Mice

Protect Your Home or Business From Mice

One of the most widespread types of mammalian animals in the world, mice are prevalent across all regions of the United States. The widespread pervasiveness of mice stems from the ability of the rodents to adapt to a diverse range of environments and reproduce at a high rate.

Picture of a Field Mouse
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Types of Mice in New England

Of the various mouse types identified throughout the world, roughly 10 are found in New England. In temperate regions, such as New England, mice typically establish nests in the dense vegetation of forests or fields.

The rodents play a valuable role in sustaining the local ecosystem, as many other animals native to the region survive by feeding on mice. Important predators like foxes, hawks, owls, and snakes rely on mice as a food source. Despite fulfilling a necessary ecological role, New England mice often become pests, otherwise known as vermin, when the rodents invade area homes or farms and consume as well as contaminate food intended for humans or livestock.

Common Mice

Indigenous to the region, deer mice and white-footed mice rank among the more commonly encountered New England mouse species. The introduced house mouse and the prolific field mouse are also commonly found throughout the area.

Deer mice and white-footed mice both measure about three or four inches long, with tails that match the body in length. The fur of the deer mouse is brown on the back of the rodent and white on the underbelly, while white-footed mice vary in color from brown or gray to reddish and, as indicated by the name of the species, boast white fur on their ankles and feet. Slightly smaller than deer mice and white-footed mice, the body of the house mouse typically measures between one and three inches in length and features a layer of fur ranging in color from light to dark gray or brown.

Field mice generally rank as the largest of the common New England mouse species and are grayish-brown or blackish-brown in color. The field mouse also ranks as the most prolific mammal in the world, with females producing a new litter every three weeks of their adult lives.

Problems Caused by Mice

Although mice serve as an important food source for numerous predatory animals in the wild, the rodents can also play a major role in spreading diseases like hantavirus, Lyme disease, plague, and salmonellosis. Mice often invade homes in search of food and, when permitted to inhabit indoor areas long-term, may contaminate pantry items, gnaw on furniture and wiring, and cause other damage warranting the control and removal of the pests.

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Mouse Infestations / Signs of Mice

A trouble to many New England homeowners, mice are perhaps the most alarming pest to be spotted in the home. Seeing the rodent itself is not always the first indicator of an infestation.

Droppings, footprints, gnaw marks, and sounds may all be observed/heard before a rodent may be sighted. Homeowners want to familiarize themselves with these signs in order to prevent damage to the home and spread of disease.

Droppings

Mouse droppings are usually the first sign of mice in the home. Even small populations are capable of leaving enough droppings for inhabitants to detect. Measuring about a quarter of an inch, mouse waste is rod-shaped and tapers at one or both ends.

Mice explore their habitats, and droppings can be found anywhere they visit in the home. The greatest number of droppings will be found around their nesting areas. The rodents prefer cluttered areas, like:

  • Attics
  • Basements
  • Closets
  • Garages
  • Voids behind appliances

Homeowners should investigate these areas first if a mouse infestation is suspected.

Tracks

Mice are constantly foraging for new resources and often leave behind distinct footprints. Typically left in dusty areas, mouse tracks have a front footprint with four toe marks and a back footprint that shows five toes. Footprints often appear jumbled, as mice do not always move in linear patterns.

Gnaw Marks

Mice gnaw for nest building and to maintain their teeth. Due to their continual gnawing, chewing marks are a major indicator of mouse infestation. Mice primarily gnaw along their main travelways, which are usually walls and corners.

The pests can also chew nesting holes, which are about one and a half inches in diameter. In addition to leaving marks on the spots they chew, mice can leave bits of wood shavings and insulation along their paths. Rough holes chewed into containers storing food also indicate the presence of mice.

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Mouse Control & Extermination

Controlling and removing mice involves a variety of strategies ranging from regularly cleaning kitchen areas and properly storing food to using commercially available baits or traps. Severe mouse infestations frequently require the services of a professional pest control specialist to ensure the complete and proper removal of the rodents.

Sounds

Mice are nocturnal in nature, and their activity can mainly be heard at night. When an infested house is quiet, it is possible to hear rustling or quick pattering of feet.

Scratching and gnawing at the materials of the structure may also be heard. The rodents also make squeaking noises that are audible to humans.