This year I have noticed a proliferation of mice in my house and even had a squirrel yesterday! A recent article in the Boston Globe entitled, “Where did all the acorns go?” by David Abel, maintains that acorns have all but disappeared this fall, a phenomenon that affects the ecosystem, everything from chipmunks to owls with mice, chipmunks and squirrels most affected. Typically, a mature oak tree will produce about 250 pounds of acorns, serving as seeds for saplings and food for rodents and other animals. The oaks this year have each produced less than half a pound of acorns.
Whether this explains the increase of mice indoors or not, no one wants them in their homes. Rather than use a toxin to kill them and deal with their smelling, decomposing bodies, I prefer repellent techniques. A cat is the most likely solution, but cats like to torture mice and are always proud to show you their slaughter. A fox and cat spray is one of the best ways to repel mice. The odor is not detectable to humans, but is to mice who fear these predators. You can order a chemical-free product called Shake Away containing fox urine granules from amazon.com. Another deterrent is to strategically place cotton balls soaked in peppermint essential oil where the mouse enters the house and along his trail. They hate the smell of mint! Eucalyptus or spearmint oil works too. You can also try the plug-in ultrasonic rodent repeller device with an always-changing frequency to which mice cannot adapt. The high-pitched sound does not affect cats and dogs. You can order one from gaiam.com.
Mice are generally looking for food or a place to nest, so make sure you don’t have anything in your garage or home to tempt them. Keep your woodpiles outside of the garage as well as your garbage cans. Garbage cans in the house should be covered and obviously not kept around long.
If the above solutions don’t work, you’ll have to resort to catching them in a mousetrap, which kills them instantly.