It’s an unsettling feeling to open the pantry or a kitchen drawer only to discover evidence that you’ve had some unexpected visitors – mice. Not only did they nibble on your favorite groceries, but they also had the nerve to leave behind evidence of their visit – droppings and chewed packaging. Mice may appear to be cute, however, the risk of exposure to diseases that they may carry can be dangerous to your family. These rodents look for shelter indoors, especially during colder periods of the year. If you find yourself wondering, "How to keep mice out," listed below are tips on how to prevent mice from becoming permanent residents.


There are several species of beetles that could be mistaken for the Japanese beetle. Proper identification is the first step toward Japanese beetle control. Adult beetles can be one-third to one-half of an inch long and have tan, metallic wings and a dime-sized hole or crack is all it takes for mice to enter your home. Help keep mice away by making certain you have adequate door sweeps installed on all exterior doors, and check that your windows are properly screened. Seal all openings outside the home using steel wool, wire mesh or similar materials. Don’t overlook entryways into the attic and around the chimney. Making sure basements and crawl spaces are well ventilated and dry will also help keep mice out of houses. '


Mice are not picky eaters and will readily nibble away on practically any food source available. One way to help keep mice out of houses is to be sure to keep all food items stored in sealable plastic or glass containers. Sweep up or vacuum any crumbs and dispose of them right away. Garbage receptacles should have tight-fitting lids and be emptied on a regular basis. Place dry pet food and birdseed in sealable containers and store them in an outside storage room when possible. Bird feeders and pet food left outside can attract mice. Pick up pet food after feeding and keep bird feeders clean of waste – both inside and underneath the areas where they are located.


Don’t store firewood next to the foundation. Eliminate piles of leaves, wood or rubble. Keep your lawn cut on a regular basis and trim limbs that may be touching the house or hanging over the roof. Inside, pick up piles of paper or clothing and avoid using cardboard boxes for storage. Unused furniture in the home can also be a welcome site for mice looking for a place to nest.


What repels mice? A variety of “natural mouse repellents” are available. These products are usually compounds derived from materials found in nature. Contrary to what most believe, science has proven that these materials rarely work and, if they do, for only a short period of time. A few of the most common substances include mothballs, peppermint oil, toilet cakes, ammonia, cat urine and human hair. There are also several other products marketed as mouse repellents – often misspelled "mouse repellants" – but they are also not very effective. Another method people often think will solve the question, "How to keep mice away," is to get a cat or a dog. While it is true that cats and some dogs will catch and kill mice, you should not rely on them to be your "mouse-repellers."


Are you curious about how to deter mice? Like many of the products that claim to repel mice, mouse deterrents are not proven to be effective. Many of these are electronic or battery-operated devices that are designed to deliver an ultrasonic or sonic sound that’s either irritating or alarming to rodents, which discourages them from nesting and feeding in the affected areas. There is little data to support that these devices will actually deter mice. In addition, these products have a limited range and cannot pass through walls, furniture, etc.

When faced with the question of "how to keep mice out of your house," consider calling the pest management professionals at Terminix® for sound advice. They not only make house calls, they make mouse calls too.