If you’ve spotted mice or their droppings inside and around your property, you’ll need to get rid of them asap before they multiply and do damage to the structure.
They can also carry disease or be infested with fleas and mites that will eventually find their way to your pets, magnifying the problem even more.
Here are a couple recipes I’ve collected for natural repellents that can be used in the yard as well as tips for trapping them indoors.
For Moles & Mice:
2 TBS Castor oil
6 TBS liquid dish washing soap
1 tsp Tabasco
1 minced garlic clove
1 quart water
- Directions: Mix a fresh batch before use, pour around the rodent hole. Reapply after each rain. Source: Natural Alternatives for You and Your Home by Casey Kellar.
1/2 cup liquid detergent
1 TBS Tabasco sauce
1 gallon of water
- Directions: Combine and spray around rodent holes and in areas where they’ve been observed. Apply after each rain.
Plant Repellents: Peppermint, sage. Plant these in your garden and in flower beds along the house if you routinely have a problem.
Getting Rid Of Them Indoors
Instead of using deterrents indoors to encourage the critters to move along, you’ll want to attract them with inexpensive commercial mousetraps (otherwise they’ll just migrate elsewhere inside the dwelling).
First remove any food sources they have found (look for bags or cardboard boxes chewed open somewhere along the bottom), scrub clean all pantry/grocery areas and make sure there are no other edibles they can get into (other than what you’ve laid out).
Effectively store pantry items in sealed plastic containers, metal bins and glass jars. Do not leave any stray pet nibbles in the dish and make sure their feeding containers are washed thoroughly after the last meal of the day.
Wash up any dirty dishes, sweep floors well and wipe down kitchen prep surfaces before going to bed in the evening.
Baits That Work:
- Peanut butter
- Pieces of banana
- Small pieces of bacon or pork fat
DIY Poison Batch:
Dry cement powder
- Directions: Mix 50/50 and place in a shallow dish or station in the path used by rodents (can be used for inside control). After feeding the mouse will seek water outside which causes the cement powder to react, quickly killing it. Source: ahc.sa.gov.au (webarchive, page no longer online).
Advice from a vintage homemaking book:
Position traps close to floor boards in areas where mice or feces have been spotted. If children or pets are in the home, choose locations where they won’t have access to the poison. Keep laying a fresh batch out each night for at least a week to ensure they all have been snagged.
They are inexpensive and if enough are set, often a dozen or more, an entire colony may be wiped out in one night. Mice are creatures of habit and, as a rule, travel over the same routes night after night. If their paths can be discovered, set traps along them. Sometimes they may be fooled by making a runway of boxes and putting the snare at the end. Position around any secluded areas, under sinks and around possible food sources, such as garbage cans and cupboards. Place them in the kitchen, pantry, larder and cellar, or wherever signs of their presence have been noticed. Place it with the bait next to the wall (or pail, etc.).
For bait, use other foods in addition to cheese. They really prefer fresh bread, cake or doughnuts. They are also fond of peanut butter, chocolate, freshly fried bacon, sardines, nuts, bananas or apple parings. Another option said to be excellent is a mixture of peanut butter, rolled oats and chopped-up raisins, seasoned with a dash of aniseed oil.
To set the trap, press or tie the bait firmly onto the trigger. Configure it so the trigger is released at the slightest disturbance.
Source: Woman’s Home Companion Household Notebook (1948)
- Signs of an infestation: You hear scratching/shuffling noises in the walls (especially at night); Food packages have holes gnawed in them; Little black “pellets” left behind, these are their droppings (they look like dark grains of rice).
- Remove any nesting hot spots such as piles of newspapers, cardboard, wood, weeds and debris.
- Keep trees trimmed away from the house (at least three feet).
- Did you know: pet feces can attract rodents? Keep your yard clean.
- What if they’re rats, how to tell the difference? Mouse droppings are smaller (less than a 1/4″ in length), rats have larger feces (typically larger than 1/2″).
- Tracking movements: they typically travel in similar paths, if they’re inside try spreading talcum powder along the floor boards where you think they may be, you’ll see their footprints and may find their hiding spot.
- Seal all holes, cracks or openings to the dwelling with tightly packed steel wool and make sure all window screens fit snugly and have no rips or tears.