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Old 12/20/10, 05:17 PM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 5,522
Mice chewing through plastic buckets, your experiences please

The thread about the mouse chewing through a coffee bag made me wonder...

I keep things in the large pantry in our wash room, and on a large open shelf. I know mice could easily chew through the plastic bags some items are in. I have always heard that mice will chew through plastic 5 gal. buckets too, but have never seen this firsthand.

My question-- for those of you who have had mice chew through plastic buckets, can you give some idea of how thick the plastic was? And where on the bucket it chewed--on the side at the bottom or on the lid? I have some 24 lb. icing buckets from the local grocery store deli, and the plastic is (obviously) food grade, lids snap down tight, and there is a little foam gasket in the lid to form a tight seal. The plastic seems to be a little thicker than the 5 gal. white buckets I've gotten from Wal Mart (paint dept) and Home Depot.
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Old 12/20/10, 05:23 PM
Danaus29's Avatar  
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Ohio
Posts: 19,562
You and I have the same question! I was going to post a thread to ask about it. I have heard a determined rat can chew through copper or aluminum wire and heavy duty metal trash cans but I've never seen it happen.

But as a side note, I have kept bird seed in plastic feed tubs with screw on lids in a house where we had a serious mouse problem and even after the mice got through the other improperly stored food they didn't attempt to go for the stuff in the plastic tubs.
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Old 12/20/10, 05:26 PM
A.T. Hagan
Posts: n/a
I've never had a mouse chew through any plastic bucket worthy of being called one.

Rats and squirrels on the other hand are a different matter entire. If I store it outside I keep it in metal or take extra steps to protect it.
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Old 12/20/10, 05:51 PM
Space Cowboy's Avatar  
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 436
I had some mice/rats chew through some of 6 gal super pails from y2k. There were up off the ground. They were actually on wooded shelves and stored in a (I thought) rodent proof storage. I even had a lot of the Decon bait around. Apparently the decon did them in, but not before they had gone through half a dozen pails. They went through some commercial storage AND some 6 gal pails that I packed. I am now VERY liberal in my application of Decon.

PS I make very sure no pets have access to the areas.....
“When the night comes to bury your arms, the dawn to dig them up has passed.”-Spartans of ancient Greece.
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Old 12/20/10, 06:18 PM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 7,799
I keep D-Con around all year round, and haven't so far had anything chew into anything. I do have a lot of my storage in glass jars, but there is plenty of plastic, paper and mylar too. If I thought I had a mouse or rat, I'd also set up a rat trap baited with peanutbutter.

Oo, that would make me mad, having rodents eating into my stuff!
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Old 12/20/10, 09:01 PM
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Southern Idaho
Posts: 4,032
When we first moved here about six years ago we had mice chew through a heavy plastic garbage can that had grain for our goats in it. We changed to a metal can, but since have gone back to plastic now that our barn cat population has built up far enough to take care of the mice.
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Old 12/20/10, 09:16 PM
wyld thang's Avatar
God Smacked Jesus Freak
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Turtle Island/Yelm, WA "Land of the Dancing Spirits"--Salish
Posts: 7,456
Yup, cats. That's the only real answer. When we moved in we had a great mouser, then she died, and when we were catless for awhile the mice were just ridiculous, like nuclear mutant ridiculous. Now I have a bunch of cats and no mouse problems at all! The cats are able to get back into the closet where I store some stuff, they go in there on purpose when they hear something and killkillkill!!!
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Old 12/20/10, 09:23 PM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 12,448
Just my opinion but I would rather have the mice than cats. I keep a box trap out all the time just for stray cats. Mice don't bother me much.
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Old 12/20/10, 10:54 PM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 5,522
I would ideally like to keep buckets or whatever at a managable size. I like the 24 lb. icing buckets because they aren't as tall as a regular 5 gal., but instead are much shorter and bigger around. I can stack more of them.

Was talking with my mother earlier, and we decided that those big tin cans that popcorn and pretzels comes in at Christmas time would be ideal to store stuff in. The way I like to store some things is in the bags they come in (rice, flour, sugar, etc.) and after I freeze what is necessary to freeze, I put it in 1 gal. ziplock bags and then store the bags inside the buckets. That way I take out a bag of whatever I need instead of having the entire bucket filled up with rice or sugar or whatever. For me, this is easier to deal with and I would hope lead to less loss if a mouse ever did chew through.
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Old 12/20/10, 11:16 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: SW WA
Posts: 10,357
Just a word of warning about using tins to store food. They are GREAT for keeping out mice, but if you have any ant problems, the seals on them aren't tight enough to deter little ants, which can and will take up residence inside of the tins. Ask me how I know this!

My posts and words remain my exclusive property and may not be used without my express written permission and proper credit given for authorship.
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Old 12/20/10, 11:29 PM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 5,522
Once, I used a big metal coffee can to store beans in, with the plastic lid, and I went around the lid with duct tape to secure it to the can.

