Autumn is when mice and other critters want to get into your home to ride out the winter in warmth. Here are eight ways you can prevent them from setting up in your house rent-free.
Mice can fit through an opening the size of a blueberry. So check around your foundation, where water, power, and cable enter your home, as well as your attic vents. Screen the vents to keep tree rats and mice from skittering in through the slats. Plus, where mice go, snakes often go, and they've been known to slither up a house and get into an attic through the vents as well in search of prey. So screen them to keep from doubling your trouble.
If you have forced-water baseboard heating, be sure to check around the pipes that come up through the floor. There are often larger gaps at certain points that a mouse can capitalize on.
You can use Good Stuff Spray Foam to seal small openings effectively. Just spray, let dry, and then use a paint scraper with a sharp blade to shave it down flat.
Check Your Doors
Mice can get through small cracks along your door frame and at the sill if there are gaps. Attending to these will help you manage your power bills as well.
If your gaps are larger than what caulk can effectively seal, use backer rod which you push into the cracks, then caulk over. For gaps along the door sill, a metal sweeper will work best to keep out pests.
Check To Make Sure Mice Aren't Already in Your Home
While inspecting your home for gaps, look for evidence of mice already present. You don't want them making more mice for you to handle!
Look for gnawed packages or openings along the base of the wall and seal with Good Stuff, Bondo (which you can paint over), or backer rod and caulk.
Look out for mice droppings. These are tiny 1/8th to 1/16th inch black cylinders that you'll typically find in cabinets, drawers, and even your pots and pans.
Also check for piles of shredded paper, grass clippings, or old fabric that mice have used to make a nest.
Stop the Leaks
Mice love water leaks. They are like their own water fountains. So make sure you have no small leaks in any pipes, and be sure to wipe up any standing water that will lure mice to them.
Solidify Your Storage
This includes not just human food, but birdseed and dry pet food as well.
Keep it Clean
A breadcrumb to a mouse is like a slice of bread to humans.
Make sure you don't have any crumbs around your toaster or on your counter after you make a sandwich; make sure your compost container is tightly sealed; do not keep dirty dishes in the sink; and make sure you run your disposal every night.
You should also take your trash out frequently so those swept-up breadcrumbs are out of the house.
We're not saying you have to part with your grandmother's crocheted doilies (though they could end up being a nice soft source for a mouse nest), it's your yard you need to tidy up.
Mice look for protected, low-traffic areas in which to nest, so keep brush piles, compost piles, wood piles, and any other piles as far from the house as possible.
Trap 'Em and Set Them Free in a New Home
If you are like many people and just can't stand the idea of having to dispose of a dead mouse, you can use an easy-to-set-up and easy-release mousetrap to capture and release your unwanted houseguest.
When setting a mouse free, make sure it is far away from your home. Take a nice drive out to the country and set it free. If you don't, it will likely find its way back to your kitchen by following its own scent trails.
Let Nature Take Its Course
Mice are an owl's favorite meal, so you can set up an owl box in a tree that will attract this natural predator and keep your yard and home mouse-free. The Hungry Owl Project and Barn Owl Box Company sell premade nesting boxes that you can hang in your yard.
If you are a cat lover, the SPCA always has a nice selection of "mousers" that you can adopt. Take it from this writer, dogs don't really care. They are a source of amusement for dogs.
Sources: Homesmart, The Spruce, Family Handyman, Amazon