Protecting your stockpile from rodents can seem like a never-ending battle – especially when you appear to be losing the war. Not only is it essential that we keep our stockpiled preps out of the paws and mouths of rodents now, but especially after the actual SHTF event.
If a mouse gets into your sleeping bags and piles of folded blankets, all that will be left is fabric full of holes and peppered with nasty disease-ridden mice droppings.
Taking the welcome sign down in your basement, shed, or garage survival gear and long-term food storage areas might be a lot less complicated and expensive than you think.
Not only can mice easily chew through cardboard and Mylar storage containers, but a determined little rodent (especially a rat) can also eventually chew through plastic storage tubs, as well.
Unless you have deep enough pockets to purchase enough metal containers to store all of your preps, taking several of the actions detailed below will be your best defense against rodents.
How to Keep Rodents out of Your Preps
Method #1: Diatomaceous Earth
Mice, spiders, slugs, moles, flying insects, rabbits, voles, and rats that eat diatomaceous earth (DE) or get it coated onto their bodies will soon die painfully. DE causes dehydration in insects and rodents.
Thankfully, diatomaceous earth is not generally considered harmful to either domestic pets or livestock. Actually, copious amounts of farmers and homesteaders (myself included) use DE mixed into daily feed rations as a natural dewormer.
Simply sprinkle some DE around or near your stockpiled preps, and/or mix it into bait being used in conventional traps. To build a better mousetrap (so to speak), mix the diatomaceous earth with some of the most pungent essential oils in your apothecary stash to ward off pests even more effectively.
Clove oil, balsam fir oil, tea tree oil, and peppermint essential oil are highly recommended for this purpose. You can also mix some cayenne pepper in with the DE to deter rodents of all types – they hate both the smell and the taste.
Method #2: DE Mice Away Spray Recipe
You can squirt this rodent deterrent spray on the storage containers holding your valuable preps, and in parts of the storage areas where mice and other pests are likely to garner entry or set up housekeeping.
• ⅛ of a cup of water
• 1 cup of diatomaceous earth
• 4 drops each of peppermint and lemon essential oil
- Pour the water and essential oils into a squirt bottle or standing container that can be placed where you want in the storage area.
- Stir the mixture completely to combine.
- Mix in the diatomaceous earth. Keep stirring until the DE has mostly dissolved and has become moist.
In addition to squirting (if the mixture turns out thin enough) or placing a container of it near your peps, you can also dump the rodent repellent right inside their homes – if you are lucky enough to find the hole or hill where the pest is living.
Once the DE mixture has lost its potency, pour in just enough water to moisten it again and add more essential oils.
Method #3: Rodent Be Gone Sachets
- Mix together cayenne pepper, catnip, whole cloves, and mint in equal amounts.
- Place the mixture in little sachet bags or cheesecloth tied in a bunch at the top.
- Add in approximately 5 drops of peppermint oil.
- Shake the back or work the oil around the dry ingredients with a spoon or through the bag with your fingers.
- Place the sachets in areas of the preps stockpile where rodents have been spotted or would likely find entry, as well as inside non-food storage containers.
Method #4: Cotton Ball Barriers
This rodent-thwarting trick works really well, but the cotton balls will need to be replaced about once a week when they lose their potency.
- Soak cotton balls in pungent essential oils (like the ones already noted above), and place them in areas of the survival gear and long-term food storage areas, around entryways inside your home, and under beds.
- To better deter flying pests, soak a scrap piece of cotton or cheesecloth in the essential oils and hang it above and near your preps.
Method #5: Kitty Cat Rodent Stopper
I don’t know about you, but only once in my life have I ever been inside a home where a cat lived, and not been able to smell it. Unlike dogs, the scent of cat urine is quite lingering, no matter how neat and clean of a litter box you keep. That ammonia-like smell is hard to miss by both humans and mice – rats.
- Place filled litter boxes in several places around your survival stockpiles.
- Pour in two cups of ammonia to mimic the smell of cat urine.
- When the smell starts to dissipate in about a week, pour in another two cups of ammonia.
- Replace the cat litter about once a month with fresh, and repeat the steps above.
- You can also use just plain kitty litter to deter mice around your preps and your home, but the ammonia does make this rodent-thwarting prep more successful.
Method #6: Peppermint and Alcohol
We humans (and horses) may believe peppermint smells yummy, but a mouse or rat would beg to differ on the subject.
Mix together 2 teaspoons of peppermint essential oil for every 1 cup of either vodka or rubbing alcohol used to make this pest eradication spray.
Spray around or even on your preps (both vodka and rubbing alcohol have disinfectant properties) to curtail pest infestations. Spraying scrap cloth or cotton balls with the solution and placing them in prime pest areas can also be highly beneficial.
Method #7: Mothball Mania
- Place ½ of a cup of mothballs in a bag, and crunch them all up with a mallet or hammer.
- Carefully put every last scrap of crushed mothball inside a squirt bottle.
- Add in 1 tablespoon of Blue Dawn liquid dish soap.
- 2 drops of either peppermint essential oil or tea tree essential oil.
- Fill the squirt bottle all the way up with water. Squirt the spray on stockpiled preps, in areas where rodents have been spotted in the past, or on cotton balls that are placed where needed to deter a pest infestation.
Items the mothball spray has been squirted on will need to be treated about every 14 days, as the scent loses its potency and dissipates.
Method #8: Cedar Chips
Mice and rats in particular hate the smell of cedar chips. Fill several three or five-gallon buckets with cedar chips and place them around your vital survival gear and long-term storage food to better protect the items from a rodent invasion.
Method #9: Aluminum Foil
Wrapping your fabric, cardboard, and similar fairly soft-sided preps in aluminum foil may help keep mice and rats away as well. They loathe the taste and pain which comes from chewing and ingesting the foil – as well as the sound it makes when they walk, crawl, or slither over it.
Remember, rodents are always looking for a way to enter your home as the temperature turns colder. Preventing the pests from gaining entry to your harm can be far less difficult than trying to get them out.
Seal of any cracks or small holes with caulk and/or steel wool. Use a draft stopper under entry doors to help keep out both cold air and common little pest heck bent on the destruction of anything they deem edible.
Tara Dodrill is a homesteading and survival journalist and author. She lives on a small ranch with her family in Appalachia. She has been both a host and frequent guest on preparedness radio shows. In addition to the publication of her first book, ‘Power Grid Down: How to Prepare, Survive, and Thrive after the Lights go Out’, Dodrill also travels to offer prepping tips and hands-on training and survival camps and expos.