That cute little brown mouse may have a place in this world, but your house isn’t it.
Mice and rats carry fleas, mites, and hantaviruses (which lead to a variety of diseases). Rodents contaminate food with excrement, hair, and urine. They’ll chew up wires, furniture, clothing, books, paper, and anything else they can get their teeth into.
Prevent mice and other rodent infestations from invading your space with these tips:
Outside Maintenance to Prevent a Rodent Infestation
If you have gardens or farm fields nearby, you’ll see mice hanging around looking for a good meal. (Rodents especially like corn crops). Eliminate the conditions that attract rodents. Let’s start with the front, sides, and backyard of the house.
- Cover all garbage cans and compost bins. What is “trash” to you is a goldmine to rats, mice, voles, and other rodents. Haul away garbage at least once or twice a week.
- Remove or rake mulch piles, leaves, brush, and random debris. Female rodents seek piles of soft material for nesting sites.
- Clean outdoor grills and cooking utensils. With a keen sense of smell, rodents are attracted to the food residue that lingers on grill grates and the like.
- Remove all pet food from outdoors when your dogs or cats aren’t eating. Bird food attracts mice, too. Birds are messy eaters — feeders placed in trees, on top of poles, or in window boxes will have seeds falling to the ground. Sweep up the extra seed as needed. Store bird food in tight containers (especially in the garage). Rodents will chew through paper and plastic bags.
- Prune tree limbs, shrubs, and larger bushes. Trim ivy vines or wrap them around poles. Chipmunks, squirrels, mice, and other climbing critters are great high-wire artists. They climb trees and ivy on their way to telephone and electric lines.
- Raise piles of firewood up from the ground. Put firewood on cinder blocks, bricks, metal boxes, or grates.
- Clean out the garage and place weather stripping around all doors. Fleas and ticks don’t go away in winter — and neither do rats and mice. Rodents need to stay warm, and you might find them under the hood of a car.
Unpleasant Scents that Keep Mice Away
- Mice and rats have a keen sense of smell, and as such, there are scents they don’t like. Odors known to keep mice away include (but are not limited to)
- Dryer sheets
- Cayenne pepper
- Chili pepper oil or powder
- Cedarwood or eucalyptus
- Tea bags
- Peppermint oil.
Also, just like (most) people, mice and rats don’t care for pungent odors from mothballs or ammonia.
Inside Rodent Prevention Tips
Mice will gravitate toward anything they think is edible. Prevent rodents from checking out your kitchen in these ways.
- In the kitchen especially, toss away garbage in metal or hard plastic containers. Rats and mice can easily gnaw through thin plastic and paper bags. “Mouseproof” garbage pails by tightly securing their lids.
- Keep pet food in thick plastic or glass containers.
- Use a shop vac or handheld unit to suck up food crumbs on floors and countertops. Broom sweeping doesn’t catch or hold onto everything. Clean out food cupboards.
- Seal holes and cracks in building foundations, fireplaces, around windows, and anything else where mice can get in. Home sealing with mesh, caulk, weather stripping, and door sweeps keep critters outside.
Regular Pest Control Helps Prevent a Rodent Infestation.
GGA Pest Management’s regular pest control plans can help keep your home or business pest and rodent free during every season.
Schedule a free rodent control inspection online or by calling our office at 254-666-3439.
Teri Silver is a journalist and outdoor enthusiast. She and her husband live on 5 acres with a vast lawn, three gardens, a farm, a pond, many trees, and a lot of yard work! The best parts of the year are summer and fall when home-grown veggies are on the dinner table.