As the temperatures drop it’s natural to see any manner of unexpected creepy crawly guests try to make their way into your home. And can you blame them? It’s so cozy in there, and you have all those holiday leftovers! The kitchen is often a hot spot because of all the crumbs and discarded food laying around, so be sure to keep your pantry goods off the floor, the counters clear, and the trash as tidy as you can. But I recently learned there’s another place you should check for an unwelcome furry friend: your oven.
Mice, like the rest of us in the winter, are simply looking for a place to stay warm, and even an oven that’s turned off can radiate the heat that mice may seek. My sibling Lenny Wellen learned this firsthand when baking a pavlova. “It was probably the most beautiful thing I’ve ever made visually,” they tell me. “The most valuable thing I ever made sitting on my stove and all of a sudden, climbing out from the burner, I see the mouse, and I scream, ‘no!’ and he dove straight back into the stove again.”
Instantly vengeance was the only thing on their mind. “I knew what I had to do, I had to set him on fire!” Lenny says. “So I broiled that baby, and I turned the oven as high as it would go hoping that I would smell a cooked mouse later that night.”
While it sounds gruesome, it’s not an entirely off-track strategy. According to Hunker, if you think a mouse is actively in your stove or oven, cranking up the heat can be a way of smoking them out. The article suggests laying down traps around the perimeter of the oven and plugging any visible holes for escape.
And there are other, less dramatic preventative measures you can take as well. The most natural mouse repellent is peppermint oil, because mice find the smell overwhelming and confusing, writes Ariel Knutson of Kitchn. Knutson suggests using 100% peppermint oil and dabbing it on cotton balls to place around your home and near possible entry points. You can also create your own concoction with two teaspoons of oil for every cup of water and spray it wherever the mice might be. An added bonus: your kitchen will smell like Christmas all year round.
The best thing to do, according to pest control company Terminix, is keep your stove and oven as clean as possible. While mice may come for the heat, they stay for the snacks. Lenny certainly won’t forget that any time soon. “I will never leave anything on the stove ever again,” they say. “And any time I do, I know it’s an offering for the mouse.”