What Do Field Mice Look Like?
Field mice, also known as meadow voles, are stout rodents with coarse brown fur and light gray or white undersides. The pests are between six and seven inches in length with short, furred tails twice as long as their hind feet.
While people sometimes mistake voles for mice or moles, there are several differences between the pests. Field mice have longer fur, shorter tails, and smaller eyes than true mice. The pests also have blunt snouts rather than pointed ones and much smaller front feet than moles.
How Can I Tell if I Have a Field Mouse Problem?
It’s common to see one or two field mice on your property, especially near wooded areas with thick brush. However, spotting these signs of vole activity may suggest a more severe infestation:
- Droppings – Field mouse feces are small, dark brown, and shaped like rice grains. Check for the pest’s waste near fences, tall grass, and outbuildings.
- Yard and Garden Damage – These rodents eat plants, bark, and grass in gardens and yards. You may spot teeth marks on leaves or tree trunks during an infestation.
- Tunnels and Runways – Field mice create branching paths in grass that lead to underground tunnels. It’s common to find multiple burrow entrances throughout your yard. People often notice runways in spring, when the snow melts to reveal voles’ winter feeding activity.
How Do Field Mice Get Inside Homes and Businesses?
While field mice don’t typically enter homes and workplaces, they can wander into buildings through cracks in foundations or loose doors and windows. Homeowners may also unknowingly carry them inside in bundles of firewood.
More often, the pests harm the lawns and gardens of private residences, commercial farms, and other businesses. Their small size helps them hide in tall grass, squeeze through gaps in fences, and get into orchards.
Are Field Mice Dangerous?
Field mice usually pose little threat to humans. However, people who inhale particles of an infected vole’s waste may contract hantavirus or other illnesses. In addition, rodents are known carriers of fleas and ticks, which can spread harmful bacteria.
Field mice mainly feed on seeds and grass, though they will gnaw on tree bark or roots if food is scarce. This activity, coupled with constant digging, creates an unsightly and sometimes expensive mess in lawns. A field mouse problem can even result in economic loss for farmers and gardeners.
How Can I Prevent Field Mouse Infestations?
The best way to avoid a field mouse issue is to maintain your lawn. Move any potential nesting sites, like leaf or brush piles, away from houses, office buildings, and sheds. Mowing regularly will also make it harder for the pests to dig new tunnels. If you notice any signs of an infestation in or around your home or business, contact the Waltham Pest Services team.