Looking For An Effective Mouse Deterrent?
Mouse deterrent has a nice sound to it. The thought of avoiding constantly going to war against these little creatures with traps, poisons, adhesive strips, or a rented cat, makes the idea of a deterrent a nice thought. Most of the time we wait until we find we have a mouse (or more) in the house, before taking any action at all. Some of us don't mind killing the little guys, others of us insist on trapping them live and later releasing them (releasing them in the front yard won't work).
A Visitor - We don't have a big mouse problem in our house. Just an occasional "transient" visitor. Having a cat has something to do with that. Some months ago we went away from home for a week, putting the cat in a kennel. We left a tray of marigold seedlings in one of our rooms, near a window so they'd get light. When we returned home, each and every seedling had been eaten down to the surface of the dirt. We had no idea what the cause was until a few minutes later we found a dead mouse in the bathtub. Whether it died of thirst or starvation in the bathtub, as it obviously could not get back out, or there was something in the marigolds that did the mouse in, we'll perhaps never know.
A Nice Place To Settle Down - In any event we learned a few things. Mice can jump. That’s the only way it could have gotten in the bathtub. The mouse had food (marigold seedlings), shelter (our house), and warmth (again our house). It also had security, as our cat was 10 miles away. As far as access to such a warm, loving place was concerned, there must have been a crack or opening somewhere. An effective mouse deterrent either takes each of these things away, makes access to them difficult or impossible, or simply makes the home, office, greenhouse, or any other structure inhospitable from the mouse's point of view.
Cleanliness And Access - Keeping a clean house can be an effective mouse deterrent. A clean house won't have bits of food lying around (seedlings maybe), material for a mouse to make a nest, of piles of junk for it to hide in. Access can be denied by a careful search that uncovers cracks, holes, or loose boards. A mouse can squeeze through an unbelievably small opening. These can be sealed with caulking, stuffed with steel wool, or covered with hardware cloth. Also, remember to keep exterior doors shut. Mice don't knock, they just come on in.
Mice Seek Security - Security? If you don't have a cat, you can still simulate a mouse's worst nightmare. Mice are prey animals, and if they think a predator is about, they'll usually leave. There are commercial products which can be sprayed or sprinkled about, simulating the markings left by a predator, such as a fox or coyote. These are non-toxic, so safe to use, and are a much better approach than setting out poisons. Most products like this are also unscented, at least as far as humans are concerned, so your house isn't going to smell like a fox urinated on the furniture.
Peppermint Works! - Another approach is to use something that the mouse doesn't like at all, but which humans find pleasant to the smell. That something is peppermint. Growing peppermint in the house will keep mice out of the room the peppermint is in, but as you want a mouse deterrent that works throughout the house, use essential peppermint oil instead. The scent of peppermint lasts a couple of weeks, and more than one application may be needed, or an application may be needed in the fall when cold weather tends to drive mice indoors. Peppermint is a very effective mouse deterrent, and much better than poison bait.