6 Things that Attract Mice

Updated: Jul. 16, 2024

Surprisingly, cheese is not on the list!

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Grey Rat Near Wooden Wall On Floor
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Mice are one of the most dangerous houseguests. They can carry numerous diseases and can cause property damage as they burrow through your home. In order to keep them away from you, your loved ones and your house, it’s critical to understand what draws them in. Here are six common things that attract mice, as well as tips on how to prevent mouse infestations.

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Open Cabinet Full Of Groceries In A Modern Kitchen
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Favorite Foods

Contrary to popular belief, mice are not that interested in cheese. However, they love peanut butter, chocolate, bacon and even hazelnut spread, according to Insider magazine. Suburban Pest also cites berries, pet food, nuts, meat and grains as common mouse favorites.

These foods are even more likely to attract mice if you leave them unsecured in your pantry. Therefore, to prevent a mouse infestation, keep all foods—including pet foods—correctly stored in airtight containers. Additionally, a sprinkle of peppermint oil can help keep mice away without contaminating your food.

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Close Up Shot Of Mouse Peeking Out Of The Dusty Hole Behind White Furniture And Under Copper Pipe
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Suburban Pest warns homeowners that mice are particularly adept at detecting warmth. When temperatures start to drop, they move towards any openings in walls that let off heat. Particular favorite warm nesting spots for mice include hot water heaters and even ovens; check these locations often for pests and set up a bait station, if you’d like.

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Excess Debris

Mice love to burrow to build their nests. As such, they need nest materials, such as those found in attics, garages or trash rooms. Mice will especially enjoy burrowing in old newspapers, cotton, wood, feathers and boxes. Declutter your house and take out the trash regularly to keep mice at bay.

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Mouse Nose Pokes Through A Hole In The Wall
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Nooks and Crannies

Michelle Niedermeier of the Pennsylvania Integrated Pest Management Program tells Popular Science, “if you can stick a regular old pencil in a hole, a mouse can get through.” This is because the mouse’s widest point, its skull, is still only about a pencil’s width, she explains: “If their head can get through, the rest of their body can get through as well.”

Be aware any holes in your house’s exterior that are wider than a pencil. Fill them immediately, paying special attention to areas around entryways, pipes and electrical wiring.

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Rat In A Grass Field
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Tall Weeds

While the most common types of mice don’t love to eat tall grasses, they do use them for shelter. Piles of leaves and other yard debris can obscure the rodents, limiting detection. As such, be sure to clear your yard of debris frequently, especially during autumn as leaves pile up around the exterior of your house.

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Messy Car Seats
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Undisturbed Cars

Finally, mice can search for food, water and shelter inside your car, whether it’s parked in the driveway or in a garage. Cars that have lots of trash inside, such as food wrappers, are even more appealing. To deter the unwanted passengers, clean your car’s interior frequently. Using it often and performing routine mouse checks doesn’t hurt either.