Why It Is Important For Homeowners To Differentiate Between Deer Mice And House Mice
According to multiple nationwide surveys, pest control professionals encounter house mice within US homes more often than any other rodent pest species. Surprisingly, house mice account for around 68 percent of all rodent pest complaints received by pest control professionals throughout the country. The Norway rat is the second most commonly encountered rodent species within homes in the US followed by deer mice, roof rats and white-footed mice. While most residents are well aware that house mice and Norway rats are common home-invaders in Pennsylvania, deer mice and white-footed mice are also common house pests in many areas throughout the state, though they are not as abundant and widespread as Norway rats and house mice. Due to their similar appearance and behaviors, residents, and even pest control professionals often have difficulty differentiating between house mice and deer mice when they are encountered indoors. It is important for homeowners to recognize the difference between deer mice and house mice, as these two rodent pests are controlled in different ways, and they each pose unique health threats to humans.
The body size of both deer mice and house mice are comparable, as both are generally between 3 and 4 inches in length, but deer mice are slightly larger, sometimes growing in excess of 4 inches, while house mice can be as small as 2.75 inches. Deer mice possess reddish-brown fur, while house mice possess light grey to brown or dark brown colored fur. Unlike house mice, which invade homes in Pennsylvania year round, deer mice prefer outdoor habitats, but cold fall and winter temperatures often motivate the deer mice to seek warm shelter indoors. Deer mice are capable climbers that often invade homes through attic vents, while house mice typically invade homes from the ground surface where they establish nests within wall voids. Deer mice are most commonly found within garages, attics, drawers and storage cabinets, and they are in the habit of transporting food scraps back to their nesting sites. Because of this, deer mice prefer to consume food crumbs as opposed to stored foods that cannot be carried back to their nests. House mice often consume packaged foods within pantries and cupboards, making them more likely than deer mice to transport microbe-rich excrement and other disease-causing microorganisms to human food sources. While baits are the control method of choice for both deer mice and house mice within homes, only tightly secured bait-blocks should be used for addressing deer mouse pest issues, as deer mice are likely to bring loose baits back to their nesting sites.
Has your home ever been invaded by deer mice?
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