Thursday, December 3, 2020

How To Mouse Proof Your Home Reviewed

Mouse by Raintree Annie
I am undoubtedly a nature lover. I admire wildlife and all creatures with whom we share this world. So it may seem strange and counter-intuitive to those people who know me that I am actively doing a program of mouse prevention.

However, I do feel that preventing mice from entering our homes in the first place is so much better than dealing with the consequences for humans and mice. 
 
My aim is to mouse proof our home without causing harm to any mice.  


Mice!

We are fairly relaxed about the wildlife in our patch to the point we actively encourage them. We have birds nesting in the eaves, grow flowers to attract pollinators, we carefully carry out various bees and spiders, enjoyed tree bees nesting in our extension and even shared the loft in our home with a wasps nest twice which was no problem.

Mice are also in my eyes adorable creatures, inquisitive and social. We know they live in our garden and our neighbours' gardens and most of the time outside we happily coexist.  However, due to my husband's health concerns there is the problem with wild mice potentially carrying diseases that are dangerous to him. I am also not willing to share our food with mice, so I am not wanting to share our indoor home with them. I do not like to kill any living creature so I would much rather prevent them from coming in and setting up home in the first place than having to resort to the less palatable options. 

I will only be covering mouse prevention here, not the merits or otherwise of the various methods to eradicate them.


What Do Mice Want? 

So how to mouse proof a home? The first thing is to understand what mice want from a home. They need food, warmth, water, safety and shelter, just like us. They also would like to be undisturbed and ideally not have anything to do with us. 

They are however superbly adapted to living alongside humans and many people will already have a small family of mice in their homes and be totally unaware of them. 

Mice are opportunistic and curious and where there is one mouse there is invariably two and then given the right conditions quickly a large family! They are very social creatures and breed rapidly under the right circumstances.

 Autumn/Fall is often a key time for mice to seek warmth and shelter in our homes. They mean no harm, but our nice warm, safe homes are a great opportunity for them.

 So if we do not wish to share our homes with mice, we must prevent them from entering our homes and make it inhospitable to them.


Identify Opportunities For Mice

First, walk around the outside of your property and see if you can spot any broken bricks or grates that could be entry points. Are there any holes in the fabric of your building? If so, block them up with a mouse-proof material such as a proprietary Mouse sealant, or a fine mesh. 

 We found mesh ideal for covering air bricks while still allowing for essential airflow and also in other gaps. Sometimes we used mesh together with sealant on larger gaps.

 If you look for a mesh that is designed for mouse proofing and that can be cut with scissors/clippers for domestic use that is usually best.

 Do be careful when handling as in my experience the cut mesh can be sharp. It goes without saying to keep it well away from children.

 


We just cut the mesh to size wearing thick protective gloves and used it over our airbricks with an all-weather sealant. It was a bit fiddly but now looks fine and has done the job.

Next, do the same indoors. Pay close attention to obvious holes or gaps in floorboards, around plumbing pipes and in cupboards and again block these holes.

We found sealant to be easier to use on small gaps over larger areas. Do keep sealant away from children.

As a general rule if you can fit a pencil through a hole, then an average mouse can enter through the gap and it requires sealing. 

 


I Saw A Mouse!

If you see a mouse then you have a clear sign that they can enter your property. It may just be one mouse, but if you do not take action and your home is a good, safe place for them, there may soon be more.

Even if you do not see a mouse it is wise to regularly check for mouse droppings.

 If you have any suspicion that you are sharing your home with mice, doors should be shut at night to prevent mice from roaming around your home in all rooms. That way if you do see any signs of mice it is easier to target.

If you suspect a mouse put down some baby powder to track it. It won't hurt the mouse, but if it walks through the baby powder it will leave tracks, then you can see what is attracting it and where the entry and exit points are and can block them.

If you store excess treasures in the loft, garage or basement then make sure that is kept in strong sturdy containers that are mice resistant.

Ideally, eat at the table or if watching TV or a game use bowls to catch all the crumbs.  Hoover up regularly and thoroughly. Move large furniture now and again just to check there is no unseen activity there!


Mouse Resistant Food Storage

Food storage is key. All food apart from tins should be stored in closed cupboards preferably inside sturdy containers. There is a huge variety that can be bought made from strong thick plastic, pottery with lids and steel.

Here is an example of good food storage for flour, cereals, pasta and rice. These containers look good in a kitchen pantry or on shelves and hold quite a lot of food. It keeps food fresher and is a much better deterrent for mice than keeping the food in its original cardboard or paper containers. 

 


Pet food in particular needs to be stored in good strong mouse-proof containers. Often dog and cat food have a strong scent that is attractive to mice and they love to eat it. We avoid free-feeding pets and only keep pet food out for the time it takes pets to eat it or up to about half an hour. Then it is taken up and all food stored securely.

We also keep birdseed and fat balls in a very secure box to do our best to keep out pests and keep it dry. We do not store these types of boxes outside though but keep in a large cupboard inside. 

This type of food storage box is very useful for pet food and birdseed and also for storing seeds for the garden. 


In terms of everyday habits, it is not advisable to leave any human or pet food out especially at night. Keep all food in the fridge or freezer, or in mouse-proof strong containers. Tins are Ok in a normal cupboard but anything like rice, cereals and especially dog and cat food must be in enclosed containers.


