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Culturally, we love mice — but do we know mice?

Mickey. Minnie. Fievel. Speedy. All beloved animated characters that have been a part of the zeitgeist nationally and globally in one way or another for the better part of the last 100 years. They’re heroes! We love them. We wear their images on our clothes, we grew up watching their cartoons, and we might even take our family to their theme parks for a special vacation. 

The irony is that mice — those adorable little creatures for whom we’ve built a loving mythology around for centuries — can be incredibly dangerous to humans. Rodents like mice can carry infectious, potentially fatal diseases. 

The most common mouse found in Vancouver and Washington state is called the Deer Mouse. With North and South America being their native home, they are sometimes referred to as the “New World mouse.” 

Are mice in Vancouver, WA dangerous?

Deer mice are common carriers of diseases like hantavirus — a virus that lives in its droppings, urine, and saliva. Humans become infected with the virus by breathing in the airborne toxins (found in dust particles or when droppings or nests are cleaned without the proper safety precautions.)

According to the Washington State Department of Health, hantavirus typically starts with “3-5 days of illness including fever, sore muscles, headaches, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue. As the disease gets worse, it causes shortness of breath due to fluid filled lungs.” In order to combat this serious disease, professionals highly recommend hospital care as about one-third of folks diagnosed with hantavirus die.  Deer mice also can be carriers of lyme disease, and other parasitic or bacterial infections. 

Do mice cause property damage?

Simply put: Yes. Outside of the potential health issues mice can cause, they can also pose a threat to your quality of life and the value of your home. Like many creatures, a mouse’s needs for survival are pretty simple: shelter, food, and water. And what’s a better place to get all three if you’re an enterprising family of mice than our homes? They’re warm, dry, full of food, and provide numerous sources of water. Mice simply love the resources our homes provide, as well as the many options they contain for nesting. Garages, basements, crawlspaces, kitchens and inside wall voids are all favorite places for mice to set up shop — and that’s just inside the home. Outdoor structures like sheds and barns, cracked foundations, unused cars, lawn mowers, and similar equipment are all ideal for a mice infestation. 

If you think that mice aren’t likely to invade your space, think again! Mice are incredibly determined, flexible (they can fit through spaces smaller than the diameter of a quarter!), and strong creatures. Their teeth are harder than iron and they can pretty effortlessly chew through concrete! Their incisor teeth grow almost half a millimeter per day, requiring them to constantly find things to gnaw upon for grinding down their teeth. 

Naturally, this is the source of a great deal of property damage that our customers can experience. Insulation, drywall, electrical wiring — you name it — mice can and do chew through it in order to get what they need. 

What to do if you have a mice infestation in Vancouver, WA

As we mentioned earlier, mice don’t need much to survive. Food, water, and shelter is precisely what they need to thrive. In order to keep your home from becoming a mouse hotel, you need to remove their ability to access these resources. 

First, we recommend reviewing the exterior of your home to ensure that your home is properly sealed and that their opportunities for entry have been minimized. (This is not only good for keeping pests out of your home, but is also important for energy efficiency as well.)

If you need recommendations for how to best seal any breaches in the home, we recommend speaking directly to an expert at your local hardware or home building supply store. Most folks we know use materials such as caulk in combination with steel or copper wool. Copper wool is woven in such a manner that it gets stuck in the mouse’s teeth, and they are unable to chew through it. 

Remember, even small holes or openings present an opportunity for mice to gain entry to the home. Even holes as small as a quarter inch can be passed through by mice. 

Here are the places we most recommend checking for holes and other breaches:

  • The fireplace. There are all sorts of areas where mice can enter. Old mortar between bricks can crack. Make sure to review this area thoroughly.)
  • Your home’s foundation. A crack in your home’s foundation is not unusual, but it is important to fix — for reasons of pest control and energy efficiency.
  • Poorly sealed windows and doors. Again, this is an issue that can cause multiple problems, both related to pest infestations and your home’s energy efficiency. We recommend reviewing these areas at least twice a year (particularly after seasons of extreme temperature) to ensure your home is in tip-top shape.
  • Where utilities enter the home. There can be very small, unsealed spaces around gas lines, plumbing, or electrical lines that are open invitations for mice and other pests. Seal them up! This can also include dryer and other floor vents. Don’t forget about the crawl space!
  • Look up. And down! Review spaces like rafters, eaves, spaces where walls and flooring meets, or any small space where cracks in the home can occur. 

In addition, we also recommend making sure that the areas near your home or any other buildings on your property are free of debris or excess foliage. Try to avoid storing things like firewood or similar items too close to buildings and structures, as this creates the perfect environment for mice to build nests.  

Remove their resources — remove the infestation!

You’ve ensured that your home is as secure as possible, so what’s next? Removing any sources of food and water is key in preventing mice and other pest infestations. 

  • If you have pets, bird feeders, or lawn seed, we recommend keeping these items stored indoors and in sealed containers. Otherwise, you’re giving a multitude of pests free reign to perceive your home as a food resource. 
  • Keep your trash and recycling containers sealed tight, and ensure that any compost bins are as well. (If you’re a gardener or have compost piles, make certain these are mixed regularly to increase decomposition and avoid further infestation.)

Exterminating mice in Vancouver, WA

You’ve probably heard that if you see a single mouse, then that means there are likely many more mice to be found. As pest control experts, we can tell you that this is largely true. For instance, if conditions are ideal, a mouse population can be as high as 200 mice in a single month. 200! That’s a lot of mice to contend with. 

If you do see a mouse or any other sort of rodent, we recommend you contact an expert as soon as possible.

At Aspen Pest Control, we use a comprehensive approach to combating mice infestations so that you can feel secure in knowing that not only have you made the right choice in extermination services, but also that you can feel confident that your rodent problems are a thing of the past. And we mean that. When we treat homes and properties for rodent infestations, our results are 100% guaranteed. 

We use a child and pet-friendly combination of traps, baits, and exclusion techniques designed to quickly drive down the mouse population and ensure future prevention of any infestations— A treatment that we’ve successfully administered thousands of times. 

You deserve a stress-free home life, and having a trusted partner in pest control means you have one less thing to worry about. Call Aspen Pest Control today to learn how we can help you with all of your mice, rat, and other pest control needs.