We share our gardens with a range of wildlife that we love to watch out for. However, there’s one animal you never want to spot in your garden, and that is a mouse. Although a mouse or two in the garden is likely to go unnoticed, an infestation can rear its head quickly, destroying plants, eating freshly sown seeds and taking over your outhouses. To help you take back control of your garden, here is how to get rid of mice naturally, so both your property and conscience can stay clear.
Why Are Mice Coming Into The Garden?
Unfortunately, gardens are a mouse’s ideal habitat. Since they provide plenty of natural cover and a range of easily accessible food sources, mice will be protected from potential danger and predators. Usually, a couple of mice in the garden isn’t a cause for concern, especially since it’s unlikely that you even notice the nocturnal animals scurrying about. However, if mice are beginning to pose a serious threat to your garden, this is most likely to be due to an abundance of food sources and safe nesting areas, plus easy access to plants, seeds and bulbs, which mice will eat.
Signs of Mice In The Garden
Surprisingly, mice are common in gardens across the country, but they usually cause such little issue that you don’t even know they’re there. However, the rodents can quickly become a problem if you have an infestation on your hands. If you fear mice have become a problem in your garden, the signs you should look out for are:
- Bite marks on plant stems and stored fruit
- Holes in the soil around plants and freshly planted bulbs
- Seedling remnants around these holes
- Dead seedling plants
- The disappearance of recently sown seeds of peas, beans and sweet corn, which mice will eat
- Underground beds
- A musky odour
- Mouse droppings[i]
Unfortunately, it’s easy to mistake the signs of mice as signals of other rodents, such as voles. However, these signs indicate that you’re definitely not dealing with rats or house mice, and, luckily, voles will likely be dissuaded by mice deterrents anyway.
How To Get Rid of Mice Naturally
Once you’re sure you’re dealing with mice in the garden, it’s best to act immediately. There are plenty of mice deterrents that will allow you to get rid of mice naturally, without the need for chemicals or inhumane traps.
Remove Any Mice Attractions
There are plenty of things that you likely don’t even think about in your garden which can attract mice. For example, the amount of natural shelter and nesting materials that a garden provides is enough to encourage mice to stick around. So, remove these attractions from your garden. Lock up any debris, woodpiles, compost heaps, and stored fruit safely in a secure garden shed to keep them out of harm’s way and encourage any visitors to move on.
Also, mice will willingly feast on food left out for birds, plus any food waste that visiting birds leave behind. A regular food source is the most common reason why mice come into the garden[ii], so blocking their access to birdseed may deter them. Choose a tall feeding station for your bird food, and clear up any excess waste as soon as possible.
Cut Off Access To Your Plants
While on the subject of food sources, an abundance of fruit, vegetables and even flowers are the perfect natural food source for mice. Of course, you don’t want to remove your treasured garden altogether, but there are some measures you can take to protect it. For example, you can start fresh seeds and bulbs in pots indoors, then plant them outside when they’ve had a chance to mature. In addition, you can place wire netting over buried seeds and around tree stems to protect your flower beds. Mice aren’t strong enough to chew through metal, so they will give up quickly.
Utilise Strong Smells
Just like rats, mice have powerful senses of smell. Luckily, you can utilise this to deter them from your garden. By regularly spreading these scents around your garden – paying particular attention to troublesome zones, including food sources and nesting areas – you’re likely to notice a difference quickly. Scents that deter mice include:
- Cayenne pepper
Also, you can plant some fragrant flowers to deter mice naturally. There are plenty of herbs and companion plants that will keep pests out of your garden without disturbing its ecosystem, such as:
Try D.I.Y Mice Repellent Sprays
Often, people use baits and poisons as mice deterrents, but these aren’t particularly ethical methods. Luckily, there are plenty of natural homemade mouse repellents that will do the trick. You can create a mice repellent spray that can easily be applied around your garden, or you can soak cotton wool balls in essential oils and place them around spots that mice are more likely to inhabit. We’d recommend using soaked cotton wool balls for the best deterrent, as the scent will be stronger and more likely to keep mice away. However, you can use both for even greater effect.
To make your own D.I.Y mouse repellent spray, combine two tablespoons of a strong essential oil (peppermint, lavender, tea tree and eucalyptus work well) with 250 ml of water. Shake well and apply wherever you think is most necessary around the garden. This solution will also work to deter mice in the home.
Set Up Ultrasonic Devices
Ultrasonic devices produce high-frequency waves that are believed to irritate the delicate senses of mice. Although experts have disputed the success of any ultrasonic mice repellent, many users have reported success by including them in their garden. Also, ultrasonic mice deterrents allegedly drive away a range of other pests, including foxes, cockroaches, birds and flies, so they’re well worth a try. Place these devices around potential food sources and nesting grounds, including flower beds, vegetable patches, hedges, shrubs, and trees for the best results.
Get A Cat
Bringing one of the rodent’s biggest predators onto your property will send them scurrying quickly, so if no one in your home is allergic, cats are well worth considering. However, ensure that your cat doesn’t eat any rodents it catches, as mice can spread diseases.
Luckily, there is an alternative if buying a cat isn’t an option. Even the sound and smell of cats is enough to scare mice away, so simply spreading cat litter around troublesome areas of the garden can be a useful deterrent. Make sure to keep cat litter out of the reach of children, though.
Set Humane Traps
Although a trap may be the last solution when considering how to get rid of mice naturally, there are several humane traps you can set to capture the creatures. The most humane way of catching mice this way is with a catch and release trap. These will capture a mouse without killing it. This way, you can release them back into the wild without hurting them. But, when releasing a mouse, ensure that you do so at least a mile away from your home, preferably in an uninhabited area. This means it is less likely to find its way back to your garden.
However, if you are looking to set traps, be wary of which ones you choose. Many mouse traps, such as the spring trap, are advertised as humane since they will kill the mouse with as little pain as possible when, in fact, they can seriously hurt them. So, if catch and release traps aren’t enough for your mouse problem, try and use the most humane trap you can find.
Consider Professional Mice Removal
Naturally, dealing with mice humanely is the best course of action all around. However, it may be necessary to call in a professional mice removal service for severe infestations. A trained pest control technician will be able to use methods unavailable to the general public in the right spots and deal with your mouse problem quickly.
How To Get Rid of Mice In Walls
Although field mice are more likely to take refuge in sheds, outhouses and garages, they have been known to enter houses through foundation cracks and loose fittings. Mice carry diseases that they can spread to humans through their waste, and, though this may not be a huge issue in the garden, the danger is increased should they enter the home.
If you fear you have a field mouse – or any mouse – in your walls, you may be able to deter them using essential oils. Spraying strong-smelling essential oils around the house may be a strong enough mice deterrent as it attacks their keen sense of smell, however, it isn’t always the most successful. So, pair this method with an ultrasonic device or several cleverly placed humane mouse traps to ensure an infestation doesn’t materialise in your home.
Starting Your Natural Mice Deterrents
Now you know how to get rid of mice naturally, it’s best to start as soon as possible. The sooner you spot mice, the easier they are to deal with! So try a combination of these natural mice deterrents, and your garden will soon be yours again.
Do you have any tips on mice removal? Let us know!
Ryan Jenkins is a professional gardener and has been working in the gardening industry for over 25 years. This has allowed Ryan to accumulate a vast wealth of gardening knowledge which he shares on the Sefton Meadows blog.