Knowing what attracts mice is the first step to keeping them out. And look, sorry, somebody has to tell you; the mice aren’t coming to your home for your good conversation and riveting anecdotes. Stuart Little isn’t real. It’s all a lie.
That doesn’t change the fact that you’re still putting up with rodents making their way into your home uninvited – so how do you tackle the problem? Keep them from ever nosing around your cheese in the first place?
What are the common types of mice in homes?
When it comes to mice, only a select few of the many species are actually categorically considered to be pests – and by that definition, only a handful are thought to actually pose a threat to your home.
The most common types of tailed home-invaders are:
Bet you’d never have guessed that one huh? No points for correct answers, I’m afraid.
The ‘house mouse’ more than makes up for its title – the type of mouse that will target your home not only during the colder, harsher winter months but all year round. It’s a squatter, essentially.
House mice tend to be a little smaller than some other wilder mice, which is ideal for sneaking into your home through gaps and cracks in the exterior and hiding from any watchful eyes.
The field mouse is another of the most well-known of the pests. Now, they aren’t generally expected to find their way into domestic settlements (unless you live near or on a farm, or are located in the countryside).
The field mouse tends to hit the middle ground between domesticity and the wild: outhouses, sheds, warehouses, farmhouses and so forth – places which may offer some warmth, shelter and food but are less likely to be threatened by humans.
Very similar to field mice both in appearance and stature – the wood mouse tends to be a very common species found in mainland Europe and, bizarrely, parts of Africa.
In terms of behavior, the wood mouse also likes to toe the line between the wild and the indoors, but has been known to be a little more adventurous than the field mouse and sometimes invade homes for warmth and food.
Cute little buggers, though…’til they start leaving droppings everywhere.
What Attracts Mice Into Your Home?
So – what attracts them and how do we keep them out?
What Attracts Mice? Food!
Aside from the inherent warmth and shelter offered by our homes, mice are also attracted by the ample foodstuffs that we leave lying around like the complacent non-mice that we are. Generally, mice survive on vegetarian diets; usually centered on seeds, oats and fruits.
Starting to sound like any particular type of food you keep unopened? Cereals, porridge oats and fresh fruit can be huge FOOD HERE signs for mice snooping around the house. So it’s best to keep all of these ingredients as airtight and well-sealed as possible to keep any intrusions at bay.
This also applies to things like pet food and bird seed; ingredients you wouldn’t immediately think of as posing much of a danger, but still a delicious meal for any hungry mice on the prowl. Keep all of this stuff as well contained as possible and you might save yourself a whole lot of trouble.
Often, a lot of the food that attracts mice is stuff that we don’t even use or need, particularly. Think about things that you leave around; fruit left out in the open, exposed to the air, pet food, sitting in a dish all day long waiting for your dog or cat to get peckish and nibble at it, bird baths full of standing water, messy yards with rotting vegetation and puddles collecting close to the home.
All of these things can add up to a buffet for local mice and almost all of it is avoidable and superfluous in the first place. By sealing up and removing these ample food sources and adding in a little bit of vigilance when you do leave things exposed, you can drastically cut down on your home’s mouse-welcoming demeanor.
What Attracts Mice? Trash!
It’s not just your pristine groceries that the mice are after though. Remember that these are wild creatures, used to foraging and sometimes hunting for their next meal. When the hunger takes them, they’re not going to be too picky about what their dinner is or where it comes from, which is why mice can often be found lurking around garbage bags and the bin areas of domestic settlements.
What might be disgusting to you could prove to be a fairly desirable nibble for them. Plus, as a species, we’re not particularly good at clearing up after ourselves: a lot of food debris and scraps winds up in our trash, which is nothing more than a huge magnet for mice in the local area.
For this reason, it’s advisable that you try to keep your trash bags and bins as far from the house as possible – the more distance you put between your yummy scraps and your kitchen, the safer you’re going to be. It’s such an easy step in mouse prevention that everyone should do it, whether you have mice currently or not.
But there’s an even better tip… A truly revolutionary one…
What Attracts Mice? Clutter and Crumbs!
Cleaning up after yourself if one of the best ways to repel mice. That’s right! Your bins and your trash are only going to be as attractive as you allow them to be. If you take a little extra time to make sure that you’re properly disposing of unwanted food or scraps and not just letting them rot at the bottom of your bins, you’ll be one-step ahead in the mouse repelling game.
Vacuum and wipe up as often as you can! Tiny morsels of food that would be imperceptible to the human eye can add up to full meals for hungry rodents. Vacuum, wipe, sweep, collect, bin on a regular basis and dispose of the filth correctly. If there’s nothing for them to eat, they’ll quickly get the hint and move onto more plentiful pastures.
Get rid of clutter, too. It’s not just food and warmth the mice are after; it’s a bit of peace and quiet and a safe place to set up their nests and begin popping out mice babies at an alarming rate. Clear up any old cardboard boxes you’ve left far too long in the basement, old clothing that’s turning stale in the closet, fusty furniture that hasn’t been moved for years.
All of this stuff can provide key building material and environments for mice to bed down in for the long haul and it’s all just there for the taking. By regularly cleaning and airing this stuff out, you’ll create a much less friendly atmosphere for them.
Remember that mice will always run rather than stand their ground if they can; a little bit of added traffic in some of the quieter spaces in the house will keep them at arm’s length.
What Attracts Mice? Entryways!
Your home is clean, you take out the trash regularly and all foodstuff is tucked tight into mouse-proof containers. And you’re still finding mouse droppings. What gives? How do mice get in your house? Mice really don’t need much to find a way into your home; minuscule gaps in the exterior of the walls, tiny spaces in pipework or roof tiles, even the actual functioning plumbing of the home…Each is as good as the other when it comes to letting mice commute to work.
One of the most effective means of keeping mice from ever getting in in the first place is to engage in some mouse proofing by sealing up absolutely every gap you can think of, no matter how small or how difficult to get to (remember that mice are incredible climbers).
Simple sealant solutions will usually do the trick – around window sills, doors, leaky pipes, wiring holes and guttering. For an added, literal, barrier try stuffing steel wool into these gaps before closing them up. No mouse, no matter how brave it is, is going to try and burrow through a thicket of steel wool to get to your fruit.
What Attracts Mice? No Predators!
So you should buy a cat! (I joke, I joke)
Tom and Jerry got one thing right; cats and mice hate each other. Buy yourself a cat. Problem sorted.
Although, come to think of it…When was Tom ever successful? And is the answer to getting rid of one hungry, messy, furry animal to adopt an even bigger one with a larger appetite? Hmm…
On a marginally more serious note, although it’s not at all a good idea to buy a cat solely for the purpose of keeping rodents from the door; some household pets do make natural predators for a whole host of vermin and pests.
If you were already thinking of introducing a new member of the family, it might be worth considering their hunting skills too. Best house cats for catching mice? According to Purrfect Cat Breeds, American Shorthairs, Maine Coons and the Siberian cat breeds make excellent mousers.
What Attracts Mice? A Lack of Deterrents!
There are many, many different kinds of repellents you can invest in or create for yourself with household ingredients that mice absolutely detest. Even things as simple as particular scents and surfaces can work wonders to create the very firm message that rodents are not welcome in this home.
Most repellents can be used safely around children and pets and even in fabrics and bedding to create an all-encompassing aroma of ‘sod off.’ Ready to start deterring some mice? Check out clever, all natural mice repellents!
Now it’s over to you: nothing’s standing in your way. Turn that home into an impenetrable fortress.