Multiple rodent species that are pests of homes and buildings can be found throughout New York state including Norway rats, house mice, deer mice and white-footed mice. Deer mice are able to thrive in all terrestrial habitats at all elevations in New York, but they are most abundant within wooded areas where they prefer to construct nests within tree hollows. Unlike house mice, deer mice prefer to dwell outdoors, and while deer mice are generally able to survive outdoors during the cold of winter, they often seek shelter in homes during the fall in response to dropping temperatures. Deer mice are particularly prevalent in the Adirondacks where they often spend their winters in empty vacation homes before returning to the natural environment come spring.
Just like the deer mouse, the white-footed mouse belongs to the Peromyscus rodent genus, and they are both recognizable for their erect ears, bulging eyes, and white-patched belly. While white-footed mice are abundant in a wide range of terrestrial habitats, they are not as cold-tolerant as their deer mice relatives, and they are unable to survive at the highest elevations in New York. White-footed mice are most abundant within warm and dry forested and brushland areas, and although they do not inhabit urban centers in large numbers, they seem to thrive in agricultural areas and suburban neighborhoods where they often invade structures during the fall to escape the cold of winter.
Both deer mice and white-footed mice inhabit much of the eastern half of the US as well as most western states. Due to their cold-hardiness, deer mice can also be found throughout most of Canada where white-footed mice are almost entirely absent. While both house mice and Norway rats are by far the most destructive and commonly managed rodent pests within homes and buildings throughout the US, deer mice and white-footed mice are also categorized as economically significant pests of homes. Within infested homes, deer mice and white-footed mice often damage furniture upholstery, wall paper and wood in order to collect the raw materials needed to construct their nests. Perhaps most alarming, deer mice and white-footed mice are both in the habit of chewing on electrical wires in wall voids and attics, which has led to many house fires.
Have you ever found damage to electrical wiring within your home?