How to Get Rid of Mice in Yard?
Mice are impressively well-adapted to living around human establishments like gardens, lawns, and yards. They’re so secretive you won’t even notice they’re there until they migrate indoors looking for warmth in the winter. Here are the best tips on how to get rid of them
Image credit: gailhampshire
Why do I get mice in my yard?
These critters may be cute, but they love to tunnel and chew. The damage they cause is both bothersome and expensive.
Here’s a list of reasons why they’re in your yard:
- Mice are drawn to food, shelter, and familiar scents. If you have these things in your yard, they will be happy to make it their home.
- If one of your immediate neighbors has either food or shelter and you have the other things mice need, they will gladly travel between your yards.
- Mice are also drawn to familiar environments. If mice have lived in your yard before, the smell of mouse-poop, urine, and nesting materials will attract new visitors.
- When it comes to shelter, mice will live in anything that offers protection from rain, strong winds, and predators. This might include:
Low decks similar structures: The mice can stuff them with materials and use them as nests.
Patio furniture: Furniture with enclosed sections that go all the way to the ground are the perfect hiding places for mice.
BBQs: If you have a barbecue grill but don’t use it often, mice will likely claim it as their own.
Garden Sheds: Mice can live in/under garden sheds, as they provide safety from rain, wind, and predators. They also help the mice keep warm during the winter.
Long grass or shrubbery: Mice don’t like to travel across flat, open spaces. If there’s long grass in your yard, mice will feel protected, and they may make it a permanent residence.
How to Get Rid of Mice in Your Yard Using These 4 Tips
Tip 1: Eliminate food sources
Mice are omnivorous, so they will eat almost anything they can find. That said, they typically prefer cereals, grains, and seeds. For this reason, be sure to remove the following from your yard.
You read that right. If you have a bird feeder, ensure it is mouse proof, and place it over a flat surface like a concrete or tile patio that’s easy to sweep. This should limit spillage and make it easy to clean up after messy birds.
Do you like to feed your cat or dog outside? Whether they’re on the grass or deck, small chunks of food will fall to the ground. Mice will show up to take advantage of the situation, and you can be sure they’ll remember to come back.
Vegetables and fruit
Shrubs, fruit trees, and gardens will attract mice to your yard. Be sure to collect and dispose of any fruit that has fallen to the ground. You’ll also want to pick ripe fruit even if it’s still attached to the tree.
Composting may seem like an excellent way to enrich the soil in your yard, but to mice, rats, and raccoons, it is an open buffet. You’ll need a composter that’s raised off the ground, preferably with separate bins, so you can have a compartment for new additions and another for compost that’s ready to spread.
Tip 2: Use traps
Depending on the type used, traps can let you capture mice then let them go far from your home. Unfortunately, this approach means you’ll have to be in close contact with live mice, which can be dangerous because they spread disease. Killing the mice (provided that it is done humanely) may be the better option.
Basic (spring-loaded) mousetraps
Spring-loaded mouse traps are the most common type available. They’re made from a wood board with a powerful spring hinge at its center connected to a pressure trigger. The slightest amount of pressure will set them off and send a metal bar crashing into the skull or neck of the unsuspecting mouse.
Electric traps deliver a lethal dose of electricity when rodents complete a circuit by touching two electrodes situated either at the entrance or between the entrance and the bait. The electrodes are kept in an insulated box to prevent accidental harm to pets and humans. They can be designed for single catch home use or multiple-catch commercial use.
Live capture mouse traps.
These traps have the benefit of being more humane than spring-loaded traps and electric traps. However, they may prove disadvantageous if you don’t intend to release the animal. The traps must be checked regularly, so the captured mice don’t die from starvation or stress. Mice captured using this method must be released a long distance away, as they have strong homing abilities.
It’s worth noting that house mice rarely survive far away from human settlements in areas populated by other small mammals like field mice.
Put the traps in the area where mice are most active. Mice tend to run close to walls, and they’re unlikely to go more than 10 feet to obtain bait (even if it’s peanut butter!). You’ll want to cleverly place your bait in the areas mice frequent, but far away from areas that your children and pets like to visit.
Tip 3: Repellent
Mice hate the smell of garlic, cayenne pepper, and peppermint. They have a strong sense of smell, so these odors will likely keep them away.
Note: While natural repellents might do the trick, you’re better off using commercial products (as long as they’re non-toxic). They’re more effective and longer-lasting.
Tip 4: Poison
Mouse poison is convenient and often effective, but it requires caution, especially if you have pets and young children. Common rat-poison types include:
This category acts fast and will kill mice in less than 72 hours. It’s the best poison to use if mice display immunity to conventional poisons. Metal phosphides are preferred because they don’t leave traces in animal tissue. There’s no need to worry if your pet eats the poisoned rodent.
Anticoagulants are the more common type of poison on the market. When mice ingest them, they bleed out and die. Unfortunately, mice killed in this manner remain poisonous to pets and other animals.
Sometimes, getting rid of mice in your yard won’t be as simple as setting traps and putting out poison, especially if you have pets or small children. If you find evidence of mice in your yard, consider hiring a pest control professional to help you identify and remove the pests. They won’t only address your current mouse problem, but also implement strategies to keep them from re-invading your lawn.
Ronald has 25 years of pest control experience under his belt. He scrutinizes each pest control method, product and process. Each pest resource we list on our website goes through an in-depth fact checking process.