Anybody that has suffered a mice infestation will know only too well how much damage and destruction these creatures can cause. Infestations can have a disastrous effect as the invading army of mice eats their way through food supplies, belongings and furniture. Worse still, mice have the ability to carry a number of diseases that can have a detrimental effect on human life. Some simple housekeeping rules and some basic materials will help keep mice at bay.
■Ammonia-based cleaning supplies
■A selection of household tools
■Caulking and sealants
■Peppermint, cayenne or clove oil
■Shed snake skin
Step 1– Thorough Cleaning
Make sure your home is thoroughly tidy. Mice only need a minimal amount of debris to make a nest, so make sure that all unnecessary waste and clutter is cleared away and binned effectively. Small pieces of food or crumbs can also attract mice, so be wary of drops and spillages by children in your home. If the attractions of food and shelter are removed, mice will be less likely to visit.
Step 2– Cleaning Products
Many of today’s popular cleaning products contain ammonia. Pour a small quantity of bleach or a similar product onto a cloth and wipe along the length of skirting boards and the edges of floors in every room. Ammonia is unpopular with mice because it smells like the urine of other predators.
Step 3– Kitchen cleanliness
Kitchens are the most common place to find mice because of the large number of food sources. Make sure that dirty plates and pans are cleaned and put away. Additionally, make sure that as much food as possible is kept in air-tight glass or metal containers. Mice will quickly become frustrated if they cannot access food.
Make sure that worktops are wiped daily and floors are regularly swept and mopped.
Step 4– Clearing Clutter
Remove as much clutter as possible from your home. Stacks of books or piles of clothing make wonderful nests, so find a place for your belongings that mice can’t access. Keep items away from walls to stop mice from hiding and consider the use of strong plastic storage containers to store out-of-season clothes.
Step 5– Sealing Cracks
Check around the home for signs of large cracks that mice could be using as a point of entry. Bearing in mind that a mouse can squeeze through a hole no bigger than a fingernail, it is vital that all potential access points are sealed up to prevent entry. A household sealer or caulking is ideal for this purpose.
Step 6– Spices and Mothballs
Soak pieces of cotton wool with cinnamon, cayenne or clove oil and place strategically around the home, especially along walls and in corners where mice like to hide. The use of mothballs in cupboards and wardrobes are also a great deterrent. Mothballs can also be used outside the home.
Step 7– Predators
Allow nature to take its course and leave predators be. Hawks and skunks enjoy feasting on mice, so don’t deter them from coming near your property. Alternatively, borrowing a cat from a neighbor for a few days might help to drive the mice population down.