mice & wires

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Clara Bell, Jan 3, 2005.

  1. Clara Bell

    Clara Bell Well-Known Member

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    Maura's post in Old John's thread on "What's in your glove box" got me thinking about a problem I had, and wondering what others were doing finding themselves with the same problem.

    "Funny you should ask. I checked the glove box a few days ago to pull out a map and found it was packed with shredded paper. Apparently the mouse that has been eating corn out of the sack in my trunk prefers to live in the bedroom community of my glove box.

    I went for the oil change and they found where a mouse or mice had chewed through the coat of the wire to the ignition. I got them to show me what they were talking about, and the wire was chewed, and there was the evidence of feces. I know I am a female, but I don't think they were pulling my leg. Surely a dealership wouldn't keep rat turds to throw around just to fool a woman into spending more than the cost of an oil change.

    Sometimes the cars sit up here for weeks before I need to go to town. And with winter coming on, the mice can't seemed to be satisfied with all the outbuildings.

    Bottom line, how do you keep rats out of the vehicles? My $20 oil change with a 'free' car wash and clean-up turned out to be a $90 something job.

    Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

    Hope you all had a great New Years and you're rearing to go with this 2005, even with all that is happening. And to you with direct and indirect involvement and loss in the tsunami crisis, I wish you the best as you work to cope.
     
  2. george darby

    george darby Well-Known Member

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    once again i will repeat keep perminant bait stations in all your buildings that will prevent mice and wores rats from getting afoot hold ,if you see a colony start use traps also and increase the bait stations till the problem is gone .yes they seem to love wire you could buy a lot of bait for the 70$ difference it cost you and what have they chewed that you havent noticed...........mabey even your house wiring.
     

  3. Clara Bell

    Clara Bell Well-Known Member

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    Nope George, the house wiring is okay. I've been ripping down interior walls and there is very little wiring in this old house to inspect. The wiring has that heavy black tarry like coating. I wouldn't want to chew on it.
    And I am finally using bait. Besides the cats.
    I count how many pellets I put out, and watch them disappear. I couldn't work in one building because one died in the walls. That place stunk!
     
  4. Critter183

    Critter183 Well-Known Member

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    Put some mothballs into the feet of some old nylon stockins, and put one in the trunk, one under the hood, and one in the passenger compartment when the car will be sitting for a day or two unused. Take em out when you need the car, and the smell goes away pretty quickly.

    I used this method to save my 94 T-Bird from the mice for two years. Then I gave the car away cuz it wasn't being used enough to warrant having it around.

    If you have walls open in the house and can afford it, rewire the room with MC cable (metal clad). It costs a bit, but it's worth it.
     
  5. Clara Bell

    Clara Bell Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Critter. Especially the wiring info. I'm a little overwhelmed when I walk into the local Lowes as a consumer and not a contractor!
    With all this work tearing these walls down, and finding all I found, I almost don't want to close them back up. There were stinky rats nest, and the last panel I did last week in the old dining room had several wasp nest, the calm dirt dauber's nest, and a couple of beginning hornet's nest. I'm glad I didn't get around to that panel when summer was still here!!!
    Moth balls. Going to be interesting.
     
  6. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    Had pack rats in CO that kept getting under the truck hood and chewing the wires. First I got cats, then guineas and chickens. After that I never had a problem. (Except for an occasional chicken getting into the cab and making herself to home!)
     
  7. Ozarks_1

    Ozarks_1 Well-Known Member

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    I definitely agree!
    Mice are a common problem ... but there's one other problem to consider: SNAKES feed on mice! Fortunately, the weather's cold right now so snakes aren't active.

    When I worked in an auto dealership, a car came in for a repair to the radio. The mechanic grabbed the "wiring harness" to move it aside ... and came out from under the dash (rather quickly, I might add) with a handful of VERY mad snake!
    (We were too busy laughing to kill the snake ... it got away.)
     
  8. Windy in Kansas

    Windy in Kansas In Remembrance

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    After a tip on a homesteading type forum I've completely switched over to using peppermint extract as a mouse deterent. I find that it completely keeps them away after an area has been treated. When my daughter and SIL moved into their new home we discovered that a mouse had gotten into the garage. After scattering the extract we could see where it had attempted to chew its was out.
     
  9. Critter183

    Critter183 Well-Known Member

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    I found some cool old rats nests in my old victorian I used to own. One was from around 1908 from what I could gather by what he had in there. I found old post cards, stamps, snuff cans, a perfume bottle and prescription bottle of some kind of elixer dated 1903. The post cards were 1908. I still have most of it, including a small wooden toy in the shape of a box of nabisco crackers with the paper wrapping mostly in tact. Apparently it came from an old promotional doll they put out around the turn of the century.
     
  10. sherwood

    sherwood Active Member

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    I found if I leave the hood up when parked in the garage it does not give the critters a nice dark sheltered place to hide to do their dirty work. It's made a big improvement. Before I would always find chewed up acorns on and around the engine. This does not happen now, unless I forget to open the hood.
    If you park outside or not under cover it may not be a good idea to leave your hood up.
     
  11. Ozarks_1

    Ozarks_1 Well-Known Member

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    It depends on the vehicle.
    If the vehicle has fuel-injection, it shouldn't matter.

    We have a '96 Chevy Corsica that we had parked with the hood up out in the weather for slightly more than two years. It was exposed to rain, snow, ice, etc., yet it started and ran flawlessly this Spring.
     
  12. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Please avoid putting moth balls wherever you will smell them. Recent news reports said even trace amounts can seriously effect your immune system. While peppermint extract sounds mild, it is now being used as a wasp spray. If it will knock a bug out the air dead, you have to figure there should be some precautions for use. Since it is not being sold as a rodent control product it does not have to tested and labeled for safety like a pesticide must. Just because something is natural, comes from the ground or a plant, does not make it safe. It also cant be that cheap.

