They might be cute, furry, little things, but my word garden mice can be so annoying! These tiny nuisances can be a real pain for us gardeners in more ways than one. If they’re not eating our plants and seeds, they’re chewing on hose pipes and other equipment. Then of course, there is the hygiene factor to consider. Garden mice, like most rodents, carry diseases around with them and leave many behind for us in their urine and droppings, so the threat of getting salmonella or other types of food poisoning is substantially increased when you have a mouse infestation.
As you can see, knowing how to get rid of garden mice is quite valuable, and so we thought we’d put this article together for you and arm you with all you need to know on the subject.
How to get rid of mice: recognising the signs.
If you have a mouse problem, there will definitely be more than enough signs to let you know about it. For a lot of people, seeing their faces is the first time they realise that they have invaders in their garden. Mice defecate a lot, up to 80 times in a single day, so it won’t be hard to spot their droppings, nor recognise them due their distinctive colour and shape; often described as looking like black rice.
Other signs are finding chewed up berries and fruit on the floor, a strong smell of their urine if there are enough of the garden mice around. You might also find things like torn up pieces of paper and other materials that mice have taken for their nests.
Ways to prevent mice settling in your garden
One of the best ways to keep mice away from your garden is to make it less hospitable to them. Being vigilant about the things listed below can really help prevent garden mice problems in the first place.
- Keep the garden tidy. Mice are very shy creatures and want to move from cover to cover without being seen. They also like to nest close to their food sources, so making sure there are no nesting spots nearby is a good idea.
Keep the lawn cut short, remove piles of leaves and other garden debris, and just generally keep everything neat and tidy.
- If you’re going to feed the birds, use a bird table that doesn’t make it easy for our winged friends to push seeds onto the floor, and never sprinkle seeds onto the floor for birds to eat. You also should keep the above tip in mind R.E. keeping the garden tidy by sweeping up any bird food that got knocked onto the ground. Checkout our best mice bait article to be sure.
- Remove potential food sources such as your dog food bowl, and make sure that your bins are sealed off properly and not easy to get into. Clearing away fallen fruit is something else to remember to do.
- Best Mouse and rat poison + humane repellant options
- Best rodent control options: poison and humane
- Plant lavender in your garden is said to repel garden mice. Other crops with strong scents such as onions and garlic will help to keep the rodents away too.
- Cats are natural predators of mice, so having one as a pet is an excellent deterrent. Mice will not hang around in an area patrolled by a cat, and will even move on if they get a whiff of your cat’s scent.
- You could try installing ultrasonic animal deterrents around your garden. The high frequencies emitted by these machines can help to keep not only mice away, but other pests such as moles, foxes, and squirrels.
How to get rid of garden mice
If you already have a problem with garden mice, these following options might be more fitting…
- Using traps has long been a method used for getting rid of garden mice. These days you have a wide range of traps to choose from, such as the classic snap traps that we’ve all seen in cartoons and movies when someone puts their hand in one.
In reality, these are quite dangerous, and will snap down with a lot of force, killing the mouse instantly. An alternative to the snap trap, is the more modern invention: the electric mouse trap. These electrocute the animal when it enters the trap. It’s less gory, which makes them better for the squeamish, but the result is the same.
Then there are humane traps which will capture the mouse alive. While this is certainly the most animal friendly, you will have to find a place to set the mice free once you capture them.
- Another popular method is to grab your hose pipe and flood out their burrows. This is a simple, cheap, and very effective, way of getting rid of garden mice, however it might be only temporary as the mice or others might move back in once the burrows have dried out. Still, you can always flood them again if that happens, can’t you?
- Some poisons are available to the general public that can help get rid of garden mice, but they are not a good idea to have lying around if you have children or pets. You could also, accidentally poison some other wild animals that you weren’t away was visiting your garden, such as voles. Voles eat insect pests, and are actually good for your garden so you don’t want to be harming them. If you are thinking of going down this route, then I would suggest calling some professionals in to do the job instead. They will have more effective poisons, and also know how to handle them properly. They will more than likely give you some tips and advice on how to prevent more mouse related problems in the future too.
As you can see, there are numerous steps you can take to both prevent mice nesting in your garden, and to get rid of them if they are already settled there. Which one you choose is completely up to you, and may depend on your own individual circumstances.