How to get rid of mice in the country and the garden

How to get r >Written by Rentokil Pest Control Ireland

With spring around the corner, people are getting ready to get their gardens into shape. Time to start clearing the deadwood and taking away the last of fallen leaves. But there may also be some unwanted pests lurking beneath the winter debris, especially rats. Because they are experts at hiding, you may not see rodents in the garden, so it’s important to learn how to recognise signs of rats and how to get rid of rats in the garden.

Where do rats live in the garden?

Gardens are a favourite spot for rodents to congregate and settle. The most common garden rodents are rats, mice and voles. Your gardens, no matter how big or small can be a prime location for rodents to inhabit. The downside to this is that rodents can inflict an array of destruction and damages to your backyard.

Ample supplies of discarded food and waste ensure that they won’t go hungry. Your compost pile could become a banquet for these uninvited guests. And the trees, wooden structures and benches, and plastic ornaments give them plenty to chew on.

Unfortunately, a garden also provides plenty of hiding places for rats: behind furniture, in shrubberies, under piles of grass, leaves, or firewood, inside sheds and glasshouses, and under barrels.

Types of garden rodents

There are a handful of different types of rodents that can commonly be found inhabiting your garden, they are:

Sign of rats in garden

Although rodents are experts at hiding themselves, you can spot the signs of rats or signs of mice once you know what you’re looking for. Although rodents are usually nocturnal, you might see some rodent activity during the daytime too, especially if there’s a shortage of food.

Pay particular attention to waste areas in the garden, such as rubbish bins, compost piles, pipes and firewood stacks. You might notice tell-tale signs, such as bite and nibble marks on paper and wood. Perhaps some wooden boxes or old newspapers have been chewed. Or discarded food may have been disturbed.

Rodents will usually burrow their nests anywhere safe that’s also close to the food supply. You might be able to see track marks, such as disturbed grass, from the nest to the food. Rodents are creatures of habit and usually use the same pathways each time when looking for food. Also, watch out for rat droppings or mouse droppings; if they droppings are still moist, it’s a sign that there has been rodent activity in recent hours.

  • Burrows around 6-9 cm in diameter and can be located anywhere that is relatively undisturbed and near to food.
  • Track marks covering walls, banks, hedges and through vegetation. Rats memorise pathways and use the same routes to and from their shelter.
  • Smear marks along stone, wood or metal, such as on steps, fencing and gate posts.
  • Droppings between 15 and 20 mm long, cylindrical, flat at one end and often pointed at the other. They are moist when fresh, but dry within hours.
  • Damage to packaging and barriers, such as doors and fences.

Damage caused by rodents in garden

No one wants to see rats in their garden. From a purely financial point of view, the sight of rodents isn’t going to do any favours to the value of your house! And don’t forget the health risks. Rodents are notorious carriers and spreaders of diseases.

Rodents can also do a lot of physical damage to your garden. Their burrows can cause holes and uneven surfaces in your garden. Wooden fences are particularly vulnerable to the rodent dental attention. Constant rodent gnawing can weaken any wooden structures or containers. Also, they might damage pipes and hoses. A particular danger arises when rodents gnaw any electrical wires or even water pipes. Also, rodents can damage your car.

If you store food or seeds in garden sheds, these are likely to attract the rodents’ attention. They might chew their way through the containers and attack supplies within. Also be aware of the risks posed by leaving pet food unattended in the garden. And if you’re hoping to grow food in your garden, you’ll certainly want to ensure that you’re a not simply raising a crop for rodents to feast on.

How to keep rodents out of a garden

Your aim should be to prevent rodent activity in the first place. Check for any inviting openings in sheds and out-buildings, and seal them up. Remember, mice can squeeze through tiny holes.

  • Eliminate any harbourage points around buildings and sheds. Seal any small gaps that allow them access. Rats need only a height gap of around 15mm to gain entry and mice need 6mm, though normally mice access holes around 20-20mm in diameter.
  • Remove potential nesting places by keeping gardens clean and tidy. Remove piles of wood, garden clippings etc and cut back overgrown areas.
  • Cover any household food waste such as in compost heaps and garbage bins. Make sure lids are closed and garbage bags containing food are not left outside for long periods.
  • Do not scatter bird feed on the ground. Use a bird table or feeder basket to feed birds.

How to get rid of rats in the garden

Be careful if you’re putting down mouse traps or rat traps. Make sure that household pets (or even wandering humans) aren’t likely to stumble into them. Remember that rodents are likely to be suspicious of new items in the garden, so it will take time to traps to have an impact.

If you use toxins, rat bait and poisons, seeks professional advice. These methods can lead to dangers if not used properly.

