Homes and properties that offer an abundant supply of food and water generally attract mice. Mice also like areas where shelter and warmth are easily accessible.
Poor sanitation, such as food debris, attracts mice. Food debris includes crumbs, dirty dishes and accessible garbage. Fruit trees also attract mice, as does improperly stored food. Those with mice problems should store food in closed containers whenever possible.
Outdoor food sources also attract mice. For example, birdseed and pet food provide mice with an easily accessible source of sustenance. Pet food is particularly attractive in the winter when other natural foods, such as nuts and berries, are not available. Water, including water in bird baths and standing water, provides hydration to thirsty mice and other pests.
Mice may come indoors in search of shelter, particularly when temperatures are cold or when inclement weather persists. Mice feel the warmth of a building through any openings, such as cracks or crevices in exterior walls, and take that as an invitation to enter.
Hot water heaters are a popular spot for mice to congregate as they provide a reliable source of warmth. Mice also seek out debris that may provide shelter, such as piles of wood, old cars and cluttered outbuildings.