Plug All Holes
Mice can squeeze through a hole the size of a nickel, so you need to carefully inspect your home’s interior and exterior walls as well as the foundation for holes. Large holes or cracks should be repaired; small ones can be filled with steel wool or copper scouring pads. Secure the plug to the sides of the hole so the mice cannot pull it out.
Keep Up with Home Maintenance
Don’t Give the Mouse a Cookie
Mice won’t stick around a home that doesn't offer a steady supply of food and water, so get rid of the obvious sources of sustenance first. Store all food (especially pet food and birdseed) in airtight containers, wipe up stovetop spills promptly, and fix any leaky faucets. Equally important, seal all trash cans tightly, and empty frequently. Then move your exterior trash cans as far away from your home as possible to avoid attracting pests.
Clear Outdoor Clutter
Try a Natural Deterrent
For a chemical-free repellent that leaves your house smelling sweeter, head to the supermarket. A few drops of peppermint oil on cotton balls strategically placed at any potential entrances to your home should keep the mice away. Alternatively, you can make a spray to address these same spots using one teaspoon of peppermint oil and three cups warm water.
House a Purr-Fect Predator
Find a tomcat for your Jerry by visiting your local animal shelter and asking to foster or adopt nature’s own mouse-control system, a cat. Even the most pampered princess will turn into a huntress when confronted with a mouse. Plus, you get the added benefit of a warm and fluffy companion long after hunting season is over.
Reuse and Recycle
Scoop used kitty litter and scatter it outside, around your home’s perimeter. Mice will smell the cat waste and stay away. Dried snake poop from a pet store also gets the job done. You may want to place the waste products in containers so that children and pets don’t play with the mess.
Have a Heart
Consider a humane approach—catch and release the critters using a commercial box trap. Or, make a similar device on your own: Place some chocolate on a tray and cover it with an inverted large bowl. Lift one side of the bowl, and stand a quarter or half-dollar underneath to keep the container tilted. When the mouse scurries underneath for the chocolate, it will knock over the coin and cause the bowl to drop. Once you have the mouse trapped, release it at least a mile from your home, preferably in a wooded area.
Trap If You Must
Conventional snap or glue traps can be baited with peanut butter or cheese and placed where there are mouse droppings, especially under sinks, inside drawers, and behind furniture. Check the traps daily, and use plastic gloves or a plastic bag to remove any mice—do not touch a dead mouse with bare hands. Deposit immediately in an outdoor trash can.
Carefully Consider Pesticides
Although many rodent poisons line the shelves of home improvement stores, some mice can be resistant to arsenic or anticoagulant poisons like warfarin. Moreover, rodent poison is extremely toxic to humans and other animals, and shouldn't be used around children or pets. Remember: An animal that eats a poisoned rodent can become sick or die. Think twice about this option before picking up a box of pellets.
If you're interested in more about pest control, consider:
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