Mice Pest Control & Mouse Exclusion Services in Massachusetts & New Hampshire
At Colonial Pest, we provide local pest control services in Middlesex County, Essex County, Norfolk County, Suffolk County and Worcester County, Massachusetts as well as Belknap County, Hillsborough County, Merrimack County, Rockingham County and Strafford County, New Hampshire.
When domesticated rats or mice are purchased from a pet store, they can be cute, intelligent and fun pets. But when wild rodents enter homes, warehouses or businesses in search of food or shelter, they become pests and you must implement mouse control measures to remove mice and prevent their return. Mice pest control and mouse exclusion services are Colonial Pest Control’s specialties.
Rodent Exclusion – Keep Mice Out of Your Home
You can get rid of mice for good by mouse-proofing your home. Once the mice are removed, you need to keep them out. Mice proofing, or mouse exclusion, means taking steps to seal and close all openings that mice can use to get inside, making the need for further mice extermination less likely.
Keep in mind that a mouse can enter through a very small opening. If you can stick a wooden pencil into an opening around a pipe, for example, a mouse can probably squeeze through. If the opening is too small, a mouse will look for an edge to gnaw on and try to make that opening bigger. It only takes one or two small openings for mice to find their way in. If you don’t eliminate or seal up entry points, the mice will be back!
As part of our mouse-proofing service, we do a thorough inspection of your home, inside and out, to locate potential rodent entry points. We then select from a variety of products and methods to mouse-proof your home and keep it rodent-free. That may include installing door sweeps, thresholds, and sheet metal barriers, as well as caulking and screening gaps and openings. Whether you’ve had a mouse problem before or you just want to make sure you don’t have one in the future, give Colonial Pest a call and ask about our mouse exclusion service in Massachusetts and our mouse exclusion service in New Hampshire.
Types of Rodents
Numerous rodents live in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Some New England rodents such as chipmunks and squirrels are not that likely to come into your home, but they often invade yards and may come into homes or other buildings in the winter. Similarly, gophers, voles, and porcupines also tend to stick to the yard, outbuildings, sheds, and porches where they can easily access vegetation.
Rats and mice, in contrast, will readily invade your home, and they can cause all kinds of damage in addition to potentially spreading disease. When you hire a pest control expert, you need someone who understands the different types of rodents in Massachusetts and New Hampshire and the best ways to eliminate them. Keep reading for a closer look at common local rodents.
Also called a ship rat, a roof rat, or a house rat, the black rat has a stunning history. Originally from India and Southeast Asia, this rat spread through the Roman Empire and into Great Britain during the first century. Then, as European ships traveled the world, the black rat jumped aboard, and they’ve been living all over the world, including in the United States for over 500 years.
This rat was instrumental in spreading the deadly black plague throughout Europe, and in the modern day, it continues to spread diseases, some of which are incurable. The black rat can adapt to numerous habits in all kinds of climates. In urban areas, these rats make their homes in warehouses and residential dwellings, and in rural areas, they tend to set up in barns next to fields.
The brown rat lives on every continent besides Antarctica, and it’s widely considered to be the most successful mammal species after humans. Stretching up to 11 inches long and typically weighing between 5 ounces and one pound, this rat has lots of nicknames including the common rat, street rat, sewer rat, water rat, and wharf rat. Although it lives anywhere humans live, it has a few regional names as well, including Norwegian rat, Parisian rat, and Hanover rat.
Featuring brown or dark grey fur on its back with light grey or brown on its underbelly, the brown rat is about twice as big as a black rat. It eats almost anything, and they spread all kinds of illnesses including Weil’s disease, rat bite fever, and hantavirus. In New York City alone, experts suggest that there may be anywhere from 250,000 to 100 million brown rats.
The infamous roof rat is simply the black rat by another name. These rats are referred to as roof rats because of their affinity for nesting in high places both inside and outside. They look frightening, and they can spread disease and cause damage.
The house mouse is between three and four inches long with a two to four-inch tail, and it weighs about 1.4 to 1.6 ounces. These incredibly versatile mice can live anywhere from jungles and sand dunes to apartment complexes and suburban homes, but most house mice live near humans. There are very few truly wild house mice. The majority are pests but some serve as pet mice or laboratory mice.
Incredibly industrious breeders, the female house mouse can have five to 10 litters per year, and the average litter is three to 14 mice. Female mice mature in about six weeks, which helps to increase their population even faster and underscores the need to get help as quickly as possible before the infestation gets out of control. These mice can also spread diseases including Lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCMV) which can be especially dangerous to pregnant women.
