Will Keeping Lights On Keep Mice Away? (Myth or Fact)

Mice are inherently polarizing, often loved and hated in equal measure. For some, these active little creatures make wonderful pets. They are friendly, fun, and can be pretty entertaining to watch. But on the flip side, mice can be dangerous pests, bringing with them many severe diseases that they can transmit to humans.

Being the most common mammals worldwide, mice can be found in nearly every country. It is estimated that there is one mouse for every person on earth! These plentiful creatures have no respect for social class; they are attracted to food and shelter, and if your home can meet their needs, they will come. Hence, people are in a constant search for effective ways to keep mice away from their homes.

If you’re like most homeowners, you must be wondering, ‘will keeping lights on keep mice away?’ By the end of this article, you will find out if this claim is indeed a fact or just another myth.

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Mice Love the Cozy Indoor Environment of Your Home

The house mouse is one of the most common household pests. These annoying invaders closely resemble rats, only they are smaller. Their round-shaped bodies are dusty gray with cream-colored bellies.

You can easily recognize mice by their pointed muzzles, round eyes, and large ears with some hairs. Another unique trait of these rodents is their long slender tails (almost longer than their bodies) covered in hair compared to rats’ short, thick, and hairless tails.

Just like you, mice love a warm and cozy environment. These intelligent creatures can detect the warmth of your home through small openings and use that as an invitation to invade. Unfortunately, our homes supply mice with their three basic needs – food, water and shelter.

But the worst news is that mice are prolific breeders! Did you know that a female mouse can get pregnant immediately after giving birth? That’s right! Mice get pregnant so quickly that your home can be filled with tens of litters only 25 days apart! A single mouse can birth between 5-10 litters per year, and each litter consists of 6-12 pups.

As if that’s not terrifying enough, the newly born pups reach sexual maturity and start reproducing at only 4-7 weeks of age! This means that two mice in your home can turn into thousands of mice within a year. If allowed to become established inside a home, mice can be incredibly difficult to control, often requiring the intervention of a pest control expert.

Mice Are More Active at Night

Have you ever wondered why you never see mice, even when there’s an active infestation? That’s because mice are nocturnal pests. These creatures are remarkably well-adapted for living year-round in human establishments. 

Mice will eat anything humans and their beloved pets eat. And they are mostly active at night, dawn, and dusk. But, as you’re about to find out in this article, there are reasons why mice are primarily active at night.

One of the main reasons why common household pests, including roaches, rats and mice, are nocturnal creatures is to avoid contact with humans and predators. Mice wait until it is quiet and dark before venturing out. The silence and darkness of the night allows them to forage for food while easily avoiding being caught by potential predators.

Mice have an acute sense of smell that they use for foraging, reproducing, and detecting danger. However, this incredible sense of smell is a compensation for their weak eyesight. Mice have very poor eyesight, and they see best in dim light. This is another reason why mice are most active at night.


Are Mice Afraid of Light?

As mentioned above, mice are nocturnal creatures. They naturally associate daylight with increased activity and unsafety. On top of that, they cannot see very well in both daylight and regular light. Therefore, a sudden bright light in the night might scare them.

However, mice are not inherently afraid of light. Even though they consider night the best time to sneak out of hiding to feed, they can become diurnal for several reasons. For instance, if mice nest inside your wall and sense a lack of activity in the house, they can come out of hiding to feed.

Mice can also forage during the day if access to food is limited. If there’s a reduced food supply, rats and mice can feed during the day and get back to their nests at night. The colony snuggles together to preserve energy as temperatures begin to drop in the night. This explains why you may spot rodents scurrying in your house during the day.

So Will keeping Lights on Keep Mice Away?

Again, mice are nocturnal creatures, but they aren’t necessarily afraid of light. So, keeping lights on will not keep mice away, at least not as effectively as you wish.

Sure, suddenly leaving lights on at night might frighten mice at first. But the opportunistic invaders will soon get used to the light and eventually come out of hiding to continue with their business anyway.

Also, don’t forget that mice love to dwell and limit their activities to the dark corners of your home, such as behind cupboards, old boxes, pantries, and in between walls. Plus, they have poor eyesight and can’t see well in any kind of light. Therefore, leaving lights on at night might not make a significant impact on the pests.

But that’s not to say that you can’t use light to repel mice from your home. Very bright lights, such as LED ribbon lights and strobe lights, can help keep mice away at night. Here’s a quick breakdown of the best types of light to use to keep mice away at night:

  • Flashing probe lights: These lamps are designed to produce a continuous series of short but very bright flashes of light. Although the lights don’t change color, the sudden burst of bright flashes can scare mice away. However, you want to make sure the light is as bright as possible and avoid using those with red/yellow hues since mice can’t see those colors.

  • LED ribbon lights: These flexible strip lights are the most effective at keeping mice away. The lights are very versatile, allowing you to set them to change both brightness and color at specific intervals. The sudden changes can help scare and repel rodents.

  • Motion-activated light: Although they are not as effective as probe lights and LED lights, motion-activated lights can help deter the pesky pests better than regular lights. The main downside of these lights is that they only turn on when the sensor notices movement. This means that the mouse must pass right in front of the sensor for this light to be effective.

Final Thoughts

Mice are nocturnal pests, but they are not necessarily afraid of daylight. Therefore, keeping regular lights on at night might not keep mice away. The secret is to use very bright lights such as LED ribbon lights, motion-activated lights, and probe lights. But leaving very bright light on at night can lead to poor quality sleep. So, you might want to consider other rodent control methods.

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