How to Keep Mice Off Your Balcony Garden
By : Rita Stadler
I recently had the fun experience of helping decorate a friend’s new apartment. Some of you may know how hard it is to downsize from a 4 bedroom house to a 2 bedroom apartment, crowded to say the least. We spent an awful lot of time going through what to keep and what to get rid of. What to sell and what to donate. What to box and what to bag. And the fun part: what to buy for the new place. Interestingly, I have to say that my favorite part of decorating and buying for her new apartment was not the apartment at all, it was the balcony.
Wouldn’t you know, the balcony of an apartment or condo is by far the most difficult area to spruce up. Most of them are small and narrow, and inconvenient to say the least. Some managers don’t allow you to keep a grill or anything extravagant enough to either cause an eyesore or an uproar. Luckily for my friend, she was allowed to have a grill and do pretty much whatever she wanted to her balcony. She eventually decided on the perfect grill that could be taken indoors for times that she needed the extra space. We found the most efficient, little hanging bird feeder to hang from the railing. My absolute favorite part was the balcony rail flower pots we found. They hang over the rail folding down on both sides with pots hanging from canvas that we filled with Irises, Lilies, and Orchids.
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It wasn’t long after her first maintenance bill arrived that she discovered a mouse living in her grill, which was now living in her apartment. She thought something was going on when she found odd piles of dirt in the flower pots. She could never find any rodent feces, as it was the same color as the dirt, to narrow it down to a squirrel or rat. The mouse had also gotten into the bag of dirt and bird seed that was sitting just inside the door of the balcony. Needless to say, I was over there again helping her mouse proof her apartment. She couldn’t figure out how a mouse had gotten into her apartment when she lived on the second floor. I explained to her that since the mouse came in through the grill, it had probably climbed the side of the building and found her balcony to be the most appealing. It contained a grill with the scent of food, it had bird seed in a feeder, their favorite, and planters where they could find warmth and make a nest.
Whether you live in the city or the country, have a deck, a patio or a balcony with plants you will most likely discover signs of a rodent’s presence at some point. If you have gardens of edibles in these areas then your chance of experiencing rodents doubles. Rodents have been known to eat vegetables and leave lasting damage to your plants. Not to mention the potential dangers that they can cause to you or your pet with the diseases they carry. Mice on the outside is a better problem than mice on the inside, but don’t forget that the outside is where it starts.
There are several things that you can do to prevent mice problems on your balcony or patio from happening to you:
- Keep the area clean and free of excess debris that mice want to use for safety and shelter.
- Keep any extra bird seed, pet feed, bags of dirt, etc, in airtight containers the mice can’t get in to.
- Place Fresh Cab pouches in areas that you have noticed rodent action. Look for trails or feces, or grease marks from their fur along siding or walls. Make sure that the pouches stay dry to insure that they last longer. Try placing them in a container that only has one side open and lay the open part facing the side. (A box, a jar, maybe even under a plant that prevents water from entering.)
My friend and I followed these steps to de-mouse her second-story apartment. I am very happy to report she has yet to see another mouse make its way into her home! Case closed.