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How to Keep Mice Out of Your Shed

a shed in a backyard that is infested with mice

Outdoor sheds are great sheltered places to store lawn care tools, empty pots and other gardening items. But, when your shed starts functioning as a warm, protected shelter for mice, it’s time to intervene. The first step is learning how to keep mice out of your shed. Then, you can take decisive measures to keep your property, including your shed, free of these rodents.

Mice are drawn to sheds, garages and other structures for the same reasons as rats and other wild animals. They are seeking shelter, which means a good place to nest and breed. In warmer months, mice might live quite happily outdoors. But, during the colder months of the year, adequate food and warm shelter are both in short supply. Fall and winter are when mice are most likely to move into your shed and other structures on your property. That said, they breed year-round and are also opportunistic, which means they could get in at any time of year. This is why both deterring and preventing them from entering your shed is important.

Keeping mice from entering any structure involves removing the things mice are looking for when they enter. People’s homes often provide mice with access to food and water as well as warmth and shelter.

You can take the followings steps to make your home and shed less appealing to mice:

  • keep your kitchen tidy to ensure there are no crumbs for mice to eat;
  • store people and pet food in containers with tight lids and use materials mice can’t chew through, such as metal;
  • fix any water leaks and remove sources of standing water;
  • keep compost and garbage stored in containers with tightly fitting lids so mice can’t rely on them for food;
  • clear any clutter that mice could use as shelter, such as leaf piles and empty boxes and
  • only feed your pets as much food as they need and clear away any spilled food.

Another important part of keeping rodents out includes sealing up potential entry points. Mice are small, and they are capable of squeezing through tiny spaces—holes as small as the size of a dime to be exact. For this reason, if you’re dealing with mice anywhere in or around your home, you should be on the lookout. Are there any holes or gaps, even tiny ones, around the eaves, doors, windows or vents? Any openings should be closed off with wire mesh, caulk or other means that are strong enough to keep mice out, given these creatures’ sharp teeth which are adapted to nearly-constant gnawing. Well-fitting screens on doors and windows are also helpful. If your door or window screens have tears or gaps in them, these should be repaired or replaced to keep mice out.

If you think mice are living in your shed or elsewhere on your property, it’s smart to make sure you’ve properly identified your particular problem. Without proper expertise, it can be difficult to figure out if mice or rats are living on your property. While these pests may seem similar, some control tactics work better on rats than they do on mice and vice versa.

A primary sign of mouse activity is finding their droppings. Mouse feces are small, dark-brown or black pellets with pointed ends. At around a quarter-inch long and a few millimeters wide, mouse droppings are smaller than rat droppings. Rat droppings are both longer and thicker as well as blunter at the ends.

Along with mouse droppings, other signs of mice include the following:

  • Nesting materials, such as leaves, twigs or shredded paper or insulation.
  • Gnaw marks on door frames, cabinets, rafters or beams, baseboards, drywall or PVC piping.
  • Squeaking or scratching sounds coming from within the walls or ceiling. Your pets might hear noises better than you will, so pay attention to your pet’s behavior if you notice your dog suddenly fixated on a wall.
  • Actual mouse sightings, whether live or dead. Mice are much smaller than rats and are a light brown to dusky gray color.  They are about five to seven inches long in total, with their tails making up most of that length. Their tails can grow to be three to four inches long. If rodents die inside your walls or in your attic, you may notice a smell before you have any visual evidence of a problem.

If you think you have mice in your shed, you might try setting out a few traps. But, it’s important to know that trapping mice without proper expertise can be difficult. And, only setting out a few traps likely will only slow population growth. Mice breed quickly, and an infestation can grow out of control if your only tactic is a few traps. Pest management specialists have proven methods for addressing a mouse infestation and know the best foods to put in a mouse trap.

Or, if you think you have a pest problem but you aren’t certain what pest you’re dealing with, it’s a good idea to contact a specialist. These professionals will be able to identify the creatures and determine the best approach to controlling the pests. They can also assist with pest-proofing your home and property, and conducting follow-up inspections to make sure these uninvited guests don’t return in the future.

If you’re dealing with a mouse problem, you likely have other questions. Keep reading and we’ll answer common questions, like can cats get rabies from mice? And, can mice swim?

a cat hunting a mouse which makes the cat owner wonder if cats can get rabies from mice

Can Cats Get Rabies From Mice?

Historically, cats have served as natural predators of mice. Many people know that there are forms of wildlife that can carry rabies, but many aren’t sure about mice. The short answer is that mice don’t pose a big rabies risk to cats. This is because smaller rodents and wild animals are rarely carriers of rabies.

That said, mice do carry other dangerous diseases that they could pass along to your furry family member. Some of these diseases could even then be passed along from your cat to you. Mice can infect cats with leptospirosis and toxoplasmosis. Neither of these diseases is usually harmful to cats themselves. But, cats infected with these diseases can make humans sick who come into contact with the cat or its litter. Mice can also pass illnesses, like the plague, to cats. Additionally, mice can pass parasites on to cats, such as roundworms. Both of these parasites can make your cat ill.

Mice can also have ticks and fleas that they can pass along to cats and other pets. Then, your pets can bring these pests indoors. Many indoor flea infestations begin with wild mice that are infested with fleas. Then, the fleas transfer to indoor-outdoor cats when the cats chase and catch the mice. Fleas can pose big problems for both cats and people. Some cats are allergic to flea bites, and most people find their bites to be itchy and annoying. Fleas and ticks can both carry serious diseases that can make people and their pets sick.

For all these reasons, it’s important to take measures to keep these pests away from your home and property. It’s best if cats and wild mice don’t come into contact in the first place. If your cat does catch and kill a mouse or rat, it’s not just risky for your cat; it can also make a big mess. Be sure to use bleach and wear protective gloves when cleaning up the carcass. This can protect you from any diseases the rodent might have carried.

a mouse nibbling on food

Can Mice Swim?

If you’ve ever seen a mouse scale a wall or walk along a high-up beam, you know these rodents are natural athletes with excellent balancing skills. They can climb up nearly any vertical surface, as long as it’s not perfectly smooth. Mice need only a bit of texture to be able to grip on with their tiny toes and climb. This helps explain how mice end up in attics. They can even jump many times their own height into the air. But how do they fare in water? Can mice swim?

Scientific research has actually shown that mice can, indeed, swim, but they don’t like it. They can swim for several minutes at a time, but it is far from their preferred method of travel. They much prefer to walk, run, climb and jump, and well away from humans watching. This is why mice are so good at staying hidden. Mice are nocturnal, and their innate fear of humans makes them stick to their hiding spots during the day.

This is why figuring out where mice are entering your shed, garage or home is such an important part of getting rid of pests. It can be tough to find all the little gaps and holes they might be using to invade your property. Enlisting the help of a professional is a smart move. Wildlife control specialists have the training to know where to look for evidence of mouse activity. They also know common hiding places and access points. Most people find that trying to deal with mice on their own is frustrating, time-consuming and ultimately fruitless. A professional can save you time and trouble in the effort to get rid of a pest infestation.

ABC Can Keep Mice Out of Your Shed, Garage and Home

Don’t let a mouse problem grow out of control. At ABC Home & Commercial Services, we create comprehensive rodent control plans. We will strategically set traps and remove all unwanted rodents. We even offer ongoing pest control, so you can have further peace of mind.

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