You finally got up to the cottage, only to find that critters had a field day in your kitchen. Mice infestation? Maybe, but if you want to keep out mice, without killing them, or calling in exterminators, there are a few things you can do.
If your house or cottage was locked up and there are not any obvious large holes that raccoons or squirrels would get in, then it most likely is a mice infestation. Since they can get in the tiniest of holes. If a large animals was in, you would see how they got in fairly quickly, usually a chewed hole. But mice are sneaky little critters. So if you want rid of mice, try these tips:
Look for entrances
Whether this is your cottage, your house, or a storage area, they have to be getting in somewhere. Have someone go around the foundation and where the siding meets the foundation and shine a flashlight. You may not see any obvious holes right away, but if you see light, that could be one of many spots you need to deal with to keep out mice.
While you are in the basement (most likely area) or crawlspace, look for any light from the flashlight your friend is shining. If you see a stream of light, and it is the diameter of a pencil, then mice can get in. Get your friend to stop there, while you inspect. To keep mice out, you have to look at all tiny holes. It is amazing how they can get in, but if the hole is the diameter of a pencil they will squeeze in.
Now take some calking and fill that hole or crack up right away. If you discover a much bigger hole, then you may need to use expanding foam insulation, that will fill in the hole.
If two of you can slowly go around the foundation this way, then you may be able to keep mice out. Once they are in, they start families right away, so you will still have to deal with the ones in the house, but at least you keep mice out, by sealing up their entrances.
Now go upstairs, and look around door entrances and windows, and make sure there are no holes there.
Getting rid of mice, can also mean checking out your attic. If you can get up there, and you can see obvious entrances, then you will need to seal them up. They will get in through the attic, but most mice will get in at the basement level and work their way up.
Getting Rid of Mice by Cutting Off Food Supply
Take a day and really clean out your kitchen cabinets. Dust all the crumbs out, wash the shelves down with soap and water, and really clean, and get rid of any packaging that may have been mauled by mice, such as cereal boxes. Now go to the discount store or local department store and invest in plastic containers of all sizes.
Transfer your foods to plastic containers with good sealing lids. You can get them sized for cereals. You can just pour the cereal in the container, or put the whole box in. Either way it will be sealed up. Do the same for any soft packaged foods, including rice and plastic wrappings. Don't forget to keep toilet paper and paper towels in sealed containers too, as they will use this for bedding!
If there is no food source, then they are not as likely to be in your kitchen.
Rid Mice With Homemade Repellant
Next, go to the health food store, and purchase some peppermint essential oil. Now get some used dryer sheets and put a few drops of this peppermint oil on the sheets and place the sheets around the areas you have seen mice. They hate the peppermint smell and the odor off the dryer sheets. If you don't have any peppermint oil, but have unused dryer sheets, then you can use these alone.
To keep mice out of soft surfaces such as beds and couches, especially if you have to leave the house for some time, like with a cottage, place a few of these sheets on the beds and couches and under the pillows. If nothing else your cottage or house will smell nice when you open it back up again. This works well in storage areas as well, such as those rental storage units. Especially if you are storing couches or chairs. You need to take a close look at them before you bring them back to your house or cottage.
Keep out mice, by putting them off a nice environment. If you mess with their senses and cut off their food supply, they are not likely going to invite their families!
So remember these tips:
1. Try and find their entrances, and seal them up. Another good hint, is if there are big spiders in the basement, then there are likely entrance holes in the basement a mouse can fit through.
2. Get rid of their food supply and clean and seal up food.
3. Place peppermint oil and dryer sheets around the place, especially for when you are not there. (you can get peppermint oil on Amazon)
4. If you have sealed off their entrances, but are now dealing with a mouse infestation in the house, then you may need to use live traps, until you don't catch anymore. So, show the mice the way out, and that they are not welcome anymore.
5. There are some electronic devices you can get to put off mice, you could add this to your weapon arsenal. You can purchase these from the hardware store.
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But from personal experience, when living in a trailer while building our house, we had some trouble with mice, so to keep mice out, we packaged all our food goods into containers and then they were gone. I didn't even have to haul out the dryer sheets or peppermint oil, just cutting off the food supply worked in that situation. But try the above tips.
Some people swear by moth balls, but I find them toxic myself, and I don't like the smell, peppermint oil and dryer sheets seem to work as well. An added bonus, ants don't seem to like peppermint oil either!