Pest Resources

How to Get Rid of Mice in Yard?

A mouse infestation in the house and yard can create a lot of mess and be costly; Mouse problems bring mouse droppings, damage to property, electrical wiring, household items, food packaging, and nasty ammonia smells.

Mice are more than just a nuisance; mice can spread dangerous diseases and can be a threat to your family’s health.

In our article, we will discuss why you have mice in the yard and how to get rid of mice with mouse control, and steps you can take to prevent mice.

Let’s get started on How to get rid of mice in yard!


mouse on a bird feeder

Image credit: Gail Hampshire

Why do I need to get rid of a mouse infestation in the yard and at home?

Mice live naturally near humans, and in the wild, a mouse will venture into our homes if the opportunity arises. A hole the size of a dime in your walls or your home’s foundation will allow a mouse into the home, and more mice will follow.

Mice breed very quickly, giving birth around ten times a year. Each litter can have six to twelve babies (pups). With this in mind, a mouse infestation needs to be tackled quickly.

How can you identify mice?

The correct identification of pests of any kind is essential because different pests require different pest control methods. If you get it wrong, you could be treating other wildlife. Many other animals make scratching noises inside walls, including squirrels.

Mice are small rodents with small black eyes and large ears. Mice are usually gray or light brown and weigh half an ounce. They can be up to seven inches long, and their tails add three to four inches to their total length.

Mice leave a musky odor in the home. As they scurry along, mice leave droppings and urine; Mouse feces are tiny and dark brown with pointed ends; if it is slick and shiny, it has been deposited recently. Rats and bats droppings are considerably larger.

If mice become trapped in your house and die, the dead mice will smell.

Mouse damage and droppings

If you have mouse activity in the attic or basement, mice will chew small holes in the fabric, newspapers, boxes, drywall, insulation, electrical wiring, and anything else they can find to build a nest.

A house mouse will come inside looking for water, so you may find droppings under the sink or near the toilet, damp basements, and garages.

Once a house mouse gets into the kitchen, it will search for food. Mice eat through food packaging; you may see droppings and smell urine nearby.

Mice droppings and urine carry disease, so you must discourage mice and take action with rodent control.

Why do I get mice in my yard?

In the yard, mice spend time tunneling and chewing. If you have noticed chew marks on carrots or potatoes, it could be due to mice activity.

Here’s a list of reasons why they’re in your yard: 

  • Mice are drawn to food, shelter, and familiar scents. A wood pile in the yard will make a welcome shelter for a field mouse. If you have these things in your yard, they will happily make it their home. 

  • If one of your immediate neighbors has food or shelter and you have the other things mice need, wild mice 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 mice.

  • When it comes to shelter, mice will live in anything that offers protection from rain, strong winds, and predators.

Shelter might include:

  • Low decks and similar structures: The mice can fill them with nesting materials and use them as nests.

  • Patio furniture: Furniture with enclosed sections that touch the ground are the perfect hiding places for mice. If you notice your pets scratching, barking, or pawing under furniture in the yard or anywhere else like it, this behavior could be due to the presence of a mouse infestation.  

  • 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 and under garden sheds, as they provide shelter from rainfall, winds, 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 will may make it a permanent residence.

How can I eliminate a mouse infestation?

  • There are ways to deter mice and eliminate them naturally. Sprinkling used kitty litter near the door of your home, for instance. The smell of cat urine will repel mice and other rodents. Remember, it must be used kitty litter.

  • Keep bird feeders as far away as possible from the house.

  • Check and seal entry points to the house and seal the entry points with caulk, duct tape, or steel wool. Mice will find it painful to chew through the steel wool and will give up.

  • Remove clutter from the yard; it provides shelter for mice. Remove piles of leaves and anything leaning against the exterior walls.

  • Remove rugs, blankets, clothes, and any other possible soft nest materials from the attic, garage, or basement. Store items in metal containers or strong plastic. Do not use paper or cardboard boxes for storage, as they can be chewed up.

  • Keep shrubs and plants away from the house foundation and exterior walls.

  • Encourage natural predators into the yard, like owls, and build an owl box. Purchase a cat!

  • Dryer sheets will repel these pests place them in linen closets inside the home.

