Though the weather is hard to predict, warmer temperatures and rainy days are on their way, and with spring comes a slew of seasonal pests taking refuge in your home. Some are harmless, while others could carry potentially life-threatening disease. This Pest of the Month is focused all on rodents and rodent control. Spring is prime time for rodent mating, which means your house will be where they go to gestate in warmth and birth their babies.
As long as food can be sourced, places like basements, attics, and between walls and insulation can make perfect breeding grounds for rodent offspring. When you consider the fact that a mouse can become pregnant within mere hours of giving birth, and every four or five days afterwards, you may start to understand the importance of rodent control and keeping your house from becoming overrun with mice or rats. Below, we’ll break down the types of rodents that like to make a resurgence around this time. Keep an eye out for these different mice this spring and prevent a big infestation before it begins.
Popular in areas spanning from Mexico to Northwest Canada and central Texas and Arkansas, the deer mouse is bi-colored and can range from gray/buff to red/brown and white. The deer mouse is a primary carrier of Hantavirus, a potentially deadly virus that’s trapped in deer mice excrement and transmitted by inhalation of dust that’s contaminated by the droppings or urine.
At about six weeks of age, deer mice begin to breed and after a gestation period of less than a month, they have a litter of about three to five new mouths to keep fed. Two to four times a year, mostly in the spring, deer mice have a litter of new mice.
Since deer mice ingest insects, seeds, nuts, fruits and underground fungus, do your best to control these food sources. De-clutter the garage, shed and house to keep mice from taking refuge in untidy areas. Check your home’s baseboards, furniture feet and walls for gnaw marks. Deer mice also like to hide in upholstered furniture, so search these areas for droppings and look around for holes and cracks in your walls that may serve as entryways for mice.
Need to get a mouse out of your house? Call Buzz Kill Pest Control and schedule an appointment.
Reigning from central Asia, the house mouse is now worldwide, stretching all across the country and invading homes everywhere. Because they’re so widespread, they vary in color though they’re usually light brown or gray on top of their bodies and cream-colored or light gray on their undersides.
With a survival rate of over six years, each mouse can help create more where they came from. They mature in 35 days, and can gestate in less than a month, producing about eight young per litter. The house mouse has made its mark on the globe due to its fast gestation period and large litter size. Every 40 to 50 days, a female house mouse can birth a new litter.
This color blind species of mouse can only see six inches ahead of itself, but that does little to deter the rodent. This thrill seeking mouse swims, climbs, runs up walls and along ropes and wires, can jump up a foot in the air and can survive up to an eight foot drop. To top it off, the house mouse can survive winter temperatures as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit.
To keep this determined mouse out of your house, caulk and seal cracks and holes around your home’s plumbing, check for and repair holes in window and door screens, and remove vines from exterior walls to keep this climbing mouse off your roof and away from upper floors. Clean cluttered areas, clean up spills and store food in seal tight containers.
Similar to the house mouse, the roof rat is colorblind but incredibly athletic and can jump, climb and swim. Also known as the ship rat or black rat, the roof rat is black, brown or dark gray with black or gray underbellies, and its fur leaves greasy markings of trails along walls. The roof rat is common all over the world, but can be especially found in coastal states and southern states near seaports and bodies of water.
With a tendency to nest in high places, the roof rat poses a serious health threat to people and animals. Another Hantavirus carrier, the roof rat’s feces and urine can be breathed in with dust and cause a host of health issues for you and your family. These rats also carry fleas and mites and could pass them on to your family pets, as well as bite your pets if they find the rats before you do.
Roof rats will eat just about anything and will even chew through plastic to get to a food source. Because they get their water from food, roof rats prefer fruits, vegetables, grains and cereal. To deter these rodents from making your house their home, clip any vines down from your home’s exterior walls and trim away overhanging branches from trees. Catching this rat might be a bit more difficult, as this species is more cautious than other rodents and will shy away from any new objects or food sources it does not favor.
These rodents are all social, and are likely to breed as soon as they mature. If you see one rat or mouse, you can believe there are more where it came from. We can’t help but stress the importance of spring cleaning, and as the seasons transition, keeping an eye out for these few types of mice and rats will go a long way in preventing an all out infestation in your home. Prevention is the best medicine, so caulk holes or cracks in walls and completely seal open areas around pipes and plumbing. Keep a clean kitchen and make sure your food is safely stored in containers that help keep mice out. Without a food source, your home becomes inhospitable to the most common of rodents.