Mice: How to Identity and Get Rid of Mice in the Garden and Home | The Old Farmer's Almanac


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How to Prevent Mice in the House and Garden

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Mice can be quite frustrating when they munch on your plants and on your pantry snacks. Here’s how to prevent and control mice in the house and garden.

Mice in the Garden and Home

Mice live near humans. You may need to learn to live with mice, but you need to keep them under control before they chew your garden and house apart.

Mice are bothersome and costly, because they contaminate a great deal of food for humans—from our crops to our cupboards.  They chew holes in wires and destroy houses. They also carry disease and bacteria. 

Mice traps are not only inhumane but also they don’t keep mice out of your house. It’s more important to prevent mice with exclusion methods that deter mice from entering your home in the first place.


How to Identify Mice

Mice are small rodents that have relatively large ears and small black eyes. They are usually gray or light brown. Mice weigh about 1/2 of an ounce, and they are five to seven inches in length. Their tail adds an additional three to four inches to that length. Mice are characterized by a musky odor, and they are often active at night.

Mouse Damage

Mice love to tunnel and chew. Partially eaten potatoes or carrots are a sign of mice activity. They also love to eat newly sown seeds. In the home, they’ll chew small holes in cloth materials. Mice leave small droppings too, so if you see any, you might have an infestation.

Photo credit: Pixabay

Control and Prevention

How to Prevent and Control Mice

Try some of these methods for your garden and home:

  1. In the home, check for pathways that are allowing mice to gain easy access. Seal them up. Try stuffing steel wool into the cracks and holes around your foundation.
  2. Remove easy food and water. Clean up pet food dishes and keep garbage bins closed.
  3. In the garden, avoid using straw as mulch or any fluffy mulch that provides nesting places. Do not mulch heavily nor put mulch near base of trees.
  4. There are several plants that are believed to repel mice. Mint, pennyroyal, garlic, and onion are just a few. Try planting them in your garden.
  5. Mice are also repelled by camphor, lavender, and wormwood. You can find dried lavender in health food stores and some garden centers. 
  6. Get a cat! Sometimes, even just the scent of cats will be enough to deter mice from returning to an area.
  7. To make sure that mice aren’t getting to your favorite spring flowers, check out this list of rodent-proof bulbs.
  8. Try using dryer sheets to keep mice out of linen closets or stored clothes.
  9. To protect bulbs, cage them or surround the bulb with crushed gravel in the planting hole.
  10. Wrap tree trunks with tree wrap or hardware cloth at their base. Be sure to remove come spring to avoid harming the tree!
  11. Try a mouse repellent containing ammonium; see your local garden center.
  12. Use a humane mouse trap or snap trap baited with peanut butter near mouse paths.
  13. Sonic mouse deterrents placed in the garden may help to keep mice away.

See more about common garden pests like rabbits and moles.

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