Field Mouse: Protect Your Home
What Do Field Mice Look Like?
Size: Adult field mice are approximately 5.5 to 8 inches in length including their tails and they weigh a couple of ounces.
Color: These pests have brown to gray backs with white bellies and feet. Their mostly gray upper bodies are contrasted by light-colored underbellies.
Characteristics: Although they may live in the same habitats as rats, field mice are differentiated by their large, dark eyes and thin, prominent ears. Their tails are about the same length as their bodies, which helps to separate them from short-tailed rodents like voles.
Habitat: These animals spend most of their time outdoors, entering buildings in the fall when the weather turns poor or when the habitat is disturbed during harvest seasons in more rural areas.
What Do Field Mice Eat?
While they prefer seeds and fruit, field mice eat a variety of plants as well as meats.
In late summer and fall, the pests begin to store their food in caches to last the winter. They will also gnaw on tree bark and snack on snails, insects, and animal remains.
Breeding mostly between March and October, a mother field mouse gives birth two to four times each year.
Litters contain about five to six babies each, and young mice are ready to breed in as little as 35 days. As a result, infestations can quickly get out of hand.
Notice food caches.
Check for small, dark droppings.
Listen for scratching or squeaking noises.
Problems Caused by Field Mice
Any mouse may carry fleas and ticks. However, field mice tend to enter and exit homes more frequently than other rodents, so they’re also are more likely to pick up parasites and bring them indoors.
In addition, deer mice are the primary carriers of hantavirus, a dangerous respiratory disease spread through the pests’ waste and they are a main host for black legged ticks (deer ticks), which are the ticks that spread Lyme disease.
Field mice also cause damage to homes by gnawing on wood or wiring and tearing up insulation to build nests. Undisturbed areas like attics and basements make the ideal nesting sites, as they also provide plenty of places to hide.
Signs of Infestation
Unlike most types of mice, these pests are known to cache food indoors. Small piles of nuts and seeds stored in wall voids and other hard-to-reach areas can attract other pests.
The animals also leave behind droppings about the size and shape of rice, and may make sounds as they move around or communicate during the night.
Because they prefer living in grassy areas, field mice typically only enter homes with easy entrances and exits. Block any holes leading indoors, paying special attention to gaps where utility lines enter walls.
Removing food sources and hiding places in yards may keep the pests from coming near homes in the first place.
Screen compost heaps with hardware cloth, remove fallen fruit regularly, and keep firewood piles far away from the home’s exterior.
Tips for Removal
While snap traps can work against field mouse infestations, they require skill and patience. Users must set up and bait their traps correctly in addition to checking and emptying them regularly.
Since field mice can carry disease, contact with these pests, living or dead, is not recommended.
Call the Experts
The best way to get rid of field mouse problems safely is to rely on pest control professionals. These trained technicians have the right equipment and experience to assess the cause of wildlife problems and offer effective solutions.