6 Plants Attracting Mice to Your Home
These popular plants could be the reason for your pest problem.
As colder weather approaches, you may find yourself daydreaming about cozy nights cuddled up by a crackling fire, roasting marshmallows, and gathering with friends and family for holiday celebrations. However, there's another hallmark of late fall and winter that you're probably less enthusiastic about: mice.
These pests often make their way indoors as the temperature dips, finding cozy spots to curl up—and even breed—inside your home. This may be particularly true if you have certain plant life growing in or around your home—even a potted plant or raised bed may lead mice to view your space as an all-you-can-eat buffet. Read on to discover which plants could cause a mouse infestation in your home, according to pest control experts.
"Some preferred weed species include foxtail, silky bent grass, shepherds' purse, quack grass, and creeping thistle," says Craig Sansig, an associate certified entomologist and service director at Viking Termite and Pest Control, Inc. "It is theorized that their propensity to nibble on wires and other cylindrical items is a behavior that may originate from chewing the stalks of plants to gain access to the seeds above," Sansig adds.
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Whether you have berries growing wild in your yard or a modest strawberry plant on your deck, these tasty fruits can make your property—and by extension, home—smell like a snack to mice.
"Mice in the wild are generally herbivores, which means they eat plants and plant material. They prefer to eat things like fruit," says Nancy Troyano, PhD, a certified entomologist with Ehrlich Pest Control, noting that they particularly enjoy strawberries, and will even eat them before they are ripe. If you've got plants on your property providing plenty of their favorite food, they're likely to seek shelter nearby—like inside your home.
You're not the only one who enjoys that corn you're growing in your garden: mice love it, too.
"Corn and seeds are the main vegetation that will drive mice towards your home. The kernels on a cob of corn are a sweet treat for them to devour," says Sharon Roebuck, owner of Eastside Exterminators.
Tubers and Root Vegetables
While root vegetables and tubers may be tough for you to get out of the ground, they're no match for mice.
"Mice will be attracted to any type of vegetable that grows low to, or in, the ground. These can include potatoes, zucchini, carrots, etc. Since they are in the ground, mice have easy access to them and will make a meal out of your prize vegetables," says Roebuck. If they've got a readily available source of food close to the ground near your home, it won't be long before they're making their way under doors and cracks in your foundation, too.
Pea and Bean Seedlings
Whether they're sprouting in your kitchen or in your greenhouse, those pea and bean seedlings you just planted might as well be a "welcome" sign to mice.
"A mouse can eat the seeds of peas [and] beans that have just been sown and defoliate seedlings by munching on the foliage," says Jordan Foster, a pest management expert with Fantastic Pest Control. "Mice often enter greenhouses in cold weather and destroy many seedlings overnight."
From pine nuts to chestnuts, mice will lay waste to nuts growing on the trees in your yard—and if the branches of any nut trees grow near your home, it may provide mice easy access to your gutters, and eventually, the inside of your house.
"Mice love to feed on nuts because of their seeds," says pest control expert Ryan Smith, owner of Ant and Garden Organic Pest Control. "Seeds and nuts are high in protein, which is why they love it."
Even if you don't have any nut trees on your property, your bird feeder could be drawing mice to your home. "If you have a bird feeder, be aware of mice and rats as they tend to raid it," Smith cautions, noting that mice may be attracted to the seeds or the peanut butter you're using on your bird feeder, or both.