We’ve got mice in the attic and I don’t want to kill them.

I want them out of the house, of course, but the idea of breaking their necks, poisoning them or trapping them in glue that might lead to a limb-gnawing attempt to break free just doesn’t sit well with me.

I think my feelings of compassion toward the little critters stem from the time a mouse took up residence in the garage of my childhood home. I didn’t want to kill that little guy, either, so my dad and I spent an entire afternoon cleaning out the garage in an attempt to find the mouse, catch it and relocate it.

We were unsuccessful, so every day after school, I opened the garage door to try to catch it before it got snared in the trap my dad set out. Then one day the mouse was in the trap. I called my mom at work in hysterics.

So, I’ve been researching natural and organic mouse repellents. There’s a product called Fresh Cab that appears to be the preferred method and can be bought locally. But for current infestations, you’re supposed to place pouches every 8 square feet and replace them every 30 days. That would add up to close to $500 a month, so that option is out.

I’ve also read that peppermint oil is a natural mice repellent. I’ve used it in the past to repel ants with great success. The duplex we rented before we bought our house had hundreds of ants living in the wall. At night, they’d climb up into the window sill and then into the living room. It was disgusting.

I tried a few natural remedies with no success and then dumped a 2-ounce bottle of peppermint oil on the window sill. The scent was nauseating for a week, and the house smelled like Christmas for months afterward, but the ants left and never returned.

I still use peppermint oil, now in small amounts on cotton balls placed in window sills, to keep pests out, so I think I’m going to try it in the attic and see what happens. But instead of pouring it on the insulation, I’m going to put it in a diffuser jar with the hope the smell will be potent enough to get the mice out without overwhelming the humans in the house at the same time.

Then I’ll see if that stops the scratching sound coming from the ceiling above my bed. Hopefully it will, because I really don’t want to deal with mousetraps.

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