If you happen to spot a mouse or see signs of rodents in your home, your first thought might be to take care of the problem yourself. There are plenty of DIY rodent control options — most of which are affordable and easy to use. However, how effective are these DIY methods? Let’s take a look at some of the most common DIY rodent control techniques and whether or not they’re an effective long-term solution (spoiler alert: most of them aren’t).
Removing access to food and nesting materials
Mice and other rodents are attracted to food and nesting materials, which means your pantry, cupboards, and storage areas are key areas where you might find these pests. One of the most common pieces of advice is to invest in airtight plastic, glass, and metal storage containers and keep your kitchen and dining area clean. By keeping the area tidy and removing easy access to food, leftovers, and garbage, rodents will be less tempted.
A clean home and harder-to-access storage containers is a great first step in preventing mice issues and deterring pests. However, if you already have a mouse infestation, those methods alone won’t resolve the problem. Sure, they may keep the pests from contaminating your food and building nests — but the mice will likely stick around and scavenge for other options until you find the source of entry and prevent re-entry (we’ll talk more about that later in this post).
Peppermint Oil, Cloves, Cayenne Pepper & Other Scents
A variety of smells are thought to deter mice. You may even have some of them on hand already in your kitchen or pantry, including cayenne pepper, cloves, and various types of mint (including peppermint oil, mint leaves, etc.). People put these on cotton balls or make sachets and leave them under beds, in cupboards, and in other areas mice and rodents tend to hide.
While this method may make your home smell nice, it is generally not effective against mice, rats, and other pests. After all, rodents are used to living in the outdoors, sewers, and musty attics and basements, so strong smells aren’t usually a big deterrent. They can quickly become desensitized to it.
Irish Spring Soap
Irish Spring Soap is said to be another effective mice deterrent. People shave it using a grater and place the shreds in areas where they’ve seen mice or signs of a mice infestation.
Similar to using mint and other smells, this is only somewhat effective. While they may not like the taste or feeling of the soap, mice eventually learn to avoid it or move onto another area in your home.
Ultrasonic rodent repeller
Ultrasonic repellers are one of the most popular DIY rodent control solutions — and generally the most costly. Most work by emitting a sound that humans can’t hear but apparently pests don’t like.
While these ultrasonic pest repellers are convenient and can be somewhat effective, they have their limitations. For one, they only have a specific range, so they won’t automatically protect your whole house, garage, cabin, etc. Furniture can also interfere with the sound waves, impacting effectiveness. Placement is key.
Of course, because you can’t hear the sound, it’s also difficult to know if it has stopped working or if something is interfering with the signal.
Generally, we’ve seen ultrasonic repellers work only as short-term solutions. They may deter mice for a while, but we often see the mice return or simply move on to another area of the house where the repeller isn’t operating.
Mousetraps & Poisons
There are a variety of different kinds of mousetraps available on the market today, including spring-loaded bar snap traps, live/humane traps, poisons, etc. These traps generally work by attracting the mice using some type of food bait and then preventing their escape.
No matter what type you’re using, these traps are generally considered to be effective in removing pests. However, they’re only effective at capturing individual rodents. Mice, rats, and other pests generally reproduce and grow rapidly, so this type of extermination is not enough to keep up with a growing rodent population or large infestation in the majority of cases.
Keep in mind that, with this method, you’re also left to deal with the aftermath of the trap, which is easier said than done if you’re squeamish. Handling rodents requires precautions and proper sanitation.
Cats are a natural predator of mice and other rodents, so they definitely come in handy for deterring pests in your home. However, despite being cute, loveable, and helpful, cats have their limitations as predators as well.
First off, cats love to bring their kill to you. It’s their way of showing love and appreciation, but it’s usually an unwelcome surprise that you’ll have to deal with! And, as noted above, rodent populations grow quickly, so a large infestation can be too big of a problem for your cat to keep up with.
Plus, cats are a long-term, ongoing responsibility — not a quick fix for pest control. You have to be ready for the commitment of a pet if you’re planning to bring one into your home.
Professional Pest Control
As you can see, most DIY rodent control methods have limited effectiveness. That’s because none of them tackle the problem at the source. When you work with experts, like the team here at K&C Pest Control, we’ll locate where the pests are entering your home and seal those entry points. Without blocking their point of entry, mice are going to continue making their way inside and causing damage to your home.
It’s also important to reiterate that most DIY methods simply can’t deter or eliminate mice at the quick rate they reproduce. Mice breed year-round and a single female can produce up to 10 litters per year. Of course, some of the babies are going to be female and continue to breed, and then those pups will breed, and so on! Theoretically, two mice that sneak into your home could lead to more than 5,000 mice in just one year!
Overall, the DIY mouse control methods we’ve discussed are best when used as preventative measures instead of long-term, ongoing elimination solutions when you’re already dealing with an infestation.
Ultimately, calling in a pest control specialist, like K&C here in the Fox Cities, is going to be the best long-term solution. We’ll find the source of the problem to keep the pests from returning.
If you suspect rodents in your Fox Cities home or business, contact us at 920-582-9000.