Mice and Rats Long Island
House mice, deer mice, and Norway rats are the most likely species of rodents to infest your home or business on Long Island. Rats and mice are different species, cannot mate with each other, and rarely infest the same areas at the same time. Some things they do share in common is that they both can spread disease, cause allergies, and damage property.
The clear identification of rodents is critical to understanding the health risks associated with each species and implementing proper prevention and control.
The House / Field Mouse
What do House Mice Look Like?
House mice fur varies in color from light brown to dark gray depending on the mouse’s location. With a pointed nose and large ears, an adult house mice is about 5 inches long from its nose to the end of its tail.
Where do House Mice Live?
House mice live inside homes, buildings, and outdoors (where they are referred to as "field mice"). They prefer to nest in dark, secluded areas and often build nests out of paper products, cotton, packing materials, scraps of wall insulation and fabrics.
House Mouse Behavior
House mice are nocturnal, but they can be seen in the house during the day. They are very inquisitive and tend to curiously investigate changes in their environment, which is why they often adjust their established pathways.
House Mouse Health & Property Threats
House mice can carry diseases and contaminate food that they contact in the home. Their feces can carry bacteria, and they are known to spread Salmonella, which can make us sick if we consume food contaminated by them. Micro-droplets of mouse urine can also cause allergies in children and inhaling dust that contains dried mouse feces may cause allergies or asthma flare ups. In addition, mice can also bring fleas, mites, ticks and lice into your home.
House mice can cause serious property damage by eating and contaminating food, chewing on personal items, and they are known to start electrical fires by gnawing on wires inside homes and cars.
The Deer Mouse
What Do Deer Mice Look Like?
The deer mouse got its name because its fur coloration resembles that of the white-tailed deer, which is gray or tawny brown on top with a white underbelly. Adult deer mice are about 7 inches long from their nose to the end of their tail.
Where Do Deer Mice Live?
The deer mouse is commonly found in rural or semi-rural areas. They typically live outdoors in quiet, wooded areas, but they can also invade homes and other structures.
Deer mice primarily nest outdoors inside worn fence posts, hollow tree logs, tree stumps, and in piles of leaves and other debris. Outdoor nests are made of stems, twigs, leaves, roots, and may be lined with feathers or fur. The foraging range of a deer mouse nesting outdoors can be up to an acre or more.
Deer mice also prefer to invade places less frequented by people and pets, such as vacation homes, garages, sheds, and other outbuildings, especially during the winter. Deer mice are also known to nest inside abandoned/stored vehicles and equipment where they chew into cushioned seats and gnaw on electrical wires.
Deer mice are good climbers and can enter homes and buildings by using trees, branches, shrubs, and vines as bridges to gain access into attics and upper levels. Basements are also ideal living spaces for deer mice, and a common nesting site is on top of sill plates in the basement or crawlspace, particularly in the corners. When living inside a structure, the foraging range of deer mice is about 30 feet from the nest.
Deer mouse nests inside homes and other structures can be more than a foot in diameter and are lined with shredded paper, scraps of insulation, strips of cloth, and/or stuffing from furniture. Deer mice urinate and defecate inside their nests. and when the nest becomes foul after a few weeks, the female moves on and builds a new nest nearby. This habit can result in infested areas with large numbers of odorous, abandoned nests, which also increases the risk of Hantavirus exposure.
Deer Mouse Health & Property Threats
Like house mice, deer mice pose a significant health threat because they too can spread disease and contaminate food. However, deer mice are primarily responsible for transmitting Hantavirus to humans. This virus is transmitted primarily by the inhalation of dust particles contaminated with the urine, feces or saliva of infected deer mice.
Like all rodents, deer mice can also cause serious property damage by eating and contaminating food, chewing on personal items, and they are also known to start electrical fires by gnawing on wires inside homes and cars.
The Norway Rat
What Do Norway Rats Look Like?
The Norway Rat is also called the street or sewer rat, and is believed to be of Asian origin, brought to the U.S. on ships from other countries in the 1700s. Norway rats have fairly poor vision and are colorblind. Despite these deficiencies, their hearing, smell, touch and taste are highly developed. They are not extremely agile, but capable of running, climbing, jumping, and swimming.
