Editor's Note: This column was originally posted on May 17, 2021.
Progressive Farmer's Ask The Mechanic Steve Thompson has answered many questions about wiring problems, and more than a few about wires chewed by mice. So, when you ask someone how to build a better mousetrap, you should expect a few ideas to come back your way.
Which gave Steve one of his great ideas. But we'll let him tell the story, as only he can. Take it away, Steve.
COFFEE AND THE RODENT GUY
I was kicking around the problem of wires damaged by farm mice with the rodent control specialists at the coffee shop the other day. The thought came to me that I should ask readers of DTN/Progressive Farmer how they deal with this annoying and expensive problem.
I, myself, have learned to dislike mice. After the last $2,000 I spent on my John Deere 7130 main engine wiring harness, I declared war on mice. I even threw away the mouse for my computer!
But I think you will agree that all the readers who contributed to help solve this problem on our places deserve a big "Thank you!" No matter what they ate or where you have had a mouse problem, you will find the solution from the list provided below.
Good luck and good hunting!
-- Ken Pippin, Geneva County, Alabama. Sprinkle crushed red pepper on the wires and along rodent trails.
-- Alfred Will, Montrose, Illinois. Put grease on the wires. Central Petroleum Company's grease works great.
-- Bev Allen, southeastern Wyoming. Sprinkle cut or ground bars of Irish Spring Original Soap in your machines.
-- Richard King, Bastrop, Louisiana. Mix a half-cup of vinegar with one and a half cups of water and 20 drops of peppermint oil and spray on the thresholds and windowsills.
-- Bob Feuss, Lost Nation, Iowa. Place a few mothballs in the cabs and on the motors.
-- Francis and Helen Puype, Greeley, Colorado. Place Bounce Dryer Sheets around the machinery.
-- Keith Wilbanks, Plano, Texas. If I disconnect the batteries on equipment stored for winter, mice seem to leave it alone. The electrical circuit puts off a buzz that attracts mice.
-- Milly Welsh, Davidsonville, Maryland. Place rodenticide in a piece of PVC pipe. Cap the ends and cut a hole in the end caps that will allow a rodent to crawl in and eat the bait (make sure the hole is too small for a dog or cat to get to the bait).
-- David Mertell, Independence, Missouri. Hang cow fly/insect tags around the place using zip ties. Hang them around engine area, under dash, glove box, behind seat, and in toolboxes.
-- C. G. Cleveland, Paradise, Texas. Place Glue Boards in cab and in tight areas under hood, behind wiring harnesses, and behind instrument panel.
-- Kenny Robertson, Brownsboro, Texas. Throw salt on the floor of the cab. Throwing some rock salt around bales of hay stored outside also keeps the mice away. It burns their feet.
-- Dennis Immel, Adair, Iowa. Place 6-inch aluminum siding on its side in a circle around tires on cars, RVs, tractors, combines on a concrete floor. The siding works great and is clean and safe for animals.
-- Gaylon Pasley, Trenton, Texas. I use big mousetraps. The poison that I buy these days is too weak for Texas-sized rats!
-- Ralph Hove, Fosston, Minnesota. Place drops of oil of peppermint (not extract) on cotton balls and leave them in cabs and under hoods.
-- James Garner, Spiceland, Indiana. Tape treated baler twine to wiring harnesses to stop damage. A small ball of treated twine around wiring harnesses, in cabs and control boxes will keep mice away.
-- Jim and Karen Naylor, Dayton, Idaho. Stuffing Bounce dryer sheets under dash, between seats and under seats makes cab smell good in trucks and mice stay away even in grain trucks.
-- Danny Gentry, Princeton, Missouri. Get a couple of chickens. They will catch more mice than a cat. Plus, chickens will leave you an egg or two for breakfast. Cats don't do that.
-- J.W. Willis, Elm Grove, Louisiana. The best thing I have ever found is a Victor PestChaser (Google it. They're real and they kill cockroaches, too). A solution if you do not have electrical supply is to take a 5-gallon bucket with a lid. Bore a 1 1/4-inch hole at the bottom and put large chunks of rodent bait in the bucket. Pets and wildlife cannot get to poison in the hole. That works great!
As shown by the many "how-to" ideas, almost everyone has been "bitten" by this problem. Dryer sheets seem to be a popular fix. They keep the mice away and make your cab smell pretty. That's a "two-for" if ever I saw one.
And hey, if you have new ideas, let me know. I'll add it to the collection.
Write Steve Thompson at Ask The Mechanic, 2204 Lakeshore Dr., Suite 415, Birmingham, AL 35209, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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