6 Things in Your Garage That Are Bringing Mice to Your Home
Ridding your parking area of this could also help get rid of rodents.
By design, your home's garage is supposed to house your car and protect it from the elements. But as many homeowners know, it also tends to become an extra storage wing, trash receptacle area, workshop, and everything in between. Unfortunately, while it may feel like a harmless place to stash certain things out of the way, some of them could be inviting mice into your garage—and even into your home—simply by having them around. Read on to see what items you should be ditching from your parking area.
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Piles of clutter
It can be hard to resist the temptation to use your garage space as storage overflow, but creating chaotic piles—especially along walls or in corners—lays the right conditions for mice and other rodents to move right in. Even if you're not the type to keep odds and ends where you park your car, keep in mind that useful seasonal items such as outdoor furniture cushions, patio umbrellas, or pool toys can also create an inviting home for pests.
If you can't avoid turning your garage into storage space, you may want to consider upgrading the hardware you're using. "Mice are great at playing hide and seek," Peter McDonald, partner at lawn care and pest control company The Turf Doctor, tells Best Life. "If you have a garage with things all over the floor, chances are mice will use this to their advantage to take refuge in one of your cardboard boxes. Use sealed containers and organization bins to keep items together in one place. The more floor space you have, the fewer hiding places there are!"
Pet food or birdseed
It's your duty as a pet owner to keep your furry or feathered friends well-fed. Unfortunately, if your garage doubles as a dining room for your four-legged friends or as a storage area for your birdfeeder supply, you could unintentionally be setting up a buffet for mice and other rodents, too.
The best way to keep pests out of your pet food is always to store it in a sealable, durable plastic container. Experts such as Jill Sandy, a gardener and founder of Constant Delights, also suggest keeping pet food indoors to help keep it from luring in unwanted animals. "The safest place to store pet food is on a high shelf in the pantry or the refrigerator, where it can't be exposed to the outdoors," she says.
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There's nothing that can take the bite out of cold winter weather like a crackling fire. But while storing your logs in your garage might seem like a convenient way to keep your fuel dry and nearby, it's also a major draw for mice.
"There are two main reasons why firewood piles attract mice: shelter and food," says remote veterinarian Jonathan Roberts, BVSC. "Firewood provides a protective and well-insulated area for mice to make nests, and there is an ample supply of food from the insects and bugs that are natural inhabitants of the firewood."
Even if it's not actually in your garage, you should still also avoid the temptation to store your firewood right outside your house. Instead, pest control expert Ryan Smith recommends storing your firewood at least 30 feet away from your home, keeping it covered with a tarp, and elevating it by using pallets or a short rack.
Food or trash in your car
Besides tidying up around the house, keeping your vehicle clean inside and out presents a whole other set of chores to add to your to-do list. And while making sure to vacuum up those stray fries and leftover snacks might make your car look a lot neater, it can also help keep from inviting mice into your garage.
"It's unnecessary to make it easier for mice to find food; they are exceptional at finding it," warns Jordan Foster, pest management expert at Fantastic Pest Control. He says even something as minuscule as a forgotten ketchup packet from a fast-food run can lure mice to your car. Of course, this means you should be wary of keeping stockpiles of snacks for the road in your trunk, glove compartment, or back seat.
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A rarely used vehicle
The pandemic has certainly changed how often we go out in public, especially for those who no longer need to commute to an office every day. But even if this means you're saving a ton on gas money and reducing harmful emissions, leaving your vehicle just sitting in your garage could be allowing mice to turn your ride into their residence.
If you realize your vehicle is staying put more often these days, experts suggest parking it in a well-lit area. Foster says rodents don't like bright lights, so they're likely to avoid your car if it's near them. You can also ward them off by putting down dryer sheets throughout the interior if you know you won't be driving for a while. According to John Burkhauser, certified master technician and director of education at Bolt on Technology, the scent will help repel the pests while having the bonus of making your vehicle smell fresh and clean.
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Garages may feel like a convenient and appropriate place to store all the items necessary for keeping your yard looking fantastic. But unfortunately, items such as grass seed or bags of mulch can be all too alluring for mice and other pests, which can use them as a place to hide out or as a food source. Instead, consider keeping your excess gardening materials in a dedicated shed, storing them on a shelf in sealed hard plastic tubs, or only purchasing as much as you know you'll need at the beginning of each season.
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