Mice are some of the most common pests we deal with here in the United States. And with over 70 different types of mice and rat species roaming about North America, it’s easy to see why.
However, not all of those 70 species are the culprits creeping into your home and building nests, chewing wires, and leaving droppings in the back of your cupboards.
In fact, it’s estimated that there are just four specific types of mice that are the most common nuisance pests in the United States.
In today’s article, we’re talking about these types of mice, how to identify them, and tips and tricks for removing mice.
But Before We Begin, Let’s Talk About Mice
Mice are some of the most common pests in the United States.
Whether you live in an urban or suburban environment, mice and rats are a common nuisance. That’s because many species of these pests have evolved to live close to humans, depending on the amenities we provide like food, water, and shelter.
Though they are very small, mice can be dangerous and destructive pests when they get into the home. They can also lead to secondary types of pest infestations or even be a sign of a primary pest infestation that has gotten out of control.
What Exactly Are Mice?
Mice are small rodents with pointed snouts, rounded ears, long tails, and furry bodies. They can grow to be between one and 9 inches in length (including the tail) depending on their species and weigh between 0.5 and 1.5 ounces.
For the most part, wild mice are grey, light brown, black, silver, or light brown. However, some domesticated mice can range in colors and patterns.
The most common types of rodents in the United States are the house mouse and the Norway Rat.
Both are considered vermin, especially in residential regions and agriculture areas. However, mice do have their purpose and do play an important role in our ecosystem.
They are often considered some of the most important animals in nearly any environment.
This is because they not only provide an abundant food source for beneficial predators like foxes, wild dogs, wild cats, birds of prey, and more, but they also collect and store nuts, seedlings, and plants. This helps to distribute vegetation and ensures the growth of several plant life.
Mice have also found a very beneficial purpose as far as we humans are concerned. Mice are some of the most commonly used animals for medical testing as their anatomy is so closely related to that of humans. They are small, easy and inexpensive to care for, and simple to domesticate.
However, some types of mice are more problematic than others. Let’s find out why.
Why Are Some Types of Mice Problematic?
Although all types of mice could be considered beneficial, some types of mice can be serious problems for humans and pets.
They are prolific reproducers and often seek out shelter and food inside homes or restaurants. Mice will build their nests inside homes and get into human food sources, costing hundreds of dollars in waste.
Their chewing can also lead to electrical problems and structural damage, while their feces can spread serious diseases like hantavirus.
Why Are Mice Attracted To Human Homes?
Many types of mice are omnivores, and they will eat anything from insects to fruits, vegetables, garbage, grains, seeds, and more, so it’s not difficult to accidentally attract them.
All human homes and residential areas can be attractive to mice for these reasons, although some homes may be more attractive to some types of mice than others.
You may be attracting mice to your home if you leave dirty dishes in the sink, leave pet food out or improperly stored, have unsealed garbage bins, an excess of buildup or debris in or outside of the home, or if you have potential entry points that are not properly sealed and can allow mice easy access inside.
The Four Most Common Species Of Mice In The US
Although there are roughly 70 different species of mice and rats in the United States, there are four types of mice that are the most common and which you are most likely to come across in or around your home.
These mice include:
- The House Mouse
- The Western Harvest Mouse
- The White Footed Mouse
- And The Deer Mouse (AKA The Field Mouse)
Are you dealing with one of the above types of mice? We’ll go over the four types of mice below in more detail to find out.
The House Mouse
The house mouse is one of the most common types of mice you might come across.
One of the most common types of mice in the United States is the common house mouse. The house mouse is between 5 and 8 inches in length (including their tail) and can weigh between ½ to 1 ounce.
They vary in color but typically have dark grey backs and lighter grey undersides. Like most types of mice, the house mouse has a pointed muzzle, round ears, and small black eyes.
Though their tails are bald, upon closer inspection they can appear to have scales. A common sign of the house mouse is going to be their droppings.
House mouse droppings are between 1/4th of an inch in length. They are about the shape of a grain of rice and pointed at the ends.
The House Mouse is a nocturnal rodent and is common year-round in several environments. The house mouse is named such because of his propensity to invade residential homes.
