There is nothing more disheartening than noticing a mouse run across your pantry floor. If you’re anything like me, that’s the point when you take everything off of the shelves and clean it or throw it away! Mice are elusive, quick and sneaky. Unfortunately, during the Fall and Winter months, while you’re enjoying your warm home, is also the time that these little visitors try to become permanent residents. Forced to find shelter due to harsh weather conditions, mice can be ruthless invaders.
Most likely, your unwelcome visitors used an entry point, such as a gap or crack in your home. These points could be along the foundation, wall or even in your plumbing pipes. Keep in mind that mice can fit through extremely small spaces, they only need about a ¼ of an inch to have an access point. To put that into perspective that is the width of the pencil or the size of a dime. If you find small gaps or cracks in your foundation, around doors or window seals, do not discount them as access points! Use caulking, cement or some form of sealant to close these entry points. In Washington, crawlspaces are also areas that may provide entry. Make sure to go down and check the condition of your crawlspace or call our office to have one of our pest control experts come out for a free inspection.
While there are currently about 12 species of mice and rats in Washington, the most common mice you are likely to encounter are the common House Mouse and the Deer Mouse. These two species are similar in size, ranging from 7-10 centimeters as grown adults. A quick way to distinguish which mouse you are dealing with is the coloration. Deer mice will often have a white underbelly with darker fur on the top of their body. They also have larger eyes in proportion to their body than a house mouse. Deer mice are very quick and unlike the house mouse, are proficient jumpers. Watch out if you startle them!
Keep in mind that rats are much larger than mice and can be distinguished from a mouse by their furless tail. Mice will have a portionally longer and thinner tail compared to a rat, which will have a fatter and shorter tail when compared to their body.
In general, mice and their feces carry a variety of diseases and parasites. One in particular that is carried by the Deer Mouse is the Hantavirus. The early symptoms of this virus are similar to the flu, including muscle aches, fever, fatigue, headache, chills and stomach pain. Later symptoms include shortness of breath and coughing as the lungs begin to fill with fluid. Due to the severity of the diseases carried by mice it is important to thoroughly disinfect and sanitize any areas that have come into contact with the mice or their feces. Then set out traps and seal up entry points.
Mice and rat exposure and infestation needs to be taken seriously as fatal health repercussions are a possibility. Preventative pest control treatment is advised. Sometimes rodents work quickly and can destroy insulation and create access points in crawl spaces or attics. If you find yourself in this situation, a thorough crawl space or attic clean out may be necessary to eliminate the mice, seal entry points and replace insulation. Our professional crawl space team are experts on not only extermination, but home repair after infestation.