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Deer mice may seem cute and innocent, but they're not. They're constantly foraging for food and your home is no exception. They'll burrow through walls and sneak under cracks to access your kitchen. They also leave behind droppings, which carry a dangerous virus known as hantavirus. Consider these tips to keep deer mice and their viruses out of your home.

Deer mouse slide

What are deer mice?

Deer mice have white feet, a white stomach and a brown back, the University of California, Davis stated. They have larger ears and eyes than the house mouse. These mice have strong teeth that can gnaw through electrical wiring and walls, leaving your home in shambles. Once the mice go through the walls, they'll make nests and die there. The bodies decompose quickly, leaving a resonating odor. The mice will try to build their homes in basements, attics, walls and storage areas.

What is the hantavirus?

Deer mice are one of the few rodents that carry this virus, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted. There are multiple strains of the virus. One of the strains can cause hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, or HPS, which is a deadly disease. However, not all mice carry hantavirus. Since there's no way of knowing if a deer mouse carries the virus, it's best to prevent them in the home and properly clean up any droppings you see. People can contract the disease just by breathing in the air when infected droppings are stirred up. People can also get it from touching droppings and then touching their face or from a mouse bite.

How to properly clean up droppings

  1. Wear gloves and spray urine or feces with a mix of bleach and water. Fully saturate it and wait five minutes.

  2. Wipe up the droppings and then use a disinfectant to clean bacteria.

  3. Wash your gloved hands or spray them with bleach solution before removing. Once clean, take them off and wash your hands.

  4. Don't sweep or vacuum droppings to avoid inhaling feces.

How to prevent mice

  • Keep food contained: Food should always be tightly sealed. Use thick plastic or metal containers.

  • Clean up messes: Homeowners should clean messes up as soon as they happen. Wipe down counters and floors constantly to prevent odors.

  • Put away pet food: Keep pet food in tight containers. Don't leave food or water out overnight.

  • Control garbage: Always throw out trash immediately in closed barrels that are made of metal or thick plastic.

  • Look for cracks and holes: Keep in mind that mice can get through anything. Seal up any cracks or holes you see.

If you do have a deer mice infestation, call pest services professionals immediately. Handling mice extermination yourself is a dangerous job and could harm you.

Abell Pest Control is a family owned Canadian company dedicated to providing effective, professional and courteous service in pest management. Abell is proud to announce its 90th year of providing quality pest control services to North America. Started in 1924 with one office, Abell now employs several hundred people with branch offices across Canada and the United States.

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