  • Plant some repelling plants in the garden, like mint, lavender, garlic, and onion.

Eliminate food sources

Mice are omnivorous, so they will eat almost anything they can find. That said, they typically prefer to eat cereals, grains, and seeds. For this reason, be sure to remove the following from your yard.

  • Birdseed- If you have bird feeders, ensure they are mouse-proof, and place them over a flat surface like a concrete or tile patio that’s easy to sweep the spilled bird seed. This should limit spillage and make it easy to clean up after messy birds.

  • Pet food– Do you like to feed your cat or dog outside? Whether they’re on the grass or deck, small chunks of pet food will fall to the ground, or mice naturally eat from pet food bowls. Mice will show up to take advantage of the pet food, and you can be sure they’ll remember to come back.

  • Food- Keep food in sealed containers, preferably metal containers. Seal trash cans and empty them regularly. Move outside trash cans away from the house.

  • 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.

  • Compost- Composting may seem like an excellent way to enrich the soil in your yard, but to mice, rats, raccoons, and opossums, it is an open buffet. You’ll need a composter that’s raised off of the ground, preferably with separate bins, so you can have a compartment for new additions and another for compost that’s ready to spread. 

Use traps for rodent control

Depending on the type used, live traps attract a mouse with their favorite mouse food. They allow you to capture mice and then let them go far from your home.  Unfortunately, this approach means you’ll have to be in close contact with live mice; they might spray urine on surfaces if frightened, which can be dangerous because they spread disease. 

Glue traps work, but you may have to remove live mice. Killing the mice with other methods (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 to get rid of mice. Snap traps are made from wood with a powerful spring hinge at its center connected to a pressure trigger. The slightest amount of pressure will set off the snap traps and send a metal bar crashing into the skull or neck of the feeding mouse. You can discard the mouse and the snap trap together.

Electric mousetraps 

Electric traps deliver a lethal dose of electricity when rodents complete a circuit by touching two electrodes 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. Dead mice must be discarded in the trash.

Live capture mouse traps

These traps are available in hardware stores and have the benefit of being more humane than other traps like spring-loaded traps and electric traps. However, they may prove disadvantageous if you don’t intend to release the live mouse. 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 capabilities. 

It’s worth noting that house mice rarely survive far away from human settlements in areas populated by other small mammals like field mice. 

Pro tip

Put the bait traps in the area where the rodents are most active. Mice tend to run close to walls leaving oily marks on them, and they’re unlikely to go more than ten feet to obtain bait (even if it’s peanut butter!). You’ll want to carefully place your bait stations in the areas mice frequent but far away from areas that your children and pets like to visit.  

Natural deterrent Repellents

  • Mice hate the smell of garlic, cayenne pepper, vinegar, and peppermint. They have a strong sense of smell, so these odors will likely keep them away.

  • Soak cotton balls with a few drops of essential oils like peppermint oil and leave them in areas where there have been signs of a mouse infestation. The peppermint oil is a smell mice do not like.

  • Soak cotton balls in lavender oils and leave them near entrances to the house.

  • Mix half apple cider vinegar and water in a spray bottle and spray around the outside of your house to repel mice.

  • Note: While natural repellents might do the trick, commercial products (as long as they’re non-toxic) are more effective and longer-lasting.


Mouse poison is convenient and often effective, but it requires caution, especially if you have pets and young children in the household. Common rat poison types include: 

Metal phosphides

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 available to purchase. When mice ingest them, they bleed out and die. Unfortunately, mice killed in this manner remain poisonous to pets and other animals.

Professional pest control

Pest control technicians have the experience and tools to remove mice and mouse droppings from the home without further contaminating anything.

Pest control exterminators will know how to get rid of mice in the walls and crawl space, attics, and other difficult access areas. Additionally, they carry humane lethal traps or capture and release methods for a rodent infestation. Speak to the company to find out which methods they can offer you.

What to expect

You will be given a consultation on the phone followed by an inspection and a report on their findings. Then the pest extermination company will carry out the treatment.

And finally,

Sometimes, getting rid of mice in your yard will not 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 get rid of mice. They won’t only address your current mouse problem but also implement strategies to keep them from re-infesting your yard.

Good luck!

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.

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