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There are some rodents that cause consistent problems here in the treasure valley. House mice, deer or field mice, gophers, & voles are pests that can be a real thorn in your side. Here are a few things you can do to prevent rodent problems:
- Keep all vegetation well trimmed and at least 1 foot away from the home. Lawns should be cut to a proper height, and cut regularly. Rodents are prey animals: They are afraid of crossing open spaces, and will avoid locations where open spaces abound.
- Avoid dropping & leaving food particles on the floor
- Seal cracks in foundation, install screens on doors and windows, assure doors & windows are properly sealed, etc.
- Decrease clutter indoors: Especially in garages, basements, etc.
- Clear out debris from around the home: Woodpiles, construction materials, should be as far from the home as possible
- Maintain proper sanitary conditions in and around the home
- Standing water in the lawn and landscape should be avoided
Deer mice (or field mice) are brown with a white underbelly and feet. Deer mice tend to nest outdoors; in sheds, long grass, debris etc. and rarely enter inside. When they do, typical nesting sites are in garages, attics, and crawl spaces. They feed on nuts, berries, or insects; but will feed on human food as it is available. Deer mice are carriers of the Hantavirus, a dangerous pulmonary syndrome.
House mice are light to dark brown and are most comfortable indoors where they commonly infest. House mice thankfully do not carry Hantavirus, but their droppings and urine can be allergenic, and are sometimes accompanied by parasitic organisms like ticks and fleas. Detection for mice is relatively simple: Wherever droppings are, there are mice. Under sinks, under stoves, corners of garages, pantry floors, and closets are areas to inspect for possible mice activity.
Voles (also known as meadow mice) are very similar to mice, only longer, typically adults reach up to 7 inches long. These rodents live outdoors and rarely infest inside. They feed on seeds primarily, and create characteristic runways on the surface of the ground among grass or any like material. Voles also burrow, leaving silver dollar size holes in the ground. Unlike gophers, voles do not create mounds of dirt as they tunnel.
Gophers are relatively large rodents that tunnel through the ground, leaving large mounds of dirt on the surface of the ground in their wake. Traditionally, gophers are found in rural areas near alfalfa or other agricultural fields, but can often be found in turf grass in urban areas. Left unchecked, gophers can feed on and kill ornamental plants, and also cause unsightly dirt mounds in otherwise carefully manicured lawns.