mice:
• Seal Entry Points: Deer mice can squeeze through tiny openings. Regularly inspect your home for cracks, gaps, or holes and seal them using caulk, steel wool, or both. Pay particular attention to areas where utilities enter the home.
• Good Housekeeping: Store food, especially grains and seeds, in airtight containers. Regularly clean up crumbs, spills, and dispose of garbage. Vacuum frequently, especially in areas where mice activity has been noticed.
• Reduce Outdoor Attractions: Keep firewood stacked at least 20 feet from the home and a foot off the ground. Ensure garbage cans are securely sealed. Trim vegetation and bushes away from the exterior of the house.
• Rodent Trapping: Use snap traps baited with peanut butter which is a favorite of deer mice. Place them in areas where you have noticed droppings or other signs of their activity.
• Safety with Mouse Droppings: If you come across deer mouse droppings or nesting material, do not sweep or vacuum them. This can cause the virus to become air born. Instead, wear gloves, dampen the droppings or nests with a bleach solution 1 part bleach to 10 parts water, let sit for at least 5 minutes, then clean up using a paper towel and dispose of it properly.
• Professional Pest Control Assistance: If you feel overwhelmed or are concerned about a potential infestation, consider seeking professional pest control help. They can provide help control and prevent deer mice in your home.