The type of mouse that causes problems in homes is ofter referred to as a field mouse. However, if you find a mouse in your house, it is probably actually a deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus) or a house mouse (Mus musculus). A true field mouse is an endangered vole (Microtus pennsylvanicus). House mice and deer mice feed on human food and carry transmittable diseases such as Hantavirus, which is a deadly respiratory disease, and Salmonellosis poisoning. You can rid your home of mice with simple, homemade solutions, but use professional pest control for severe infestations.
Keep food sources away from mice and other rodents, such as rats. Mice have sharp teeth that can chew right through paper, plastic and cardboard, so make sure food in your pantry is stored in mouse-proof containers. Seal garbage cans with tight lids. Pick up any trash that falls around the garbage cans. Store cat or dog food in a sturdy bin with a tight lid, and don't let any uneaten pet food sit out after feeding.
Have a cat or dog for mousing if you have the space for an animal. Do not use poison to kill mice if you have a dog or cat. Your pet could accidentally eat a poisoned mouse and become very sick or die. Attracting birds of prey, such as owls, will also help with a rodent problem. Lure owls to your yard with a nest box for roosting and nesting. You can find nest boxes at garden centers, wild bird stores and on the Internet.
Eliminate hiding places for mice near your home. Mice like to nest in thick weeds, firewood piles, abandoned cars or stored furniture. Check all vents and pipes to the outside, including dryer vents and drain pipes. Cover these vents with quarter-inch hardware cloth. You can buy this metal mesh fabric at hardware and garden stores or on the Internet. Use cement to fill gaps in stone or brick walls. Do not use foam insulation or steel wool because mice can eat through these materials.
Fragrant plants such as peppermint, lavender and bay leaves deter mice. Grow them in your garden, around the perimeter of your house or inside in pots. As an alternative, soak cotton balls in peppermint oil and place them in spots where you have found mouse droppings. Sprinkle dried mint leaves or bay leaves in the kitchen and pantry. Sprigs of dried lavender also will deter mice. Dried onions, if you can tolerate the smell, will discourage mice as well. Avoid substances such as moth balls, which can contain toxic chemicals, and ammonia, which can be harmful to children and pets.