How to Prevent Mice and Rats in Your House
Mice and rats are not very popular animals and most people would not want to have them around. Although they are known to be highly intelligent and able to adapt to various environments, they can also cause considerable harm. They eat through almost anything, can cause serious damages and can transmit diseases.
Most people would like to make sure that their home or office area stays mouse and rat free.
Yet, we also know that mice and rats are social creatures. They become attached to each other, they love their family and enjoy playing. They deserve our compassion and respect.
We have compiled some guidelines, remedies, recipes and methods to help us keep our home and office area mouse and rat free, in a humane way.
Some Signs That Our Spaces Have Been Invaded with Mice and/or Rats:
- Excrement – we can differentiate between rat and mice droppings. A rat’s dropping is about 12 mm long, while a mouse dropping is about half the size of the rats’ and also thinner.
- Teeth marks – rats and mice often leave their bite or teeth marks around the spaces they occupy. The difference between mice and rat teeth marks is that a rat’s teeth marks are larger than those of mice. In addition, rats can gnaw through soft metals like lead or aluminium.
- Greasy fur marks – Usually mice and rats leave their fur marks along the routes that they frequently use.
- Squeaking sounds – mice and rats often produce squeaking sounds as well as clawing, scrambling, and gnawing sounds.
- Musky smell – an area frequented by rats or mice has a particular musky smell.
How to Prevent Rats and/ or Mice from Entering Our Space
Prior to looking for or implementing ways to repel rats and/ or mice, we need to look into and take precautionary actions to prevent them from entering our space. We need to remember that a mouse or a rat can fit into very small holes. A rat can actually enter a hole of the size of an American quarter or about 25 mm diameter and mice can fit into a hole of the size of an American dime which is about 18mm diameter.
One of the best measures to prevent rats or mice from entering our space is by improving the structure of the space:
- Ensure that holes or gaps in the walls and around pipes are closed.
- Install bristle strips at the bottom of all doors to prevent the mice and rats from entering.
- Install thin wire mesh in ventilation holes.
- Place wire balloons on the top of drain pipes to cover another potential entry point.
- Install cone guards at the bottom of drain pipes.
In addition to the above, those who want to prevent mice or rats from entering their space should:
- Keep the garden and surroundings clean to reduce opportunities for rats and/ or mice to hide and build their nest using debris and other materials.
- Discard old food and trash on a timely basis and keep the garbage disposal safe and tightly closed.
- Maintain and clean bird-feeding stations regularly.
- Review and check all areas periodically to stay safe.
Some natural remedies to help repel mice and rats, which can be used as complimentary measures.
Oil and Natural Remedies
Mice and rats are likely to avoid strong smell and spices. The following are various essential oils and other strong smelling liquids which mice and rats are known to avoid. You can prepare the oils alone or mix them with other natural remedies to help chase the rats out. We can use cotton buds dipped in the essential oils and put them in the places frequented by mice and rats. The cotton buds with the essential oil should be changed frequently to maintain the strong smell and its repellent function.
- Mice find the smell of peppermint oil overwhelming and offensive.
- Place the soaked cotton balls in strategic places.
- Rats have the tendency to dislike the smell of cloves.
- Another option is clove powder which can be spread on the ground or even to cover larger areas like the basement.
- Black house rats cannot stand the smell of Eucalyptus oil.
- Spread the oil generously in places where the house rats have been seen.
- Fill bottle caps with ammonia and place them in strategic positions frequented by the rats such as under the sink, in the basement or the attic.
- Vinegar is said to be another smell that rats cannot stand.
- Vinegar can be mixed with amonia. Cotton balls dipped in both amonia and vinegar can be put in relevant places.
Other herbs and spices that can be used to repel mice and rats are:
- Cedar Leaf
- Black Pepper
- Cayenne Pepper
The smell of steel wool is offensive to mice and rats.
- You can put the steel wool into holes, cracks or any entrance used by mice and rats.
- Use a stick to really squeeze it in and even have a few layers of the steel wool, which also create a physical barrier.
- You can also spray a little of hot pepper spray on it. Please see the recipe below.
Fox urine in powder form.
- You can find this in home and garden centres.
The urine or cat litter from your cat’s litter box.
- It can also be an effective method to keep mice and rats at bay.