Slightly bigger than the house mouse, the deer mouse measures five to eight inches long, and it features a brown overcoat with a white underbelly. Although these rodents don’t tend to come into homes very often, they can be a major pest around farms and in vacation homes. Native to North America, the deer mouse is great at jumping and running, and they carry several scary diseases including hantavirus and Lyme disease.
Although a vole is closely related to a mouse, you can tell the difference by their shorter tail, smaller ears, and rounder faces. Voles can be anywhere from three to nine inches long, and they are also called field or meadow mice. Generally, voles do not invade homes, but they are very hard on yards and gardens, often killing young plants or trees by girdling or eating their root systems.
Understanding the Life Cycle of Rodents
While there are many different kinds of rodents, our customers usually call us to deal with these two very common types:
Mice: Typically, you find the common house mouse inside of a dwelling. However, sometimes field mice such as deer mice will look for shelter inside too.
Rats: The main difference between rats and mice is that rats are larger, and they spread more diseases. The most common rats found inside are black rats (also called roof rats) and brown rats (also called Norway rats). These creatures make these nests inside and outside of structures.
Typical rats only live a few years. However, during this relatively short life span, a pair of rats can produce 2,000 offspring if left to breed unchecked. To understand a bit more about the lifecycle of these rodents, check out these facts:
- Rats are able to reproduce at about three months of age.
- Female rats are receptive to males or willing to mate up to 15 times each year.
- Rat litters contain three to eight pups.
Estimates claim that the United States has a population of rats just about as large as the total population of people, and in some areas, there may even be more rats than people.
Mouse populations also boom very fast. Litters can contain up to 13 baby mice, and one female can produce up to 10 litters in her lifetime. That’s up to 130 mice per year for a single female mouse, and as her offspring start to breed, that number climbs a lot higher.
Not only can one female mouse give birth to almost 100 descendants every year, her descendants also tend to begin mating very quickly. While male mice usually must be about eight weeks old to reproduce, and the females only need to be about six weeks old. In no time at all, a pair of mice can have thousands of descendants. If a couple of mice move into a space, they can increase to infestation-level numbers extremely rapidly.
What Else Should You Know About Rodents?
The good news is that most rodents don’t enjoy a very long natural lifespan. However, they reproduce so quickly that they replace themselves many times over before they die of natural causes. For such small animals, they are also surprisingly difficult to kill. For instance, rats often survive getting flushed down a toilet. In some cases, they can crawl right back up the pipe that they were flushed down and return to their nests. They also eat just about anything, which includes food that you eat, pet food, and even your pet’s poop.
Both rats and mice can carry diseases, and some of these issues can even be fatal. In some cases, breathing dust that has mixed with rodent droppings or urine can be hazardous. While these small animals may come inside to look for food, they also chew on your walls, wires, and just about anything else that they can find. Rodents breed rapidly, are hard to get rid of, and can cause serious illnesses and damage. Some folks enjoy keeping a pet mouse or other rodent in a cage, but you do not want to share your home with hundreds of wild rodents.
Rodents are social creatures who prefer to live together in groups. Some rodents like the brown rat live in small family groups with multiple females and a single male. Others like the vole tend to take a monogamous approach to their lifestyles. Rodents can create nests in a variety of places, depending on their species, and most live in a set territory but travel as needed for food or new mating opportunities.
Mouse Problems: Diseases & Damage
Mice and rats are highly destructive. They consume 1/5 of the world’s grain supply and contaminate much more. Inside a home, they can eat upholstery, gnaw through walls, and potentially cause structural damage. They cause millions of dollars of damage each year to books, documents, stored foods, and clothing. Other common complaints are holes in siding, foundation disruption, and soil erosion from tunneling, and these issues can lead to structural damage.
Mice and rats leave behind fecal matter and urine trails. Mice may only eat about three grams of food per day, but they can contaminate roughly ten times that amount every day. For instance, a mouse comes into a pantry, chews through a box of cereal, and only takes a few corn flakes, but during the process, he contaminates the whole box as well as foods in the surrounding area.
Mice pest control in Massachusetts and mice pest control in New Hampshire are important to ensure the health and safety of humans. In fact, some estimates claim that as many as 80% of house fires of unknown origin are caused by rodents chewing through wiring in walls or in electrical equipment. Rats and mice have been implicated in transmitting over 50 diseases (viral, bacterial, parasitic) such as food poisoning, rat-bite fever, hantavirus, and intestinal worms, and both rats and mice can and do bite people.
Rodent prevention at home means practicing good sanitation inside your home, garage or barn. Mice and rats are opportunists. If they see food, they will try to eat it. To discourage them, you need to keep floors free of crumbs and pet food. Ideally, all food in pantries should be off the floors and stored in rodent-proof containers if possible.
