How to Get Rid of Mice Outdoors Around Your Home
By: Rita Stadler
When it comes to rodent control around your house, homeowners must work to prevent these problems not only indoors, but outdoors as well.
Rats and mice in your yard are a nuisance and a health threat. Finding these pests anywhere near your patio, backyard, or garbage cans means there are also mouse droppings and urine nearby which can spread disease.
If these pests are that close to your home, colder weather could lead them into your garage, shed, or even worse, inside your house. Once inside, a rodent is not easy to get rid of, much less a family of rodents. Ensuring that they don’t find their way into your yard in the first place is key to avoiding an infestation in your home.
Adding a few extra steps to your summer cleaning and end-of-season storage will help to prevent these scary surprises. You don’t want to find a family of mice nesting inside your patio cushions come next spring!
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Where Rodents Commonly Like to Hide in Your Yard
Mice and tiny critters are very opportunistic, and will find shelter in places you might not think about. A few unexpected sweet spots in your backyard they might stake out over the winter include:
- Barbecue grills — An item frequently left untouched and under a cover for long periods of time, a grill can offer a protected place for mice to nest. If any crumbs are left behind, this also provides a food source and makes the area even more appealing.
- Patio pavers — Pavers and decorative stones can make a nice roof over the heads of ants and other pests when cold weather takes hold.
- Decks and gazebos — If there is vacant space underneath any structure, it makes the perfect hiding place for mice by providing pests with shelter from the elements.
- Hot tubs, pool houses, and outdoor sound systems — In addition to these areas providing shelter, the electrical wiring is also a favorite item for rats and mice (and costly for you to repair). They love to chew on things all the time because it feels good to their teeth.
- Piles of leaves — If leaves, debris, or woodpiles have claimed your yard, you’ve created the perfect home for a mouse. There’s nothing they love more than a big pile of something that they can hide under. It provides the perfect shelter from predators and cold weather. They can also use the debris as nesting material.
- Outdoor dog house — Outside areas that stay dry and warm are perfect for a rodent. Piles of dirt, a dog bed, and especially an unused dog house provide the perfect shelter. They’re not only cozy, but they’re just feet away from your front door. It’s just a matter of time before uninvited guests discover that the accommodations inside are even more comfortable than the nest they’ve built outside.
- Trash cans — If you have garbage cans that tend to overflow just before trash pick-up, your tasty leftovers make a great late-night meal for pests. And talk about convenience — a mouse hardly has to leave his cozy nest!
You want to be really careful when it comes to a mouse or rat anywhere near your house, shed or garage. They don’t have the best eyesight and rely heavily on their sense of smell. Sure, the outside dumpster smells pretty good, but nothing beats the scent of your home cooking in the house. Not only are the inside smells inviting, but the warmth and safety are also unbeatable.
How to Get Rid of Mice In Your Backyard
It’s one thing to know where they can hide in your yard, it’s another to know what you can do about it. A general rule to keep these pests away is to make sure your stuff isn’t attractive to them. Below we’ve compiled some DIY steps you can take to keep mice away from your yard:
- Clean grills and patio furniture thoroughly before storing so there are no food crumbs left behind to attract hungry pests.
- Maintain a clutter-free yard by removing any wood piles, leaf piles, or keeping them far away from your home or storage spaces. Bring bigger children’s toys like battery-powered vehicles inside. This takes a little extra effort, but freedom from pests is a worthy reward (plus, no more worries about nagging neighbors!).
- Rake up leaves and sticks often. Keep your grass mowed and weed out any overflowing vegetation in your yard and garden.
- Make sure all brush and leaves are cleared away around pavers, decorative objects, and decks.
- Seal up any entry points into the house, garage and shed, or any other buildings you want to protect from rodents. Use steel wool or caulk to fill holes and gaps.
- If there is a crawl space beneath your deck, block it off by hanging hardware cloth or wire mesh over openings so rodents can’t chew their way inside.
- Remove any food that mice might be after. Whether it’s a trash can, pet food, or dropped birdseed from your bird feeder–mice will sniff it out and be at your doorstep in no time at all.
- Check your patio furniture occasionally. Lift the covers and make sure there’s nothing amiss, especially if you’re storing items in your yard, garage, or a shed on your property. Even if items are stored off-site, like boats, RV’s, or a rented storage unit, it’s worth paying a visit to big investments like these. Just two mice can turn into dozens in a matter of months.
- Try using natural solutions in your backyard. Daffodils, alliums, garlic, lavender, and mint are known to be scents that repel rodents. Try planting them in your garden to keep pests out.
- In enclosed spaces, like storage sheds, or underneath furniture covers, consider using a botanical pest repellent such as Stay Away® Rodent. These pouches use a mix of essential oils and plant-based ingredients to create a smell that’s offensive to mice, but not to humans.
Consider Natural Solutions to Keep Mice Away Outdoors
Natural solutions provide an alternative to common pest control solutions like exterminators, harmful pesticides, bait stations and mouse traps that are meant to kill mice. Natural solutions help to preserve nature’s ecosystem and remove the risk of exposing your family and pets to potentially harmful substances.
When cooler weather starts to hit, you might feel like it’s easier to just push everything aside, thinking you can clean up the mess in the spring, but there truly is no time like the present. Knowing your summer storage is safe from mice can make your spring cleaning next year that much easier.