Mice have strong teeth and a need to chew on things daily. Unlike those of humans, mouse teeth grow continuously.
Mice gnaw on things to wear their teeth down, which keeps their teeth sharp, healthy, and a manageable size. Otherwise, their teeth would become too long for them to eat!
Mice can and will chew through duct tape. You can, however, find electrical tape on the market called “Rodent Deterrent Tape” which has been treated with capsaicin, a spicy pepper that will ward off mice from taking too many bites of the electrical wiring in your car or home.
Mice can chew through just about anything from paper to hard wood and even your home’s drywall. It may be easier to list what mice can’t chew through: glass, most metals (they can chew through aluminum), and cured concrete.
For an animal so small, mice can certainly do a lot of damage around your house, and duct tape isn’t going to deter them chewing their way into your home.
So, what do you do if you’ve noticed a mouse around the house?
There are several things that you can do to deter mice from your property and prevent them from getting into your home. Whether you’ve already spotted a mouse on the premises or you’re just covering your pest-control bases, these tips are a great place to start.
As a bonus, many of these preventative techniques also deter other small animals, such as squirrels, rats, and chipmunks.
Inspect Your Property
The first line of defense is to ensure that your home is well sealed. Check the exterior for loose boards, vents, cracked or peeling sealants around door and window frames, and holes.
Check the interior for signs of mice (such as mouse droppings, chew marks, small holes, and paper or cardboard debris),
especially in often overlooked spaces such as the attic.
Repair any holes, seal up doors and windows, and cover vents with wire mesh or metal grates. Check your property regularly.
Check for mouse attractions on your property. If there is easy access to food and water or a comfortable sheltered spot for them to nest, you could be unwittingly inviting mice to stay.
Garbage can lids should fit tightly and compost bins need to be well sealed to prevent mice and other critters from easy feasting grounds. Pet food and water bowls should be removed or emptied after feeding times; leaving these out will encourage mice to visit often.
Keep your pet food stored in an airtight storage container made either of thick plastic or metal. Mice will make quick work of nibbling a hole through the thin plastic or paper bags that pet food is sold in, and they’re happy to take up residence in a cozy bag of dog or cat food.
Mice may also take up residence in your yard if there are places for them to nest, such as a pile of wood on the ground, old furniture, or a pile of brush. Clear out spots where mice could easily hide and go unnoticed.
If you’ve already seen mice, make sure to wash down the areas where you’ve seen evidence of them. You want to completely remove the smell of mouse urine because it will attract other mice to the area.
Make sure that mice don’t want to stick around your property. Natural repellents will keep mice away.
If you’ve seen a mouse or evidence of them, you should act fast. Mice breed quickly, and one mouse sighting could become an infestation within a month or two.
Mouse droppings can aggravate allergy and asthma symptoms and carry diseases, and the rodents can cause hazardous home damage, such as chewing through electrical wiring.
Cat Scare Tactics
Get a cat or two, especially if you have a large yard or grounds. Mice will soon tire of being chased and find a more friendly place to call home.
Just the scent of a cat will make mice wary, so even if your cat prefers sunbathing to hunting, a cat is a great natural mouse repellent.
Smells to Repel
Peppermint oil is very effective at convincing mice to leave quickly. The strong menthol in peppermint overwhelms their sense of smell and bothers their nasal passages.
Mice navigate primarily through smell. When they encounter such a strong odor, they’ll run away from it to regain their senses.
Mice also hate camphor oil and vinegar. To use peppermint oil, camphor, or vinegar, soak a cotton ball in the liquid and place soaked cotton balls near entry points. Resoak them as needed.
You can also dilute peppermint oil with water in a spray bottle. Spray along baseboards, in air vents, and into any suspected entry holes. This trick is helpful if mice are living in your walls. Your house may smell like a candy cane, but it’s worth it for the peace of a mouse-free house.
Moth balls are another great deterrent in lesser-used areas such as sheds, attics, garages, and basements. You won’t want them in your living room, though, as most humans don’t really like the smell either.
Grow a Mouse-Free Garden
If mice in your yard or garden are an issue, place some natural repellents as part of your landscape. Lavender, peppermint, garlic, and daffodils all have strong smells that deter mice from roaming around.
Avoid landscaping with materials that mice like to use for nesting, such as mulch, and go with rocks instead. Keep your grass, trees, and shrubs trimmed. Remove as many places for them to hide and nest as you can.
To Catch a Mouse
There are many traps and poisons available that make quick work of making sure that a mouse never comes back.
When using these, check your property and traps regularly to clean up any trapped or dead mice, sealing them in plastic before throwing them away. Leaving them out or not properly sealing them can attract more pests and bugs.
If you have pets or kids, set traps out only where they won’t be accessible and a danger. The last thing you want when dealing with a mouse problem is more problems, so make sure that Fido can’t stick his nose in a snap trap!
Most traps do significant damage or kill the mouse upon being caught. Be prepared to put a stuck mouse out of its misery if you use one of these trap methods.
The classic mouse snap trap employs bait (traditionally a chunk of cheese) to entice a mouse to set off a trigger with its weight. A lever then slams down on the mouse, pinning it to its final meal.
Glue or sticky traps can be placed on flat surfaces, such as the insides of cabinets or near appliances where you think that mice may be entering your home. When a mouse runs across them, their feet will be stuck in the glue.
Be careful not to touch them yourself since they’re difficult to unstick.
Humane Mouse Traps
Humane mouse traps employ bait to trick the mouse into entering a cage. As with other traps, you’re likely to only catch one mouse at a time with this method.
Once a mouse has been caught, release it far from your home. If you release it too close, it may find its way back.
Poison bait traps will kill the mice in your home, but this option has risks. Poisons don’t kill mice instantly, which means that they will wander off to die and you will have to find them to dispose of them.
They could potentially hide in a wall or other inaccessible area, requiring a little demolition to get them out. Bacteria and germs will be growing inside your wall, creating a pungent odor. Poisons are also harmful to people and pets.
I have a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When I’m not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies…I’m at home with my wife, two daughters and a dog. Outside of family, I love grilling and barbequing on my Big Green Egg and working on projects around the house.