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How to Get Rid of Mice in Your Food Storage and Garden

James Whitemice in barn

Mice and other small critters, such as voles and shrews, can cause major problems for you and your garden. Tearing through your food storage, leaving droppings everywhere and breeding like crazy are just a few habits that make these rodents more than just an annoyance. Thankfully, keeping your goods safe from pests doesn’t have to be a losing battle. With a few tricks, you can easily take back your garden and win the war against critters.

If you’ve been looking for methods to get rid of mice that actually work, take a look at the list below:

Peppermint Oil

Since mice have pretty poor eyesight, they rely on their noses to find food. Overpowering their senses with peppermint essential oil is a great way to deter curious mice from entering your garden or storage areas, but won’t do much to get rid of existing mice.

Soak cotton balls in undiluted peppermint essential oil and place them around problem areas. The overwhelming scent of peppermint will deter new mice from building homes in your garden or storage. You can also make a peppermint spray and generously coat entrances to storage to keep pests away.

Cat Patrol

Allowing a cat to prowl your property can reduce the number of mice and voles you have, though not drastically — one cat can only hunt so much. The threat of being eaten may be enough to cause some of the animal population to relocate. Once rodents catch a whiff of the cat near their home, they may decide the risk isn’t worth it.

Owls may also help reduce the pest population. To encourage owls to roost near your home, set up perches for them.

Lawn Maintenance 

Mowing your lawn regularly destroys areas that shrews and other small creatures could hide in. Mow around structures and check for signs of tunneling damage to see if you already have a pest problem. Rake up foliage and clear away dead branches or garden waste. Clear overgrown shrubs and low-hanging limbs that may entice pests to build a home nearby. Move firewood stacks into the garage.

Make Food Inaccessible

Most little creatures find food using their sense of smell, so doing your best to mask scents will go a long way toward keeping your supplies safe. Keep foods in airtight containers that mice can’t sniff out. Taking the appeal away from your shed is the first line of defense.

Always clean up any leftover bird seed or pet food. Although animal food is not the first choice for pests, they will eat it if it’s available.

Block Entrances

If your storage shed has seen better days, it’s entirely possible that critters are finding their way in through gaps in the structure. Thoroughly check your shed for holes or cracks. Even the smallest space may allow mice to get in — they can fit through spaces as small as a nickel. Seal any gaps you find or use a small wire mesh to cover them and prevent rodents from slipping through. 

Get Rid of Insects

Shrews love to chow down on insects as well as mice, snakes and even other shrews, so getting rid of things that attract insects will make your habitat seem a lot less inviting. Make sure there’s no standing water around your house that will attract bugs, and take care not to overwater your garden. Remove litter from the yard to take away insect breeding areas and throw out any containers that could trap water.

Check Items Before Storing

If you’re carrying items into storage that already have pests hiding away, you’ll have a hard time getting rid of them. Make sure you always check boxes before storing. Inspect any outdoor furniture or equipment you plan to put away in case tiny creatures are hiding there.

Getting rid of unwanted guests doesn’t have to mean breaking out the poison — you can easily control your pest problem without surrounding yourself and others in toxic fumes. Keeping pests out in the first place is always your best bet, but if that fails, using the tips above should have you back in control in no time.