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CONTROLLING RODENTS AROUND THE HOUSE AND VEHICLES
READ THIS ENTIRE PAGE PRIOR TO SETTING ANY TRAPS !!
You might wonder already, what a guy that services fuel injectors knows about controlling rodents...aka....mice and rats. Squirrels are also in that category (although squirrels are usually not a problem).
As a bit of background, I live on 10 acres, in a rural area in west Jacksonville, Florida. My closest neighbor to the east is 1,000 feet away. To the south, the same distance. The north property line abuts 40 acres of vacant land. The west line abuts 6,000 acres of forest land.
Field mice...the cute little fuzzy grey critters, (unless they are in your house or car), and the less popular uninvited guest (the rat), love to frequent the property. There is plenty of food (from what is thrown out for the birds and whatever, and the four legged animals fed with cracked corn), and plentiful water. It is a veritable paradise for critters, including rodents to visit, and sometimes attempt to habitate. We are not "freaked out" by their existance, not from seeing them...outside that is. But, we sure don't want them taking up inside the vehicles, or in the engines, or in the house.
So, why do they like to nest in the cars, or the house? Fundamental my dear Watson. They provide shelter, and provide close access to food and water. Would you rather live in the woods, and scavenge for food and brave the elements, or in a nice comfy car interior, or in the house...or the attic? Every creature comfort within walking distance.
I think you may get the idea. So, how do we get rid of them? Keep them out of the house, and equally important, out of my vehicles?
Here is my 17 years of experience, living on the fringes...
1) Do not attempt to eliminate the critters with any form of "bait control". Baiting food contains toxic chemicals, formulated to internally poison, and/or interfere with intestinal absorption of food. While "baiting" is very effective in control/killing...it has a MAJOR downside. The bait, once ingested, takes a day of so, to take effect. By then, the critter will probably expire in your vehicle, or in your house. The smell is not something you want to experience, nor is attempting to locate the critter to remove. The rotting carcass with also invite ants to visit. The bait will also harm/kill anything else that decides to ingest it. Your dog, cat, squirrells, birds, etc. Furthermore, the bait will remain toxic in the dead rodent, and poison anything that eats the rodent.
2) What about an outside cat for control? Very effective !!!....if you want to have a cat, if you care and feed it daily, if you worm it and take it to the vet on a routine schedule, and if you are not allergic to cats, and if you have a dog (who likes your new cat), and if you like male cat "spray" on your tires, or if you have a female cat, and like unwanted kittens to care for. Many cats like to display thier catch, by leaving it on your doorstep. Good cat. Now go get the rest of them.
3a) My advise...use a spring trap. It eliminates all of the above problems. Victor Professional trap...which is their large size, with a decent non-rustable plastic trigger device. Wash your hands with soap and water, prior to working with the trap. Wash the trap with hot water. Foreign smells may discourage them from getting too close. They have a good nose, and they are not stupid. Use a piece of hard dog/or cat food on the trigger device, lodge it in good, so it is not easily removed. Peanut butter works well also, wiped on the trigger device, although it's a bit messier.
3b) Do some recon prior to placing the trap(s). The more traps set, the greater the chances of trapping the pest(s). Mice/rats will follow a normal path... from nest, to food, to water. They travel next to inside walls, outside house walls, outside garage walls, next to the inside or outside, of vehicle tires. Place the trap(s) where they run and nest. Look for "droppings" and place a trap or two there. Putting a trap in a place...(convenient to you to get to)... is worthless. Look for "nesting sites". If they are in the engine compartment, place a trap there. Don't remove/disturb the nest. You don't want to drive them away, and have to find them later. If there is a nest under the hood, they will be back. Think like a rat/mouse. I'm on the low end of the food chain...everybody wants me...for food. So, I want to "duck and hide". Scurry around for food, but always genetically inbred to protest myself from being eaten. Find these spots, and set 4-5 traps. Then check daily for a "capture". Reset your traps and continue for a minimum 3-4 weeks. When the traps are no longer catching critters, remove them, remove the bait from the trap, wash in hot soap and water, air dry for a day or so, and put them in a plastic baggie, for the next event.
4) The above is better than smelling a dead critter from poisoning...dead in your wall, or car interior. Takes a bit longer, takes a bit of "hunter instinct", Better than poisoning the dog or cat, or other animals, prevents removing seats from your vehicle, or house walls, to remove dead critters. Then you got to eliminate the "god awful" smell. You got to know the expression...."I smell a rat" ? It is not pleasant.
5) Do moth balls or "Bounce" fabric softener cloths work? Well, it may temporarily move them to another location. But they are still there, and will probably return shortly. I have actually evidenced mice removing moth balls from a location I had placed some.
6) You need to be proactive, and timely.
True story...One week prior to writing this page, I saw a field mouse scurry along an outside wall of the house, about 8pm at night. I had a Victor trap set within 20 minutes. Didn't have any hard cat/dog food. I did have a big bag of roasted salted peanuts. Baited the trap with 1/2 of a single nut. Checked the trap around mignight with a flashlight. Got him. That's being agressive, and that's what you have to be. FYI...they move and feed at night. So check any traps for captures in the morning.
7) Another reason (and true story) not to use bait. Some years ago, a nest of rats had taken up in the barn. Eating cracked corn fed to the animals. I had read about using flour mixed with concrete. Half and half, with the rock removed. Plugs them up internally, in short order. Put out several small containers for 3 or 4 weeks until there was no further evidence of anything eating the mix. It worked. To this day, I had never seen another rat. But I had no squirrells for two years after also.
Why do rodents chew on wiring?
The myth is "they like the taste". Not so !!...they chew on wiring to keep their incisors trimmed (ground down). Same as if they gnaw on wood, etc. Their teeth grow at a fast rate. If left alone, their incisors would grow too long to be of any benefit to eat. So...they chew/gnaw on anything that will keep the incisors at a workable length.
If you found rodents have taken up in your engine, and likewise for some odd reason, your vehicle won't start or run properly, check the wiring under the hood, for evidence of gnawing. Catch the offenders...then fix the car.
And one final important quickie. Rats and mice are in the food chain for snakes. Poisonous and non-poisonous variety. If the rodents are there for any length of time, the snakes will find them.
FINAL WARNING...SPRING TRAPS CAN CAUSE INJURY TO YOUR FINGERS/HAND. THEY ARE DESIGNED TO BREAK THE BACKBONE OF CRITTERS. THEY CAN ALSO BREAK YOUR FINGER BONES, AND DAMAGE TISSUE. WHEN SETTING ANY SPRING TRAP, KEEP YOUR FINGERS AWAY FROM THE SPRUNG (TRIPPED) LOCATION OF THE U-SHAPED TRAPPING METAL DEVICE, AND KEEP FINGERS AWAY FROM THE METAL ARM THAT LOCKS THE U-SHAPED TRAP TO THE TRIGGER PLATE.
Good luck, Good hunting. Remember to buckle up your seatbelt !! It's the law.
While you are here, you might as well have a look at my web site info on servicing fuel injectors. The home page is HERE Thanks for visiting...and be sure to bookmark my site for future reference.