Will Keeping Lights on Keep Mice Away – Making Mice Leave

You may have been in a situation where mice were in your home or your apartment and you’re wondering if there is an easy solution that will cause them to go away forever.   Mice carry germs and diseases and they can disrupt your life by eating your food supplies.  Also, they can keep you awake at night by scurrying around. Some feel that lighting can reduce mice activity and that lights can alter their overall behavior.  I will elaborate on whether or not keeping lights on is going to work for deterring mice.

Will keeping the lights on keep mice away?  Keeping lights on at night will not keep mice away. They may become sluggish and confused.  However, they will still roam around in a lit room.  In the dark, they are more active and alert. Lighting only slightly affects the circadian rhythms of mice which are produced by their internal biological clocks.  

Will Mice Come Near Me While I Sleep with the Lights On?

Now that we know that lights can affect the circadian rhythms of mice, will mice continue to stroll around your bed while you are asleep with the lights on in your room?  You could also try a pest repeller besides just changing the lighting.  Click here to view the TBI pro pest repeller that is available on Amazon. 

Mice will become more active while they are in search of a food source.   They will do whatever it takes to survive.  In other words,  they will come around your bed even if the lights are on. They’re actually nocturnal rodents so they did not depend on vision only.  They will still search under beds for food using their non-vision related heightened senses.

Their enhanced senses are olfactory, auditory, and tactile.  These senses provide cues that they use to find food. Vision is not their strongest sense.  If you had a mouse’s vision ability, you would be classified as legally blind.

The Journal of Neuroscience methods claims that mice probably would be less precise with respect to hunting for food.  In other words, their overall physical activity level will not decrease greatly with lighting in someone’s room.  

Mice might be in a confused state in a room with strong lighting but if you have items under your bed, mice would most likely rummage through your things in search of food even if your room was well-lit. 

Would lighting in your room actually attract mice?

Do Lights Actually Attract Mice?

Lights do not actually attract mice,  They are a deterrent, just not a very strong one as I had mentioned.  They would be less  physically active while they scurry.  In other words, their speed in scurrying around would be reduced by lights.

A decrease in the speed of mice sounds okay on the surface, but what if you were to use a red light, would that affect the brain of the mouse?  A study by the Journal of  Circadian Rhythms states that diodes that emitted red light were able to only slightly increase the circadian period of mice.  

A slight increase in the length of the circadian rhythm in mice may cause minor sleep disorders.  However, if you disrupt the sleep pattern in mice, this is not going to actually to deter mice from being around a red light source.   

Mice do not have a high sensitivity to red or white light because they have a lack of rods and cones in their retinas.  This lack of sensitivity means that they’re not attracted to red light and this method will not attract mice.  For instance, if you have a smoke detector that has a flashing red light, there is no need to worry that you might be attracting mice.

Some people wonder whether or not having floodlights in their backyard is going to attract mice.  I do not think that this is the case because as mentioned above, they are not sensitive to light.  However, I would advise against having strong floodlights because it’s going to prevent owls from praying on mice which is something that happens in most country settings.

Another method to deter mice might be to use strobe lights. I will indicate their level of effectiveness.

Will Stobe Lights Keep Mice Away?

You may be wondering whether or not strobe lights will keep mice away from your home.   I had researched online to find papers containing studies of the effect that strobe lighting may have on mouse behavior and the activity level of mice.  

I read a study written by the National Library of Medicine on the effects that a fire alarm strobe light had on the stress level of mice.  They had analyzed the fecal matter of mice to determine the change in the cortisone level with strobe lighting versus normal lighting.  They concluded that strobe lighting did not affect the cortisone level of mice.  In other words, it did not increase the stress level of mice.  Nevertheless, it is possible that strobe lighting could cause disorientation as it does for some humans.

Wikipedia states that the imbalance caused by flickering light is flicker vertigo.   This vertigo can cause nausea and disorientation because of the alteration of brain waves.   Nevertheless, since mice are not terribly sensitive to changes in lighting, a strobing light should not greatly affect them and it probably will not deter them from their normal activity.

From personal experience, I was able to draw the same conclusion as the scientists at the National Library of Medicine. I had installed a camera in my attic in order to verify the activity of mice. The camera flashed a red light while in the motion sensor and recording mode.  I still managed to record the movement of mice.  In other words, the flickering light did not affect their activity level.

How is the behavior of mice affected by Light?

Here is a video on LED rope lights that you will find to be interesting:

I read a paper written by the Journal of Neuroscience Methods.  They state that the behavior of mice is altered due to changes in light.  They tested the wheel-running activity for their test mice under different lighting conditions.   They wanted to see if the circadian rhythms were altered at all. 

Although they concluded that there was some change in the circadian rhythms, there were not at a high level.  Lighting changes only slightly altered the behavioral pattern of the mice in the test.  They noticed that the mice were quite active during the night, which makes sense because they are nocturnal.

During the day they were normally less active.  By adding lighting during the evening, the scientists were able to disrupt the sleeping patterns of the mice. The test subjects became less focussed and less determined.

Apparently there is less melatonin production when there is a constant light source.  Melatonin allows us to sleep adequately.  People that get less rest because of a low melatonin level also are less able to focus during the day or night.  The biggest effect of a lack of melatonin for mice and humans is a lack of attention.

Regardless, this change of behavior in the mice was not great enough to conclude that lighting is going to alter the behavior of mice.  If your goal is to use light to deter mice from entering your home, it probably is not going to work very well.

Lighting does not deter mice because their sense of sight is 12 times less sensitive to white or red light when compared to humans.  On the other hand, when exposed to extreme lighting, many scientists have concluded that there is weight loss over time, the slowing down of metabolism,  a reduction in the immune function of mice.  Although, this change is not so abrupt that it’s going to prevent mice from rummaging through someone’s house in search of food.

You may have heard of people explaining that if you use floodlighting, that it’s going to keep mice away from your home.

Does Flood Lighting Keep Mice Away from your House?

I could not find any proof online that floodlight will keep mice away from your home.  Also, it’s going to be disruptive for you and your neighbors to have floodlighting illuminating the exterior of your house.  Click here to see a press and set trap by Tomcat that is sold on Amazon.

A study conducted at Harvard on the potential hazard of lighting on mice concluded that there might be a more permanent adjustment in the behavior of mice in the long run. But that if this flood type of lighting is removed,  the mice will bounce back and resume their past activity. You would have to continue to flood the backyard with lighting even if it were cost-prohibitive.

Another study was conducted by Conservation Biology in  2004  on how the hunting behaviors of beach mice were affected by coastal lighting.   I feel it’s okay to highlight their conclusions because coastal lighting is similar to floodlighting.

Most agree that there’s more light pollution due to an increase in the population in coastal areas. This study was conducted because lighting may affect the breeding patterns of turtles or the behavior of rodents that are normally in this area.  The study surmised that there was less foraging done by the beach mouse due to coastal lighting, but I didn’t see any mention of a huge change in behavior.   It seemed as if the mice were consuming less of the food patches were placed in the area.

However, for the following reasons I do not think that it’s worth it to have floodlighting as a way of preventing mice from entering your home:

  1. Having floodlights is going cause more lighting to enter into your home during the night which will be disruptive to your sleep.
  2. Plus, to have any major effect on mice,  it’s something that’s going to have to be conducted for a long period of time.
  3. They may be less foraging in your backyard, but it could cause mice to attempt to enter into your home to avoid the floodlighting which is exactly what you did not want.

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