Even so, most homeowners will have a mouse infestation sooner or later. Once mice enter human living spaces, removal and control become necessary. If you have an infestation, you need to figure out where the rodents are entering the home and close down those openings. At the same time, you need to eliminate all the rodents that have entered the home in a way that is safe and effective.
Rodents can directly and indirectly transmit a number of diseases. The exact diseases vary depending on the type of rodent, but some of the most common diseases spread by rodents include hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome, the plague, rat-bite fever, and salmonellosis. These creatures are also indirect transmitters of Colorado tick fever, Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and West Nile virus.
Allergies & Asthma
Mice and rats can increase allergic and asthmatic symptoms in people of all ages but especially in children. Rodent dander and feces are both very allergenic. Additionally, mice can produce a protein that sticks to dust and flies through the air. Then, when people inhale those dust particles, they have an allergic reaction. In most cases, the allergic reaction is stronger if the infestation is more widespread. Sometimes, the allergic reactions can lead to an asthma attack.
Rodents & Property Damage
To get inside buildings, mice and rats generally need to chew through walls and insulation. Once inside, they make their nests by pilfering bits of upholstery, carpets, stored clothing, and anything else they can find, leaving destruction in their wake. While setting up their homes, mice may even eat wood framing or other elements that can lead to structural damage in homes or commercial properties.
Where You Find Mice
Rodents live all over the world, except for Antarctica. There are over 2,000 species of rodents, and they live in a variety of environments. They can live in deserts or tropical forests. They can live in the country or in the city. Some prefer a hole underground, while others prefer living in a comfortable suburban home.
While some rodents such as voles tend to stay outside, others like the house mouse almost always live near humans and are very infrequently found truly in the wild.
Rodents in the Home
Once mice get inside a home, they prefer to live in a sheltered location. They gravitate toward spaces in the wall, under floors, or in attics. They may set up homes in boxes in storage rooms, under shelves, or anywhere they can feel relatively safe and private. In most cases, mice tend to be nocturnal, and they are good at hiding. The popular expression “if you see one mouse, there are more in the walls” tends to be true in many situations. Rats also tend to stay hidden, and if you see one, there is likely to be more in hiding.
Rodents in Other Places
Outside the home, rodents may try to seek shelter in garages, sheds, barns, and other outbuildings. However, some rodents permanently live outside, and they may cause intense damage to crops, gardens, trees, and other kinds of plant life.
Signs of Mice or Rats
Mice and rats are nocturnal and tend to stay hidden. As a result, most people see signs of mice or rats long before they catch a glimpse of the actual animal. To protect your home and the health of your family, you should understand the signs of a possible infestation.
Identifying Rodents by Their Scat
One of the first signs of a mouse or rat infestation may be droppings. Typically, you can expect to find droppings under cabinets, along floor boards, or other places between the rodents’ nests and their food sources. Mouse scat is about 1/8 to 1/4 inch long. It looks similar to a kiwi seed and is comparable in shape to a piece of rice with narrow ends.
Rat poop also tends to be wider in the middle and narrow at the ends, but it’s much larger than mouse droppings. Rat scat tends to be 3/8-inch-long and about 1/8-inch diameter at its widest point.
Nests & Burrows
Mice nests feature shredded paper, fabric, or other soft items arranged into a comfortable sleeping spot. Generally, these nests are in hidden areas, so you aren’t likely to see them unless they are inside a cabinet or under a piece of furniture. However, the openings leading to the nests are typically relatively clean holes measuring about 1.5 inches in diameter. You may see these holes along walls or in corners.
Brown rats make burrows that tend to be inside in lower areas like crawl spaces or basements or outside along foundations in discrete areas near garbage, wood piles, or shrubs. Generally, rat burrows feature smooth, packed down dirt with loose dirt around the two to four-inch opening, and they can be linked by extensive tunnels. Roof rats or black rats tend to build their nests in attics or ceilings or around trees.
Other Signs of Rodents
In addition to scat or nests, other signs of rodents include scampering noises coming from attics, crawlspaces, or walls, especially in the evening. Some rodents eat their own scat reducing the amount of scat that you may find in the house, but you may notice odors from urine or rub marks along walls that serve as rodent thoroughfares. Your pets may start acting strangely. They may seem to lie in wait near cabinets, appliances, or other areas where they smell mice lurking.
Are You Helping Rodents Make Your House Home?
Like all mammals, rodents are simply looking for a place where they can stay warm, find good food, and raise a family. Although that sounds nice, you don’t need generations of rodents turning your house into their home and spreading destruction and disease in the process. To keep your home as rodent-free as possible, you need to understand the conditions that make a home look inviting to rodents.
