Why Are There Acorns in My Garage?

By Chris Williams on October 15, 2015.

I was cleaning out my garage on Saturday and found a pile of what looks like acorns and pieces of pine cones in the back of an old file drawer. Does this mean a mouse is nesting there?

D. F., Revere, MA

The mouse may not be nesting in the drawer, but it is probably nesting somewhere nearby. Mice often hoard food and store their food “caches” in various voids and hidden places, often in wall voids, in furniture, behind kick plates, or in back corners of drawers. The food store is usually within 10 feet of a mouse’s nest.


Deer Mice Will Store Hidden Food in Your Home

Because of the material in your found hoard, I suspect it’s the work of a deer mouse. [Note: The deer mouse and the white-footed mouse are both closely-related Peromyscus species and the term “deer mouse” can refer to either one.] Although deer mice are common outside, they may move inside. They tend to bring their food in from outside though, and sometimes lots of it. They will collect and store acorns, beech nuts, and the scales (seeds) from pine and spruce trees.

Most people wouldn’t even notice that the mice nesting in their house or garage might be deer mice instead of house mice as expected. In recent years, deer mice have become more and more common as indoor pests in our region.


Deer Mice Aren’t the Only Hoarders

House mice hoard food too, but it is more likely to be dry pet food, bird seed, or people food that they have gathered. And, it’s not just mice that will hoard food in hidden places. Rats and squirrels will also hoard food. The red squirrel, especially, likes to have a food pile (usually in an attic) but his collection consists of pine cones and seeds from conifer trees such as spruces, firs, pines, or hemlocks. Since your hoard was in a drawer, it’s more likely to be the work of a mouse.

Give Colonial Pest a call. In fall, mice tend to move inside, looking for a warmer place to nest. Our technicians are busy inspecting homes for mice and setting up mouse control programs for customers. Besides getting rid of your mouse residents, we can make structural repairs and seal openings as part of our mouse exclusion program that is guaranteed to keep mice out.


For more on deer mice and their hoarding capabilities, check out these Colonial blogs:



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