Making Your Own Mice and/ or Rat Deterrent Spray:
Mixture of Peppermint and Clove Oil:
- 2 parts of Peppermint Oil
- 1 part of Clove Oil
- 1 part of water
- Plastic spray bottle
Mix all ingredients and put the mixture inside a plastic spray bottle.
- Spray the mixture on moth balls or cotton balls and put them in places frequented by the mice/ rats.
- Spray it generously around the perimeter of areas that you suspect has mice and rats.
- Insert the mixture into holes through which they can use to enter.
Mouse Deterrent Spray
Prepare your own “Pepper Spray”:
- ½ cup chopped habaneros
- 2 tablespoons hot pepper flakes
- 1 gallon of fresh water
- 2 gallon buckets
- A gallon jug and a spray bottle
- A large pot
Preparation of the mixture:
- Wear gloves and goggles when making and applying this mixture.
- Bring the water to a boil.
- Blend peppers and flakes in a food processor until smooth (you can also do this by hand, but it will be less irritating to your eyes when we use food processor).
- Put the pepper blend into a 2 gallon bucket and pour the boiling water over it.
- Cover the mixture and let it sit for 24 hours.
- With the cheesecloth, strain out the pepper bits.
- Fill up a spray bottle with the liquid and spritz it generously around entrances and affected areas.
- Do not use this mixture on carpets as it may discolour the surface.
- You can use this mixture inside as well as outside. Yet always test a small area first to make sure that it does not affect the colour of the flooring.
- The mixture can last for months but keep it out of direct sunlight and covered.
Please note that applying the remedies alone will not be effective if the rats and mice still have open access to food and water. These remedies need to be applied together with other measures such as keeping food in tightly closed containers, keeping the rubbish bins tightly closed and having no possible entry point to the house or office space, through which a mouse or rat can enter.
Plants Known as Natural Rat and Mice Repellent From Your Garden
Mice and rats have a well-developed sense of smell. This is why certain plants are known to have good results to keep these rodents away.
- Rats cannot stand the smell of mint, including peppermint and spearmint. This is an easy and cost effective way to repel rats and mice.
- In addition, mint can serve as a healthy herb in your kitchen. Mint is also a great appetizer, refreshes your breath and promotes digestion. It soothes your stomach and is even effective against nausea and headache.
- Citronella is another smell which rats and mice cannot stand. Citronella can also be used as cooling drink or tea.
- In addition, Citronella is antibacterial, antidepressant, antiseptic, antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory as well.
Practical Methods to Keep Mice and Rats Out of the House
The most important means to keep mice and rats out of your house is to cut access to their sources of food and water. Here are some guidelines concerning food and water:
- Keep counters and food preparation areas and sinks clean and dry.
- Keep all food inside a sealed package or stored away properly.
- Keep your waste inside sealed garbage bags in mice and rat proof containers.
- Keep floors, cabinets and toasters free of crumbs.
- Store dry food and pet food in chew-proof containers.
- Fix leaking faucets and pipes including your house’s irrigation system.
- Improve the drainage of areas where water may collect.
Dogs and cats are known to be natural predators of mice and rats. Yet mice and rats will not hesitate to eat your pet’s food.
- Do not leave your pet’s food outside at night.
- Keep all animal food stored in airtight containers.
Other Common Repellents
- A live cage trap device allows to capture mice and rats and release them safely away from your house. It needs to be checked often. Mice and rats can die from stress-induced disorders or dehydration in just a few hours. Release them within 100 yards of where they were trapped. Captured animals can be kept calm by placing a towel over the trap. Releasing a mouse or rat into a strange area will almost surely result in the animal’s death. The relocated animals don’t know where to find adequate food, water, or shelter and become weak and are an easy target for predators and diseases.
- Electromagnetic and ultrasonic devices emit sounds only heard by rodents can also be used. These devices will not harm dogs but will affect hamsters or gerbils. The only problem with these devices is that they are electric powered but also need to be placed near the rodent’s nest, therefore you may have difficulty finding a suitable power outlet.
For more interesting information:
- Do you have these cancer causing agents at home?
- Into the Wild
- Strange News and News
- Prevent snakes in your backyard
- The Rat and the five Elements
- Alternatives to Animal Testing
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