Where Do Field Mice Go in the Winter?
Despite their small size, field mice are hearty creatures. Unless the cold is extreme, they continue to actively forage for food during the winter months. In snowy regions, they disappear into their nests beneath the blanket of snow. In all regions, they prefer a warm house to dropping temperatures.
Can mice survive cold weather? Absolutely, but field mice near you would rather hunker down in your home than tunnel through snow drifts and scrounge for frozen seeds. Their need for food, water and shelter doesn’t change with the seasons but their willingness to cohabitate with humans does. Here’s what you can do to keep them from wintering in your home.
What are Field Mice?
Field mice go by several different names: long-tailed field mice, wood mice, deer mice or brown mice. They are brown or tan in color vs. the gray color of the smaller sized common house mice.
Field mice live in nests in forests, grasslands and fields across the globe. They eat a diet of primarily seeds but will eat fruit, berries, small insects and invertebrates such as snails in the summer. They are exclusively nocturnal to avoid predators, including humans which may make them harder to notice.
Do Mice Hibernate?
In extreme cold, mice enter torpor – a hibernation-like state of slowed metabolic rate and reduced body temperature. This state usually coincides with fasting when food becomes scarce.
Mice and other mammals, especially in arctic areas, use torpor to conserve energy and survive long bouts of cold. Mice can reduce their body temperature to 68°F and remain inactive for long stretches until they can find food and water again.
Mice in Winter: How Do I Keep Them Out?
Prevention is the key to keep field mice or any type of pest from entering your home or business. Field mice are more likely to enter during the winter months, so fall is a good time to secure your home against infestation. Here are a few steps to take:
- Move firewood and brush piles where mice may nest away from your home.
- Keep garbage can lids secure.
- Seal cracks in foundation, siding, and roofs.
- Cover vents with screens.
- Repair gaps in doors and windows.
- Trim overhanging trees near roofs.
These steps will discourage mice from getting in your home. Keep in mind that all mice, especially field mice, are strong climbers that can get onto roofs. They can also jump surprising heights and squeeze into small openings the size of a dime.
Why Are Mice in My House?
If mice have left the field for the warmer pastures of your home, you’ll want to act quickly. Field mice typically breed between February and October but can produce litters all year long. A couple of benign lodgers could turn into a full mouse infestation quickly if the issue isn’t properly addressed.
If you’re surprised to find “There are mice in my house!” it means there is an opening somewhere that others could use. A professional pest control technician can help you find and seal all potential rodent entrances before more unwanted guests arrive.
To dissuade current mice from outstaying their welcome, keep food and water away from them. Clear dishes, store food in sealed containers and keep garbage covered. Once mice find a reliable food source, they’re likely to wait out winter under your roof.
There are many types of traps available. Snap traps, glue traps and container traps all work if you can lure the mouse in. Poison is another option, but you run the risk of dead mice between your walls.
Get Professional Pest Control Against Mice All Year
If mice have made your home or business their winter getaway, we can help. Call or contact us for a professional pest control technician to professionally assess and eliminate your mouse problem for good.