Mouse Control

A mouse hiding under a rock. A mouse hiding under a rock.


Size: On average no longer than 4 inches in length, and no more than 1.5 oz. in weight.

Color: Brown, black, white, gray, and combinations thereof.

A mouse looking to the side.

Mouse Control and Prevention

Mice are even better at squeezing through small cracks and gaps to access buildings than rats. They can fit through any opening the size of a dime! They find these gaps by following the smell of food and air currents created by drafts.

Look for gaps and cracks around window and door frames, baseboard, roofing tile, utility lines, brick, and molding. Patch up any draft-producing gaps with caulk or steel wool. Keep any food products stored and sealed to prevent mice from smelling them.

Mouse Identification

Behavior and Diet

Mice are nocturnal creatures and are shy around humans. You’re more likely to see the signs of mice than an actual mouse. You may hear scratching, rustling or squeaking in your walls in the evening and see signs of their activity during the day.

Mice are mainly herbivores, meaning that they prefer eating plants, fruits, and grains. When mice move into a home or business, they adapt quickly and become opportune eaters. They are nibblers that may eat 20+ times a day and will eat nearly anything they can find. They may also chew on your furniture, clothing and electric cords.

Mice prefer not to forage more than 25 feet for their food and tend to nest close to a reliable food source. When controlling mice, set traps and baits in areas of known activity to maximize results.


Female mice 4 months or older can have up to 15 litters per year, and each litter contains an average of 6-12 babies. Upon giving birth, mice can become pregnant again within a single day. Mice populations grow very rapidly once a mating pair establishes itself. Because mice reproduce so quickly, strong pest control measures are recommended.

Mouse pups are born blind and without fur or ears. They generally reach full sexual maturity at only five weeks old. Most mice live less than one year in the wild, but in protected environments such as buildings, they may live for two to three years.

Other Characteristics

House mice are most commonly polygamous, meaning they have multiple mates.

Mice can jump as high as 16 inches vertically from a flat surface.

Mice use their whiskers to sense minute changes in air temperature and pressure. They use this ability to find air currents and drafts.

Types of Mice in New York

There are two main types of mice that you’ll find in your New York home or business.

A mouse looking to the side.

Deer Mice
Deer mice, also called field mice, are a heartier species of mouse that tends to prefer life outside. They live in fields and forests and can survive winter’s colder temperatures.

Identify deer mice by their gray or reddish-brown bodies and white bellies. They often have white feet as well. Their faces end in a pointed nose and they have dark beady eyes and larger ears. Deer mice also have long whiskers and longer, hair covered, tails.

A mouse on a white background.

House Mice
House mice are the most likely species of New York mice you’ll encounter. They are smaller than deer mice with rounder ears and uniform body color – usually gray, black or brown without the white belly. Their tails are long, thin and hairless.

House mice have softer fur and were bred to become the domesticated or fancy mice you find at a pet store.

Treatment and Prevention

Ridding a building of mice can be challenging because they are small, intelligent and prolific. Most people think that laying traps baited with poison will eradicate a population of mice. However, mice are instinctively cautious and will experience “bait shyness” after ingesting a tiny bit of poison. Because this small bite of poison does not kill them but only makes them sick, they now know to avoid the bait — and the trap.

Ultrasonic mice repellent devices do not work because mice quickly become accustomed to unfamiliar noises and soon ignore repeated “beeps” that humans can’t hear. In addition, these devices are directional, so the sounds can’t penetrate solid objects and tend to lose their intensity with distance. In fact, no scientific evidence exists that shows vibratory, auditory or magnetic devices will send mice, rats or any other creature fleeing from a building.

The best way to prevent mice is to keep them from coming in. Seal cracks, doorways, windows and utility connections where small gaps could be used as an entrance.

If you experience a mouse infestation, a professional pest control expert can create an effective plan for eliminating them.

More Information

New York State Department of Health Mouse Control fact sheet

Illinois Department of Public Health House Mouse Prevention & Control fact sheet

National Pesticide Information Center mice fact sheet

Mouse FAQ

What is the difference between mice and rats?

The primary difference between rats vs mice is their size. While mice are modest in size, with mice typically growing no more than 4 inches, rats typically grow 6-8 inches. They also have long tails that are often longer than their bodies. Rat tails tend to be thicker and scaley while mouse tails are thin and smooth. Another distinction when you discover rodent signs is the difference of ratmouse droppings vs mouse droppings. Rat droppings are ½-3/4” long, shiny and black. Mouse droppings are smaller and smooth with pointed ends.

Can mice fit under doors?

Yes. Mice can easily squeeze under doors and through narrow cracks. That’s why it’s important to fill these gaps in your home, especially in fall when pests seek shelter from colder temperatures. The best way to stop mice from getting under your door is to add weather stripping or to install a door sweep.

How small a hole can a mouse fit through?

Mice have been known to squeeze through a ¼” hole. That’s about the size of a dime. Mice are also capable of chewing smaller holes open to gain access. Caulk any gaps you find along your exterior walls to keep mice from getting in.

Can mice climb stairs?

Absolutely. Mice can climb stairs and much more. They are accomplished climbers that can scale the sides of homes or use trees or shrubs to gain access to windows. They’re also surprisingly adept jumpers. Don’t discount the ninja-like power of a tiny mouse!

Are mice a health hazard?

According to the CDC, mice carry a number of diseases and maladies. A study from 2018 showed that NYC mice in particular spread a variety of bacteria and viruses.