    Block baits work better than pellets like d-con. D-con is a multiple feed bait that requires several feedings to obtain a lethal dose. A lone mouse can empty an entire d-con box whereas they cannot carry a block away. This is why block baits are used in zoos. A mouse can relocate bait from a controlled spot. Plus blocks are easier to monitor ongoing activity as well, since you can clearly see gnawing progress on a block.

    When it comes to rodent poisons, most commercial products have a fairly low risk of harming your animals if they eat a poisoned mouse. Owls and other birds of prey are most at risk of suffering from secondary poisoning. Certainly old or infirm pets or pets that rely on rodents for their primary food could be at greater risk than regular pets. Kids and pets are at most risk if they eat the pure product. Block bait usually has a hole in it, which makes it possible to nail it or wire tie it to a post out of reach of pets. (I really don't know what "Keep out of reach of children" means. Obviously the person that authored the warning didn't have children. Still you gotta try and if you have todlers its a good reason to avoid all baits) I have never heard of a cat eating rodent poisons, but I have seen dogs eat just about anything including a fence. If they eat it, (d-con is just as dangerous as block in this regard) they'll get sick and could die. While it can be medically treated, it is usually diagnosed too late.

    It is probably easier to control rodents around a car if it's in a garage. Then you can set perimeter controls to protect it. Rodents will generally run around the perimeter so any kind of rodent control device works well near openings and along the edges. This is a little more difficult if the car sets out in the open. Its hard to anticipate where the rodents will run. The bottom of the car is an easy leap so the entire understructure is accessible. Still, it would be a good idea to not park in the weed lot. They can easily follow cables and other parts to the inside. You could take the effort to seal these with steel wool, but the engine compartment could still be accessed.

    Instead of poison, you could use a bunch of glue boards and snaps. You could cut a piece of cardboard to fit between the wheels. Then tape the snap traps and glue boards every square foot. Just drive away when you leave. Set it asside and slide it back under when you return. It might be easier to have several pieces of cardboard so it is easier to position them.

    Good luck
     
  13. Clara Bell

    Clara Bell Well-Known Member

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    This has given a lot. Its given a lot of food for thought.
    All God's creatures got a place in the choir.
    I'm glad a creature on this green earth dormant, and not a humanoid!
    The day today was beautiful. I almost want to bypass the winter ahead.
    But we can't do that, can we. We are living a cycle.
    I think I will get this this mouse problem under control with all this feed back
    Thank you.
     
  14. Oregon Too

    Oregon Too Active Member

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    DH and I once had an argument about barn wiring - I wanted it in conduit because of pack rat/mice chewing concerns, and he didn't want to take the time; thus he told me they just never would chew through it. We'd only had one temp wire up - I wanted it and the remaining covered (we are remote and if there is a fire, its all toast up here).

    Fast forward a month or so - he left the crew cab truck outside one night, and a pack rat chewed through some wires! He takes out the portable phone to the truck, opens hood, and is on the phone with the local Ford dealership, when suddenly I hear him say "***, the pack rat is still here! HE IS IN THE HOOD!!" Followed by excited utterances fcoming from the portable phone in dh's hand - you could hear the Ford dude yelling,, like " DANG! KILL HIM>>KILL HIM...". It was kind of hysterically funny - two big guys, one on site, one via phone, in a death match with the rat... With that hood up, you could see him scampering from one side to another (I had NO idea there was room enough for one to get up there...there really is. The tail kept sticking out from various holes. Tried spraying a hose in the channels, hitting with broomstick, finally left hood up a notch overnight, with a rat trap underneath the largest hole (that was his entrance, and we figured would be his exit).

    Next morning, pack rat gone. Rat trap still set, bait gone. Gee whiz.... In addition, my barn wire had at some point gotten chewed halfway through!

    I won. The conduit is in the barn to be installed soon.

    Wish I could tell you how to prevent this. Other than getting your truck inside, I don't know how myself. Well, one thing did help - a barn cat adopted us, and the pack rat turds have entirely disappeared from the barn. The truck has been safe a few nights outside, but I haven't pushed my luck yet. The cat really helped, but of course, he can't be everywhere... Good luck.
     
  15. sherwood

    sherwood Active Member

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    About 15 years ago I had a mouse go up the inside of my pants leg while I was driving the car (scared the cr** out of me). :haha: I did not know what it was going up my leg. When it got to my crotch I hit the brakes hard, let out a scream, grabbed and crushed the mouse. I also scared my wife , she thought for sure we had just hit a kid that played on the road alot in this spot where we were stopped.

    Bounce fabric softener dryer sheets. The perfumy ones. I have heard work as a repellent also.
     
  16. Clara Bell

    Clara Bell Well-Known Member

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    What I was writing disappeared. I hope this doesn't show up a half finished, and a finished at the same time, or I screw up again. My son's friends were showing up and one had a bee fly up her pants and stung her. She wanted relief from the pain. I suggested we find some mint, and she looked at me weird, like I was talking sticky red & white candy. Like her eating candy was going to relieve her pain, or I was was going to be sticking sticky sweet to her wound. I think there is something to be said for the mint idea. I read that somewhere. And I think it great finding a nest with all that "Mouse Archeology"! That must have been fun exploring that nest!
    I find these little guys just trying to survive up here with me like with all the familys before me on this farm.
    How do we balance with our 'neighbors' as we homestead wanting the simplified life. We have to respect our neighbors that live around us. I wish culprits that caused me to spend the extra $$$ would have been allowed to open an account at some bank. They could have reimbursed me.
    I guess I get reimbursed in other ways being able to live the life I have.