The Norway rat has brown fur with black hairs mixed in, and they sometimes look dark gray depending on the filth they are exposed to, and/or the location of their nest. Their bellies are usually a lighter color, from gray to off-white and yellowish blends. Norway rats have small eyes and ears, and their tails are shorter than their body length.
Where Do Norway Rats Live?
Norway rats are social pests that live in underground burrows and they often build their nests close to other Norway's. This means that where there is one burrow, there are likely others close by. Norway rat burrows have at least one entrance hole and at least one emergency exit, or bolt-hole, which is usually hidden under grass, debris or other things.
Outdoors, Norway rats typically live in fields, farmlands and man-made structures. They often burrow in soil near riverbanks, under piles garbage and woodpiles, under concrete slabs, and along railroad embankments and streams.
Inside homes, Norway rats typically enter in the fall when food and water becomes scarce outside. Norway's can fit through a hole the size of a quarter, and once inside a home, they often nest in basements, piles of debris or undisturbed items. However, they will also nest on floors above basements and they love sewers. Although rare, Norway rats may also nest in attics.
Norway Rat Behavior
Norway rats are nocturnal, instinctually foraging for food at dusk, and before dawn. They have hearty appetites, eating several times each night, and again during the daytime. Norway's carry the food they find to quiet places to eat or to stockpile. Norway rats will eat practically anything, but they prefer meat, fish, cereals, and they love dog food! However, they are picky eaters and creatures of habit. If they eat something they don't like, Norway rats will quickly develop an aversion to it, and search for another option. Once they find a favorable food source, Norway rats will return time and again.
Norway rats have front teeth (incisors) that continuously grow, so they need to keep wearing them down by gnawing on (and through) almost anything, including plastic and lead pipes, concrete, and wood. Norway's typically use the same vertical pathway they felt out with their long whiskers to travel between their nest and sources of food and water. In fields and other rural areas, Norway's usually travel about 100 to 150 feet away from their nest for food and water, but their range is smaller in urban areas, where they only need to venture out about 25 to 100 feet away from their home.
Norway Rat Threats
Due to their propensity to gnaw through almost anything, Norway rats can cause serious damage to landscapes, structures, equipment, and personal items, hence making them a costly threat. On the health side, the accumulation of dried rat feces can contaminate food sources, trigger allergic reactions in humans, and spread harmful bacteria, diseases and viruses like Bubonic Plague, jaundice, rat-bite fever, cowpox virus, trichinosis and salmonellosis. Norway rats can also introduce fleas into a home, which can lead to painful, itchy bites, and other health risks.
Mice & Rat Management on Long Island
Following the principles of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), a Paramount Rodent Management Program almost always include a combination of the control methods described below, and are customized to meet your needs, concerns, and budget. It all begins with an onsite inspection so we can develop the right attack plan.
The key to long-term rodent control is the identification and correction of conditions that are conducive to rodents. This may include changes in sanitation, landscape modification, and sealing off areas of rodent entry.
Exterior Rodent Baiting
Using rodenticides to control rats and mice is an effective method that has been around for centuries. With dedication to safety and compliance with federal, state and local laws, our technicians only place rodenticides inside heavy-duty plastic or metal tamper-resistant bait stations that are secured to the ground, fence, or other stationary object around the immediate exterior of your home or building.
Below are some features and benefits of tamper resistant rodent bait stations.
Rodent bait stations are proven to increase bait consumption by rodents and serve as a first line of defense.
Each station is secured to the ground and tamper resistant, requiring a special key to open them for inspection and bait replenishment. This greatly reduces the risk of unauthorized access, movement, and tampering.
For additional safety, the ramped entries and baffles inside each station keep the bait and/or traps secured and out of the reach of children and non-target pets and/or wildlife.
Rodent bait station with a cement block at the bottom for added weight with a snap-trap and rodent bait inside.
Rodent bait station in the shape of a large rock to better blend in with the landscape. The blue blocks are rodent bait.
Snap traps may be the oldest trick in the book, but they remain highly effective at quickly knocking down rodent populations. Snap traps are also a more humane method of rodent control than sticky traps. Where applicable, all snap traps provided by us are housed in special boxes and placed in areas where children and pets cannot easily access them.
Glue traps and multiple catch traps are also excellent tools for controlling rodents. Depending on the situation, we may also safely and discreetly place these devices inside your home or building to help with control.
Specialized devices to conceal rodent snap-traps and trapped rodents.
Standard mouse-sized snap-trap.