How To Deter Mice

Mice

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White-Footed Mouse

white-footed-mouse-bug-book

Color

Not surprisingly, the feet are white. So is the belly. Upper parts are grayish to reddish-brown; tail is the same two colors. The young have gray upper parts and white bellies.

Characteristics

Tail is longer than half but usually less than length of head+body, and is covered with short hairs or fur. Hind feet have 6 pads each.

Where Found

Eastern U.S. from mid-Maine south to North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama; west to Montana, Colorado, and Arizona.

Habitat

Nests in hidden places, such as old bird or squirrel nests, burrows, logs, tree stumps or buildings. Soiled nests are abandoned. Its home range is 1/2 to 1-1/2 acres, with 4-12 mice per acre. These mice sometimes stay in the nest, but in cold weather, they may enter homes, garages, sheds and stored vehicles.

Food

Seeds, nuts, fruit, beetles, caterpillars and other insects.

Biology

Night mice. These nocturnal creatures are active all year. Females begin to breed at 10-11 weeks of age, and have 2-4 litters per year, with 2-6 young per litter. Pregnancy is about 3 weeks long. Life span is 2-3 years in the wild, 5 or more in captivity.

Damage

White-footed mice are structural pests in rural, outbuilding, shed-type buildings and in suburban homes near woods. They damage furnishings and stored food. They are also carriers of Hantavirus, which is transmitted by inhalation of dust contaminated with urine and droppings of infected mice.

Invasion

Openings larger than 1/8 in (3 mm) permit entry, which is more likely in cold weather. You can detect them by:

  • Gnaw marks.
  • Droppings.
  • 4-toed front footprint in front of longer 5-toed hindprint.
  • Dark, greasy markings from fur rubbing against surfaces.
  • Shallow burrows under plants.
  • Greasy runways along walls and bare soil runways outdoors.
  • Nibbled food.

Good Riddance

Exclusion is best. Seal entries with 1/8 in (3mm) hardware cloth, giving attention to pencil-sized holes. Preventive measures include storing bird seed and dry pet foods in areas other than garages and sheds.

Registered baits are available. Safety precautions should be used in consideration of potential for Hantavirus transmission. Use only a registered pesticide, read entire label and strictly follow all directions, restrictions, and precautions.