Types of Mice in Massachusetts & How to Keep Them Out
Do I Have Mice?
Until you actually see one scurry across the floor, you may not even realize you have a problem on your hands, especially if you’ve never dealt with mice before. There are several things to watch for. First, if you find droppings on your kitchen counter or in your drawers, you can bet you have a problem on your hands. The droppings are like small, black grains of rice. They are fairly dangerous, though, so cleaning the area with a disinfectant when you find them is an absolute must.
You may also want to listen for scurrying noises. They move quite a bit at night, so if you start to hear mysterious noises, it’s certainly possible that you have a mouse problem on your hands. Additionally, if you begin to notice packages of food that have holes in them or parts of your furniture that look as if they’ve been gnawed on, it’s a good indicator that you have a problem.
Main Types of Mice in Massachusetts
North American Deer Mice
There are two types of deer mice in Massachusetts. Let’s start with the North American deer mouse. These mice come in from wooded areas, but they’re perfectly comfortable in people’s homes and can damage wooden structures quite easily. Deer mice can be reddish-brown or gray, but usually have lighter fur on their stomach. They can be 2.5-4 inches long, not including their tail.
Each female deer mouse in Massachusetts can have 2-4 litters a year, raising up about 20 young annually. Those young mice reach maturity in as few as 7 weeks, meaning these female mice can start producing offspring as well. This is how mouse control easily gets out of hand, and mouse infestations explode in a matter of weeks.
White-Footed Deer Mice
The second type of deer mice in Massachusetts is the white-footed mouse. These are somewhat larger, 3.5-4 inches long, but look very similar to the North American deer mouse. They live in the woods as well, but in addition to homes, they’ll often target agricultural lands. Even small farms and gardens make ideal homes for this mouse.
The house mouse in Massachusetts is what’s known as an “Old World” mouse. Although it’s not native to Massachusetts, the house mouse is plentiful in the area. These are mice pest control nightmares.
You know how one female deer mouse can raise up to 20 young per year? The house mouse has as many as 16 young…per litter. They have as many as 8 litters a year. That means a single female house mouse can raise 128 young in the space of a year. Consider that each offspring reaches maturity in 2-3 months, and that’s a recipe for hundreds or even thousands of mice.
There are also two types of jumping mice in Massachusetts – the woodland jumping mouse and meadow jumping mouse. As their names imply, one rarely sees them in homes. These mice stick to wilder ranges and tend not to come too far into densely inhabited areas.
Dangers of Mice
This has been found in the urine and feces of mice, and when humans come into contact with it, they may get it. It begins with a fever, but if it’s not treated, it could eventually lead to kidney failure.
This can also come from mice. When a mouse walks over your kitchen counter, he tracks bacteria. When he crawls on that fork in your dish drainer, the bacteria is there, too. Grab that fork a bit later to eat a slice of cake, and guess where the bacteria suddenly end up? Your mouth…and with it comes salmonella.
Lyme Disease & Colorado Tick Fever
Mice also typically carry fleas and ticks into your home, and that puts you at risk for other kinds of illnesses. Lyme disease is one, but so is Colorado Tick Fever. The fleas they carry even put your pets at risk for potential health problems.
How to Prevent Mice from the Home
The best way to deal with a mouse problem is to prevent it from happening in the first place, and there are actually a number of steps you can take to do just that.
Close Off Entry Points
How might a mouse get into your house? Answering this question can help prevent a number of pest control problems. Look around your house. Any space you see, like a crack or a void, might enable a pest to get inside. If a pencil can fit through a hole, so can a mouse. Seal these openings with very strong materials, such as concrete, galvanized steel, or heavy gauge hardware cloth. If you see a bit of extra space around wiring or pipes leading to your outdoor utilities, you can seal those with caulk. If your doors don’t have sweeps or have gaps, it’s time to eliminate those problems. Even gaps in the siding are an invitation for pests of all kinds, including mice.
Keep the House Clean
Having a clean house won’t eliminate the chance that you may experience mice. If you don’t have a clean house, though, you’re certainly going to provide them with a pretty good food source should they arrive at your home. It takes just three grams of food per day to feed a mouse, and that really amounts to a few crumbs dropped during your toddler’s morning snack. Be sure you vacuum the floors each night and wipe down the counters. Don’t keep dirty dishes in your sink, and store all of your food in airtight containers. Don’t overlook things like pet bowls or even your garbage can, as all of those can attract mice.
Limit Nesting Sites
Mice may be attracted initially to the outside of your home, then make their way inside. Keeping an eye on any potential landscaping problems can help to prevent that problem. Mow on a regular basis, and don’t store debris of any kind near your home. Ensure you don’t have nesting materials like thick mulch near the base of your foundation. Keep your woodpile well away from your home to prevent that potential nesting site from turning into a gateway into your home as well.
Check Your Basement
Your basement is the most common place that rodents enter your home, so making sure that is clear is a great way to keep rodents out. There are numerous steps you can take to keep mice out of your house. First of all, don’t give them a reason to come into your home: get rid of all food sources, including crumbs and spills. A lot of people use their basement as a place to store extra food, which is why you should be extremely cautious when you bring any food into a basement.
Unfortunately, limiting the food supply won’t do it, so purchasing numerous mouse traps is the second step you should take. You need to place them in multiple locations around your home and basement, usually on the edge of the wall and give it a few days before expecting them to catch anything. It’s also a good idea to constantly move them around, in order to catch them in different areas, with the ultimate goal to get rid of mice.
Solutions to Get Rid of Mice
If mice do get into your house, getting rid of mice can be tough. You can use either poisonous mouse baits or electronic mouse traps. Since baits kill the mouse after a while, electronic mouse traps that electrocute them once caught are probably the better option, keeping rodents from ending up in your walls dead and smelling. Instead, they will be in the trap waiting for disposal.
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If you’re dealing with an infestation of mice that is too large for you to handle or if you simply don’t want to deal with this problem by yourself, then call a professional pest control company, such as Ransford Pest Control at 508-756-5197. We’ll send out our well-trained experts with experience in getting rid of mice.