Food Invites Rodents
Rodents need food. They can’t live in an area that doesn’t have food. That includes food crumbs on the floor, but rodents can also be very attracted to pet food or food stored in easy to gnaw through cardboard containers. Even crafts made out of popcorn or dried pasta noodles can provide a snack to rodents, luring them into your storage spaces.
Home Conditions Can Invite Rodents
Rodents who live outside look for comfortable places to hide such as in old cars, around compost heaps, near wood piles, or in overgrown landscaping. As temperatures fall, rodents become more likely to come inside. They find gaps around pipes or vents, but they also take advantage of open doors or pet entries. To prevent them from coming inside, you need to be diligent about finding these openings and closing them. Rodents can also chew through rotten siding or use their sharp teeth to make all kinds of openings and crevices larger.
Rodent Removal Tips
Mice are not easy to eliminate. Successful mice control requires a good working knowledge of mouse habits and a keen eye in identifying the “hot spots” in a home. You need to seal up entries, eliminate food sources, and exterminate the rodents. When sealing entry points to keep rodents out, try using steel wool and expanding foam. That helps to ensure the rodents can’t easily chew through your seal. Then, carefully identify and remove all excess food sources in your home. Ideally, you should work with a rodent removal service or experiment with snap traps, glue traps, and bait.
Rodent traps fall into two main categories: traps that catch the rodents for release later and traps that kill. The most effective option is to exterminate the rodents. Rodents breed extremely quickly, and in most cases, there is no ecological benefit to putting them back into the wild.
The classic snap trap features a spring mechanism attached to a bar. You bait the trap — although cheese is the classic option, peanut butter tends to be more effective. Then, when the mouse reaches for the bait, the spring mechanism gets triggered, and a bar quickly falls on top of the mouse, killing it. The main disadvantage with these traps is that the spring mechanism often doesn’t work more than once. As a result, mice can often steal the bait with no repercussions if the trap has already been used. These traps can also be dangerous to children and pets.
Glue traps are flat rectangles covered in sticky adhesive. The mouse steps on the trap and ostensibly gets stuck in place. These come in both rat and mouse sizes, but unfortunately, the adhesive doesn’t always catch the mouse. This trap also does not kill the rodent, so you may have to use a hammer to kill them, which can be off putting for some homeowners.
Rodent bait is poison that kills the rodents. Bait can be incredibly effective, but ideally, you may only want to use bait when working with a pest control specialist. Bait can potentially be deadly for children and pets. Additionally, some people don’t like to use bait because the rodents die in their walls or crawl spaces.
Rodent Prevention Tips
To deter rodents from coming into your home, be extra vigilant with food. Clean floors diligently, don’t keep dried foods (including in crafts or art projects) in storage areas, and repackage foods in your pantry so they are in rodent-proof glass jars or plastic containers. Consider only putting out pet food when your pets are eating, and make sure trash and compost containers are well sealed. Also, look for sources of water such as leaky pipes.
Seasonal Rodent Infestation Prevention
When temps turn cold, rodents become more likely to come inside. To protect your home, make sure to keep fall leaf piles away from your foundation, and also clean up any unruly landscaping around your home. If possible, take some time to go around your home looking for possible entry points and seal them as needed. Beyond that, simply keep an eye out for signs of rodents and always react quickly when you see an issue.
At Colonial Pest Control, we get frequent calls to help nearby residents and business owners rid their properties of rodents. The more you know about the life cycle of rodents, the better you will understand how quickly a couple of these small animals can soon turn into a swarm of pests. Rodents carry diseases, damage property, and can cause embarrassment, but we can offer a quick solution.
Rely on Colonial for Mouse Control and Removal
Do you have a mouse in the house, a rat in the shed, or a vole in the garden? If rodents find their way into your home or onto your property, a certified rodent control and removal service should be called to eliminate the problem before it gets out of hand! You can rely on Colonial Pest Control Company to provide expert mouse control in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Call us today and say goodbye to your rodent problems.
Contact Colonial Pest
Some of our customers call us after they try other means to get rid of mice and rats. Unfortunately, mouse traps and other solutions that are found at the local home improvement store just cannot keep up with the problem as fast as the rodents can reproduce. Your family cat cannot handle all those mice and rats alone, either.
You don’t have time to waste using ineffective methods to eliminate rodent infestations. You can easily end up wasting money on DIY pest control, watch your problem get worse, and then end up needing professional help regardless. If your home or business has a rodent problem, you need to contact us for professional pest control as quickly as possible.
At Colonial Pest Control, we place a high priority upon your family’s health and safety, including that of your pets. We will only use rodent control methods that effectively get rid of your pests, without harming you, your children, or your pets. If you have unwanted rodents who have taken up residence inside your home, we will evict them. Just call 1.888.982.2963 for a free quote.