Mice love finding cozy, safe places to nest, and to them, a truck can seem like a great place to make a home. It’s dark, there are lots of small, mouse-sized spaces, it’s protected from the elements, and predators can’t get in. Often food sources are available in the truck or at least close by, so all in all, it couldn’t be more ideal. But, what can you do to stop them? Let’s find out how to keep mice out of a farm truck.
What You'll Learn Today
- What Keeps Mice Out of Trucks?
- How do I Get Rid of Mice?
- How Do I Keep Mice Out of My Tractor Engine?
- How do I Stop Mice from Eating Tractor Wires?
What Keeps Mice Out of Trucks?
Mice have an extraordinarily good sense of smell. They use it to track down attractive odors, including food or the pheromones released by other mice.
One of the reasons why one mouse can suddenly become lots of mice is because they follow the pheromone trails left by others. This is done by oils from their fur getting rubbed up against walls and other objects and from their urine.
Like some large animals, they will use scent marks, called “rub marks,” which look like brown, greasy smears.
Keeping mice out of trucks is essential if you don’t want the truck smelling of mouse urine or have them feasting on the contents of your glove compartment.
Like many other animals, mice tend to mark their territory with urine. If a mouse has relieved itself perhaps on the cab’s seat, then every other mouse that enters will try to cover that scent with their own.
The best solution is definitely prevention rather than cure whenever possible.
So it’s a good idea to try and stop them from coming into the truck in the first place.
Sanitation and Cleanliness
Mice can survive on a tiny amount of food, just 3 or 4 grams a day. This means that just a few crumbs are pretty much all they need.
If you tend to take food into your truck and eat it, then more than likely, there will be bits of leftover food there.
Should you happen to not be the tidiest of people and let a bit of rubbish build up in your vehicle, then it starts making a very attractive-looking home for mice.
By removing all rubbish and keeping the inside of your car as clean as possible, you can make it look less attractive to a mouse.
Hand vacs are good to hoover up any crumbs, or just have a no food policy and don’t eat in your truck.
Wiping over the surfaces with a cleaning spray containing essential oils such as peppermint can also help as the mice don’t like the strong odor it leaves, which is quite pleasant.
If the area where you keep your truck has a lot of “stuff” like old junk, piles of wood, stacks of hay or straw, etc., around it, then it is likely in the center of a mouse city.
Mice will always live where there is plenty of cover for them to hide safely, where it is dry, and there is readily available food.
Getting rid of as many of these components as possible will help you prevent or eliminate any mouse problem.
Just remember, in mouse wars, clutter is your enemy.
There is a wide range of natural mice and rat deterrents especially made for vehicles. These include:
- Sprays – You can use the spray directly onto affected areas of your vehicle or areas where you don’t want rodents to take up home. The sprays are made from a combination of essential oils.
- Tins – Special metal tins that can be placed in your car engine or anywhere in a 120 square feet area to repel rodents. As with the sprays, they contain a blend of essential oils.
- Essential Oils – If you’d like to try making your own deterrent rather than buying a ready-mixed one, then you can do so by using certain essential oils that mice and rats dislike. These include peppermint, cedar, lavender, or rosemary oil. This works by disrupting their sense of smell.
Using cotton balls, simply drop around 20 drips on each ball and place them around your vehicle. These are best not used in your engine compartment as they may pose a fire hazard.
There is a wide range of electronic deterrents available, most of which use a combination of light and ultrasonic sound waves to scare off rodents.
The devices can go under the hood and attach to the car’s engine power supply or in the trunk and run off of batteries.
Some of the better units have built-in sensors that trigger them to start working when sensing vibration. This helps save power and then turns the unit back off.
They are inaudible to most people.
In this video, you’ll see how to keep mice and other rodents out of your engine:
How do I Get Rid of Mice?
Due to the rapid rate mice reproduce, what starts out being just a few mice can quickly become an infestation. Getting rid of them as soon as you find any evidence is critical.
So what are the best ways to get rid of mice? Let’s take a look and see.
Many farms have barn cats and for a good reason. A hunting cat can kill several mice a day, so having several cats can quickly help to control a mouse population.
Female cats are generally far better hunters than male ones, but ensure that you get your cats sterilized. Like mice, they can also reproduce pretty rapidly!
An adult cat won’t only tackle your mouse problem. They will often kill young rats and sometimes adult ones, too, although this is quite rare as rats are so ferocious.
They do, however, help to deter rats which still makes keeping cats beneficial.
Many people think the easiest solution is to use poison. The problem with this is that other animals, including your pets, may eat it too, or they might consume the mice you’ve poisoned with it and get sick and even die themselves.
Traps can be a much better option and, if properly bated, are incredibly effective. I use a specific type of snap trap that I have found far superior to the traditional wooden ones.
They are the modern plastic variety that has a super sensitive trigger mechanism and are really simple to arm and bait. Most come with highly attractive bait already in the trap, and you can buy more to replace it once it’s been used up.
