On the homestead, you will often have chickens, food storage, or a garden. That’s what most of us do, anyway, right? It makes the homestead, “The Homestead”. Unfortunately, chicken feed laying around, compost bins with leftover chicken scraps, garden produce growing, and food storage containers can also attract another common aspect on the homestead.
Mice. A mice infestation is not the definition of fun. Truly. Having just 2 mice can mean many more in just a short time. Chemical baits are not always the best option, as they may poison the owls that would eat the mice.
Some signs of mice infestation:
- cereal boxes or bread bags chewed through
- kitchen towels are shredded (pulling threads to build a nest)
- mouse droppings on the floor, in drawers, or near food storage
- hearing scurrying in the walls
How many mice is considered an infestation? For most of us, it only takes ONE to become an infestation. Fortunately, there ARE natural ways to get rid of mice. Unfortunately, having cats isn’t always the answer. My cats like to bring LIVE mice into the house and release them. This must provide entertainment for them, watching them scurry as I scream, but I digress. So, I went to my readers and asked for their help. Here are the best ideas for getting rid of a mice infestation.
First and foremost, what you need to do when you discover you have a mice infestation:
- keep all food covered and stored in hard plastic containers. They can easily chew through bread bags, ziploc bags, and cereal boxes. Remove these items to hard storage containers, or store in the refrigerator.
- Keep dishes and food crumbs cleaned up. Mice can be attracted to even small bits of leftovers.
- Remove inside pet food dishes at night, and store that food in a hard plastic container. Nothing says “free buffet” like a dog or cat dish full of food.
- Be sure to keep outside animals’ feed cleaned up and stored in plastic containers. We use 55 gallon sized garbage pails with tight fitting lids for this.
- Close up any holes you can see under sinks or in walls if you can. Add some steel wool pads to the hole if possible, since they are unable to chew through that to get back in your house from that space. This is especially important if you don’t have a finished basement or a slab foundation. Any hole you can fit your thumb into is big enough for a mouse to climb through.
How To Get Rid Of Mice Infestation
Method #1 Use snap traps with peanut butter or cheese loaded in there. Snap traps are the kind you “set” and are spring loaded. The mouse climbs onto the trap, pulls at the food, and the spring goes off, snapping a metal bar across their neck or body. The mouse is usually killed instantly by this. The trick to this is to have the food near the spring so the mouse can’t get the food out and still escape. (yes, they have done that) Traps also need to be placed in direct line of where the mice scurry across the floor. Place them along the wall, since they do not usually deviate from their path.
Method #2 Use a 5 gallon bucket. Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of water. Take a paper sack and cut the top a little (inch or two) larger than the top. Lay it over the top opening, fold excess over the edge and tape it down. Making sure it’s pulled tight. Then take an Razer knife and put a cross or x in the paper. Spread a little bit of peanut butter on the center. When they walk to the center to get the peanut butter they fall into the bucket and drown.
Method #3 Peppermint leaves, or peppermint essential oil. Mice are repelled by the scent of peppermint, so laying some peppermint leaves on their path, or soaking a couple cotton balls in peppermint essential oil and laying those on the path will help keep them at bay. Of course, they may also encourage the mice to gain another path, so make sure you cover up their entry holes before you try this.
Method #4 Use Moth balls around the house. Fill the holes mice would climb in with moth balls to help repel them. Laying some around the outside doors may help as well.
Method #5 Chickens are excellent mousers. Chickens can sometimes be better mousers than cats are. If possible, let your chickens free range where you see mice outside and they will often catch them.
Having a mice infestation is often part of the homesteading experience, but you CAN get rid of mice naturally. What are some other ways you have gotten rid of a mice infestation without using chemical bait?
Heather’s homesteading journey started in 2006, with baby steps: first, she got a few raised beds, some chickens, and rabbits. Over the years, she amassed a wealth of homesteading knowledge, knowledge that you can find in the articles of this blog.