Deer mice are different from regular mice. They are called deer mice because their fur resembles the color of deer fur which becomes whiter at their bellies and legs. They have slightly longer ears, thinner tails, and are larger in size.
Their most distinguishing character is their tail. It has two colors, with the top being dark and the bottom being light. They rarely inhabit residential homes, although it can happen, but are mostly found in farms, outbuildings, vacation homes, and sheds.
Here we take a look at how to get rid of deer mice by looking at why a deer mouse infestation is so bad and the different ways to remove deer mice. Let’s get started!
Damage Caused by Deer Mice
If deer mice enter the house, they can cause damage to furniture, clothes, or any material they would find useful to make a nest with.
In agricultural lands, they are considered great pests, because they contribute to the failure of reestablishing coniferous forests. They are considered predators of seeds like the Douglas-fir. They can also cause damage to citrus, pomegranates, sugar beets, avocados, and almonds.
Difference between House Mice and Deer Mice
It is important to distinguish between deer mice, house mice, and white footed mice. Deer mice tend to be called ‘field mice’ because they are not often found in homes. A house mouse grows about 5 inches from nose to tail while a deer mouse can grow up to 7 inches.
A house mouse tends to have a pointed nose, small black eyes, and a long hairless tail. In contrast, field mice are only gray or brown and have a white underbelly that goes from their stomach to the bottom of their tail, covered by small white hair.
House mice tend to eat whatever food they find, but deer mice make nests and store their food. Their nests can be made from leaves, stems, twigs, fibrous materials, rocks, and even logs. They can even take over nests abandoned by birds, squirrels etc.
It is harder to complete effective rodent control for a deer mice infestation because they have a habit of picking up rodent bait. They are also climbers while house mice are jumpers. Climbing makes it easier for them to access the house, by climbing trees branches, or by using downspouts or the roofline.
Deer mice prefer to cache food like seeds, nuts, and acorns as compared to house mice, which can make it easier to identify them by looking at the damage they have caused.
Dealing with deer mice infestation:
To deal with an area infested with deer mice it is important to follow the following steps.
• Air the house for at least 30 minutes. If possible, use an electric fan to air out the contaminated air.
• Wear a breathing mask to prevent breathing in contaminated air and wear non fabric gloves.
• Avoid sweeping the contaminated area or vacuuming to prevent dust from rising.
• Wet all contaminated areas, where there is a nest or mouse droppings with a disinfectant solution, such as Lysol or even 10% hypochlorite solution (bleach). This bleach solution can be easily made by mixing 1 and a half cup of bleach in one-gallon water.
• Soak every area with the solution for ten minutes.
• Remove everything with a damp towel. Mop and sponge the area again with the disinfectant.
• Remove gloves and disinfect them as well. Clean your hands thoroughly with soap water.
After dealing with the contamination it is vital to make sure that the mice have left the house and cannot enter the house or area again.
Getting Rid of Deer Mice
There are a few methods that can be used to get rid of deer mice.
Using snap traps or electrocution traps is a very effective method of getting rid of deer mice. You can use plain peanut butter or peanut butter with rolled oats or cereals as bait. If the mice are in large quantities, then more traps might be needed.
It is important to place the traps in a position where they would be most effective. They should:
• No more than ten feet apart from the area where there is evidence of mice activity.
• Rodent baits should be placed at the junction of the wall and their trigger should be pointed toward the wall. Mice tend to run along the walls and are more likely to trigger the trap if it is placed in such a way.
• Make sure to wear gloves when setting, removing, or dealing with the dead mice to prevent contamination.
• Do not use commercially available multiple catch mouse traps. Live capture traps can also become infected very quickly, same as glue boards. IN these traps the mice panics and fights, resulting in the expulsion of urine and feces, making the are contaminated and increasing risk of the contacting the virus while cleaning.
• Live traps should only be used if you are trying to catch mice outside the house, to protect other animals, such as other rodents who could be caught in the bait station.
While having a pet like a cat can be useful for keeping the home free of mice, it should be noted that animal sheds and spillage of food for animals can contribute to the mice coming inside the house.
It is still useful to have a predator animal to control the mice population, such as snakes, owls, cats, etc. If you live in an agricultural area then foxes and coyotes are also excellent deterrents to deer mice.
Deer mice can be exterminated using poison. It is important to use these poisons carefully to prevent ingestion by other animals, especially in an outdoor setting. There are two types of poisons allowed for use to exterminate deer mice.
• Anticoagulants diphacinone and chlorophacinone. These prevent blood from clotting and cause death. They require multiple ingestions by the animal to form a lethal dose. These are less likely to hurt other pets or animals.
• Nonanticoagulant zinc phosphide. This produces phosphine gas in the mice causing death. It is highly lethal and can kill even after getting ingested once. They can also kill non-target animals so they should not be used outdoors, and should be used with care, consideration, and following the following label directions.
How to Prevent Them From Entering Your House
There are a few methods you can use to keep deer mice out of your house.
• Use rodent-proof construction.
• Openings that are larger than a quarter of an inch should be sealed. Use steel wool to make temporary plugs. These include doors, windows, pet doors, etc
• Materials that mice can gnaw at, like plastic, rubber, etc. should not be used to seal holes
• Seal cracks in the building and around openings of pipes, cables, vents etc.
• Close all entrances at night when rodents are most active
• Clean your garden shrubs and weeds
• Wood, brush piles, and fallen trees should be kept at a distance from homes because they make ideal nests for deer mice
• Clean up exposed food and save them in seal tight containers
• Always have traps around your home
• Call pest control if the infestation is becoming a severe problem
Do deer mice infest houses?
Deer mice rarely enter residential areas and prefer agricultural spaces, vacation homes, sheds, but if there is extreme cold they are known to enter houses to gain access to food and warmth. They are more likely to enter residential homes with large fields of parks nearby.
How do you get rid of deer mice naturally?
You can get rid of them naturally by keeping a predator like a cat around the house, by sealing up all the entry points in the house, and making sure all food is in sealed containers so that they don’t attract the mice.
What are deer mice attracted to?
Deer mice prefer staying outdoors but are attracted to any area with plenty of vegetation and sites that provide it protection by having piles of rocks, or firewoods. They like eating, nuts, seeds, and acorn.
Do deer mice come out during the day?
Deer mice are nocturnal rodents. They sleep in their nests during the day and come out to hunt for food during the night.