Surefire Tips To Keep Rats And Mice Outside

a mouse peaking it's head at the cameraAs the days grow shorter and temperatures start to dip, mice begin looking for a cozy place to curl up for the winter. Filled with appetizing aromas, our heated homes are an irresistible lure. Here are a few time-tested tricks to rebuff an invasion.

First Line of Defense

Eliminate outdoor hiding spots, like cardboard boxes and piles of wood in your yard or garage. Grass and shrubbery close to the house should always be well trimmed, too.

Secure the Home Perimeter

Plug potential entry points, including cracks in a foundation and spots where wires or pipes pass through walls. Metal gauze and quick-drying cement or foam insulation usually do the trick.

Disrupt the Supply Chain

If mice have already made your house their winter home, keep food beyond reach in sealed containers. Leave no trace of kitchen spills and sweep up crumbs, even the ones beneath your toaster, and don’t leave a bowl full of pet food on the floor overnight.

Set Mouse Traps

If your home has been breached, the good old-fashioned mouse trap may be your best last resort; there are humane no-kill traps available if you want to avoid poisons and glue boards. Peanut butter is better bait than a crumb or piece of cheese, since it can’t be snatched away by a crafty mouse with quick reflexes.

Protect your home and everything in it with a homeowners, renters or condo policy through the GEICO Insurance Agency. Visit to find out how.

Bad weather can drive unwanted critters indoors. Is your home ready for fall and winter?

By David Wright

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  1. Daryle Thomas says

    Keep mice, rats, squirrels and their friends out with peppermint oil and ammonia.
    Buy commercial peppermint oil, a full pint is less than $40 delivered, and mix it with ammonia at a 50 – 50 blend.
    Spray the outside walls and the attic if there is one. Spray again in a few days.
    Storing your car while on winter leave? Spray it, too.
    Spray the garden shed.
    “Bulk Apothecary” is a good source for essential oils in bulk.

  2. Fatolla Lessani says

    Do not use D con or any other edible chemicals inside the house for getting rid of mice or rats.The chemicals are not only dangerous to the young children/pets ,the affected animals may die in hidden and invisible areas inside the house and cause extremely bad odour

  3. Lyle Predmore says

    Every place we have lived we find that mice will find their way inside, usually in the fall with the changing season. I always keep some DeCon out in a corner or two of the basement. At current location I have it under the crawl space and in the attic. In the attic I have taped a couple pieces to the rafters. Mice and rats cannot resist – they nibble on it and then go outside to find water and die.

  4. Sara Killinger says

    I have recently discovered that there are a few mice living in my home. I want to find an effective way to get these pests under control but did not want to use poison or a glue board because I am afraid that my pets may accidentally ingest the poison or get caught in the trap. Your advice to use peanut butter to lure mice out is an excellent idea. Do you have any instructions on how to build a trap with peanut butter?

    • Robert Spencer says

      Hey Sara,
      Simply go to Walmart and purchase a rat/mouse trap. They normally come two in a pack. You then put a little peanut butter on the metal trigger plate. When “Mr. Sneaking the Mouse” comes to swipe the peanut butter, Powie! He’s a dead rat.

      • Cynthia says

        I had a friend in CT. that used “Have A Heart” traps to capture field mice that would make their home in her home during the winter. She captured then separated the males from the females into 2 different aquariums. She put toys like toilette or paper towel cardboard rolls, exercise wheels, etc. and cared for them over the winter then released them come spring. Just in case you can’t bear to kill these adorable but destructive little guys. Catching and releasing in the winter? Tried that. They make it back into the house before you do!

        • Mag says

          I use those little white “thing-ama-jigs” that plug into your electrical outlets.
          They work like a charm! No poison, no traps, no dead little critters in the
          walls or draws. No fuss no muss! Critters in the house, sheds, cabins, etc
          were just a fact of life at our beach property until we started using them.
          They come in two sizes for not a lot of money. I use several per room because the emition can be blocked by furniture, etc. Now I use a more sophisticated version that plugs in and send the whatever it sends through the wiring in the whole house (trailer in this case.) They are more expensive (about $25) but if you’ve ever had to through out
          everything in the place for fear of hantahirus than it is well worth it.
          Two years with the same ones and not a critter to be found!