Last spring, we got those 'Crazy Raspberry Ants' in the kitchen--they are like those tiny black sugar ants but they move around much faster and in what looks like an erratic manner. They came in around the kitchen window and I had a heck of a time with them. They never went beyond the kitchen counter, but they had gotten down inside the sugar bowl (with lid) on the counter. Ruined about a cup of sugar.

Good point to bring up, thanks!
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Old 12/20/10, 11:50 PM
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 7,883
In a small garden tool shed i put a 50# sack of sunflower seeds (bird feed) in a good sized "rubber maid" plastic garbage size bucket.

the mods and sensors will NOT let me type the wordage I used when I discovered a hole in the bottom corner..........and the whole #50 was gone...............

I think it was *********squirrels
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Old 12/21/10, 12:05 AM
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 416
I have had food storage on sheves in an out building that is heated and pretty tight for 3 years now. I have seen no evidence of mice, or bugs, for that matter.

But then again I have 18 barn cats and I have not seen a mouse in my house, barns, or out buildings in several years. They never have a chance of getting near the house with that many killing machines about.
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Old 12/21/10, 12:11 AM
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Accidental Farmer
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Indiana
Posts: 14,837
when I lived in the city, we would be invaded by mice every winter---BAD. I mean you'd wake up with them jumping on you and when you turned the lights one they would scatter..

Cats didn't do the trick, traps would only take care of a few.

They would eat your clothes in the clossets where they would try to nest. In the pantry I found out FAST nothing was safe. I started having to put things in metel canisters as they would CHEW through the plastic ones. I guess they were pretty determined! They got desperate enough and even chewed through catsup bottles.

I was SO glad to move outta that place in the city. No rodent issues out here at all though I do see them outside now and then.
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Old 12/21/10, 01:26 AM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 5,522
The last mouse we had in the house was last summer when it was so hot and dry, I figured it came in looking for water and coolness. I saw droppings in one bathroom and set a trap and got it a few hours later. Kept setting traps and putting out bait, but didn't find any more dead ones and no more droppings, so I assume it was just the one.

We don't have cats-- I can't tolerate the fleas that outside cats harbor, and I can't afford to keep flea drops on umpteen outside cats anyway. Here, fleas get out of control really quickly if you don't stay on top of the situation, so we just don't have cats anymore. That has proven to be the biggest flea deterrent yet. And anyway, even when we did have them, they never killed anything that I ever saw--not hunting trophies on the porch or in the yard, no dead mice, birds... nothing.

I keep the yard and outbuildings as clean and clear as possible, which I think goes a long way in preventing mice or rats from moving in and getting established. I don't let grass or weeds grow up around the outbuildings or around the house or porch decks. Keep things raked, no food scraps left around, no empty soda cans on the porch etc.

I'm going to start looking for those big metal popcorn containers at the junk stores.
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Old 12/21/10, 01:52 AM
Bearfootfarm's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Eastern North Carolina
Posts: 45,387
Was talking with my mother earlier, and we decided that those big tin cans that popcorn and pretzels comes in at Christmas time would be ideal to store stuff in
If you rig up a lightbulb in one of those tins, you can use it as a heater to keep your chicken's waterer from freezing.

Cookie tins work well too, but they aren't as tall.
Don't look for hidden meanings in my posts.
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Old 12/21/10, 04:11 PM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 7,821
after my last run of mice i am getting paranoid , thinking about getting 30 gallon metal drums with locking ring tops then putting bags in there.

none chewed the buckets but still angry about my losses from items in bags. knowing that they are now dead makes me feel a little better. i am considering placing boxes of decon all around the perimiter of the yard hoping to kill all their theiving friends also we have forclosed houses all round us , and i wonder if that gives them places to hide and reproduce unchecked.then when it starts to get cold outside they search out the houses with heat and food.
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Old 12/21/10, 04:50 PM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 5,522
Might want to keep the decon where the squirrels, rabbits, dogs etc can't get at it. I put some inside our sheds, but not around them. I kind of like the squirrels, wouldn't want them to get poisoned, as they haven't ever damaged anything except for some old elk antlers I had hanging on my garden shed. They whittled their teeth on them constantly, and eventually the antlers fell apart from being chewed through.

I'm going to put out the word to family to keep their eyes open for tin containers for me. I figure I'll need a few dozen, minimum.
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Old 12/21/10, 05:49 PM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: SE tennessee
Posts: 1,737
Use the 50lb lard cans at Ace hardware along with the popcorn tins.I don't think they make the 25lb lard cans any more..
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Old 12/21/10, 06:00 PM
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Indiana
Posts: 996
My daughter raises mice for her snakes. She had them in her room until they chewed their way out of a rubbermaid container! I set a trap and got rid of the escapee. Now the mice are in the garage and Decon is set around my food preps AND the mice cages.
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