Today I received an email from one of our readers that was looking for ways in which they can stop mice from getting into their home and destroying their hard earned preps.
Mice aren’t the only pests that we must protect our stockpiles from but today, these little guys are going to be our focus. Never let this little furry creatures fool you, they can cause some serious damage to both your property and your health.
The thing with mice is that they can fit through the smallest of gaps in their search for warmth and food and they can adapt quickly. They must be dealt with quickly before their numbers increase which is when the most damage will occur.
When faced with a possible infestation, most homeowners choose to hire an exterminator to get rid however, there are things that you can do yourself before paying somebody else to do it for you.
Are Mice Really a Threat?
While mice may want to tuck into the food in our pantry, they can also carry various dangerous and potentially fatal diseases. These can be spread to humans by various ways such as coming into contact with mice feces, saliva or urine, and from bites or plain contact. Some of the diseases that a mouse can transmit include:
- Hantavirus – found in the urine and feces. Early symptoms include chills, muscle aches and fever. These symptoms can quickly worsen to dry cough, headache, shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting and general malaise.
- Salmonella – transmitted when mice contaminate food or working surfaces where food is prepared. Common symptoms include fever, abdominal cramps and diarrhea that last for up to 7 days. Young children and the elderly are at higher risk to salmonella.
- Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis – causes serious neurological problems, including aseptic meningitis and encephalitis. It is primarily carried by the house mouse. Individuals become infected with LCMV after exposure to fresh urine, saliva, droppings or nesting materials.
- Indirect transmission – there are also a few diseases that mice transmit indirectly via insects like ticks and fleas such as Lyme Disease, Colorado Tick Fever, Babesiosis, and Rickettsialpox
There is also the destruction that can be caused by mice as they will chew through anything and everything to get what they want (wood, insulation, wires, etc). Chew through wires and you then have the added danger of a house fire.
Mice can also carry insects such as fleas, lice, and ticks which as you probably already know, can also pose a threat to humans too as they carry their own diseases.
How to Keep Mice Out of the Home
1. Keep it Clean
Your kitchen and any areas where you store your food needs to be spotless. Any crumbs on the floor or sides and that will be all the invitation that they need.
Start off by cleaning all dishes and putting them away properly and don’t allow any dirty dishes to build up. Once you have done this, you can start looking at the rest of the kitchen.
Stove tops and counter tops should be next to get cleaned as these will often be the scene of spills, splashes and crumbs. Finally, you can attack the floors being sure that you move out all appliances.
Mice can survive on just 3 to 4 grams of food per day, so a couple of dropped crumbs are all they really need.
2. Make Sure Your Storage Area is Dry
Like humans, in order to survive, mice need food and water. If a mouse has a choice of heading for a damp basement area or a dry pantry, they will often choose the damp basement. For this reason, wherever you store your food needs to be completely dry.
3. Change Your Storage Containers
If you are one of those people that leaves their food items in the original packaging, now is the time to stop making it so easy for rodents to have a free meal.
Cardboard boxes and paper bags that may contain cereals, oatmeal, pasta, rice and flour are a big no, no! It would take a mouse no time at all to gnaw his way into the food. The same goes for plastic wrapping for food items such as bread.
Put dry storage items like cereals and grains into either metal or glass containers with screw-on lids. While they can actually gnaw through metal, it would take them a lot longer to get what they need. Your bread should be kept in either a secure breadbox or the refrigerator.
4. Eliminate Their Entry Points
In order to defend your home against mice, you need to eliminate their entry points. This won’t be easy as we mentioned before, they can squeeze through the smallest of gaps. A good rule of thumb is if you can fit a pencil into a crack, hole or opening, a mouse can get through it.
Use steel wool and caulking to seal up any cracks in the foundations and openings in the walls (don’t forget vents and pipes). Use weather stripping for door and window gaps and make sure the sweep on your door creates a seal against the threshold when it’s closed.
5. Lay Traps
You need to understand that you will never have just the one mouse in your home. Don’t ever underestimate them and be sure that you use plenty of traps. You have multiple options available such as:
By laying a good amount of different traps you will stand a better chance of catching them all. Although the picture that comes to mind when thinking of bait is usually cheese, the best bait is actually chocolate, peanut butter, bacon, oatmeal, dried fruit or hazelnut spread.
Place the traps perpendicular to the walls, with the trigger section facing the baseboard. This causes the mouse to run directly into the bait as it naturally scurries along the walls, instead of running over the trap from the wrong direction, triggering it prematurely.
6. Call in the Cats
Everybody knows that most cats will hunt mice and if all else fails, these may be your best shot at catching the little critters. I did say that most cats will hunt mice. I am pretty sure that if we got mice in our home with our current cat, he will just curl up with them.
While most natural remedies for getting rid of mice don’t actually work, peppermint does due to the fact that mice rely on their sense of smell rather than their vision. Peppermint has the strong smell that mice just don’t seem to enjoy.
Firstly, you can grow your own peppermint plants around the home or you could use peppermint oil to spray different areas of your home that are typically accessible to mice.
Well, that’s it from me today as we took a look at how to keep mice out of the home. If you have anything that you would like to add, feel free to leave your ideas in the comments below.