Friday, March 11, 2011

Natural Critter Repellents

Our old farmhouse is a haven for many critters.  Most are fine with us but ants in the cat food and mice in the kitchen do not work.  We both feel deep compassion for all creatures and so looked for some good natural repellents and methods to rid our home of these seeking souls.

Two nights after our move we discovered the mouse problem through lack of sleep due to crazed cats. We set up some live traps, and eliminated some access points (though certainly not all; mice are amazingly tiny!).

Jennifer researched online and found mice are not fans of peppermint.  Having peppermint essential oil on hand, we cut little pieces of scrap foam and put a dropper or two of the oil on them.  We then placed these squares in the mouses' favorite kitchen cabinets... 

and drawers.  Since we've taken this step we've seen/noticed ZERO mice in the cabinets.  We refresh the scent every now and again and so besides repelling the mice, we are enjoying minty fresh cabinets!

Just recently little ants started marching into our kitchen and raiding the cat bowl.  Jennifer had to dump a whole bowl of new cat food, which is a costly action, so we searched for another natural repellent.  Many are referenced, including vinegar, but we chose to try cinnamon.

Jennifer watched the ants and found their point of entry, which is something we need to take care of in the long term but in the short term a line of cinnamon worked perfectly.  The ants left in the room were completely repelled by the cinnamon and we're scooped up on a piece of paper and moved outdoors.  We'll see!  So far this really beats snap traps and poisons in the home.


  1. I will be buying peppermint today. I tried the cinnamon. Ants kept coming. I encircled a group. they preferred to go where the cinnamon was light, but pretty quickly crossed the trail even though I has left an opening. We've found that it is impossible to close up all the holes in an old house but we keep trying too.

  2. Hi J&S..I wish those little door mice or kangaroo mice don't know exactly what they are called, wheren't so cute : }}
    BUT, they can be a bother for sure.
    Peppermint is worth a try!!
    I read in a garden magazine that growing mint next to the foundation of your house would keep away ants..didnt' work for me, but it sure did smell good when it got crushed!!
    Ants are the worst to get rid of...good luck with that!!

  3. I too have used the cinnamon barrier with some success, but they often go around it somehow. I had to resort to Terro traps. It is a boric acid bait. Better than poison chemicals though. I love the peppermint idea. At least you can keep them out of the food areas that way.

  4. Hi Jennifer and Steve! This may sound crazy, but I read it somewhere and it really works...peel a cucumber and either lay the skin strips or stuff them in the crack if you can find it. We had them streaming in a hole in the poorly made window casing in our bedroom last year in our old house, tried this and it really worked! They didn't like the cucumbers and didn't come back. We kept waiting for them to find another way in, but they never did. Nothing like natural critter control! ~Vonnie, NH

  5. The cinnamon didn't work for us, but hopefully you'll have continued success with it! I think I'll try the cucumber method and see if that helps. Our ants just started to return last week. Pesky little things. . .

    That's great about your mice repellent!


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