Rodents are very cunning and opportunistic creatures so sometimes, although all the necessary prevention techniques are used, they still find a way to inhabit your garden. In these instances, your best option is to contact a certified rodent control professional to help deal with your situation. A professional pest control technician has a wide range of skills, knowledge, and expertise at their disposal allowing them to successfully remove any type of rodent from your garden.

Do you have any rodents in your garden? Contact us for immediate advice and assistance from a local expert. We’re here to help.

How to get r >

There are at least 3.5 million urban rats in Britain, and at least two million more lurking in our sewers, accoridng to experts

But gardens also provide a safe place for rodents, giving them shelter and readily available food sources.

While spotting a rat in the garden can be an unpleasant experience and they can damage fruit, vegetables, bulbs, plants, shed doors and wires, they should also be considered a serious health risk.

They are capable of spreading diseases including Leptospirosis – a bacterial infection spread by animals which can cause mild flu-like symptoms.

This can then develop into Weil’s disease, which is Leptospirosis in its most severe form.

Related articles

How to get rid of rats in the garden: Do NOT use poison

Rats are capable of spreading diseases including Leptospirosis – a bacterial infection spread by animals which can cause mild flu-like symptoms

So how can you keep rodents out the garden, and from potentially entering your home?

There are plenty of rodent eliminating products available to buy, but according to Environ Pest Control, you should never use poison.

The site advises: “Rat poison is a highly lethal poison that can kill pets, children and make adults very sick.

“It’s not something that you should use lightly, and far too many preventable pet deaths in the UK are caused by people being irresponsible with rate poison.

How to get rid of rats in the garden: Rats are capable of spreading diseases including Leptospirosis

Common infestations in the home and how to get rid of them

Common infestations in the home from ants to black mould and how to get rid of them.

Mice – If you don’t want to use mousetraps, try using peppermint and cat litter as a deterrent

How to get rid of rats in the garden: Rat poison is a highly lethal poison that can kill pets

“So, even if they feel frustrating at first, be patient and stick to traps.”

For those who want to avoid putting traps out around the garden, pest control company Ehrlich has four tips for steering rats away.

  • You should make sure to seal any small gaps in buildings and sheds which can act as access points. Rates only need half an inch to gain entry.
  • Keep your garden clean and tidy by removing piles of wood and garden clippings and cutting back overgrown areas. These places act as nesting areas for rodents.

How to get rid of rats in the garden: You should make sure to seal any small gaps in buildings

  • Dispose of household food waste properly by keeping it in secure compost heaps and bins. Also avoid leaving out bin bags containing food for too long.
  • Be careful scattering bird feed on the ground as this can attract rats – use a bird table or feeder basket.

Suffering from a mouse problem in your home?

This is how to get rid of mice in the house without using traps or poisons.

How to Get Rid of Field Mice Naturally

How to Get Rid of Field Mice Naturally

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  • 1 Snake-Proof Your Yard
  • 2 Protect Tomato Plants From Rodents
  • 3 Get Rid of Shrews
  • 4 Kill Mice in the Garden

The bad news is that there are no repellents — “natural” or otherwise — scientifically proved to shoo field mice away indefinitely. The good news is that you can combine cultural practices with natural pest management to effectively eliminate the pests without resorting to dangerous chemicals. The key to control is combining sanitation, population reduction and exclusion. You must take charge of your rodent situation before the critters get the chance to homestead and become well-established. Because mice reproduce once every 28 days, you need to move quickly.

Bait wooden mouse snap traps or humane mouse traps with peanut butter. Alternative baits include chocolate candy, gumdrops, dried or fresh fruits and any type of nuts. Cheese is a poor substitute. Traps are the cheapest and most effective tools for getting rid small mouse populations. Don’t skimp — 10 or 12 traps aren’t too many to catch two or three mice in a small garden. Place the traps no further apart than every six feet throughout the garden since mice don’t tend to forage far from home base.

Pull on latex or rubber gloves to avoid rodent disease potential and check traps daily. Empty the kill trap’s dead rodent into a plastic bag. Tie it closed. Drop it into a sealable plastic storage bag. Discard it in the outdoor trash. Empty humane traps according to the packaging instructions. There is a range of trap types and styles, and manufacturer recommendations vary widely.

Encircle small planting areas with ¼-inch hardware cloth about 36 inches wide. While the enclosure only needs to be 12 to 24 inches tall, you must bury about 6 inches of it below the soil level to prevent rodents from digging under it to access your garden. Create hardware cloth cylinders to protect individual plants. Wrap tree trunks with the material to prevent gnawing.

Hang dryer sheets from larger plants throughout your garden. Liquefy garlic cloves in the blender and soak cotton balls in the material, or saturate the cotton balls with camphor, mint oil or ammonia. Place one in every few feet of garden space. Scatter dried or fresh herbs such as mint, lavender or holly leaves on plants throughout the area. Many gardeners believe these home remedies repel mice. Gardening centers sell commercial “natural mouse repellents” that many homeowners feel keep mice away from their lawns and gardens.

