Advanced: Treating Rodent Infestations
Rodents may be cute in pictures, but having to confront them in your home and on your property can be a nuisance. Mice and squirrels are the two most common types of rodents that invade personal and yard space. Mice chew through insulation and wiring, carry fleas and diseases, and contaminate food with their feces. Because they breed so easily, one mouse today may mean a dozen within a few weeks. Squirrels are a garden’s worse nightmare. They snack on seedlings, berries, fruits, vegetables, and will dig up flowers just for the heck of it!
Though traps have been the common method for catching and getting ride of mice in the past, animal-rights proponents have raised objections. If you do not want to use traps, another method for treating mice is poisonous baits. These are usually sold in the form of pellets, making it easy for mice to chew up when they come across it. Poisonous baits are not the best solution if you have cats or dogs in the house, as they can be susceptible to the harmful chemicals.
Speaking of cats, if you’ve ever considered getting one, now might be the best time. Cats are the traditional adversaries of mice. Additionally, you can set up a live trap for mice with a cage. This will allow you to capture the mice alive and unharmed. You can then release them or take them to a pet store that can use them as food for other animals. If you release mice back into your yard, be sure all entry points into your house are sealed as they may find their way back in! This can easily be done by inserting steel wool into small holes or patch holes in inside or outside walls.
PETA suggests treating mice with a natural deterrent such as mixing together salad oil with horseradish, garlic, and a big dose of cayenne pepper. Let it sit for several days, then put it in a spray bottle to use in mice-infested areas.
Squirrels that attack the garden and bird feeders can be dealt with in a number of ways, as well. Bury orange and lemon rinds just under the surface of the soil – they will discourage the squirrels from digging.
Sprinkle garlic power or cayenne pepper around your spring flowers to keep them away. If you notice success, you may want to plant several cloves of garlic in and around various parts of your garden. And like the live traps for mice, you can also try to set up a squirrel trap and then release them in the wild or take it to your nearest ASPCA.
As a precaution, keep a first aid kit near any traps related to rodents in case you accidentally scratch yourself on wires or when chasing after them!