Deer Mice in Homes
The deer mouse is the most abundant and widely distributed mammal in North America. Because of their small size, the rodents can gain entry into homes, buildings, or other structures. There, they nest, breed, and store food. Since the pests are good climbers, deer mice in attics are a common issue, especially in residential areas near parks or fields.
Identifying Deer Mice
These small mice have soft, gray fur on the upper parts of their bodies and white undersides. Deer mice often have a faint, darker stripe down the middle of their uniformly colored backs. Their long tails are bi-colored with tufts of white fur at the tips, and they have prominent ears, coarse whiskers, and large, black eyes. Both species of deer mouse found in the Mid-Atlantic region can live in attics.
Deer Mouse Damage
Once indoors, deer mice will shred upholstery, mattresses, clothing, paper, and any other material suitable for lining their nests. Stored, undisturbed furniture and clothes are especially likely to be targeted. At night, when the pests are most active, deer mice in the attic make scratching and scurrying noises, which can disrupt homeowners’ sleep.
Additionally, deer mice in attics leave droppings wherever they travel. Not only do these create an unsightly mess and bad smell, but they can spread disease. The deer mouse is the principle reservoir of Sin Nombre virus, which causes Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome in humans. These pests are also associated with the spread of Lyme disease.
Rodent-proof construction is the most effective way to keep these pests out of buildings. Deer mice in the attic enter most frequently through chimneys, loose shingles, and crawl space entrances, so homeowners will want to properly screen, cap, or close any gaps in these areas. Steel wool can be used as a temporary plug for openings. For long-term solutions to deer mouse issues, contact the professionals at Western Pest.