How to Keep the Mice Out of the Stockpile

Have you ever bought a huge bag of flour and stored it in the attic or spare room thinking it would be safe there? Did you go back a few months later and find the bag torn to pieces by rats or mice? If so, then you can readily understand why it is so important to guard your stockpile from mice and rats.

No matter how much you spend on edibles and non-edibles, rest assured that just a few rodents can destroy your supplies in a very short period of time. Typically, to guard everything from candles to herbs, water, food, and even books, you will need a comprehensive plan that includes, at a minimum, the following seven elements.

Avoid Damp or Swampy Storage Places

Rodents are like any other animal in the sense that they need food and water to survive. When it comes to choosing an area, they will always gravitate towards swampy or moist areas. Therefore, you should avoid these places as much as possible when it comes to stockpiling.

Aside from that fact that excess moisture tends to be destructive when stockpiling, you will have fewer, and smaller sized rodents to deal with when your supplies are located on higher, and drier grounds.

In fact, even if there is a dark, damp area in your home that doesn’t seem to attract mice or rats, it is possible they may pass through without your noticing them. Once they smell food or anything else they consider edible, you will become overwhelmed by them and lose all your supplies.

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Keep the Area Clean and Free of Food/Water Smells

The kitchen is one area of your home where rats and mice will gravitate. Since these animals can detect even trace scents of food and water, it is very important to make sure your stockpile remains air tight and clean. This will prevent scents from traveling by air, and also make it easier to cover any traces with other odors that act as deterrents to rodents.

It is also very important to keep the stockpile area free of dust, debris, and anything else that rodents may find useful. For example, piles of newspaper left out can serve as nesting material, while dust and mildew can alert rodents to areas that are quiet and relatively undisturbed. Once they feel safe in an area, they will set up housekeeping very quickly and start multiplying.

Maintain a Constant Presence in the Storage Area

Even though an occasional mouse or rat may be foolish enough to wander into your well-occupied kitchen, they will usually leave as soon as they realize there is too much going on. In a similar way, when you move bins around or disrupt your storage area in other ways, mice will quickly vacate.  As a rule, you should move things around at least once to twice a week while cleaning and carrying out other tasks.

Use Peppermint and Spearmint as a Deterrent


There are certain smells that rodents hate. This includes peppermint and spearmint which irritate their nasal passages.

Simply grow heavy layers of these herbs around the storage area, and also place dried leaves in among the bins.

If you are vigilant about replacing the leaves twice a week, the odor will remain strong enough to act as a deterrent and also help mask the odor of food and water.

Store Everything in Chew Proof Bins

Contrary to popular belief, wood or plastic bins serve as very little deterrent to rodents. They will actually use chewed bits of wood for nesting, and also quickly work their way through plastic. Typically, metal, cement, or cinder block bins are the only ones that rodents cannot chew through.

Metal ammo storage containers work well, and are also inexpensive. You can also solder together metal from tin cans or use sheet metal to construct your own bins. Just be sure to create a tight fitting lid that rodents cannot lift or push to make a hole for entrance.

Keep and Maintain Traps

As common as it may sound, a few simple spring traps work wonders when it comes to getting rid of vermin in a storage area. You can modify the traps by attaching nail boards on the top metal bar so that you have a better chance of catching rodents of different sizes with the same trap.

You should also have one or two larger animal traps on hand just in case conventional rat traps are not large enough for unwanted rodents. Regardless of the trap type, be very careful when setting them, and never let your hands or other body parts get near the trap’s path of motion.


Use peanut butter or flour to attract rodents to the trap, and place them along the wall. Since fairly large rodents may encounter the traps, it is also important to secure the traps to the floor. When traps are set, you should inspect them at least once each morning.

If there are live rodents in the trap, dispatch them with a hammer. This ensures the rodent will not escape and is also more humane than letting the rodent linger for hours on end.

Keep a Few Cats

Survivopedia Stockpile RodentsIf you are going to use traps in the room where you keep stockpiled foods, do not let cats (or other animals, children, etc) into the area where the traps are located.

That said, there is no harm in letting 4 – 6 cats roam outside the storage area.

Aside from keeping mice and rats further away, cats will also go after rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, moles, and just about anything else that might take an interest in your food stores.

Keep a Steel Rod Handy

When you have things stored that are edible or useful to rats or mice, never assume that the area is free of these animals. Even if you do not see animal droppings and you faithfully follow the steps above, it is still possible for rodents to nest.

Unfortunately, it takes only one bit from an infected rodent to cause serious illness or death. Before you stick your hand in a bin, or walk around a corner, use a steel rod to investigate the area and see if anything moves.

Since rats can easily grow to 15 inches in length under the right conditions, it always pays to have a 2 – 3 foot rod on hand to bash it with. Needless to say, if you have a gun available, it will not hurt to have one loaded and ready when you approach your stockpile.

Some Things That Won’t Work in a Disaster

As you read through this list, you may be wondering why poisons and sonic deterrent systems are not included. In a disaster scenario you will already be at a higher risk of contracting diseases. The last thing you want to do is have poisoned mice laying around and acting as a breeding ground for bacteria and other pathogens.

With regard to sonic deterrent systems, they will only work if they have sufficient power. Therefore, if you have no electricity, they will be worthless. By the same token, rodent traps that kill by electrocution will also be useless without power.

When you put money aside each week to build up survival supplies, you may not realize how vulnerable these items are to mice and rats. While deterring and getting rid of rodents is not especially difficult, you will still need to take specific actions on a routine basis and take care to store your supplies correctly. At the very least, these eight methods are tried and true ones that can be used effectively in the field for as long as needed.

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by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia