Repelling Wire-Eating Rodents
In the nursery rhyme, “Hickory Dickory Dock,” the worst that happened was “the mouse ran up the clock,” only to be scared away when “the clock struck one.” Mice and rodents aren’t so shy when they’re climbing around on machinery.
Today, a wayward rodent can cause hundreds of dollars in damage by simply gnawing on electrical wiring. “They seem to be especially attracted to the cab,” says Ray Bosc, service manager at Notre Dame Motors, a Versatile and Massey Ferguson dealer in Notre Dame, Manitoba.
Keep ’em out and off
Located in a climate where winter comes early and mice quickly seek indoor shelter, Bosc says it’s often easier to keep mice off of tractors or vehicles than to get rid of them once they’re established. “It seems like once they get into something, they’re always in there,” he says. “They tend to leave a scent trail, which basically says, ‘Everything is fine, come on up,’ and that attracts other mice.”
Bosc says the damage isn’t restricted to wires and hoses, either. He’s seen an equal amount of mouse damage on chewed-up seat cushions or a cab headliner.
One way to remove the temptation is to clean machines prior to storage using compressed air.
The second line of defense should be some type of rodent repellent. Both LandMark Implement and Notre Dame Motors sell such a repellent called Fresh Cab. But there are other sprays and packets on the market that do the same thing.
Some collectors claim that dried orange peels, mothballs, and fabric softener sheets also work, although such home remedies remain unproven.
Formulated with various oils, including peppermint, balsam fir, cedar, eucalyptus, citrus, or menthol, commercial repellents not only fend off rodents but also leave a cab smelling fresh. To use these repellents, simply place a few packets inside the cab and in strategic locations around the machine.
Other products on the market are said to contain fox and bobcat scent to repel rodents. Those may be fine for placing around tires and the engine, but it’s your call on whether to put them in the cab.
Either way, an ounce of prevention seems to be worth a pound of cure when rodents are concerned.