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People have been playing ‘hunt the mouse’ hiding in my house for centuries and, over time have shared their tricks, tips and old wives tales on how to get rid of mice naturally. But how many of these are simply myths and which DIY mouse control solutions might actually help evict these rodents?
The majority of natural mouse repellents that you would usually think of such as peppermint, moth balls, and ultrasonic sound waves don’t actually do a great deal to resolve a mouse infestation.
It’s possible you might notice a short term, temporary effect - seeing less rodents around, but these methods will not permanently eliminate mice from your home or business premises.
Mice need only a little food (about 3g a day) and nesting material to make themselves at home. Once they’ve found a safe, warm place away from predators, they will not move out, putting up with ultrasonic sound waves or mothballs rather than risk leaving.
There is an 'old wives tale' that by placing mothballs near a mouse nest it will deter them, because the Naphthalene (a strong smelling, white substance) in the mothballs reduces the ability of blood cells to carry oxygen and will affect the mice.
However, the amount of Naphthalene in the mothballs is far too small. It’s enough to deter moths and other insects, but has no visible impact on rodents. Even if they were irritated by the smell of mothballs near their nest, the mice would simply gnaw another entrance to avoid them.
There is another myth which assumes that because mice are quite sensitive to smells, high concentrations of peppermint oil (which is quite potent) will upset their sense of smell and deter the mice from your home.
Peppermint may help freshen your home (and potentially mask the smell of your rodent problem) but it certainly won’t get rid of your unwanted lodgers. Mice do have a keen sense of smell, identifying specific odours and distinguishing between the smell of foods and the scent of predators.
Peppermint oil may irritate them for a while but it will not deter mice from your property. As with most gases and fumes the peppermint oils scent will eventually dissipate and no longer affect the ground areas inhabited by mice.
There are a few ultrasonic rodent devices on the market, but there long term effectiveness has always been questionable.
It’s possible that they can deter mice that have not had a chance to establish themselves in an area. However ultrasonic sound can be absorbed by furniture and other solid objects, creating dead spots in any room, where mice will be able to avoid the noise. Also the potential for food and shelter will always outway the sound irritation.
When it comes to repelling rodents like mice, prevention is the key. There are a few things that you can do yourself to discourage mice naturally and help secure your premises against unwanted furry visitors.
Checking both the interior and exterior of your home for potential entry points and then sealing them to block easy access to mice is the first step.
Mice are great climbers scaling rough, vertical surfaces and scurrying along thin cables and wires. Remember to check for gaps higher up or on your rooftop and in the attic not just near the ground. For more top tips on how to deter mice check our mouse deterrents page.
Sealing small holes in your property to prevent easy access to mice is advisable, but is adding steel wool as part of the repairs more beneficial than just sealing the gap?
It is unlikely that mice will chew through steel wool but if it isn't packed tightly enough they will simply pull it out. Using a combination of steel wool and caulk (flexible sealant) is a more effective solution to sealing gaps. To repel mice from using air bricks or vents (especially if they are damaged) try using fine galvanised wire mesh to allow air to circulate whilst keeping out the mice.
Mice feed little and often, only needing about 3g of food a day to survive - three once frozen peas under the freezer, some crumbs wedged between the cooker and the cupboard and that half eaten biscuit long forgotten down the side of the sofa are more than enough!.
This means keeping your property clean so there are no crumbs left under fridges, cookers, sofas etc... is vital in denying them food. Mice are sensitive to smell, so keeping food in sturdy airtight containers (glass, metal or heavy duty plastic) will make it less likely they will smell the food inside, but if they do find it rodents won’t be able to easily gnaw through the packaging to get to the food.
Eliminating an established mouse infestation is likely to require the knowledge, expertise and experience of a professional pest controller to resolve the issue effectively and safely.
Our BPCA (British Pest Control Association) certified technicians are specialists in rodent control. They use professional mouse control products and specific targeted treatments to effectively eliminate an infestation of mice from your home or business whilst providing a long term solution to help you remain mouse free.