If you are stockpiling food and supplies, you should have a system of pest
control in place. Mice are probably your first and most serious concern, but
rats, other vermin, and of course insects also come into play depending on
what types of food you are storing, in what containers, and where you are.
If most your food is in #10 steel cans, you may only have to worry about other
supplies, like toilet paper, which can make a nice nesting ground for them,
and incredible mess for you.
As when with dealing any foe, you need to understand the workings and weaknesses of your enemy and use that against them. Starting on the outside, mice don’t like to run across open areas, inside our out. This is a natural instinct so they are not seen by predators, birds of prey in particular. Thus keeping the grass down and not having a lot of cover right next to your house, retreat, garage, etc. can help a little. Your first main line of defense is the point of entry. Leaving your garage door open is an invitation to mice. Also, sliding doors, like barn doors, simply do not offer good sealing protection. In a barn with such sliding doors, you probably might as well get a barn cat. If you are building a new pole barn with wooden posts, consider wrapping tin on the outside of the wood posts all the way around before back filling, and overlapping with the siding material on top of the tin (leaving to place to chew through wood, just metal).
On keeping them outside, mice have tiny little narrow skulls which allow them to squeeze through very small holes. Basically if you can get a dime through sideways, a mouse can get through. I have seen mice eat a hole through 5/8”-thick drywall. “Great stuff”, and such foam sealers (in a can) does work well, and contains chemicals to make them sick, but they can still eat through it. However, they won’t try to eat through steel wool, so plugging an existing hole with that usually works. For some reason, they don’t like walking straight into the ends of the bristles of a brush, so if you mount one that way, they probably won’t walk into it (this can be used around a garage door where you can’t will in the gap because of movement). Also, they tend not to like the smell of fabric softener sheets (the kind that you throw in the dryer). As for those sonic plug in, devices, I have tried but them, but found zero effect, and also be aware some pets may not like that.
Once inside, mice will tend to run along walls. Therefore the best levels of defense are to put wind-up spin metal traps (not baited) on the wall on either side of a door or point of entry, a garage door in particular. These are nice because you can just leave them be, and they will catch mice over and over in a catch chamber, which you later empty. Also in that area, inside, you can put out poison. (Such as "De-con"), but do it in a way so that your pets can’t get to it. In most states it is illegal to poison outside, to protect birds of prey, etc. Some people tell me poisoning mice inside is a bad idea since the mice will crawl into little cracks and die, thus leaving a stinking corpse for you to smell. I have two answers to this, first a body that small tends to dry up even in most climates reasonably fast, and secondly, more importantly, corpses don’t breed. In the case of a rat, yes [because of it size] you are going to have a stinking corpse to find, but I repeat second comment on that again. (Also, the only good thing about rats is they tend to chase off mice). Now as you get in to your kitchen and food storage areas, you use baited traps. Those cheap spring traps work well. Use peanut butter, and what also works well, and really well for rats, is that cheap fatty potted meat stuff in those little cans. For tiny and young mice that clean your traps without setting them off, you are going to need some glue traps. Once again, put them along the walls in covered areas where they will run at night. Save those until you need them, because they are not reusable, they lose their stickiness.
If you come across a nest of baby mice, the best way to deal with it is to drown the babies. A pail half full of water will do the trick. Dump them in, the whole nest, and come back in an hour, and they’ll be dead. They can’t swim.
Mice and rats are a serious threat to your health, food, and supplies. If they go unchecked, such as in a remote retreat, they can do incredible damage over time as they multiply. If you are infested, call in the experts, they do have gas that will kill everything, but it will cost you. IMHO it is best to take these basic preventative steps first.
Do it yourself Pest Control: http://doityourself.com/pest/pestcontrol.htm
Pest Products:: http://www.pestproducts.com
Nice selection of mouse traps:http://www.pestproducts.com/rodent_traps.htm and
Humane mouse traps: http://www.biconet.com/traps/smt.html
I put the last one in for one reason: Some people in your family or group are simply not going to like “killing” mice, and may go do far as to sabotage your traps. I have seen this happen in a food company. I would suggest you get tough with them, such as serving them the food that the mice got into as their ration. However, if it is you that feels this way, then, yes, “humane” traps can work, but I have found them to be less effective. - Rourke (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/survivalretreat)