Does Mint Repel Mice?
No one wants mice in or around their home. Mice are a creature that can get into all types of foodstuffs and cause damage to property by gnawing through paper, screens and other objects. But worst of all, they can carry and spread diseases. If you're concerned about using traps or poisons around your home because of their possible danger to children and pets, consider some natural remedies. Herbs, such as peppermint, can be effective in repelling mice and other rodents.
The house mouse, or Mus musculus, lives all over the world. An adult mouse grows to only 3 or 4 inches in length, not including its tail. They have large ears and small black eyes. They are active mostly at night, when they scavenge for food---they will eat almost anything. If you suspect mice, look for their droppings. Small, dark pellets inside cupboards that contain cereal, pasta and rice are a sure indication that mice are present. You might also find a nest: if you do, wear gloves before you move it outdoors.
Cleaning and Prevention
Keeping your living quarters cleaned up and free from loose crumbs and other small pieces of food is important in discouraging mice. Tackle the problem now and do not wait: mice reproduce quickly---in a short time you could have a large population that will be more difficult to control. Mice gain entry through small openings, so search for these and mend screens, plug holes, install door sweeps and keep garbage cans well away from your home. Also, remove pet food bowls after mealtime.
Natural pest controls such as peppermint can be effective in keeping mice away. Although it does not kill mice, peppermint is highly aromatic and mice stay away from it. To use peppermint essential oil, put several drops on rags or cotton balls and then place them in areas where you have seen or suspect mice, such as cupboards, drawers, boxes and attics. The peppermint scent will dissipate in a few days, so continue applying it frequently, until all evidence of mice is gone for several weeks.
Repellent Herbs and Plants
Although peppermint is most commonly used to deter mice, try placing sprigs of fresh spearmint, pennyroyal or other members of the mint family in cupboards and drawers. Other herbs and plants also can be effective in deterring mice. Orange peel or orange essential oil, black pepper, cinnamon and cayenne are said to help when you sprinkle them where mice live. If you plant daffodils, wood hyacinth, allium and camphor plants close to your home, their scents also are unpleasant to mice.
Environmentally friendly exterminators are on the rise. If your mouse problem is too large for you to handle alone, a company that specializes in pest control without toxic poisons might exist in your city. They use devices like glue traps; they seal holes; and use detergent water, vacuum cleaners and low toxicity products like herbs.
Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens" and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to "Big Island Weekly," "Ke Ola" magazine and various websites. She earned her Bachelor of Arts at University of California, Santa Barbara and her Master of Arts from San Jose State University.