The shed outside your home is welcoming mice inside if you look at it from a mouse’s point of view. There are plenty of holes and cracks to get in and out.
They’re dark and undisturbed by humans most of the time. You’ll often find lots of boxes and cartons to hide and nestle in.
And, there are plenty of insects and leftovers around the yard to feed on. To the mice, the shed outside looks like the perfect place to spend those cold wintery nights.
As winters approach, mice are on the lookout for places where they can stay warm and access a steady supply of food. Most of us seal our homes against pest infestations, yet we don’t do the same for our sheds.
Well, we don’t until a mice infestation hits us smack in our faces.
Here’s how to keep mice out of a shed:
- Clean up your shed
- Use bleach
- Employ natural scents
- Place mothballs
- Hang dryer sheets
- Put out used cat litter
- Block gaps with steel wool
- Get a predator
- Try humane traps
- Call pest control
Once you have a mice infestation in your shed, the quickest solution is to poison and kill them off. This is often necessary because driving out many mice might not be very practical. It’s an unpleasant task, but someone has to do it.
Mice are not dumb creatures, either. They remember traps and baits. And they won’t fall for them once they have figured it out.
This makes it necessary for you to bring in a professional exterminator. So save yourself the hassle by preventing mice from nesting in your shed in the first place.
How do I keep mice out of my shed?
Why let the situation worsen before you even have the chance to take action? As winter draws closer, start preparing your shed, so you don’t leave any reason or means for mice to visit the place.
If you suspect a mouse has somehow gotten in, take immediate action to drive it out. If you don’t, before you know it, one mouse turns into ten. And suddenly, your shed is crawling with hundreds of the little critters.
Here are some things you can do to keep mice out of your sheds.
1. Clean up your shed
If you have a lot of storage boxes, containers, barrels, or cartons stored away in the shed, it might be time to clean up. The piled up junk gives mice dark hiding places.
Here, they can build their nests without having to cross paths with you. Empty containers also provide shelter from the cold winds and temperatures.
This gives the mice a perfect place to stay. Clear away empty, useless boxes to start. Then, throw out the unnecessary junk that might become home to small insects that the mice can also feed on.
2. Use bleach
After clearing away the floor space as much as you can, wash the shed thoroughly. Wipe the floors with bleach and water.
Bleach has an overpowering smell. Not only do the mice hate it, but it also eliminates all odors of mouse urine and droppings.
Urine and droppings attract other mice to the location. They also remind the mouse where they have been before, encouraging them to return.
Mice use their urine to serve as a reminder of where they have been. Their keen olfactory senses help them sniff out places they’ll find shelter and food.
3. Employ natural scents
An effective way of preventing mice is to soak cotton balls in these oils. Or, you can put out pieces of cloves and cayenne pepper in corners of the shed.
When a mouse picks up on the unpleasant smell, it’ll dart off in search of a better-smelling place.
4. Place mothballs
Many people follow the practice of leaving out mothballs to keep mice away from the shed. But, if you do a bit of research, you’ll see that naphthalene does virtually nothing to deter mice. (Contrary to popular belief.)
Mothballs are pieces of fabric soaked in naphthalene. Naphthalene is an active chemical that gives off an overpowering smell.
It can cause dizziness, as well as kidney and liver damage in humans if inhaled excessively. So, whether it’s an effective mouse repellent or not becomes a secondary concern. Its damaging effects on humans become the first.
Studies conducted on naphthalene’s effects on mice are intriguing. Many discovered that it causes lung damage and a breakdown of tissue in the nasal canal.
This is certainly not enough to keep the mouse away. And, it renders other preventative measures useless.
Using scents, for instance, is useless. This is because the mouse can’t pick up on any smells after its nasal tissues become damaged.
5. Hang dryer sheets
Another common remedy people use to get rid of mice is hanging dryer sheets in areas of infestation. The practice carries on without any large evidence of its effectiveness.
While mice do not like the smell of dryer sheets, this method will only work temporarily. The sheets will lose their scent in a few days, warranting replacements.
6. Put out used cat litter
Some people say you should put out a tray of used cat litter in the corner of the shed. While cat litter shouldn’t bother you, mice pick up on the scent because of their powerful nose.
A whiff of cat urine will fool the mouse into thinking that there’s a cat around, and it will run for its life. Cats are one of the most notorious predators of mice, and any sensible mouse would want to steer clear of the space.
7. Block gaps with steel wool
Any scent-based prevention will only work for a while until the mouse is not bothered by the scent. The only practical way to keep mice out is to seal their entry points.
Sealing off any gaps in the shed’s doors and walls is one of the first things you should do to prevent mice.
Mice are quick. They’re also excellent climbers and jumpers. This makes every possible opening accessible to them.
They are also small and can flatten their bodies to squeeze through gaps as small as 0.6 cm. This is why you need to be very vigilant and leave no potential entry points for these creatures.
But, they are excellent chewers too. So whatever you stuff the cracks with, they might be able to chew through it to enter.
Thus, an excellent sealant is steel wool. This material is inexpensive and available at all supermarkets.
It’s also tough to bite through and will irritate the mice’s teeth. This makes it an effective deterrent.
8. Get a predator
You can always keep a house pet that is not very fond of mice, cats being the most obvious choice. Mice are a cat’s favorite game, and it has been observed that mice clear the place within days of a cat’s arrival.
But, cats are a full-time pet. And if you do opt to bring in a cat to deal with the mouse infestation in your shed, make sure to treat the pet well. It is a pet, after all, not a mouse-killing machine.
Other natural predators you can attract to your yard that will expel the mice from your shed are owls. Owls can swoop down and hunt up to 15 mice in a day, making for quick and effortless expulsion of the mice in your shed.
All you have to do is put up an owl house in your yard, and put out food and water, and wait for an owl family to arrive.
9. Try humane traps
Often, people resort to traps and baits to kill mice. In the case of severe infestations, sometimes, it is the only practical option left. But, you are still left to deal with their dead bodies and the awful smell.
If you are not on board with the idea of killing off the mice, you can choose more humane traps. Lure the mice into a container with a scrap of food. Then, trap them in there to later release them out into the wild, or, at the very least, far away from your property.
10. Call pest control
If you don’t want to deal with the problem yourself, call a professional. Professional pest control workers will clear out your shed for you.
This way you never have to lift a finger. Extermination is a fast and easy way to get rid of the problem quickly.
Still, it does not guarantee that there won’t be an infestation in the future. The only way to prevent an infestation is to take measures to block out the mice’s entry points.
Also, do something to deter them from making their home in your shed. Prevention is better than a cure. By taking some of the measures listed above, you can have a mice-free shed all year round.
What animals hunt and eat mice?
Mice are an essential part of the diet of many animals. Namely, cats, foxes, hyenas, owls, eagles, hawks, snakes, etc.
Why do mice appear more around winters?
Mice start sneaking into homes during the winters because they feel cold. Mice hate the cold. As soon as it approaches, they go on the lookout for warm places that they can take shelter in for the season.
Do mice in sheds pose any danger or threat?
House mice are generally harmless to humans. But, they can carry and transmit diseases like hantavirus. This is spread through inhalation or exposure to the rodent’s urine or droppings.
If you use your shed as a workstation, mice can be harmful to your equipment too. Mice are chewers with powerful teeth.
They will chew through everything and anything. Including electrical wiring and the cables and cords of your machines and tools.