How to Naturally Deter Mice, Rats & Moles

Mice, rats and moles can cause all sorts of problems for homeowners. Mice and rats may contaminate food, chew through wires, and leave your home smelling foul. Moles may tear up your lawn and eat your plants. Many homeowners would rather not use chemical deterrents because they can be harmful, particularly to pets and children. Fortunately, there are ways to naturally deter mice, rats and moles.

Moles can make a mess of your manicured yard.


Step 1

Practice good sanitation and food storage. Mice are able to survive on minute amounts of food, which means good sanitation and diligent food storage alone are insufficient to get rid of mice completely. Nevertheless, these practices will help to deter mice. Clean up crumbs and spills, double-bag trash and take it out frequently, and seal all food containers tightly.

Step 2

Seal all cracks leading to the outside that are 1/4 inch or larger. To accomplish this, consider installing weatherstripping around your doors and windows, and applying caulk to the cracks in your foundation.

Step 3

Place mouse traps around your home. Traps are generally preferable to chemicals because they are less hazardous to children and pets. Traps are available at most home supply stores and include snap traps, multiple catch traps and glue boards.


Step 1

Seal entrance points. Rats can squeeze through openings 1/2 inch wide. Look around your home for openings and seal them with caulk or heavy-gauge metal mesh. Keep in mind that rats are excellent climbers and may be entering your home under the eaves of your roof. Moreover, rats can burrow; thus, you should keep an eye out for holes in the soil around your home.

Step 2

Place rat snap traps around your home. Rat snap traps, available at most home supply stores, are similar to common mouse traps but bigger. You can bait rat snap traps with peanut butter.

Step 3

Dispose of the rat carcass: Once you have caught a rat, dispose of the carcass in a double bag while wearing gloves to protect yourself from infections.


Step 1

Locate the molehill (a conical mound of dirt).

Step 2

Poke the soil around the molehill with a long stick. When the stick suddenly drops 2 inches, you have located the mole tunnel.

Step 3

Dig a hole to the mole tunnel and set up a mole trap. Once the trap is set, repair the tunnel so that no daylight will be visible to the mole. Consider using a piece of cardboard covered by dirt. Note that mole traps are commonly sold at home and garden stores and include harpoon, choker loop, grip traps.

Step 4

Check the trap once every 24 hours. When you have caught the mole, dispose of it or release it far from your home.

Step 5

Build a metal fence around your property. A metal fence that is buried at least 4 inches into the ground will deter mole foraging activity. A metal fence that is buried at least 30 inches may eliminate mole travel all together.

Thomas King

Thomas King is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law where he served as managing editor of the "Pittsburgh Journal of Environmental and Public Health Law." He currently lives in Aberdeen, Washington where he writes and practices law.