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Oh, the joys of country living. While I absolutely love our little homestead and being out away from it all, I don’t necessarily enjoy all of the critters that come with it. As the weather gets colder mice are on the top of my “don’t enjoy” list.
Mice are destructive, carry disease, and once you have them, they multiply… quickly. What was just a couple of mice turns into 20 and those 20 breed and you have 100. They leave nasty messes, they’ll eat through your wiring, they’ll get into your pantry. But, they’re a necessary evil of country living (and if we’re being honest, even urban living). Mice are just a natural part of life in general.
While I don’t shy away from killing a mouse (with a well-set trap, no poison here), I’d prefer just keep them out of my house. There are, thankfully, several ways to naturally repel mice from your home. They can stay outside where they belong and you don’t have to set a million traps.
How to Naturally Repel Mice
Note: I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. People commonly suggest mothballs to repel alllll sorts of critters. While mothballs aren’t really natural to begin with, I beg of you please do not do this. Not only is it potentially illegal (using a product against label instructions is a crime) it can harm your children, pets, livestock or other wildlife.
Strange, but true. Mice hate Cayenne Pepper. You can sprinkle it around the perimeter of the outside of your house and they won’t cross it. The catch? You’re going to have to keep at it and any time it rains or snows… well, they’re going to be able to cross unless you plan on making a fresh red line all over the snow every time it comes down. Alas, it does work and will keep them at bay.
Mice hate the smell of peppermint as well. You can place some peppermint oil on cotton balls in the areas you don’t want mice to go. In the corners of cupboards, along the baseboards in closets, just in general where you don’t want mice. But, for this to work, you need to make the smell strong. Use 100% peppermint oil, like this one, and douse those cotton balls in it. Don’t skimp. Replace them at least once a week because it doesn’t take long for the scent to dissipate.
Mice can fit in some teeny tiny crevices. They only need 1/4″ opening to gain access to anywhere. If you can fit a pencil in a hole, a mouse can more than likely get in. To fill in holes around plumbing coming through walls (and temporarily fill holes around foundation etc) use steel wool. They will not chew through it. However, make sure you pack it tightly, or they’ll just move it out of their way.
Grow it around the perimeter of your home, grow it in pots inside your home. Just grow some peppermint. Like I said, they don’t like the scent and growing the plant means you won’t be replacing cotton balls every few days. The scent stays with the plant :).
Clear the Clutter
Mice like messes. So, inside and out you need to make sure you have everything cleaned up. Don’t leave piles of wood, cardboard boxes, paper, garbage, anything lying around inside or outside your home. This will just attract the mice and then you’ll have a problem on your hands.
Trim Back Shrubs & Bushes
Same goes for shrubbery and bushes as clutter. If you have a lot of overgrown greenery near your house, that’s the perfect place for a mouse. Keep all of your landscaping efforts trimmed up so that you don’t have the recipe for a perfect storm when it comes to mice.
Keep Feed Tightly Closed
Along with keeping greenery trimmed and clutter to a minimum, you need to make sure your feed bins are tightly closed. A good, tightly closing metal trash bin is a great way to keep your livestock feed dry and out of the mouths of rodents. We use some recycled, incredibly thick, plastic drums to keep our feed in.
A Good Cat
A good cat will catch mice for you. The only problem with this method is sometimes the cat wants to leave you gifts (aka dead, half-eaten mice) and well, I’m not really a big fan of the gifts that cats bring. My dog brought me such a gift once… he couldn’t quite understand why I was so unimpressed.
If you must kill them…
I highly recommend a good trap baited with peanut butter. Please don’t use poison, not only is it dangerous, but if they do die, they could wind up crawling in a place you don’t want and dead mice smell….
When we moved in to our house last year, we wound up with a terrible mouse problem. But, once we remedied it and instilled some of these natural repellents, we’ve nipped the situation in the bud. There are definitely several ways to keep mice out of your house, but these are the most effective methods I’ve found.