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GRAWR!!! Mice in the car. Out Out OUT!!!

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

It was the last straw:  they got *into* the car, not just the trunk or dash, and completely disfigured a handmade felt wallet my 7yo daughter just spent the better part of a day making--planning, stitching, decorating.  The mainly went for the wool bits--thankfully just some decorations.  It could have been worse.  Instead, we only have to restitch one seam and add back the Santa face that was made of wool fabric.


We've tossed out nests.  We spent $70 to extricate the flattened body of a huge honkin' mouse carcass that was causing our fan not to work (bonk bonk bonk thud THUDTHUDTHUDTHUD!!!!).  There is another body in there somewhere, I can just smell it when the fan is on.  


They are chewing the asbestos between the engine and the dash.  Thankfully nothing essential has been tampered with--no $400 labor charge to get to and replace a $25 wire deep in the engine like a guy I met at the mechanic's.  


That guy suggested I use those pine tree scent thingamajigs.  I said a polite "thank you" and didn't think about it again.  But today?  I bought 4 of those things.  Stuck one down in the trunk way down by the spare tire where they have restocked their winter cache (think again, you little shits!)  Looking for other places to stick them without gagging myself.


How do y'all live with critters in the vehicles?  I want this guy/these guys out, but I know there will be another and another and several more after that.  I need my cat back with us patrol the underside of the car (no wonder he hung out under there all the time!)  


Last fall I was driving up our dark dark road, with only the glow of the headlights, and out popped this big old mouse up the windshield.  All I could see was his silhouette and I had no idea what it could have been, lurking and scaring the daylights out of me, before I realized it was a stinkin' mouse (very possibly *the* stinking mouse now.)


I will take any suggestion short of tanglefoot traps.  Those things are just disgusting.



post #2 of 10

Last time I had my oil changed they told me a mice had been eating the air filter or something. They suggested putting peppermint oil on the outside of the engine- like not in the engine but near the hood or something- I guess that keeps them away- get a bottle of peppermint oil (like essential oil) and put it around the outer parts of the car I think. I didn't do it yet.

post #3 of 10

You need to set traps in the garage (or, wherever you park your car).  Also, as pp said, peppermint oil will help repel them (it isn't a 100% promise, but they don't like it).  It IS strong, so be aware of this before you start putting soaked cotton balls inside the car!!!  We dribble it in our garage and it has worked, so far (we are surrounded by fields and woods).


Keep setting the traps.  Keep the area where you park your car clean.  Don't offer then a lot of hiding places for their nesting sites.  Boxes off the ground on shelves (you can smear a little Tanglefoot on the bottom of the vertical supports so they can't climb up), keep brush away from the entrances to the garage, etc, NO pet food anywhere in the vicinity of the vehicles.

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 

I cannot set traps outside the car--nice idea, though.  We have no garage, we park in a mowed turnaround surrounded on all sides by forest and long grass.  We have no way, outside an obsessed cat, to keep the mice away from the vicinity of the car.  I have really noticed an uptick in mouse activity since my cat died, but he never kept them entirely out of the car--just afeared for their lives I guess.


I like the idea of peppermint oil and know a few places to put it, but I'd love to put some by their access points, if I knew where they were.  Or find some strategic places to clamp hardware cloth, if that would work.  


Yes, I'd also like to know where the best place under the hood to put a deterrent.  I see a little ledge on one side where they have been doing most of the insulation chewing.  


Any more ideas and experiences?

post #5 of 10

Maybe it's time to get a new cat or 2?

How about making your turnaround gravel instead of mowed grass?

I don't have any experience with this problem, but in your shoes I would probably get a couple of good mousers. cat.gif

post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 

The cats definitely make a difference!  It is a consideration, though we can't really afford it right now.  Maybe in the spring--the girls would love it.  I'd need to get them older and already vaccinated as our beloved Balrog--born as a stray--died of feline leukemia like his siblings, and our ancient cat is most likely a carrier as well in his advanced age.


Plus, they never just stick with mice, do they?  When Balrog was alive, he would love to bring home baby bunnies who had never left their nest.  There is really nothing to be done there.  You can't return them to the nest, they won't go anywhere safe in the long term, and mama bunny, sorry to say, couldn't give a fig.  No, I just have to close my ears (they squeal horrendously), hope it's over quick and figure out how much a raw rabbit meal that might have cost us from the vet (if we did that, which we don't).  Bunnies..... birds (the darned cat never did learn to ID the natives!) 


