The house mouse and field mouse (deer mouse) are common pests indoors. The house mouse is a year round pest, while the deer mouse enters in fall and leaves in spring. Both these mice are about the same size and have similar habits.
The house mouse primarily infests houses and other structures. There are populations of this mouse in natural areas, and these may be the source of house infestations. Field mice occur outdoors. There can be large populations in fields and natural areas adjacent to houses and other buildings.
The adults and young of these mice feed on stored food in houses, especially grain based products. They will eat bread, bird seed, dry pet food, and candy. Field mice will damage furniture padding and stuffing by removing some for nesting material. The droppings of house mice and field mice can be scattered in kitchens cabinets, drawers, and almost anywhere the mice travel as they forage for food.
Eliminating infestations of these mice takes time and using a combination of snap traps, glue traps, and bait stations. Bait traps with fresh peanut butter or cheese. Use a large number of snap traps, even if there is only one mouse suspected. Use the glue traps under cabinets and corners, away from access to people and pets. Mouse bait stations can be effective; use several of them in areas where droppings are noticed, but especially in corners and along baseboards. Be sure to remove check leaky faucets and remove any sources of water, as these measures will encourage mice to go outside to seek water.
Preventing mice from entering your home begins with inspecting and sealing all openings in the outside wall and siding, and any attached structures such as decks. Openings around pipes, wires and cables, and vents can be expanded by mice and used as an entry point. Gaps under siding or at the junction of the foundation and siding can be an entry point. All small openings should be blocked or sealed.
The most common rat around buildings is the Norway rat (it is not from Norway). It is about 12 inches long, and the color of the body hair is grayish brown to dark brown. The tail is long and bare.
Rats live singly or in small groups outside and around sources of food. They will move inside when searching for food or looking for a new nest site (usually females). Their original nest and foraging site may have been disturbed or their food source may have changed, forcing them to move. They can become established indoors if there is enough food and consistent shelter.
Rats use their teeth and powerful jaws to expand small openings to get into houses. The teeth marks are a sign of recent rat activity. Droppings are another sign that rats are active in the area. Rats produce more than 30 droppings per day, and these drippings can be found where rats are active.
Eliminating rats requires a combination of removing potential food and harborage and the use of rodent bait stations around the outside of the foundation. Bait stations can be used indoors, along with snap traps and glue traps. Use several snap traps, even if there seems to be only one rat infesting the house. Place the glue traps in secure locations, in cabinets or places that people or pets do not have access to.
Preventing rats from entering houses begins with sealing or blocking the potential entry points. Rats can find small openings to enlarge that are well above ground. Inspect the ground around the perimeter of the house for rat burrows. These may be along the foundation or the edges of attached concrete slabs.
Checkout our Harris Ultimate Rodent Control Guide