Christmas is traditionally the season to be jolly. However, one thing almost certain to burst your festive good cheer is the sight of a mouse rocking around your Christmas tree.
You may have heard the famous saying that around the house, not even a mouse was stirring at Christmas. In fact, at this time of year, you are very likely to hear a mouse stirring. Like everyone else, mice are looking for some nice Christmas presents. And you mightn’t even be aware that you are giving them the very presents that they want!
But if you consider all the food, wrapping paper and heat around your house at Christmas, it’s no wonder that mice want to join you for some festive cheer. Even in this mild winter, these rodents are looking for a cosy nest.
At Christmas, your house is most likely a treasure trove of tasty morsels, including cake, chocolate, biscuits, bread, rice, pasta, cereal and vegetables. And cheese! And the easier it is for mice to nibble on your food, the more mice you’ll attract.
As well as noting that rodent infestations in Ireland have increased by 38% between July and September this year compared to the same period in 2016
Mice are unwelcome intruders in any part of your home. So how can you protect your sanctuary?
Rocking around the Christmas tree
We all like to see a well-lit Christmas tree in our window during these dark winter evenings. The sight of twinkling lights invites us into the warmth inside. However, the tree might also be inviting mice.
First of all, a Christmas tree is like a giant playground for mice. As you may know, mice are able to climb to great heights. They can scurry up a 2m vertical surface if they can get a good grip on it. So your tree is a fun climbing frame for them. They can scramble up the tree and leap from branch to branch to their hearts’ content. The bright flickering lights simply add to the fun.
The tree also serves a more practical purpose for mice. It can be used as a ladder to access other parts of your home. And the sturdier your tree is, the better access it provides.
In addition, the Christmas tree can be a source of food for mice. While you tuck into your turkey and stuffing, mice might be nibbling the pine needles on the tree, or the gift wrapping on the (hopefully!) many presents under the tree. Also, many people like to use edible treats, such as gingerbread men or chocolate coins, as Christmas tree decorations. Your tree could soon turn into a sumptuous treat for your rodent visitors. And that’s before you leave out the cookies and milk for your special guest on Christmas Eve!
Of course, it wouldn’t really be Christmas without the tree. So don’t worry. You don’t have to throw out your tree. A few simple precautions can help reduce your risks of rodent invasion.
Take care regarding where you put your tree. If you place the tree near a door or window, you increase the risk of mice gaining access to your tree.
Try to reduce the temptations for mice. Don’t leave food or scraps near the tree. And clear away any pine needles from around the base.
Have you heard the rumour that peppermint candy canes will prevent mice? Well, unfortunately, it’s just a rumour. So don’t be tempted to sprinkle peppermint around your tree.
Do you still leave your stocking out for Santa? Doing so helps us reconnect with happy childhood Christmas memories. We all remember the excitement of waking up and wondering what might be in our stocking.
One thing you don’t want to find in your Christmas stocking is a mouse! Your stockings might attract mice if they are stuffed with edible goodies such as sweets, biscuits, cakes and so on. In effect, your stocking becomes a feast in a tent for your furry friend.
If you want to continue the tradition of filling Christmas stockings, consider using non-edible gifts instead. If you really want to add food to the stockings, make sure the food is safely stored in a plastic or metal container.
When you sit down to your Christmas dinner, you usually can’t wait to tuck into the savoury food displayed before you. The turkey and ham. The piping hot stuffing. The mashed and roast potatoes. Carrots. Sprouts. Gravy. And then you have to work your way through the tasty treats at dessert!
No matter how hungry you are, there’s a limit to the amount of food you can stuff into yourself. Leftovers are as much a part of Christmas as holly and mistletoe.
Unfortunately, if you’re not careful, those leftovers can then become a banquet for mice. While you snooze in front of a roaring fire, the rodents might be settling down to their own Christmas dinner.
The key when dealing with leftovers is safe storage and disposal. Don’t leave leftovers lying around on plates in the dining room. Store them in airtight containers in your fridge or cupboard. If you don’t plan to use the leftovers, dispose of them safely in a suitable sealed lidded bin.
Pay attention to the tiny scraps of food too. These can be a like a feast for small rodents. Clear away all food debris, and carefully clean all surfaces, utensils and cutlery.
One of the joys of Christmas is turning on the lights on the Christmas tree for the first time. The warm festive glow lets you know that Christmas has officially started.
Unfortunately, Christmas lights might also attract mice. Because mice’s teeth grow so fast, they have to gnaw on things to ensure their teeth don’t grow too big. Electrical wiring is especially effective for this. If mice start gnawing on the wires of your Christmas lights, that festive glow could go out suddenly. More seriously, gnawed electric wires can become a fire hazard.
Try to ensure that mice don’t gain access to your electric wiring systems. Check your plug sockets for any cracks or crevices, and seal if necessary. Pay attention to air vents too. Some wire mesh will prevent mice from using these to gain access to electric wires.
We all love to give and receive Christmas presents. After all, it’s part of the seasonal spirit. It’s a chance to show loved ones how special they are to us.
Unfortunately, your presents may also make mice feel pretty special too! Mice love to gnaw on wrapping paper and cardboard boxes. Also, these provide mice with material for their nests.
Don’t use mice as an excuse to stop giving presents! Simply protect your presents by storing them in plastic lidded boxes. And make sure you clear away all discarded wrapping paper and empty boxes. Don’t leave paper lying around the house. Store it in a lidded recycling bin instead.
We at Rentokil hope you have a merry, pest-free Christmas. If you are concerned about pest problems over the festive season, please contact Rentokil today.