Install plants that many gardeners believe mice avoid. Bulbs include daffodils and grape hyacinths. Add some strong-smelling plants such as camphor, alliums, euphorbias, garlic, lavender and mints.

Mulch garden and landscaping plants sparingly if at all. Mice seek out cozy areas with abundant soft materials for nesting. Some of their favorites include grass clippings, leaf mold and straw.

Encourage your cats or dogs to accompany you as you garden. Allow them to patrol the area occasionally at night. The constant presence of cats and dogs make mice nervous and may be enough to convince them to leave the area.

Feed outdoor pets in the morning and pick up their dishes as soon as they’re through. Don’t leave pet foods sitting outside after dusk. Bring water dishes indoors at night to deprive mice of readily available moisture sources. Move bird feeders and baths as far from the gardening area as possible. Repair any outdoor hose, sprinkler or spigot leaks.

Eliminate mouse hiding places on your property. Mow the lawn often to keep grass as short as possible since mice avoid open areas where they can easily become lunch to predators. Relocate stacks of bricks, stones, and firewood as far from the gardening areas as possible. Cut down overgrown areas and trim shrubs and tree limbs well away from ground level. Haul off piles of plant debris as well as any trash or garbage immediately.

Things You Will Need

Wooden mouse snap traps or humane mouse traps

Bait such as peanut butter, chocolate candy, gumdrops, dried or fresh fruits, nuts

5 Simple Ways to Get R >Updated on May 17, 2019

Michael is an author with a passion for the environment and he is trying to save the planet, one reader at a time!

How to Get R >

A single random mouse might seem cute, but if you spot one, there is bound to be an entire horde of mice living in your home. They are known for their vivacious breeding habits. All it takes is just one of these furry critters to get in, and within a matter of weeks, there could be dozens. Once they start nesting, it then becomes an uphill battle trying to get rid of them.

Living with mice isn’t just embarrassing or bothersome, it is a major health hazard. They use their urine as a method of communication. So, as they’re scurrying around your house foraging for food, they are systematically urinating everywhere and spreading disease. Mice also have the tendency to gnaw on wires, which becomes an electrical nightmare.

Personally, a single stray mouse may be cute to me. But, once you start hearing them during the night, flipping and flopping around in your walls, it is definitely time to take action. But I am a lover of all animals, and I just don’t have the heart to kill them. The following are five simple ways to get rid of mice without killing them.

#1 Mouse-Proof Your Home

One of the easiest ways to rid yourself of a rodent infestation is to prevent one before it even has a possibility of happening. Most homes are invaded by rodents during the cold winter months as they find a nice warm place to nest, eat, and have their young. Here is a comprehensive checklist to rodent-proof your house:

  • If you have trees near your home, make sure to trim down branches so they can’t be used as bridges. They will enter through any opening in your roof or attic to get themselves inside your walls.
  • Locate any holes and gaps that mice can squeeze through, and seal it off with something highly durable, such as sheet metal or steel wool. Keep in mind that your average mouse can fit through any opening a little bigger than 1/4 of an inch.
  • Use weather stripping to seal all window frames and doors where it presents easy access.
  • Position your trash cans a good distance from your home.
  • They tend to have their nesting in old storage boxes, the interior of your walls, and anything soft that can be used as bedding for nesting material. I’ve even seen a few nest in an old stuffed animal in the garage. Clean out any vulnerable areas where they can bed down.

If one mouse is a spark. then ten thousand are a conflagration.

— Carmen Agra Deedy

#2 Use Scents That Are Mouse Repellent

A smell that mice absolutely hate includes garlic and spicy scents such as cayenne pepper. Your best bet would probably be peppermint. Mice have a sharp sense of smell, so implementing these certain odors at key points in your home will deter their presence. Acquire some peppermint oil and cotton balls.

Simply soak some of the cotton balls and place them strategically where you suspect their activity. The great thing about using these aromas is that it’s all natural and safer for household pets and children. Additionally, they won’t do any harm to them.

However, it is prudent to keep in mind, mice are smart and can easily circumvent these measures. So, it is important to supplement this tactic with other tactics, such as sealing up your home, nice and tight.

Have you ever personally killed a mouse?

#3 Keep Your Home as Clean as Possible

Rodents love a house that is in an unsanitary condition. Clear the clutter from around your house, especially in your garage, attic, and closets. Keep as much of your food as possible in airtight glass or tin containers.

You should also switch to metal containers for your trash; your garbage is their endless buffet. The average adult mouse can survive on just a few grams of food per day, so a few scraps or crumbs of food is all they really need to get by.

#4 Using Non-Lethal Mouse Traps

A more humane alternative to traditional snapping rat traps and toxic glue traps are the non-lethal traps. They’re used to catch them without incurring harm to the mice. The majority of these traps are bait-based traps, luring them into an enclosure that makes it impossible for them to climb back out. As far as bait goes, mice have a bit of a sweet tooth.

