Mice can be especially difficult to eradicate once they have taken up residence in a house or yard. Many methods require toxic chemicals that are dangerous for children and pets. Furthermore, disposing of mice is an unpleasant chore. Instead of using poison or traps, “mouse-proofing” a home will make it inaccessible and unappealing to rodents looking for an easy meal and cushy nest.
Signs of a Mouse Infestation
Mice may inhabit any part of a home, inside or out, but generally prefer locations close to an easy food source. Known for scurrying along walls and gnawing through just about anything, mice generally leave multiple telltale signs of their presence.
- New holes in walls, food containers, or around the base of soft furniture
- Spherical droppings approximately ¼” long
- Urine stains or dirt smudges along walls
- Rustling or scampering noises in the ceilings and walls
Mouse-Proofing the House
The best way to deter mice from invading is to make the house less mouse-friendly. Eliminating holes, food sources, and nesting supplies are key. Start the process in the kitchen, working through each room and eventually around the home’s exterior.
- Remove food sources in the home, including unprotected or open food, crumbs, spills, and even pet food. Place food on higher surfaces, inside durable metal, glass or plastic containers with tight lids.
- Eliminate clutter, which hides nests and can provide material for mouse nests. This includes clothes and blankets that may be lying around at the back of the closet, along with the junk that often accumulates in the basement or garage.
- Mice will also use insulation as nesting material, and can even take up residence inside the walls, so it is important to block their access. Seal larger holes with metal sheeting or drywall. Smaller holes can be patched with concrete compound.
- Move compost heaps and bird feeders, which are food sources, away from the house. Place bird feed and other seeds in metal garbage cans with tight lids.
Once a home is impervious to rodent invasions, it is important to repel mice, so that they do not even attempt to enter the house. Traditional mouse traps only kill mice once they have taken up residence; they do not prevent new mice from settling into your home. Instead, prevent mice from entering in the first place, with natural, non-toxic repellents.
- Mice are naturally averse to mint, so planting it around the yard or keeping pots of mint in the kitchen discourages mice from lingering in the yard and kitchen.
- Consider setting up a barn owl nesting box. A family of barn owls can eat as many as 15 mice per night, and the predators’ presence is often enough to send mice to safer territories.
- If the yard is not owl friendly, an owl statue will often suffice. Mice will search out a safer nesting location, away from the sharp eyes of a perceived predator. Hawk decoys can work particularly well during the day, as owls are never seen at this time.
- Ultrasonic mice repellants can be placed both indoors and outside. These devices emit high-pitched sound waves that are imperceptible to the human ear. Mice and other rodents flee the sound, leaving your home rodent-free.
Protecting your property from mice requires systematic attention to every nook and crevice in the home and yard. To ensure your home is free of mice, eliminate food sources, seal points of entry, and clean up clutter.