Peak Nuisance Period: Anytime of Year.
Common Nuisance Situations:
- Mice can damage buildings and household goods as they seek food and nest sites. They’ll gnaw through or foul woodwork, aluminum siding, Sheetrock, insulation, plastic food containers (including garbage cans), papers, packaged goods, clothing, mattresses, furniture, even lead or copper pipes. Indoors, they nest in walls, kitchen cabinets, attics, basements, garages, sheds, barns, under appliances. Outdoors, they’ll nest in thick vegetation, wood or rock piles, and junk.
- Their nests might block a vent, causing a fire hazard.
- They also chew on wires, which in addition to creating a fire hazard, could also short-circuit electrical systems, causing failures of alarm systems or refrigeration.
- Mice eat many human foods but prefer seeds and cereal grains. In barns and outbuildings, they get into stored grains, corn, feeds, and seeds. They’ll raid bird feeders and pet dishes. They damage much more than they eat because they tend to nibble and discard foods.
- Scurry about at night. The noise may drive you and your pets to distraction.
- May dig up recently planted seeds in home gardens, agricultural fields, and areas that were supposed to be reforested.
- Contaminate stored foods, especially grains. They ruin a good chunk of the world’s food supply.
- Foul items stored in warehouses, museums, libraries, and other sites.
Disease risks — among the possibilities are
- All three species: Lyme disease, salmonellosis (food poisoning), leptospirosis (Weil’s disease), typhus, rat bite fever, ringworm, tapeworms deer and white-footed.
- Mice: hantavirus pulmonary syndrome.
- House mouse: lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCM) virus,rickettsial pox.
Description: There are 3 types of Mice common to the Northeast United States, the House Mouse, Deer Mouse and White Footed Mouse. All three species wiegh under one ounce. Their bodies are typically 2–3 1/2″ long, excluding the 3- to 4-inch-long tail. The best way to tell these mice apart is to capture them. The house mouse has grayish brown fur and a nearly naked tail. Both wild mice are two-toned, with reddish-brown backs and white bellies. They have furry tails (also two-toned). Mice are nocturnal, with peaks at dawn and dusk. Daytime activity is sometimes seen. Mice do not hibernate, but mice living outdoors may den up for a few days in very cold weather. Mice do not migrate.
Diet: Mice are primarily herbivorous although during the summer, they eat mostly insects. The house mouse will sample everything in your larder, including your lard—and your perfumed bar soap, too.
They prefer seeds, grains, and grain products, like bread but are happy with cheese, peanut butter, bird seed, potatoes, and pet food. They’ll eat chocolate, bacon, and other foods high in sugar, protein, or fat. Deer and white-footed mice are mostly seed-eaters. If they get in your walls, they’re more likely to bring in acorns, the scales of pine and spruce cones, and beech nuts to stash between the studs.
Habitat: The house mouse prefers a house, cabin, garage, barn, attic, shed, office, warehouse or similar locale. Deer and white-footed mice prefer forested or brushy areas. White-footed mice spend a lot of time in trees, and will take over abandoned bird or squirrel nests. Other preferred nest sites include small pre-existing burrows, brush piles, knotholes of trees, under rocks or logs, and in bird boxes and attics.
Breeding: Indoor residents may breed year round, but wild mice tend to breed in the spring and fall.
They may have 4–10 litters per year. Gestation takes about 23 days. Females may breed again within a day or two of giving birth. Typical litter size is 3–5 mice. You may see as few as 2 or as many as 8. A female house mouse can produce over 40 young in a year.