The best way to get rid of a mouse problem is to keep them out in the first place — but that may be easier said than done when you own an older home. Over time, the natural settling and wear and tear on the house leave golden opportunities for mice to move in.
Homeowners can tamp down on these opportunities by taking some precautionary steps right now. Fortunately, most preventative measures are relatively straightforward. You could accomplish the whole list in a weekend or two — so here’s what you need to know.
1. Remove Food from Counters
Open food is a lit beacon attracting many types of vermin to your home, including mice. Place covers over any goods you like to leave on the counter and store everything else away. You should ensure any food in your pantry and cabinets is well sealed.
Also, mice love to get into dry goods and can eat through boxes and bags, so pull everything out from time to time and check for dropping or signs of chewing. It never hurts to take inventory of your pantry supplies once in a while.
2. Prune the Landscaping
If you needed the motivation to do your yardwork, here it is. Your landscaping — though beautiful — may be your worst nightmare when it comes to keeping mice out of your old home.
Branches hanging over your roof allow easy climbing access and shrubs growing too close to the foundation provide shelter for mice trying to get into cracks and holes.
Regularly prune your bushes and trees to keep unwanted rodents out of your home.
3. Contain the Trash
Trash cans are a prime hang-out for mice. To keep pests out, move your garbage cans as far away from your home as possible. You should also consider purchasing lidded options with a tight seal for your outdoor and indoor trash cans.
It’s wise to find a sturdy model for your kitchen trash can, too, so you can contain tempting food scraps and smells.
4. Seal Off the Garage
The garage is one of the most common entry points for mice, especially in older homes. Since nobody generally lives in it, mice can go undetected for longer and become a more significant nuisance if they eventually make it into your home itself.
Make it a habit to check for cracks or holes you need to patch. You should also declutter as much as possible, so vermin have fewer hiding places.
5. Adopt a Furry Friend
A fun way to keep the mice at bay in your old home is to adopt a cat or kitten. The smell of your fuzzy feline may be enough to keep rodents away. However, even if they get through, your cat can hunt them down and rid you of the pests.
Not all cats are going to be devoted mouse killers, so this plan is a little bit of a gamble. If you like cats, however, you get companionship out of the deal — so not too bad, right?
6. Install a Few Covers
As you inspect your home, you may find a few places that are natural entrances to your home. For example, if mice get up to your roof, the chimney is an easy location for them to access the inside of your house.
To deter rodents from getting in, purchase or make specialized grates and covers for these areas — dryer vents, window wells and chimneys are an excellent place to start.
7. Move Feeders Away From the House
If you like to bird watch from your porch or window, keep your feeders far away from the house. Like their larger cousins, the squirrel, mice are drawn to the nuts and seeds in bird feeders.
Keeping this food source close to your home encourages little foragers to take what they want and come inside for warmth.
8. Inspect Screens and Doors
As homes settle, walls, doors and windows can come out of alignment or crack. Keep track of all these possible weak points, looking for holes in screens and open spaces around doors.
Call a reputable contractor to help you with big fixes or DIY them if you have the right skills. If your home is historic, you may need to select replacement materials and craftspeople carefully.
9. Check Your Roof
Living in an old home comes with the assumption you’ll need to make regular repairs and complete routine maintenance.
As part of this process, have someone inspect your roof for holes or missing shingles. They should also keep an eye out for broken gutters. Any of these locations could leave room for mice to crawl into the attic and make themselves at home.
Preventing Mice Just Takes a Little Legwork
Where there’s one mouse, you could end up with countless more. Old homes tend to have plenty of entry points and burrowing places. Complete this checklist of precautions to protect your home from an infestation and finally put an out-of-business sign on your house’s mouse motel.