Mice in a woodsy vacation rental

15 Replies

I am currently preparing our vacation home in Vermont near Mount Snow to accept vacation rentals. The thing about a house in a heavily wooded area is that there is a never ending stream of mice looking to get in. I know how we handle this issue in our own house, but that requires us to occasionally dispose of a dead mouse, something a vacationer is not going to want to do. 

We don't live close enough to set traps and dispose of mice ourselves, is there some legitimate way to permanently deter mice from entering other than a team of cats? 

I would hope that someone that wants to vacation in a woodsy area would not be put off by seeing mouse traps, whether there are dead mice in them or not. I would be more put off if I saw a live one scurrying around and no traps in sight. This summer we rented a cabin in the woods. Several traps around the house and one with a dead mouse. We discarded the mouse and reset the trap. We let the owner know, but not because it bothered us.  Those that would complain about that shouldn't be in the woods.

Have the traps in discreet areas and have your housekeepers check them every time they turn the house, disposing/replacing as necessary.  Also, speak to your pest control company about ways to proactively discourage them from entering the house, if possible.

I agree with @Matthew Paul

One of my rentals is a 3 story house with 4 baths, it's 2 blocks away from my "Official" job.  There is a vacant lot next door.  I place a bunch of bait in the lot and use a 10 pump pellet gun to shoot whatever pests show up to eat the bait.  I do this when my "Official" job is slow.  I think I'm up to 15 pigeons, 8 squirrels, 20 starlings, and a whole bunch of sparrows.

All my properties sit on land with woods , I even get mice in my house , I use traps and poison , it keeps them in check 

Thanks, I never thought of it that way, but it is true that mice are a fact of life out here, and also true having lived in the city that there are worse things than a dead field mouse.

Mice are mostly nocturnal.  Tell them you have a large snake that eats rodents, and that you'll release it in their house at night and pick it up in the morning if you can find it. 

First, make sure you're not contributing to the problem.  One year we discovered that mice were in our "private" closet, eating boxed and bagged food, while nesting in some towels.  Some plastic boxes fixed that problem.  We also bought one of those Pesticator repellers, so we'll see what happens this winter.

We have a similar issue here in South Florida but with lizards and other native species. I add the following language to my listing so there are no surprises. I'm sure you can do something similar:

LIVING IN THE TROPICS: When accepting this agreement, the tenants confirm that they understand that the home is in a tropical and hot weather location and that occasional wildlife and insects not ordinarily seen in other climates may be on property. Tenants also understand that the weather is unpredictable and owners will not refund rents due to inclement weather.

@Lee L. a trick we use in our motorhome (which sits empty a lot of the time - especially in the winter) is to place Bounce dryer sheets in drawers and cabinets. The mice don't like the smell. Renters shouldn't mind encountering those (and absolutely - a few discreetly placed traps). However, please allow housekeepers to just throw out any traps with dead mice. Traps are so cheap... don't make them "handle" the little bodies. 

I second the use of Bounce fabric softener sheets and the ultrasonic repellant devices.  Press steel wool  into even the tiniest of openings, then cover with spackle.  The mice cannot chew through the steel wool.  Scatter the poison bait blocks behind refrigerators, under stoves and in the crawl space of your rental (anywhere kids and pets cannot get to).  Be sure to vacuum out your kitchen drawers and shelves for tell tale signs of mice during deep cleaning of your unit.  Any food should be packed away in tins or thick plastic containers.

Guys and Gals, please don't use poison for mice/rats. Here are a few reasons:

1. If/when a poisoned mouse crawls away and is eaten by a predator in a distressed state, it can also kill the predator that would otherwise help control your problem.

2. The poisoned mouse/rat can die in your walls or crawlspace (possibly somewhere inaccessible) and smell horrible for quite a while. 

3. Poison can be eaten by our favorite pets. It happened to my Golden Retriever. 

I've used the strategies others have mentioned with success:

Ultrasonic repellant devices (spaced every 20' or so if you can)

Bounce fabric softener sheets

Steel wool and/or expanding foam in every crack and crevice that makes sense.

If your cleaners aren't arriving right away, you will need someone to do a "check out" procedure after guests leave, to make sure the trash is immediately taken out, and no food of any kind is present, wipe countertops, etc.