Like many types of mice, the house mouse is a destructive and dangerous pest. It tends to invade homes where it nests and reproduces quickly and can spread disease, bacteria, fleas, and mites through food contamination, urine, droppings, bites, or contact with pets.
The Western Harvest Mouse
Western Harvest Mice are found only in select regions of the US.
The Western Harvest Mouse is not active throughout the United States and North America, but he can be found ranging from southwestern Canada to California, Arizona, and Mexico.
They are dark brown over their head and back with a lighter brown underbelly. They have large, round ears that are hairless and their tails are equally as long as their bodies.
Western Harvest Mice can breed year-round and can have two to nine young in each litter they produce. Though they are short-lived, they can have 10 to 14 litters per year.
When looking at the most problematic types of mice, the Western Harvest Mouse is less likely to cause you problems. This mouse typically prefers to build nests outside in grass or vegetation. They are resourceful little rodents who use the tunnels of other animals to maneuver. They are also known to nest in large numbers, which can be problematic if they do choose to nest in your home.
Like many types of mice, the Western Field Mouse is an omnivore that feeds primarily on insects, plants, seeds, and grains.
The White Footed Mouse
White-footed mice are nocturnal and named for their white underbellies and white feet.
When it comes to vermin, the white-footed mouse is not likely to be as high on your list as some types of mice. This is a rodent that spends most of its life in fields and wooded areas, preferring climates that are warm and dry.
They are not common throughout all of the United States and are most often found in the West.
The white-footed mouse is named for the soft white fur on their feet, and their tail is covered with short hair that is visible to the naked eye.
The white-footed mouse is between 5 to 8 inches long including the tail and weighs between .37 and 1.5 ounces.
They can range in color from grey to brown to reddish, and have white on their undersides as well.
Although the white-footed mouse is sensitive to certain environments and prefers to live outdoors, it’s not uncommon for this mouse to seek shelter when the weather gets cool. Remember, these mice prefer warm, dry climates. A storm or chilly weather could drive these types of mice to seek warmth from your garage, shed, or home.
If the environment inside your home is conducive to these mice, they may stick around. This means they could cause any of the same problems both destructive and healthwise as any of the other types of mice on this list.
The Deer Mouse (AKA The Field Mouse)
Also known as a field mouse, the deer mouse is a common pest throughout the West Coast.
Last on our list of the most common types of mice, you’ll find in the United States is the deer mouse. Also known as the field mouse, the deer mouse is most commonly found on the west coast.
These mice range in length from four to nine inches including their tail. They can weigh between 0.38 to 1.25 ounces and are distinguishable by their long tails which are two colors and covered in short fur.
The fur on their bodies ranges from light grey to a rusty red color, and they often have white undersides.
Deer mice can produce two to four litters annually with three to five young born per litter. They are short-lived, with some living just two months depending on the number of predators in their region.
Though called deer mice or field mice, deer mice often seek shelter inside human homes. This is especially true during the colder seasons when they are seeking warmth and easier access to food. They typically live near residential areas in more suburban environments with open fields or greenbelts surrounding the perimeter.
These nocturnal rodents are incredible climbers and perhaps some of the most dangerous types of mice, as they are the primary carriers of the Hantavirus, which is a serious illness that can spread to people through feces, urine, or saliva.
The Best Products To Help Get Rid Of The Four Most Common Types Of Mice
Mice are considered dangerous and destructive pests, so it’s important to have a pest control regimen on hand to manage them.
Although mice are beneficial animals, they can also be dangerous and destructive, especially if they get into your home. If you do see a mouse in your house, it’s more likely than not that you have more.
It’s important to implement some control methods to not only get rid of mice but also keep them from coming back.
Since mice can be problematic all year round depending on their species, it’s best to use a common rodent control method or regimen throughout the year to protect your home, family, and pets from these pests.
The good news is that there are several different methods you can use to get rid of mice, and most of them will work on all types of mice you are dealing with.
Some of the most common methods for mouse removal include the use of traps, baited poisons, repellents, and natural home remedies.
In this section, we have taken the time to list a few of our favorite products for how to get rid of different types of mice below.
Avantaway Ultrasonic Pest Repeller
Ultrasonic pest repellers work not only to repel mice, but also several other pests like insects, spiders, snakes, and lizards. The above ultrasonic pest repeller works by emitting ultrasonic sound waves and vibrations that are highly irritating to pests but harmless to people and pets.
They work by simply plugging into your wall and can provide results within the first three weeks. A single ultrasonic pest repeller plug covers up to 1,800 square feet. However, ultrasonic sound waves cannot pass through walls so we do suggest you purchase several of these repellent plug-ins for different rooms depending on how large your rodent infestation is.
The Tom Cat Refillable Bait Station
If you’re dealing with a few types of mice in your home and on your property, you may need to invest in lethal products to help control them. A lethal bait station like the Tom Cat bait station for mice can be an effective way to control and monitor rodents that come around.
The product serves as a child and pet-resistant bait station which you can fill with poisoned bait. We would say that one of the downfalls of this bait station is that it doesn’t trap the mice inside. This means you could wind up with dead mice in your walls, basement, or attic, which can lead to a new laundry list of problems for you down the road.
Mighty Mint Rodent Repellent
Mighty Mint Rodent Repellent is an all-natural rodent repellent that works by using essential oils to repel mice and rats. This product is safe for you to use around children and pets and it is environmentally friendly.
Best of all, it keeps different types of mice at bay humanely and effectively. The order can be used both indoors and out as well as in sheds, garages, cars, and RVs. It comes in a 128-ounce container and includes a nozzle for easy spray and application.
Home Remedies For Getting Rid Of Common Types Of Mice
Crushed cayenne pepper and several essential oils can help to repel all different types of mice.
Because mice are so sensitive to certain odors and sounds, it’s possible to get rid of them using common household ingredients. However, if you do have mice in your home, we recommend trying to determine which type of mouse you’re dealing with to determine which type of treatment would be best.
The severity of your rodent infestation and the types of mice you are dealing with should help determine which type of method you use for removal and prevention.
If you have a small mouse problem or you have caught your mouse problem early on, many of the home remedies and recipes for how to get rid of mice below can be effective.
Essential Oil Rodent Repellent Spray
Some natural products that work to get rid of different types of mice contain essential oils in them, but if you prefer to make your essentail oil spray for rodent control, we have you covered.
Some of the best essential oils to get rid of different types of mice include:
- Peppermint Oil
- Tea Tree Oil
- Eucalyptus Oil
- Lemon Oil
- Clove Oil
- And Cedarwood Oil
You can use the above essential oils to get rid of mice in a few different ways. One of the most simple is to soak cotton balls in the oil of your choice and place them around your home and yard to repel the pests.
For the best results, it’s important to replace old cotton balls with freshly soaked cotton balls once every two to three days.
You can also make your essential oil spray. Simply combine 15 to 20 drops of the above essential oil of your choice into two cups of water. You can add some cayenne pepper for a bit of extra repellent as well.
Next, you’ll want to pour this mixture into a spray bottle and mix it thoroughly. Spray this solution around your home, in your yard, around your garden, and near potential exit and entry points several times a week to deter mice.
Make Your Bucket Trap
If you have a very large mouse infestation around your home, you can make a simple and effective bucket trap to collect and remove these pests as necessary.
To make a bucket trap, you will need a five-gallon bucket and a round pipe or piece of wood. Drill a hole on both sides of the bucket and insert your pipe or wood. Make sure it is loose so it spins easily.
Then you can put peanut butter on the wood or pipe to entice the mice. The mice will climb the side of the bucket and fall off of the wood trying to get to the peanut butter, thus trapping themselves inside the bucket.
You can watch a detailed video on how to make this type of trap below.
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Make A Cayenne Pepper Spray
Making a cayenne pepper spray to repel different types of mice is a bit time-consuming, though it does work well.
To make a spray that works, you will need crushed cayenne pepper, fresh garlic, and one tablespoon of liquid dish soap.
Crush the garlic and add it to one quart of water, then put this to a boil. Add one teaspoon of crushed cayenne and allow this to steep for at least an hour.
