Myth Busting: Rat and Mouse Repellents


Have you ever been taunted by a group of rats and mice mocking your feeble DIY attempts to rid them from your home? Then this is the blog post for you!

There are plenty of myths surrounding which DIY mouse and rat control methods work the best to help drive out your unwelcome house guest (or should I say “pest!”). But how do you know which techniques and products actually work?

DIY mouse repellent - does it work?

Natural Mouse Repellent and Home Remedies

When thinking of natural mouse repellent / home remedies, peppermint, moth balls, and ultrasonic sound waves come to mind – but they don’t actually work… at all!

They may limit your sighting of rodents, but they don’t remove them from your home and/or workplace.

Rats and mice are clever little creatures. They know that it’s a dangerous world out there for an animal of their size, so once they have found a safe haven away from predators and external elements – plus throw in a constant supply of food; they will continue to live in your home – rent free. They would rather put up with ultrasonic sound waves and herbal remedies than risk leaving their very cosy, new home.

Do Mothballs Keep Mice Away?

To put it simply… No.

Mothballs are seen as a DIY mouse control method because they contain naphthalene.

Naphthalene is a pungent smelling white, solid substance. When it is inhaled or consumed it can cause blood cells to lose their oxygen-carrying properties. This is why it was/is believed that moth balls would be an effective rat and mouse repellent.

Mothballs aren't an effective mouse repellent

It is believed that by placing mothballs near a mouse nest you will get rid of your rodent problem. However, this is not the case:

  • The amount of naphthalene found in mothballs is a small dosage. It’s enough to deter moths and other insects, but for mice, this is no problem. The levels of naphthalene needed to repel mice and rats is the same needed for humans. There have often been cases where mice have walked over the mothballs paying no attention to them whatsoever.
  • Even if rats and mice were bothered by the smell from mothballs near their nest entrance they would soon find another. This would be either by fitting through a gap the size of a R5 coin, or gnawing at a surface to create a new passage.

The herbal route: Peppermint Oil

It makes your home smell nice and gets rid of rats and mice… The perfect rat and mouse repellent right? WRONG!

Peppermint isn't an effective mouse repellent

The reason why peppermint oil is assumed to be a good mouse repellent is because in high concentrations, peppermint can be quite strong, and both mice and rats have a very sensitive sense of smell.

Come to think about it, rats and mice live in countless areas – including sewers. If they can put up with the smell coming out from the sewage systems, then peppermint oil must be a dream!

Another reason why peppermint oil isn’t an effective rat and mouse repellent, is down to pure physics. Most gases and fumes, including peppermint aroma, rises. Rats and mice are quite small and stay close to the ground, thus although (if it was possible) in the beginning, the peppermint oil repelled the rodents. But, as it rose upwards, it would no longer be as pungent to them.

Ultrasonic Rodent Repellent devices

There are a few ultrasonic rodent repellent devices available on the market. However, these devices will keep rodents away for a short period of time but they are not the most efficient and best solution to get rid of rats and mice that pester your home.

One of the biggest issues when using an ultrasonic rodent repeller is the placement of the device. These repellers rely on plug sockets to work. If there is no plug point close to where the rodent activity is in your home then the device will be unsuccessful.

As mentioned earlier, mice and rats are quite resilient and adaptable compared to other pests. Much like Naphthalene, it is suggested that the frequency of ultrasonic sound waves needed to successfully repel rats and mice would be strong enough that it would cause damage and harm to humans and pets. Because of this, commercial ultrasonic rodent repellers available don’t emit sound waves of this frequency so that it is safe for human usage.

An ultrasonic mouse repeller may work in the short term until the mouse learns to avoid the area affected by the ultrasonic sound waves, or adapts to the background noise.

Tips for preventing Mice and Rats

When it comes to repelling mice, and rats, the best course of treatment is preventing them before they become a problem.

If you have an existing rat or mouse problem, you should contact a professional as they will be able to successfully manage your pest problem.

DIY Rat and Mouse Control

There are some methods that you can put in place to secure your home and prevent any unwelcome guest from living in your home – rent-free!

Repair your Home

A great way to protect your home and/or workplace from rats and mice is to repair any damages to your home. This will help ensure that you prevent rodents from gaining easy entry to your home. This includes small gaps as mice can fit through gaps the width of a pencil!

A good material to use is sheet metal. Rats and mice can climb, and chew, through almost anything besides sheet metal.

Fill holes and gaps with Steel Wool

Mice and rats are known to gnaw through just about anything, especially if they think food is on the other side. But, there is one thing they can’t chew through… Steel Wool!

Be sure to fill any gaps or holes in your home with steel wool to stops rats and mice from accessing your home. This can be placed anywhere from air vents to hole in your kitchen cupboards.

Keep your Home Clean

Giving your house a good clean will help keep mice away. They have a keen sense of smell so it is imperative to keep food in airtight containers. This will assist in ensuring that they won’t be following the food scent all the way into your home.

How to Catch a Mouse or Rat

As previously mentioned, if you have noticed the warning signs of rats or mice in your home, then you should contact a professional.

If you have spotted one mouse, then it’s family is always somewhere nearby.

However if you are looking to give the DIY mouse control and rat control route a try, here’s a few tips to help get the job done.

The Best Bait For Mice

First of all if you are going to try a catch a mouse you need to know what bait to use.

Do Mice Like Cheese?

Do mice like cheese?

In most cases, when you think of mice, you think of cheese. Did you know that mice aren’t really that passionate about cheese? That’s not to say they won’t eat it, just that they won’t go out of their way to snack on it.

Mice love peanut butter, so that would be your best bet in attracting them!

DIY Mouse Trap

Looking to make a humane mouse trap to solve your rodent problem? Then here’s one you can try out.

Steps: how to make a mouse trap:

  1. Take an empty toilet or paper towel roll tube and place a teaspoon full of peanut butter at one of the ends.
  2. Place the roll on the edge of a surface with the peanut butter end hanging off the edge.
  3. Below the roll, place an empty plastic container with the lid near by.
  4. Wait for the mouse to take the bait…

When the mouse enters the empty roll to help himself to the yummy peanut butter, its body weight will cause the roll to drop and fall into the plastic container. When this has happened, place the lid on the container and set the mouse free in a safe area away from your home.

If you are looking at alternative forms of mouse control products, be sure to follow label instructions carefully and place these products in areas that are out of reach of children and pets.

See more tips to get rid of mice and rats>

Professional Rat and Mouse Control

The reason why it is best advised that you leave taking care of a mouse or rat problem to a professional is due to the skills and knowledge needed in doing so, as well as the time scale.

Since rodents are such clever little critters, this can make relocating them from your home quite challenging.

Rats breed at rapid rates!

In terms of baiting it takes a while for a mouse to accept the product laid down. This is because the item is new and strange to them. Tests carried out on mouse behaviour showed they were far more susceptible to bait laid out in a dirty tray, which they have used before, rather than a new one. This is because they would rather gather food from a location they know is safe.

Meet the #RodentRebels

Follow the adventures of the #RodentRebels and see what they get up to!

Our technicians know exactly how to effectively control a mouse, or rat problem by using specific treatments and products which have been tried and tested in order to make sure your home is completely rodent free.

Need help getting rid of a mouse problem in your home? Contact us on 0861 117 852 or email us.

Want to know more about rats and mice? Follow the #RodentRebels to see what they get up to on their latest adventures.

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