Every year we struggle with mice. The weather gets cold. The mice want in. Mice can do damage to your house, they spread disease, and they are a nuisance. Usually a trap or two will handle things, but it is always good to try prevention as the first measure. Pest control is an issue for both landlords and tenants.
On a personal level we once had mice entering through the garage into the house through a gas line. They would then run across the exposed gas line in the basement until they came to an interior wall where they would often fall off and die. The house began to stink. In the end we had to tear out drywall to find the decaying carcasses of these mice. It was disgusting!
Here are some ideas from Brightnest about how to keep the critters out of your house:
Know the warning signs. Before you can get rid of mice, you need to be able to identify them. Mice are small, generally no more than 5-6 inches in length, and usually a uniform color (black and brown are most common). However, mice are nocturnal and generally hide during the day, so they may be present even if you don’t see them scurrying around. Other warning signs include holes in walls and food containers, small spherical droppings in places like your pantry and scurrying sounds behind your walls.
Block their entry. Mice can’t invade your house if they can’t get inside. They also generally don’t climb higher than two feet off the ground, so check your house’s foundation and look for any holes or cracks that a mouse could use as an entrance. Places where pipes or electrical wiring enter your house are common problems. Seal these areas with metal or cement as soon as possible. If your foundation has a large number of cracks or holes, it’s a good idea to have a professional take a look. For more details, read: Inspect Your Foundation.
Protect your food. The two main reasons mice move into a house are shelter and food. If you can remove their access to food, you can often remove the mice. Keep your food in sealed steel or glass containers, or in your refrigerator. Clean up any food crumbs or spills as quickly as possible and keep your trash in a well-sealed container. Tip: Also remember to protect any pet food you have, since mice will eat that as well!
Remove nests and shelters. Mice can nest in any confined space that has clutter. This can include basements, attics, storage rooms or messy bedrooms. Keep these areas tidy, and remove any nests you may find, which will be about the size of a grapefruit and made of things like string and bits of paper.
Eradicate the mice. There are a number of ways to kill mice. Poisons are one option; however, whatever poisons you use will generally also be toxic to kids and pets, so they should be used with caution. Traps can be effective, but can also injure pets or children, and they leave a nasty mouse-corpse to clean up. Two popular non-toxic repellants are mothballs dipped in peppermint oil, or mint leaves. Place the mint or mothballs in areas where you suspect mice are nesting or entering your house, and the smell will drive the mice away! You can also plant mint around the foundations of your house to prevent future infestations from occurring.
Keep those pests out right away because they will keep coming in once they have established a path. Prevention, prevention, prevention! I love the idea of planting mint around the foundation of the house! Low maintenance, non-toxic, and can be used in the kitchen. Remember that mint can get out of control and take over your landscaping.