I highly recommend that you get into the habit of keeping your food in sturdy containers. I have gathered sturdy 2, 4 and 5-gallon buckets for FREE from restaurants and bakeries here in town. These containers are normally thrown away. I think it is worth the time and effort it takes to collect, clean and get your family in the habit using them. This is a FREE solution to mice and insect invasions.
Cold snaps remind me that I have to be ready for a mouse or two or three. Fortunately, I have never had more than three mice in one winter. Maybe it is because neighbor cats like to hang out in my yard.
For the past couple weeks, I have been cleaning shelves and making sure all my pantry goods are containerized. It is so much easier to clean up mouse droppings if a mouse was hunting for food that it never found.
When I am cleaning the shelves is the easiest time to sort foods by expiration date. Thanks to my annual mouse-in-the-house problem, I rarely have more than a weeks worth of meals to make with pantry items that have expired best-by dates. Before I forget, I move them to the kitchen counter to make sure I use right away.
A friend in Nuevo said that mice can chew through plastic buckets. She has to keep her food in metal containers, but she has to deal with a lot more critters than I do.
If you haven’t been visited by a mouse, beware that they will try to enter through your dryer vent and that they can enter through a hole the size of a dime! They will try to make a nest in the oven insulation because it makes a warm and cozy nest. Oven insulation is expensive. Replacing it is a big chore I want to avoid. My solution is to hang out in my kitchen about an hour after my family has gone to bed so I can listen for an intruder. If I have a mouse, I usually know within minutes. I also make sure to use my oven after a cold snap to discourage nesting.
I found a very easy to make mouse trap on YouTube. It is made with a 5-gallon bucket. Because it is hard for a 12-year-old to make money in this economy, my son asked me not to post a link on how to make them. He makes and sell them. Please leave a comment if you would like to buy one.
During the blistering heat of the summer the ants invade my home. Fortunately, they just hang out at the sink, unless there are crumbs to snack on. They probably sent scouts to the pantry, and found nothing but the containers. Every year I try to thwart the ant invasion and haven’t found a great solution. So far the best solution has been to keep sugar water in a pie pan outside where they are entering the house. They leave me alone until I forget to give them water. I keep sealing my home where they enter, but keep finding new ways in.
MICE IN OUTDOOR STORAGE
Years ago I originally started collecting buckets to store finished compost and to use for growing plants. After I discovered mice had made nests in the shed, I moved all potential nesting material into buckets. Those buckets are exposed to high heat during the summer, but are holding up better than buckets in direct sunlight.
From personal experience, I know a bucket can sit in full sunshine for about 3 years before the plastic becomes brittle enough to crack. If I want buckets to last longer I shield the plastic from sunlight. A cardboard skirt around the bucket is the simplest FREE solution.