Mice may be seen as cute little animals to some, but they’re nothing short of distressing when they show up as unwanted pests. As shelter seekers who enter Virginia buildings in large numbers, they also bring a number of concerns with them – most notably, the potential for disease and destruction. As strong runners, climbers, jumpers, and even swimmers, they’re experts at getting indoors and finding nesting spots. Knowledge is power when it comes to preventing this malicious rodent. To keep your home or business healthy, follow our expert advice for keeping mice and rats away from your home or business.
Rats vs. Mice in Virginia Homes
If you’ve spotted the sign of rodents, you may be wondering what type of rodent you’re dealing with! You may think you have mice, but it’s best to investigate more closely to make sure you don’t have their close relative in the rat instead. The two rodents may share many of the same characteristics, but mice are quite different in a few notable ways – making them especially difficult to stop. Here’s how to tell the difference:
- Mice are smaller: Mice typically weigh half an ounce or so (the weight of a slice of bread), while rats often weigh more than 10 ounces. This makes them agile, helping them slip through small openings – some the size of a dime. With their fast speeds, they’re able to roam unnoticed. Baby rats are comparable in size to mice, but mice can be identified by their larger eyes and ears.
- Mice are more curious: Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it often works wonders for mice. They’re quick to explore new environments –scouting out food and shelter in the process. A study even found that mice need curiosity as much as they need food. On the other hand, rats are more cautious, making them less likely to stumble in at all.
- Mice prefer carbs: Mice are big fans of household staples like cereals and grains. Rats consume carb-based foods as well, but they also crave meat – something that’s harder to come by out in the open. Sometimes, mice are even preyed on by rats. You may think this simply reduces your mouse problem, but you’ll end up with a rat problem as well.
Most Common Mouse Species in Virginia
If you have a mouse in your home, more often than not it’s going to be a house mouse. They’re the most likely species to be found in urban and suburban areas – in our region, Richmond and greater Washington, D.C. Deer mice are also a threat, but more so in the rural countryside. No matter what type of mouse you’re dealing with, it’s important to get the help of a professional pest control expert when it comes to getting rid of them.
Signs of House Mice Indoors
To escape extreme weather and outdoor predators, mice won’t hesitate to take full advantage of your comfortable indoor conditions. This then brings their risks into your home or business. Mice are stingy little creatures, and the easier it is for them to infest, the harder things will be for you in return. Their presence isn’t always obvious; be attentive, and look for the following signs:
- Droppings and urine pillars
- Footprints (usually around 1/4 of an inch in length)
- Nests made of household items like paper
- Structural damage (holes in walls, ceilings, or window screens)
- Damaged food containers or nibbled-on food
Mouse Prevention Tips
While proactive measures may help eliminate the mice that are currently around, they’ll keep coming back if you don’t take the proper preventative measures. This means removing the incentive that your home or business provides in the first place (food and shelter) and keeping them from getting in at all. Here’s how to keep mice outside:
1. Cut Off Access to Food
As mentioned earlier, mice love carbs; but they’ll eat just about anything – sweets, dog food, and even garbage. The problem isn’t simply that they aren’t picky eaters. Rather, it’s that we give them instant access to food, without which they wouldn’t survive. Seal containers (including your trash can), wipe up spills and don’t leave food sitting out.
2. Minimize Nesting Areas
Mice also rely on nesting areas to support indoor infestations. Because they prefer dark, secluded spots, basements, and attics are prime real estate – they usually provide plenty of clutter (papers, cardboard boxes, etc.) to construct nests. Mice don’t typically nest further than 25 feet from food sources, meaning wall voids and cabinets may also be at risk. Clean and declutter potential habitats to prevent mice from settling down.
3. Shut Them Out
In addition to removing sources of food and shelter, sealing off entry points is an effective way to keep mice away. Fill any holes they’re capable of fitting through and invest in chimney and vent covers. Doors and windows are our connection with the outdoor world, and they’re often mice’s connection with the indoors as well. Keep them shut and properly sealed, adding weather stripping along doors and replacing any window screens that are broken.
Professional Mouse Control
If you have an ongoing mouse problem, it’ll take more than a few traps to save the day. At Ehrlich Pest Control, formerly Connor’s, our expert technicians provide smart, thorough care, as we understand just how problematic this pest can be. Covering homes and businesses across Virginia and offering year-round protection, we take a targeted approach to eliminate mice in full. Contact us to today to learn how our rodent exterminators can keep you safe from mice.