Mice and other rodents can quickly interrupt a peaceful night sitting by the fire. They might not be able to hurt you, but that jump scare gets me every time. I had a mouse run up my arm a few years ago gathering wood and I still think about it every time I walk up to a stack of firewood. That brings up a very common question. Do wood piles attract mice?
Yes, wood piles will attract mice, but there are ways to deter them from invading the pile. An uncovered wood pile provides shelter, water, and an unlimited supply of food. Your small stack of firewood is the perfect habitat for a friendly neighborhood mouse.
What if I hate mice and want to get rid of them before they invade my home? Getting rid of mice is more of an artform than a guaranteed science. Keep reading to find out how I stop mice from nesting in my wood pile. It’s probably easier than you thought!
Why Do Wood Piles Attract Mice?
Wood piles make are the perfect shelter for rodents. A seldom used pile keeps them safe from predators. Provides an unlimited supply of insects and grubs to eat and there’s usually pooling water to drink. It’s easy to see why rodents love to call wood piles home.
So how do you keep mice out of your wood pile? That’s kind of a tricky question, because there’s no single right answer. All you can do is make the wood less cozy and hope for the best. You can usually get rid of mice without resorting to poison.
Keeping Mice Out Of Your Wood Pile
Unfortunately, getting mice out of a wood pile is easier said than done. It will be much harder to drive them out once they’ve established a nest. It’s not impossible, but keeping them out in the first place is a much easier solution. I’ll give you a few tips that should help drive mice away from your firewood.
- Keep Firewood Away From The House: I’ll start off with this even though it won’t help keep rodents out of your wood pile. Storing wood away 20-30ft away from the house will help prevent rodent and insect infestations in your home. Rodents, insects/bugs, and other pests are naturally drawn to wood piles. Don’t invite them into your home!
- Use A Rodent Deterrent: I started spraying Rodent Sheriff mouse deterrent around my home a few years ago. It’s basically just peppermint oil that rodents supposedly hate. Honestly, I have no idea if it works, but it keeps squirrels away from my bird feeders so it must be doing something. It’s worth buying a bottle to spray onto your firewood. The worst case scenario is you waste a few bucks and your wood smells like peppermint.
- Use a Firewood Rack: Getting your wood up off the ground and covered is 90% of the battle when trying to prevent mice. Raising/covering your wood prevents wood rot and will seriously cut down on ants, termites, and other bugs that mice eat. Without an all you can eat buffet of food mice are far less likely to call your firewood rack home. You can stack wood on pallets, but I recommend buying/building a real firewood rack. I recently bought a set of firewood rack brackets and it made building my rack so much easier. It takes less than 5 minutes to screw everything together.
- Cover The Pile: It doesn’t matter how you cover the pile as long as the sides are open to promote airflow. The vast majority of people toss a tarp on their wood pile and call it a day. I ended up buying a cheap REDCAMP Firewood Cover, because I’m in and out of the pile everyday. Getting firewood off the pile is so much easier now that I don’t have to screw around with a tarp all the time.
- Remove Food: Keeping your wood dry and preventing rot will remove most of the food from inside the pile, but you should also remove other nearby food and water sources. It’s dangerous for a mouse to venture out of its nest searching for food. Moving bird feeders further away from your firewood may be the final push to drive them away.
- Light Up The Pile: A string of patio lights hung near your wood pile or a solar light will deter critters from setting up shop. Plus it’s so much easier to grab wood from a well lit pile. A well lit wood pile is so nice when I go out to grab firewood at 5am before work
- Visit Your Pile Regularly: Regularly stirring up your wood pile will scare away skittish mice. I recommend taking multiple trips to the pile everyday for a few weeks to draw out nesting mice. Move wood around, make some noise, and disturb their nest. After a week or so they’ll most likely leave.
- Keep Your Wood Outside: You don’t want to attract mice into your home. Store the vast majority of your firewood on a rack outside and only bring in a weeks worth of wood at a time. Make sure the wood is seasoned to reduce bug content.
- Rotate The Pile: Don’t always grab wood from the top of your closest wood pile. I have two piles side by side that I work off of. The older wood goes in one stack and freshly cut wood goes in the other. Grab your oldest wood first and slowly work through it. Less time on the pile means it’s less likely to have a nest.
Following all of the above tips should help keep mice away from your wood pile. If there’s a big infestation you might need to move onto harsher measures.
When Should I Use Poison
I usually advise against using poisons to take care of an outdoor rodent problem. It does work, but there are downstream consequences to setting poison outside. It’s like the butterfly effect. Poisoning the mice means you’ll end up poisoning everything that eats them.
Think about that for a second! Do you really want to kill your neighbors cats, fox, racoons, etc? I definitely don’t.
Identifying Signs of Mice
Obviously, the easiest way to identify mice is to spot them running around. Seeing the occasional mouse isn’t that big of a deal. They won’t cause damage to the wood pile and they’re generally harmless if kept outside. I hate the jump scares, but killing them usually isn’t necessary. You only need to deal with them when they’re out of hand, because they could end up invading your home, barn or garage.
Pay attention to how often you see them. There’s a big difference between seeing mice everyday and every month or two. Seeing mice everyday means you have an infestation and need to address the situation. Less frequent sightings can be handled without taking drastic measures.
Other signs of mice, rats and rodents include droppings, gnawed wood, and nesting material. Small droppings usually indicate common field mice or voles. Larger droppings could mean you have rats or squirrels nesting nearby.
Rats can be nasty little buggers so wear gloves and you should probably put out some poison to deal with them. You don’t want to get bit and end up needing the rabies vaccine. That’s a 3 dose series that’s very painful and I got very sick after mine.