Increased Rodent Populations in Vermont◀ Back To Blog
December 13, 2012
With winter fast approaching, people may have forgotten how warm and snow-free last winter was. That is, until the mice start invading.
Mice loved last winter, and the warm spring and dry summer that followed. In such favorable conditions the mice had lots of babies, which may now be trying to get into your house to escape the cold.
According to the Burlington Free Press, in some parts of Vermont, there are signs there might be two or three times the normal number of deer mice running around, said C. William Kilpatrick, a University of Vermont biology professor who studies the rodents.
Kilpatrick monitored mouse trapping sites in five Vermont locations over the summer, two in Addison County, two in the Northeast Kingdom and one in the northern Green Mountains catching more mice than normally.
People responding to a Free Press inquiry on Facebook told their own stories of battling a mouse population boom.
“We have lived in our house in South Strafford for 22 years. We have never had a year like this. Probably by a factor of 10. And that belief is shared by all our neighbors,” wrote Jill Michaels. “We need a Pied Piper.”
Christopher LeBlanc of Morrisville said his property has a lot of mice, too. “They have been in our vehicles in our garage. We even ended up getting one in our fridge. We still can’t figure that one out,” LeBlanc said.
Why the mice?
- Last winter was mild, so harsh weather didn’t kill them.
- The spring and summer were warm and dry, which create great breeding conditions.
- Invasive plant species, like honeysuckle, which offer mice protection from predators like hawks and owls.
- Mice always try to find someplace warm when it gets cold, so there’s an annual invasion of the critters into homes, garages and sheds this time of year.
The importance of rodent control:
There’s plenty of reasons why you don’t want mice in your house.
- They can harbor deer ticks, which can spread Lyme disease.
- Mice even carry a very slight risk of spreading the potentially dangerous hantavirus.
- According to the Vermont Department of Health, avoid contact with rodents and their droppings.
A more effective way of preventing mice from enjoying your warm home is to block their access, which is difficult because deer mice can squeeze into a crack the circumference of a pencil. Mice can use the protection of the leaves as a staging area before finding a crack through which to enter your home. Rodent prevention, like cleaning leaves up around your home is helpful.
“It’s a very good year for mice. Not so good for homeowners,” Quackenbush said.
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