Don’t let the cute face and Mickey Mouse ears fool you! Although rather adorable, deer mice are actually very dangerous. Yes, it’s really true…anywhere deer mice are – humans should not be.
So what makes these tiny, sweet-looking creatures such a threat to people? Like any other rodent, deer mice capable of causing severe structural damage. However, the main reason people should avoid deer mice like the plague (literally) is because they are carriers of lethal diseases.
So what do you need to know about deer mice? How can you protect your home and family from these dangerous creatures? We’ve got those answers and more…
About Deer Mice
What are deer mice?
Deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus), also referred to as a white-footed mouse, are the most abundant (and one of the most notorious) mammals found in North America. These tiny creatures are highly accomplished runners and jumpers – hence the name “deer” mice. Deer mice predominantly feed on seeds, but they will also consume fruits, fungi, and invertebrates.
With large cartoon character-esque eyes and ears, deer mice do resemble their distant relative the house mouse. However, deer mice have white bellies, legs, and feet as well as a bi-colored tail, which is useful in distinguishing the two rodents.
Where do deer mice live?
Fortunately for us, deer mice prefer to make their homes in the wild of forests, crops, desert areas, woodlands, and grasslands.
Unfortunately for us, however, deer mice are known to enter homes and structures in search of food, water, and shelter. Typically, these rodents enter homes that are located near fields, forests, or parks where deer mice would normally live.
Deer mice are nest builders that make use of leaves, twigs, fur, and other similar materials to create their homes. These little creatures build their nests in stumps or trees as well as under logs and rocks.
Why are deer mice dangerous?
There are two main ways that deer mice can threaten human life: causing severe structural damage and spreading diseases. Deer mice exist in infamy due to their close association with the potentially lethal hantavirus. These rodents are principal carriers of hantaviruses which cause disease in people and can be lethal.
Infected deer mice shed the hantavirus through their feces, urine, and saliva. People can be exposed by coming into contact with deer mice or their droppings. The virus can also be transmitted by breathing in dust contaminated by infected deer mice and their waste. The CDC mentions the hantavirus and states about 35% of hantavirus cases have proven to be fatal.
Unfortunately, when it comes to deer mice, the danger doesn’t end with disease. These rodents love to chew and gnaw making them capable of causing severe structural damages which will devalue your home. Mice will gladly chew through drywall, wood, wiring, insulation, furniture, and just about anything else!
Rodent damage can weaken the structural integrity of your home, but the danger of chewed wiring is critical. According to the National Pest Management Association, around 25% of structure fires with otherwise “undetermined” causes are actually started by pests.
Signs your home may have a deer mouse problem.
Deer mice are nocturnal and spend the day in refuges or nests, so you may not witness them running around, but here are some things you may notice that could indicate you have a deer mice infestation.
- Hearing sounds of scurrying in the nighttime – especially coming from crawl spaces, attics, and basements.
- Finding mice droppings.
- Evidence of mice gnawing and chewing.
- Finding nests or stores of mouse food.
If you encounter evidence of deer mice, remember the danger they pose, avoid the area, and contact a professional pest control specialist immediately.
Deer mice management
Fortify your home.
The best way to avoid deer mice and the deadly diseases they carry is to stop them before they ever enter your home. Rodents can squeeze through tiny openings and gnaw at certain materials to open spaces and gain entry into homes. Any openings or gaps in your home should be tightly sealed to avoid pests taking advantage of them.
The trained eye of a pest control technician is an excellent resource for identifying holes, gaps, and cracks that pests may use as entry points. But you can also inspect your home on your own. Check around the foundation, vents, water pipes, doors, windows, garages, attics, and chimneys.
Outdoors on your property, avoid creating a habitable environment for door mice to nest in. Trim overgrown landscaping and avoid piling wood or leaves near your home.
Baited traps are one of the best weapons available against dangerous deer mice. Place traps in the area where you suspect rodent activity. Focus trap placement along the walls where mice often run.
When working with traps, always remember that diseases can be transmitted through contact with deer mice and their droppings. Wear gloves when handling traps, and avoid using glue traps as mice often defecate on them when trapped.
Currently, there aren’t any rodenticides registered and available for residential use against deer mice.
Although it may be tempting to purchase products labeled to control house mice and rats, you should never use any pest control product for anything other than its specific labeled purpose.
If you are experiencing a large scale deer mouse infestation, contact a pest control company immediately.
Professional Pest Control.
The dangers and risks deer mice pose make them a job best left to the professionals. A pest control company will inspect your home, check for signs of infestation, eradicate the pests, and check for all possible rodent entry points in your home to stop future invasions.
Deer mice pose a huge threat as they are both dangerous and extremely fast breeders. If you suspect these rodents are around, don’t wait till the problem gets out of hand before you make the call to a professional pest control company.
Gecko Green’s Expert Pest Control
Our pest control experts at Gecko Green can help to fortify your home with our complete Preventative Pest Control Program.
We’ll secure both the inside and the outside of your home, giving you complete protection against a wide range of pests.
We control pests with products and processes that have the health of your family and the environment as our top concern. Call today for a free quote.