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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. I really wanted to find some ways to naturally repel mice from our property.
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, your feed, and just about anywhere they please to seek food, shelter, and water.
But, they’re just a part 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 and outbuildings as much as possible. 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 or run the risk of setting out poison and another animal getting into it or even eating the poisoned mouse….
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. It can potentially 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. Just requires a lot of diligence (and an ongoing supply of pepper).
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 don’t need much of an opening to gain access, they can fit pretty much 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 or floors (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.
At a house we owned a few years ago there were so many peppermint plants growing! They had taken over the entire perimeter of the home. And guess what? Surprisingly, we never had mice.
Now, I don’t recommend that you just let it grow wild. It will take over just about anywhere you put it, so unless you love it, I suggest finding a way to keep it in check, like growing it in pots.
You can put the pots around the perimeter of your home, or even grow it in small patches on the ground (where mice are). But, just beware that it can take over, very easily. Whether you grow it indoors or out, they don’t like the scent and you won’t have to replace cotton balls every few days because the scent stays with the plant.
Clear the Clutter
This is so difficult, especially on a homestead. So often we have piles of wood or other necessary piles that attract mice. Mice like places to find shelter and they don’t mind messes. In fact, they prefer them. It gives them an easy way to hide and stay away from anything trying to get it because it can squeeze through tiny crevices.
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. Not only with mice, but with snakes, too.
We have started putting our wood piles up on sawhorses to keep them off of the ground. This seems to help quite a bit.
Trim Back Shrubs & Bushes
I am not against a beautiful raspberry bush or blueberry bush. In fact, I love them. And they can be a great way to add some edible landscaping to just about any yard. But, don’t grow them near your house or let them get out of hand.
Whether you have edible landscaping or ornamental landscaping, it gives mice an easy way to hide and gain access to your home. Keep them trimmed and off of your foundation so that they aren’t attracted to find the smallest hole they can and try to gain access to your home.
Keep Feed Tightly Closed
We have a shed that we used for our goats that we have converted into a feed shed. We keep our rabbit and chicken feed all out there and tightly closed. But, before we converted it into a feed shed, and after the goats were out… it was a mess in there.
We had an entire family of mice living in it :/. We like to use good, tightly closing metal trash bin to keep our livestock feed dry and rodent free. We also have a couple of fantastic, tightly closing bins that my husband managed to get for free. But, whatever you use… make sure it closes tightly and make sure you close it. Our kids have a habit of forgetting to put the lid back on the bin (or at least putting it on all the way).
A Good Cat
There is nothing wrong with a good barn cat. They can be great mousers. We don’t have any personally because my dog would probably go crazy (he does go crazy over the few barn cats that have wondered over from the neighbors). But, we do have the neighbor cats that roam around from time to time.
Another problem with cats, even if you don’t have a dog, is sometimes the cat will leave you gifts. Gifts in the form of dead, half eaten mice. Yuck…. I’m not personally a fan of those types of gifts… but my dog has brought me a few wonderful gifts over the years. Anyone want a deer spine?? I found one for you… Sigh… animals.
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 smelling, even months later when it warms up…. If they do die in the open, a pet or other animal could potentially eat the poisoned mouse, which in turn, can poison them. It’s simply not worth the risk.
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.