Not-so-fun fact: A house mouse can have as many as 10 litters of 12 offspring per year, according to the extermination company Terminix. Do the math and it’s easy to see why a small rodent problem can lead to a big one very quickly. But you can minimize your risk of infestation by creating an outdoor environment around your house that is inhospitable to these critters—because once they’re outside, it’s not hard for them to sneak their way in. Read on to discover six things in your yard that could be bringing mice to your home.
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If you have a bird feeder around your home, it may be attracting more than just pretty birds. Megan Cavanaugh, a pest control expert and co-owner of the pest control company Done Right Pest Solutions in Minnesota, previously told Best Life that these also draw rodents. “Nuts and seeds are a favorite food of mice,” she says. And that’s logical: “Mice, like all animals, are always looking for food sources. If you have a food source in or around your home, they are going to be attracted to it.”
Because the birds that these feeders attract do not tend to prey on mice, the food source becomes a safe, easy stop for mice to grab a free lunch.
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Composing is a great way to produce organic fertilizer at home while keeping your waste out of landfills. But that compost pile can also be attracting mice. First, it provides shelter. Second, it can provide a source of food that attracts them, according to the experts at The Turfgrass Group. To reduce the chances of attracting mice to your pile, invest in a heavy-duty plastic compost tumbler, they suggest, which raises your compost off the ground and encloses it within a chamber that rodents can’t enter. (Plus, this method will get your compost to the rich fertilizer phase faster.)
Mice are always seeking great hiding places, so deprive them of the opportunity to find one in your yard as much as possible by getting rid of any piles of wood, tall grass, or fallen leaves, Terminix advises. Maintain your yard regularly, taking note to cut the grass and pull any long weeds that could provide cover for mice, sending them elsewhere to find it instead.
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This one follows the same logic as the bird feeder: The food you intend for other animals makes a great snack for hungry mice, too. So keep it contained. Make sure to keep any pet food in a sealed container, Terminix recommends. Store it in the garage if possible—and keep it covered.
Just as mice can find food in compost piles or bird feeders, they can find it in unsealed trash cans. So examine your yard and your home’s perimeter for any bins that are uncovered or unsealed. Replace these with bins that have locking lids to seal trash in—and keep mice out.
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Unsealed cracks and holes
Once you’ve inspected the items in your yard, check around the outside of your home for any exterior cracks or holes through which rodents can enter. It’s a challenging task, because mice can squeeze into a tiny hole the size of a dime, Terminix notes. But give yourself the best possible chance of keeping them out by examining any cracks or holes that could serve as entry/exit points for mice, and then sealing them with wire mesh or caulk.
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