Your garden and lawn can become a magnet for mice looking for a place to nest and feast. This may not seem like a major problem until winter cold hits and the rodents decide to try moving into your warmer home or garage. The following tips can help you manage a rodent problem in your garden area.
Tip #1: Cover Your Compost
A compost pile can be a major attractant for a mouse. The warmer temperature in a properly working pile can provide the means for an inviting home, while the food that hasn't yet broken down supplies the feast. While frequent turning of the pile will discourage rodents, it won't get rid of them completely. If you have mice in the pile, consider moving the pile to an enclosed bin, such as a compost turner or a trash-can style compost bin. These may not keep the mice out completely, but it will make it harder for them to get access.
Tip #2: Keep It Clean
Fallen leaves, dead grass, or piles of dead brush all provide a hiding place for mice in the yard. Clean up the yard and get rid of any collected waste materials. Keep mulch layers thin, as well, since deep drifts of mulch can provide an optimum nesting site for rodents. Dispose of garden thinnings each time you prune and trim your plants, and pull up dead plants immediately.
Tip #3: Try Some Commercial Traps
Poison bait stations aren't really recommended for mice. Outdoors, the rodents may eat the bait and then become food for other animals, which leads to a poisoning of the dog, cat, or other predator that fed on the mouse. Traps are a better option. Classic spring traps baited with peanut butter are an inexpensive option. Place these in areas where the mice are known to congregate, such as around favorite vegetable feasting grounds. Humane traps are also an option, but you will need a safe place to release them that won't be a nuisance to others.
Tip #4: Build a Better Mousetrap
If spring traps aren't an option, such as if you have young children in the yard, a bucket trap might work better. These traps consist of a bucket filled with water. There is then a wire or thick rope stretched across the top of the bucket to create a bridge, finished with a can or other cylinder slid over the wire. The peanut butter bait is smeared on the can. You can bury the bucket so the top is flush with the ground, or you can provide a wooden ramp to the top of the bucket. When a mouse steps from the wire to the can, it will spin and dump the mouse in the water, drowning it.
For more help with your mouse problem, contact a mice control service.