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Field Mice Facts: Why They Want In Your Home

By: EarthKind

Who can resist a tiny little fur ball with big eyes and oversized ears? We certainly can’t, so we’ve put together everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the field mouse.

When the temperatures outside start dropping, you may notice these visitors trying to take shelter in your nice warm home. Just like other types of pests, they are looking for a place to wait out the cold winter months. These small rodents have an incredible ability to squeeze into small places, chew through hard materials, and they are also climbers, giving them plenty of options to get into your house.

The field mouse is also where EarthKind’s story began. Our CEO, Kari Warberg Block, had a problem with these pests on her farm and knew there had to be a safer way to get rid of them that didn’t involve traps or poisons. When she couldn’t find what she needed, she invented Fresh Cab® Rodent Repellent

We put together a wide range of facts about field mice including what they look like, what they like, and how to prevent field mouse infestations from happening inside your home. 

Field mouse with brown fur

What is a Field Mouse?

The field mouse, or Peromyscus Maniculatus, is also frequently referred to as a deer mouse. The term field mouse is a common name that encompasses many small rodents, but the most common is the deer mouse. This type of rodent is most commonly found in rural areas but can also be found in urban areas or suburban communities if there are woods or natural buffer zones nearby. They are most active around dusk and dawn.

These rodents are best known for causing problems on farms. They are much more likely to be a problem in places that are not frequently used by people, like barns, other farm buildings, sheds, or seasonal cabins.

What Do They Look Like?

Deer mice are small creatures that typically weigh less than an ounce and measure around 4.5 inches to 9 inches. They are close in size to a house mouse. They typically have brown fur that ranges in color from light brown to gray-brown. They have a white or light-colored underbelly and white feet. They have large ears relative to their small head and their ears do not have fur. Common traits to look for include their large, black eyes and furry tail. 

Other Facts

Field mice try to avoid anything bigger than them — unfortunately for them, that’s just about everything. They have to rely on their senses so they don’t become lunch for something bigger. They have a good sense of smell, and strong odors can really mess up their sense of smell, making it so they can’t tell if they are safe from a predator.

Here’s more information on this species. 

Diet

Field mice like to eat a ‘whole foods’ diet. They try to stick to seeds, nuts, and whole grains. They’ll also eat other things like fruit, fungus, insects, and anything they can find around them. 

People with a green thumb or bird enthusiasts are a great match for these pests. Bird feeders and garden seeds serve as reliable food sources for these critters. 

Field mice have a habit of creating caches, or stores of food, particularly during the fall months when tree seeds and nuts are abundant. Male mice get the attention of females by singing, and once they find each other, they are likely going to have a lot of baby mice to feed. They always store food in lots of different places so they never go hungry during long, difficult winters.

Habitat

Deer mice love the great outdoors! They enjoy rural areas such as farms, prairies, fields of wildflowers, and sometimes even branch out of open fields to enjoy a nice patch of woods. 

These pests make themselves a nuisance wherever they are, and they can live in many places.

They dislike cold weather because they are so small and can’t stand up to extreme temperatures. That’s why they always try to move inside during the winter. When it gets really cold, they sometimes group together to stay warm. 

Once they’re inside your house, you can find these pests creating cup-shaped nests out of any soft material they can find. Things like grasses, feathers, shredded paper, or padding from the seat cushions of stored farm equipment are great for nesting. The nests can be found behind boxes tucked away in the garage, in dusty attics, behind walls, inside cabinets, or even inside the pages of a book. They just want a safe, warm, comfy, cozy place to call home. They feel safest in places that are quiet and undisturbed — making them hard to detect until they’ve already done extensive damage.

Field mouse hiding in leaves alongside wall

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A Little Mouse Can Cause Big Problems 

In places where these little pests are present — primarily homes and buildings near fields and in rural areas — they can infiltrate almost anywhere they like. Their small size makes it easy for them to squeeze through the tiniest of openings.

Once they find their way inside, they’ll make themselves at home and despite their small stature, they can rack up hugely expensive repair bills. They can cause damage to your property by chewing through different materials. The damage they cause to farm equipment and personal property costs hundreds and even thousands of dollars. 

They are also known transmitters of diseases like Hantavirus and Lyme disease. You don’t have to touch a mouse, or even see it to get sick. You can become ill just by being in the same place a mouse has been. Germs can be spread by simply breathing in the air in areas where they have left hair, urine, and feces. 

How to Get Rid of Field Mice

If there are signs of mice activity around your home, it’s important for homeowners to take action immediately. Because they prefer places you may not visit frequently — like stored farm equipment or summer cabins left empty during cold weather months — methods of mouse control like traps or poison can be ineffective. These products work by attracting these pests to them, and that is the exact opposite of what you want if you’re trying to get rid of field mice. 

Here are some prevention tips to consider to help keep these pests away from your home:

  • Keep your gardens, compost, and trash cans away from the side of your house.
  • Fix any holes on your roof or in exterior walls.
  • Seal any possible entry points, including gaps around doors, windows, and openings where cords, cables, or pipes come in through the wall, with steel wool and silicone caulk.
  • Clean long-term storage areas and all other areas of concern often.
  • Store items like animal feed and seeds in airtight containers and remove any possible food sources like crumbs. 
  • Repair any leaky pipes or dripping faucets so there are no readily available water sources.

To help with getting rid of these pests and preventing them from coming back, consider using EarthKind’s botanical mouse repellent, Stay Away® Rodent. This pest control product uses a mix of essential oils and plant fibers to produce a smell that will overwhelm a rodent’s sensitive nose and make them avoid the area. You can find Stay Away® Rodent online or in a store near you

Read more about how to get rid of field mice here

Get rid of rodents with Stay Away Rodent Repellent