Mouse Repelling Scents 

Some people say mice do not like strong smells though I cannot verify that. So if you would like to do that by all means put some peppermint or other strong fragrance into your cleaning fluids when you mop the floors. At worst it will make your house smell nice and at best it may help to deter some mice. Always check for any interactions with the cleaning fluid first though and obviously keep away from children.


Mouse Prevention Is Always The Best Course Of Action

One takeaway I will say is that preventing mice from entering your property is always preferable to dealing with an issue both for you and the mice. Mice do not have a vendetta against us, they are just trying to survive and prevention is far better than the cure.


Mice have just as much right to life as we do and form an important and integral part of the ecosystem. However, if we do not wish to share our homes and food with them, a few preventative measures can go a long way to protect humans and mice. 



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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12 comments:

  1. Like you, I would much rather deter wildlife from entering my home rather than having to kill them once they have made themselves at home here (as I have had to do with moths and mosquitoes). My husband's parents have a vacation cottage in Maine that has gradually evolved into their primary residence since their retirement, and they live there for eight or nine months of the year, even though their "official" primary residence is in Massachusetts. Every spring, when they return to Maine, they find evidence that, as soon as they moved out for the winter, some mice moved right in. John's parents have taken steps to try to mouse-proof their cottage (since they, too, would much prefer to keep out the mice than to have to eliminate them once they've taken up residence), and there definitely have been fewer mouse droppings when my in-laws open up the cottage in the spring. I'm looking forward to sharing your excellent suggestions with them in case there are some they haven't tried yet. Thanks so much for sharing what has worked well for you!

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    1. Hi Margaret, yes I much prefer mouse prevention! Your parents cottage sounds lovely! I can see with it being empty for several months that the mice may find it appealing to move in. I am glad that the steps they have taken so far have reduced the issue and I do hope that they find some of the suggestions here useful to them.

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  2. This article is mouse approved :) Of course, I applaud your desire to protect the wildlife around us. This article is full of wonderful ideas and shows the depth of your love for nature and all creatures. One thing I have always appreciated about you is your kind heart. As the cold air moves in, so do mice and I certainly don't blame them! We also keep our dog food in a galvanized can to keep the critters out and I use clear Rubbermaid containers in my kitchen. A few years ago, I spend several days replacing cardboard boxes used for storage in our attic with the large plastic bins. They really are a much better choice for many reasons but especially for keeping the mice and other little creatures out. I'll have to try the insulating foam sealant you recommended. As our house has started to age, there are definitely areas that are not quite as tightly sealed as they were years ago.

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    1. So glad you approve Ms Mouse!!:) Thank you so much for your kind words, I appreciate it. Yes, I feel it is vital to keep dog food in a good strong mouse proof container. You make a good point about storage in the attic too the large plastic bins are much more effective and cannot be used by mice for shelter or bedding! Yes we do find the sealant easy to use and very effective and ours is an older house too that has developed a few gaps. All now nicely sealed up!

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  3. I have only had a mouse problem in one home over the years. It was a modular home that I rented in the South Carolina Blue Ridge mountains and it was built on a hillside with the underneath an outside enclosed area that held various inner workings of the house (pipes and wires, etc.). Because it was only enclosed with a simple wooden wall, it was easy for the mice to find their way in and up into the main part of the house. I discovered their main entry was through a hole around the pipes in the kitchen sink area and underneath the bathroom sink. Not knowing about the copper mesh and the sealants back then, I used crumbled up aluminum foil to block out the rather large opening around the pipes. This went a long way to keeping those little mouse friends from coming inside. :) I no longer live there, or I would gladly follow your helpful instructions for prevention of mouse entry! I will keep this review handy if I ever again have a mouse problem. Thanks, Jasmine.

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    1. Yes I can understand why mice would have found that home attractive and easy to enter. You did the right thing in blocking up the entrance holes and gaps. have to say though it sounds gorgeous being in the S C Blue Ridge Mountains, wow ! I hope you never have a mouse problem ever again but thank you for keeping this article in mind if you do!

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  4. Oh Jasmine, I'm sure many people will find this article interesting and informative. Mice are an important part of the ecology at large and we should never try to eradicate them. You are so right prevention from them entering our domiciles is much more preferable to killing them once they become a problem. Thanks for your great suggestions on prevention.

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    1. I hope people find this article helpful Olivia. I do agree mice are an important part of our ecosystem. We often hear Owls here and I know what they are hunting for! Prevention is so much better than the-to me-unpalatable option once mice become a problem in a home. Thank you for your visit.

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  5. We had a horrendous experience a few decades with mice - oh my gawd, it was horrible - we did deal with it but wow, that was crazy! I was so scared about getting mice in our home after that. So far knock on wood, none in this house (almost scared to say that) - Terrific article, thanks!

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    1. Oh Barbara I am so sorry to hear that! Yes when you have had to deal with a mouse problem once you never want to go through it again. I am glad you have been mouse free since. Glad you liked the article.

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  6. My sister had a hard time with mice for a few years and ironically, the worst time came in the fall when her spouse was away. I think they've solved the issue now by covering up an entrance point. She sure could have used this article then.

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    1. Sorry to hear your sister had a difficult time with the mice! Yes I understand one of the worst times for mice entering our homes is Autumn/Fall as they start to look for warmth and shelter from the cold and wet conditions outside. Our homes are great sanctuaries for them in that respect. That is why one of the best things we can do for prevention is to block up any entrance holes. That way we stop the issue at the root cause. Thank you for your visit!

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