Next, add your liquid dish soap and then let the liquid cool before pouring it carefully into a spray bottle.
Spray around any areas you want to repel or remove rodents like mice and rats, and repeat the process once every few days.
While this method is effective for getting rid of different types of mice, we do want to note that it can be irritating for pets.
Use Kitty Litter Or Ammonia
Anyone who has ever seen an episode of Tom and Jerry already knows that cats are natural predators of mice. If mice sense a cat nearby, they will often stay away.
Even if you don’t have a cat, you can use used kitty litter or ammonia to emulate a cat’s natural smell. This will help deter the mice. However, this is not a full-proof method and will only work in the direct vicinity of where you place these products.
This means you must be strategic when using this method to get rid of different types of mice depending on the time of year and the area in which your rodent problem is most prevalent.
Expert Tips On Keeping All Types Of Mice At Bay
The key to rodent control is prevention, according to most experts.
It’s important to implement a routine pest control management program around your home and yard to keep different types of mice at bay. Like we always say, preventing certain pests is often easier than trying to get rid of them after an infestation has occurred.
For this reason, we are listing several preventative measures and tips you can take to keep mice at bay, according to experts.
Most types of mice prefer overgrown yards. Long, grassy yards and fields are safest for mice, so you can help repel them by ensuring your yard is well maintained and tidy.
Remove leaf litter, keep your grass trimmed short, and keep gardens clear of dead foliage, buildup, or debris.
Remove Excess Debris Around Your Home
Excess debris both inside and outside of your home can lead to an influx in different types of pests, including rodents and insects. This is because debris provides these pests with plenty of shelter and protection from predators or threats.
Removing excess debris around your home and property will make your home less inviting to different types of mice.
Do Not Leave Dirty Dishes In The Sink Over Night
If you do leave dirty dishes out overnight, it’s recommended that you place them in a sink filled with soapy water. Not only can this help prevent mice from becoming attracted to your home, but it can prevent several other pests as well.
Store Garbage, Pet Food, and Bird Seed Properly
The smell of old food in the garbage, pet food, or birdseed can be highly attractive and luring to mice. All types of mice will not be able to resist if this food is left out in the open for them.
Other pests like roaches, flies, and ants will also be attracted to these types of items, so be sure you are storing garbage, pet food, and birdseed in sealed containers to prevent pests from coming around.
Use A Pest Control Method To Not Only Control Rodents but Also Insects
While most types of mice generally prefer to eat plants, fruits, veggies, seeds, and grains, they are also known to dine on insects. A large presence of mice in your home could be a sign of an insect infestation that has attracted them.
To keep mice at bay, it’s important to keep your home free of pests like insects. You can do this by ensuring you use a year-round pest control management method both inside and outside of your residence.
Consider Getting A Cat
If you’re in the market for a pet, investing in a cat is a great way to help control the rodent population around your property. Cats are natural predators to mice and just their presence can help deter mice from coming around.
Of course, we don’t suggest getting a cat for the sole purpose of pest control, so keep that in mind.
Invite the Predators
As small rodents, mice have several natural predators. You can help deter mice or at least control their population around your property by inviting some of these predators to your yard.
Common predators of different types of mice include:
- Domesticated Cats
- And Bobcats
Keep Your Home Well Maintained
Last, keeping up with routine home maintenance can help ensure that if any of the above methods fail, your home will still be fortified against mice.
Over time, homes can suffer from natural wear and tear. Be sure to check your home routinely, paying special attention to cracks, crevices, vulnerabilities, and potential entry points mice can use to gain access to your home.
Keep in mind that mice are very small and they are excellent climbers. They can often get into homes through entry points as small as a dime.
And of course, if you do think you have one of the types of mice on our list above in your home and you are not able to get rid of them, don’t hesitate to call a professional pest control expert!
Jack founded our blog after two decades of working in the pest control industry. His vast experience dealing with a wide array of pests allows him to diagnose issues quickly and get to the heart of pest problems quickly and effectively. He has serviced more than 2,000 homes over his career and there is hardly any pest situation that he has not seen before.