Using cookie crumbs, some chocolate, or even peanut butter will do nicely to entice them. The best place to lay the traps are around areas where they frequent, areas with droppings and signs of rodent activity. This catch and release method is only viable if you don’t already have a full blown mice infestation on your hands.

Plus, when you plan to release them, make sure you travel a minimum of half a mile from your home, or else they just come straight back. This approach takes a more considerable amount of effort instead of using poison.

#5 Lining Certain Areas of Your Home with Aluminum Foil

This may sound unconventional, but aluminum foil is like kryptonite to mice. There’s something about it that is unnatural to them, and they steer clear of it. Although foil is a great deterrent for them, it really isn’t too practical to have it strewn about everywhere.

Lay down foil where you feel the highest concentration of activity is present. So obviously wrapping certain foods that are left out would be ideal protection from the mice nibbling and contaminating your leftovers.

Interesting Facts About Mice

  • There are at least 30 known species.
  • They possess an acute sense of smell and excellent hearing but have poor eyesight. They are nocturnal by nature and thus are most active at night.
  • As a pet, a mouse is most content having at least one other mouse to keep it company.
  • Females are capable of giving birth to litters of up to 15 at a time, after being only two months mature.
  • After delivering a litter, they are able to get pregnant again just after 48 hours time.
  • In Zambia, they are eaten as a rich source of protein and considered a delicacy.
  • They are very social animals and communicate using different sets of squeaks and their urine.
  • They can eat up to 25 times a day, thus they usually live near available food sources.
  • They can be quite athletic, capable of climbing, swimming, and even jumping upwards of up to two feet.
  • When they are in the wild, they can eat almost anything they come across.

Please feel free to share this article with friends and your social network!

  • People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals “Is There a Humane Way to Get Rid of Mice and Rats?” 2012
  • “How to Get Rid of Mice” 2015
  • Earthkind “Proven Best Ways for Getting Rid of Mice Naturally” 2017
  • New York Department of Health “Mouse Control” 2017

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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Annette McClain

I love cats . No issues when cats are around. Also a pet snake that would eat mice helps if the cat caught one . Snake had an extra treat. They gross rodents.

Mike W

Best deterrent is cats..I have 3 and no mouse dares to enter lol

Mice do not enjoy the smell of cat urine!!

I myself do not believe in killing any animal including mice..

They feel pain just like us.

Just some psycho

Think about it this way if I stomp on a mouse and it dies I didn’t kill it, I caused the boot to move giving the mouse injuries which killed it.

Also if u can’t kill mice have someone else do it who isn’t so squeamish


Great trap, going to make one!


Good read. I found I have mice in my attic. I think because I leave the side-garage door open for the dog to go in and out.

Sophia Vargas

Thank you so much for the advice but my parents are gonna kill the rat in

my garage and I’m so so so so so sad like you said I am a true lover of animals

and don’t have the heart to kill them my parents Are just being mean just because my mom does not like mice doesn’t mean they have to kill it i’m so sad I’m sorry I told you this but I really had to tell you I’m so sorry if I made you cry but I really really really need to tell you


I’m scared I will release it and it will be poisoned. I might keep it as a pet and purchase a friend for it from the pet store

Liz Elias

17 months ago from Oakley, CA

Great idea! I, too, hate killing any animals, and this is a great alternative. We once had a problem with a squirrel, so we got a live humane trap, and released the critter a good mile away from our home, in an open area.

When my kids were young, we lived in an old house, and we had an awful problem with mice at first. Then, we got a cat who turned out to be a good mouser.

I even felt bad for the mice then, so I taught the cat to run into the bathroom (which had no escape points), when he caught a mouse. After half an hour or so, we let the cat out, and there was no sign a mouse had been anywhere near.

It didn’t take too long before the mice seemed to ‘get the word,’ “Oh, a cat lives here: stay away!”

Here, we have never had an issue, possibly because we have multiple cats. 😉

But, I like your DIY solution; it’s very clever.


What is the green stuff , put out to kill mice.

And is it harmful to people?


Awesome article. Ive done the steelwool trick where I’ve found them entering under a bathroom cabinet. and then roommates got a cat. Quiet after 2 monthes. I also, not really humane, got thick sticky traps that Ive only found in Lucky’s. put a peice of chocolate or bbq chip stuck right in the middle. and they lure in less than a week.

Chuck Bluestein

2 years ago from Morristown, AZ, USA

This is a great article. Very good video that you added to it. I had a lot of mice coming into my third floor apartment. They were coming in with the pipes that went from the basement to my stove/oven. So I taped up all the places in stove that they could get into my apartment and never had a mouse again. So the most important thing is to mouse proof the home.

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