Everybody loves a warm cozy home, especially when the temperatures start to drop. Unfortunately, so do mice – and your home looks especially inviting to them this time of year. How can you stop mice from entering your home this fall and winter? We’ve got 10 tips to help you keep those furry little squatters from setting up residence in your house.
1. Fill all exterior holes and cracks.
Did you know that mice can squeeze through a crack as small as a nickel? Before the weather turns cold, inspect your walls, window and door frames, and foundation for cracks. Repair large holes or cracks and fix any damaged or missing weather stripping – you’ll get an added weatherproofing bonus. (If you notice significant foundation cracks, contact a professional. This could indicate serious structural issues.) Small interior holes can be filled with steel wool, which they can’t chew through. Make sure cover both sides of the hole so they can’t simply pull the steel wool out.
2. Don’t forget the garage.
Mice can easily slip under and around garage doors, so if you have an attached garage, check the wall and the door in between your house and garage for gaps and cracks. If you keep grass or birdseed in your garage, store it in a metal garbage can with a securely-fitting lid.
3. Plug around your pipes.
Mice can use your water pipes like interstates, traveling through your house at un-catchable speeds. Inspect the places where pipes enter your house. If there’s any space between the pipe and the house siding, seal it up with steel wool and then cover the steel wool and concrete mortar.
4. Add a mouse-proof screen to your dryer vent.
These have ¼” mesh and prevent mice from entering, yet allow the air and lint to pass through. You can find them at your local hardware store and online. Remember to check the screen from time to time and remove any built-up lint, if necessary.
5. Santa isn’t the only one who uses chimneys.
To a mouse, a chimney seems like a great place to build a nest. Prevent mice from entering your chimney by installing a mesh-covered chimney cap. As an added precaution, close your damper – the metal hatch located above the firebox – anytime there isn’t a lit fire.
6. Clear away your outdoor clutter.
Don’t allow weeds, brush, or other debris near your foundation. This is a natural shelter for curious mice, who’ll keep close to your house, looking for a way in. If you use a fireplace or wood-burning stove, keep your firewood stacked away from the house.
7. Put away the indoor buffet.
Store all food (including pet food) in sealed, mouse-proof containers. Tightly seal all your interior trash cans, empty them frequently, and move your exterior trash cans away from the house, if possible. Wipe off the stove after cooking and wash your dirty dishes as soon as possible. Fix any leaky faucets – those are like non-stop water fountains for mice.
8. Enlist the power of peppermint.
A few drops of peppermint oil on cotton balls and placed at potential entry sites can keep mice away and make your house smell great. You can also add peppermint oil to water and spray in mouse-prone areas.
9. Add an unpleasant sound system.
Inexpensive ultrasonic mouse repellers, which emit ultrasonic beeps or whines, can be used to ward off rodents. But these will only work in if the mice are in close proximity, so they’re best for small, enclosed areas. Note that they may annoy your pets, as well mice.
10. Buy a better mousetrap.
There are all sorts of traps available on the market, including humane traps for catch-and-release jobs. Don’t forget about the furry ones available at your local animal shelter, who can reduce your rodent population and give you plenty of love, too.
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