Hi I'm Tricia an organic gardener. I grow organically for a healthy and safe food supply, for a clean and sustainable environment, for an enjoyable and rewarding experience.
Mickey Mouse is cute but mice around your home can ruin food for humans, livestock and pets. They can chew through wires that can cause fires, they carry diseases like salmonella and hanta virus and they're really reckless in your garden and will eat your tomatoes and squash. If you have mice you'll see gnawing damage tracks and droppings, you might hear a scratching and squeaking at night, a musty odor can also indicate that mice are present, you may even find a nest which is usually made out of shredded paper or some other fibrous material.
There's quite a few things that you can do to prevent mice from becoming a problem around your home. Seal up or caulk any small holes that are in your walls, mice can fit through holes the size of a dime and rats can fit through holes the size of a quarter you may have to put some metal around your doors and windows to prevent the mice from chewing through. Reduce the number of small secluded places that mice will nest in and keep seeds and food in sealed containers preferably in metal or glass. Galvanized steel containers are great for pet and livestock food. For seeds use either a glass jar with a rubber gasket or a seed tin like this one. Don't free feed your pets, feed them in a dish and then pick up the dish and remove the food that they haven't eaten. I know that's not always practical for outdoor cats or chickens but try to feed them just as much as they'll eat in one day. Obviously you can't remove the food source from your vegetable garden but you can spray something like this Ropel, you don't spray it on the plants you spray it on your raised beds or your fences.
Good sanitation habits won't clean up an infestation of mice but poor sanitation habits will surely attract mice to your environment and it'll be very difficult to get rid of them if you don't clean up. Once you have mice you can use biological controls like dogs and cats or you can use mechanical controls like traps or chemical controls like baits. If you decide to get a cat or dog for control get a breed known for its hunting ability the best mousers among the cat breeds are American short hairs, one in three pounces is a kill, for dog fanciers Jack Russell Terriers are tenacious "rater's". Traps are preferred over baits because they won't harm your kids, your pets or any other wildlife and you don't have to worry about the rat or the mouse coming into your house and dying within your walls and creating a terrible stench. A couple of good options are this multiple catch mouse trap which can hold up to thirty mice and is a live capture trap also the Raticator Plus electrocutes rats and mice quickly killing the rodent with the minimum of pain or suffering. To trap mice effectively think like a mouse they like to travel along walls they don't go very far from their nest and they like small dark enclosed areas. Place your trap where you see the most mouse evidence such as droppings make sure the trigger is perpendicular to the wall so the mouse doesn't have to climb over the trap to get to the bait you can also place the traps end to end with the triggers facing out. Mice love seeds and fatty foods so some good lures would be seeds, bacon, cheese, peanut butter, raisins and gumdrops If you want to increase your chances of trapping a mouse or rat you can fool them bait the trap but don't set it wait for them to take the bait and then bait it again and set it the second time and don't be afraid of putting out too many traps the more traps you have out the more mice you'll catch put them out in areas of high mice activity or traffic and make sure and put them about ten feet apart. For severe infestations there are poison baits that can be used as a last resort but only in out buildings or barns don't use them in the house. This Agrid3 bait is OMRI listed and is basically concentrated vitamin D it has a very low risk of secondary poisoning but if you have children or pets you need to be extra cautious to make sure that children pets or other wildlife don't get to the bait it's probably best to put it inside a bait station like this. To place the bait station make sure that the openings are parallel with the wall and then supply the bait for fifteen days and don't let the bait get stale. If you're infestation is out of your control I suggest that you hire a professional exterminator. So get rid of your mice and rats and grow organic for life