Chances are you never thought of your car as a food source. But since car manufacturers started using components made of soy, mice and rats are now enjoying a new type of “fast food.” Since the 1990’s, soy has replaced petroleum in the manufacturing of many auto parts including, tires, wiring harness covers, wire insulation, equipment panels, seat cushion foam, interior carpeting, and trim. So, mice, rats, and even squirrels may find your car an irresistible smorgasbord and in the process cause potentially dangerous damage that can be costly to repair.
Exclusion is best prevention.
In order to prevent rodents from damaging your vehicles, prevent them from gaining access into your garage. Block all holes of 1/4-inch or larger in the foundation walls and around the exterior of the structure. Fill holes with materials that rats and mice cannot gnaw through, such as concrete mortar, galvanized sheet metal, or heavy-gauge hardware cloth. (Don’t use chewable materials, like plastic, rubber, vinyl, or wood.) Seal holes around utility wires, pipes and conduit. Use hardware cloth to screen vents and floor drains. As applicable, repair broken windows, doors and screens, and then make sure that they close tightly. Finally, install vinyl or rubber sweep seals under garage doors to eliminate any gaps.
Discourage rats and mice from living around your premises by removing their runways, shelter, water, and food. Stack firewood at least 18 inches off the ground and away from all buildings. Remove or cut down tall grass and weeds. Remove bushes from the area near your home’s foundation. Trim ground level branches off shrubs. Maintain a 2-3 foot wide gravel border around the foundation free of all vegetation and mulch. Avoid plants that climb building walls, such as vines, which provide shelter and runways for mice and rats. Keep bird feeders away from the structure and remove spilled seed from the ground frequently. Clean up fallen fruits, seedpods, and nuts from trees. Immediately clean up and dispose of dog and other animal droppings. Keep trash in tightly closed garbage cans or dumpsters. Fix leaky pipes and moisture problems. Inside the garage, remove any food and water sources near the vehicles, and keep pet food in tightly closed containers. Remove clutter, food and water from inside the vehicle.
If prevention practices are not effective, hire a pest management professional to securely place proven rodent baits inside tamper-resistant bait stations in the garage. Your pest management professional will use baits that are a more desirable food alternative than the car’s components and will surely be a “Dead End” to your problem.