Christmas is a time for giving and sharing, a time when families get together and celebrate a special holiday. This Christmas, however, you might be sharing your home with somebody other than your estranged uncle, or your 4th cousin twice removed…….Mice!
There is nothing more amazing to a rodent than the festive season. It is not only us humans that love the decorations, presents and food – mice enjoy these things just as much as we do.
For most people, setting up the Christmas tree marks the start of the holiday season, and no home celebrating Christmas is complete without one.
However, Christmas trees also provide mice with a fantastic place to invade. But why?
Mice are amazing climbers, and jumpers. Christmas trees provide mice with a giant jungle gym, allowing them to climb to their hearts content.
Mice climbing on my Christmas tree that can’t be that bad, right? WRONG!
Since mice are keen explorers, they always find new and creative ways of finding a home. Depending on the size and location of your Christmas tree, a mouse could use this to quickly and quietly gain access to other areas of your home (unless you have a lot of bells on your tree! Maybe bells could be a good mouse prevention technique?).
Mice are omnivious, and because they aren’t really all that fussy about their food, they will eat almost anything. However, they are known to have a bit of a sweet tooth and are attracted to foods with sugary proteins.
Food decorations on your Christmas tree will be very appealing to mice. Many people like to decorate their trees with a variety of different ornaments such as baubles and tinsels. However, some prefer to decorate trees using chocolate, candy canes, gingerbread men and popcorn; all of which mice will find very hard to resist!
Using food to decorate your tree is like opening up a free buffet if you have a mouse infestation on your hands. If you were thinking of opting for the edible route, you could be feeding more than your creative baking hobby this Christmas!
Mice just love it when you decorate your Christmas tree with sweet treats!
You might be thinking that if peppermint oil helps deter mice, then decorating your Christmas tree with peppermint candy canes will deter them? Well, think again.
The idea of peppermint oil being a natural way of getting rid of mice is a myth as it doesn’t actually work. You’re much better off following the proper mice prevention techniques to keep mice away from your Christmas Tree.
When you think of Christmas, images of Christmas stockings also come to mind. But did you know that Christmas stockings can also come in handy for mice?
Mice can use them to access areas they couldn’t access before. Depending on where you have placed the Christmas stockings, they can act as a ladder that allows mice to gain entry to other areas of your home.
Hanging Christmas stockings from your mantelpiece can be a bit of problem if mice are around, especially if the cookies you have laid out for Father Christmas are sitting there.
Leaving out cookies for Father Christmas, or do you mean, “mouse Christmas”…?
A popular stocking filler is sweets and chocolate, two types of food which mice love, especially if peanut butter is involved. This makes your stocking very attractive to mice.
As the holiday season arrives, the air is infused with the rich aromas of cookies and other delicious baked Christmas treats.
Unfortunately, this not only gets our taste buds going, but also those of mice! As you already know, mice have a bit of a sweet tooth, so baked treats are high on their radar.
One thing we all love about Christmas is the amount of food we indulge in.. and so do mice!
There are usually leftovers at Christmas; whether it’s your famous lamb roast, or your special gammon dish, there is always plenty of food to go around.
However, leftovers also provide mice with an opportunity for a midnight snack.
Leaving food out can turn your home into a giant magnet for mice, so be sure to seal food in containers that furry nuisances can’t access!
As mice need to constantly gnaw to keep their incisors down, they can cause electrical fires!
Apart from the illnesses that rodents spread, mice can also cause quite a lot of damage to your home by constantly gnawing on things.
Unlike our teeth, a mouse’s teeth never stop growing. Because of this, mice have to continually grind them down to stop them from overgrowing. You can often find them gnawing on cardboard boxes, paper and even wiring.
The problem with mice gnawing on wires is the negative effect it has on your property. It can lead to power cuts and even electrical fires!
Having mice in your home during Christmas can make your house vulnerable. Their need to constantly chew and gnaw on things could lead to a) your Christmas lights not working and b) a electrical fire in your house.
Outside lights can also be a bit of a hazard. If the power socket for your outside Christmas lights are located inside your home mice can easily find a way into your home through the cable routing which, you could call, a hot wire into your home!
Mice just love presents! Wrapping paper is the perfect material to build nests with!
Another thing about Christmas which everyone loves is presents, whether from Father Christmas or your loved ones. Mice also love presents, but not for the same reasons as you and I.
Presents, and in particular wrapping paper and cardboard boxes, provide mice with materials and areas to build nests with, not to mention something to gnaw on.
Best ways to get rid of mice at Christmas
If you are worried about receiving more than presents this Christmas, there are a few things you can do to help deter mice. The best way to get rid of mice is to prevent them from entering your home in the first place.
1. Mouse Control
Mice control is something you can do yourself, although it is suggested that you enlist the help of a professional pest controller to make sure it is thoroughly carried out.
By following a few simple mouse control tips, you can help reduce the risk of mice spoiling your Christmas.
2. Remove sources of food
One thing that makes your home so attractive to mice is the constant, and easily accessible supply of food. One thing we all love about Christmas is the amount of food we indulge in, and mice are no exception.
You can exercise mouse control this Christmas by:
Storing leftovers and sugary treats in plastic or metal air tight containers; this helps keep away the alluring, delicious, smells, and prevent your food from being contaminated
Cleaning up any and all food debris from crumbs to food spillage
Emptying bins regularly and ensure lids are kept on at all times.
3. Seal points of entry
All a mouse needs to gain entry into your home is a hole the width of a pencil. The last thing you want at Christmas is to find mice crawling around the presents underneath your Christmas tree!
You can control mice this Christmas by:
Sealing any entry points such as cable and pipe routing with expanding foam
Sealing cracks and crevices around windows and doors with sealant
Using wire mesh to cover air vents
Installing bristle strips underneath doors
4. Repair Damages
Damages to the structure of your home also provide mice with easy access to your home. Even if a hole isn’t big enough for them to fit through, they will gnaw at the edges until it is.
Regularly checking the exterior of your home for any damages and repairing if necessary can go a long way in getting rid of mice before they decide to take over your home. Don’t forget to pay close attention to doors, windows, and roof tiles as these are prime rodent entrance points.
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Nicole Maritz is an Online Marketing Executive at Rentokil Initial in Johannesburg. Although she is in love with nature and its elements, the creepy crawlies do sometimes get to her - especially Jo'burg's repulsively large, hissing Parktown Prawns! Follow Nicole on Twitter for updates on the weird and the wonderful.