Tuesday, February 12, 2008

MICE in the car...

are one of the hazards of living in a rural area, I guess, though I don't think city dwellers are necessarily immune.

I took Ruby the red Toyota over the pond to the dealer for the once-yearly megaservice I splurge on and when the guy came to tell me she was ready to roll, he said, "oh, by the way, we found evidence of rodents chewing on one of the non-critical hoses so you might want to take precautions against their doing some real damage."

Yikes! I've had friends who had mouse/rat damage to their cars so bad that they were undrivable and cost big bucks to fix. Apparently the little buggers find it warm and cozy under the hood and make nests that are hard to get rid of.

I asked him if he actually found critters and he said that nothing was moving when they were doing the work, so apparently they didn't stay long. But still....

The funny thing is that I had wondered about it earlier in the fall, when I found what looked like chewed-up styrofoam under the car, and I had planned to ask but spaced it out when I was checking Ruby in at the desk.

So now what do I do? He recommended setting traps or using DeCon, so I'm going to ask around in the congregation and see if anyone has any surefire way of dealing with these guys. I don't want to use unsafe poisons because I have other wildlife on the property, but I don't know if there is such a thing as a safe rodenticide.

I looked online but didn't find much help. I just learned that this is apparently a very common problem!

8 comments:

laura said...

My uncle swears on cottonballs soaked in peppermint extract shoved into strategic locations to deal with rodents, but I don't know about putting them in and around engine compartments ... may be a little too, um, fire-prone? But it sure would make your car smell good!

Mile High Pixie said...

Baahahaa! I don't mean to laugh at your pain, but I have only heard of such a thing in vehicles that are put up in a barn for a long period of time! Maybe spraying a mix of water and peppermint extract into the engine compartment would work while not setting anything on fire?

ms. kitty said...

Yep, it's kind of funny----until the transmission or electrical system fails and you have to repair it. I think my comprehensive coverage would cover it, but I need to check.

I'm inclined to set traps around the space where the car is parked. I called the Farm Supply store and they have "harmless" bait bars. I'm not sure what that means!

Robin Edgar said...

I`ve heard that cats think that mice are the cat`s whiskers. . .

I guess when the cat`s away the mice will flay your hoses. ;-)

The Eclectic Cleric said...

My first impulse was to suggest letting your pampered cats do what God created them to do, in which case you DEFINITELY don't want to use poisons. I've also had pretty good luck with a good, old-fashioned mechanical trap baited with peanut butter. I've also seen late-night TV advertisements for pre-baited enclosed, disposable traps which do not use poison; I have no idea how (or how well) they work, but I suspect they would be safe for your other critters. In some ways though, I still prefer the cat solution, because the cat doesn't actually have to catch a single mouse in order to be effective. No mice in their right minds are going to risk being chewed on themselves in order to chew up a few wires.

ms. kitty said...

Cats would be a good solution, EC, if it weren't for the coyotes, eagles, and foxes. I'm going to look for the traps you mention, though. They sound like a possibility. Thanks so much.

faded said...

Try a ring of dried blood around the car. Rodents will not cross it. We had a problem with rabbits destroying things in our garden when I was a kid. It sounds gross, but it works. You should be able to buy a bag farm supply house. The blood is collected from slaughter houses, dried and sterilized.

Christina Martin said...

Eeks! (Sorry, I couldn't resist.)

I've had some success with peanut butter baited traps, too; but not all rodents like the stuff. Sausage works pretty well, but make sure it's a solid kind, that won't break away or crumble. (The kind that's shaped like a giant "U" works well.) Peanut butter is better for your first try, because they can't take it off the trap. Those rodents can be remarkably nimble!