Mice: Q & A
By Chris Williams on October 19, 2010.
Q. I’ve heard that there’s a connection between feeding birds outside and mice. What’s that all about?
A. It’s true. If you have bird feeders outside and you don’t diligently clean up spilled and scattered seed, you will probably eventually have mice move in to the area to take advantage of the free food. Mice feed on many different kinds of foods, and seeds, especially sunflower seeds, are one of their favorites.
To help deter mice, install bird feeders away from the house. Mount them on a pole or hang them in such a manner than mice (and squirrels) can’t get to the feeder. Bird feeders should have a catch tray beneath to hold spilled seed. Some will end up scattered on the ground anyway. Try to clean spilled seed from the area under feeders regularly. Keep firewood, stacked boards, mulch piles, and other stored materials away from the bird feeders since they provide nearby nest sites for mice.
By feeding birds you can also contribute to mice inside your house if you’re not careful about how you store the bird seed. If they can, mice will chew into a bag of bird seed. They carry the seed away and hoard it in their nest sites or inside wall voids. Keep bird seed stored in a glass or metal container with a tight-fitting lid (mice can chew into plastic), or store the bag in a refrigerator or freezer.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t feed our feathered friends. Just be aware that mice enjoy the seed as much as the birds. Make sure your home is mouse-proofed as much as possible to keep mice from getting inside. They can enter through very small openings. If you can stick a wooden pencil under your door or into the space around a pipe, a mouse could probably squeeze through. Screen vents, install door sweeps, and caulk gaps around foundations, vents, window A/C units, soffits, utility conduits, etc. Call Colonial if you need help keeping mice out or controlling them on your property.