No, the mowing makes only a little difference.  We sometimes park on a more gravelly spot--again, not a significant deterrent.  Impossible to keep the grass out of the gravel--we live in Pacific Northwest and grass grows like crazy along with everything else.  We are surrounded.  No, keeping the mice from the *environment* is going to be a Herculean feat that will probably put me in a state of madness (beyond avoiding parking it right up along the tall grass--it does make a slight difference, though doesn't actually solve the problem).  


No, I need to focus my attacks on the points of entry into the engine and the car.  Having cats would help immensely, but as I've said it makes the mice simply less bold, doesn't solve the problem entirely.  Stinky deterrents, blocking the entry points into the inner parts (dash, trunk, cab) would be perfect.  I don't expect I can actually keep them from the engine block.  That's a whole different ball game!  Not sure I can win that one, but I could stink it up to make it less inviting.

post #7 of 10

Sorry, you're out of luck.  With the approach of Winter, it is going to continue (and, probably, worsen).  Also, previous mice have already produced a trail of urine and pheromones which will act as runway lights to any other mice (you can't wash it away)!


Traps CAN be done (and, safely), you just need to be creative!  Don't use sticky traps, use regular snap traps.  You need a lot of them (I'd start with 8, 2 on each side of the vehicle) and boxes (like shoe boxes).  Bait them with peanut butter and put them under boxes, near the car.  The boxes need to be propped-up, but just an inch or so.  We've used a concrete paving stone under the box edge).  Make sure the boxes cannot be flipped over (a brick on the top works well).  Mice can access the traps under the open wedge you provide, but birds and your cat(s) cannot.  You must check them regularly and freshen the peanut butter with every change (even if there is some PB left on the traps!).  If you can place a trap/box under your vehicle, try to do so.  DON'T FORGET ABOUT THE BOXES PRIOR TO MOVING THE VEHICLE!! 


You will never be able to prevent the mice from getting into your car, but you can sure as hell make it more difficult!  Be vigilant and never let up on the trapping.  This will be a new chore in your life, if you want to work towards keeping your vehicles rodent-free.


Toss the dead mice out in your fields, a distance away from your car(s) and home, or bury them (a better idea).  This way, your cat(s) don't find them and eat them.  Mice do carry disease and parasites that are not good for non-native wildlife.


Please, keep your cat(s), and all future cat(s), inside and keep the native wildlife safe.  Also, please, if your cat(s) catch future wildlife, put the poor captured critters out of their misery quickly.  It's not their fault your cats took then.  Give them a quick death (drown them if you can't make yourself hit them).


As for the mice, here is no way to block their access to your car especially as long as it is parked outside and no traps are being set.  A fully-grown adult mouse can get through an opening as narrow as a 1/4".  So, a car presents an easy place to nest and raise their own young.


We, too, live in the PNW.  We are surrounded by forest and fields.  Our vehicles are garaged, but mice come into the garage (tenacious little critters!).  We trap them and also put out the peppermint oil.  We put peppermint oil in my late fil's garage and it repelled the mice completely.

post #8 of 10

Okay I am not officially suggesting this-- but I heard on the radio about a guy who put a hose from his exhaust pipe on the car to the inside of the car and pretty much gassed the rats in his car to death. 

post #9 of 10
When we lived in a forest we would leave the bonnets up on all our cars to prevent rodents from nesting in the engines. Ours were in a shed though so that may not work if yours are out in the open.
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 

Shhhh!  All this talk about garages and sheds could make my car start wanting what all the other cars have.  It has never been in a garage or car port in its life, I don't want it to start whining about being the *only* car in the *history of cars* to have to sit outside in the rain!


I laughed at the idea of the exhaust.  No, not going to try it.  Not going to start trapping around the car outdoors either.  That is the road to insanity.  Maybe it will help, but I'm not the person to keep up on stuff like that.  Don't want to end up like Bill Murray's character in Caddyshack--that's the inevitable conclusion I'm afraid.  Seriously, I am worried that an all-consuming obsession with trapping the mice (which really should be a cat's job) will end up with mice in the car anyway.  I might regret that, though, the first $400 dollar repair I need because of that.  


I've been diligent about removing seeds from their favorite nesting spot under the spare tire.  I need to learn how to get inside the dash as well, though the mechanics said they didn't see any nest or cache.  I think that will (hopefully) discourage them from setting up residence, anyhow.  Harder to keep them out of the engine and into mischief.  


I might end up having to trap regardless.  Embrace the insanity and join the war.

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