Using these traps, I have managed to eliminate mouse problems in a matter of days that had been ongoing for months when using just poisons and other types of trap.
You’ll need to set plenty of these traps. Mice tend to run along walls, so that’s a good place to put your traps. Ensure the trigger section is facing the wall, so as the mouse runs along, he comes into direct contact with the baited area on the trap.
I often use a cardboard box with holes that I’ve cut into the two back corners, so they line up right next to the wall. This creates a kind of tunnel. I then place it over some traps that I’ve set out in a line.
This helps in two ways. It provides what the mice see as a nice dark safe place to hide and helps keep my cats and dogs away from the traps.
Make sure you check all your traps every day, as a dead mouse can make one heck of a stink! Also, ensure once you’ve captured a mouse in a trap that you wash the trap thoroughly before re-bating.
Many experts advocate the use of glue traps, as if baited properly, they are extremely effective. However, I am not a fan of these as I think they are incredibly cruel. Not only that, but other animals can get stuck in them too, something I, unfortunately, have first-hand experience of.
Traps that just capture the mice are another option. You can get effective bucket varieties with a flip lid that traps many mice at once, or you can buy smaller single mouse trapping units.
When bated well, these traps work effectively for capturing mice, but for me, the problem is always what the heck to do with them after you’ve caught them! Believe me, I’ve tried releasing them far, far away, but they seem to work rather like homing pigeons…no joke!
I have concluded that there are quite simply too many and that a humane death is the best solution.
The old cartoon images of mice eating cheese are rather misleading. Mice like to eat grain and nuts, best of all. Suitable bates include:
- Dried fruit
- Peanut butter
- Hazelnut spread
One very successful bait that I use is peanut butter which I then push seeds into. Try not to touch the bait with your hands, as you will impart your own smell, and the mice are then more likely to leave it.
Use a spoon, blunt knife, or another implement to bait your traps and avoid too much handling.
The reason peanut butter and seeds bait works so well is that the mouse can’t simply grab it with its teeth and run off without standing on the trigger. The peanut butter, being sticky, requires the rodent to gnaw at the food, which sets off the trap.
A mouses’ territory is generally around 10 to 20 feet from its nest. So if you find a nest or mouse droppings, you will know where to set your traps.
If you’re trying to eliminate mice from a vehicle, then you can set traps in appropriate positions around a building where the vehicle is housed. This helps prevent mice from dying in your truck which is always a bonus!
I touched on poison earlier and explained why I prefer not to use it. However, you can get bait stations which are typically plastic boxes that contain the poison.
They work because they have an entry hole on both sides that you place up next to a wall. Once a mouse goes into one of the entry holes, it follows a tunnel that leads it into the heart of the box where the poisoned bait is.
This helps to keep the poison out of the reach of pets and children, but it doesn’t stop poisoned mice from being found by a pet and eaten. This can cause secondary poisoning.
You can use a trap that captures the mice alive and places poison for them to eat in it, containing both the mice and the poison.
Rats can quickly become immune to poison or simply won’t eat it, being very clever animals. Mice are less so, but I have found they still become resistant to poison.
I had an instance where I used impregnated sachets of seed that had been coated with a commercially produced poison. The mice were able to eat the seed with seemingly no ill effect at all.
Entry Point Elimination
One way to stop mice is to eliminate entry points. This can be tricky with vehicles, as they fit through the tiniest of holes, basically the size of a pencil. Generally, there are plenty of these on the underside of a truck, tractor, or piece of machinery.
If it is possible, plugging all points of ingress can solve your problem.
How Do I Keep Mice Out of My Tractor Engine?
To keep mice out of your tractor engine, you can employ precisely the same techniques I described earlier for “What keeps mice out of trucks,” see above.
Other techniques that can be employed include opening up the engine cover to allow in plenty of light and so it is less contained and not as appealing.
You can also use LED lights that illuminate the engine and make it feel less secure for the mice. They can either be used on a timer to come on and off at intervals or be left on all the time.
This is usually only necessary during the winter months, but occasional problems can also arise during other seasons.
How do I Stop Mice from Eating Tractor Wires?
It may seem strange that mice and other rodents enjoy eating the wires in not only tractors but all kinds of other vehicles and buildings.
One of the reasons they like some modern wires is because they are often made from biodegradable materials such as soya. Clearly, the fact that this has been turned into something we wouldn’t eat doesn’t deter them!
Rodents’ teeth never stop growing, so they need to chew on things to keep their teeth worn down. It’s a bit like us cutting our nails.
Wires are a perfect size for a rodent to get their teeth around and have a good chew. They also sharpen their teeth in this way too.
How do you Know if Rodents are Chewing Your Wires?
The first signs of rodents chewing your wires are usually when something electrical stops working or malfunctions. You may notice:
- Lights failing
- Electrical items malfunctioning such as a stereo or other equipment
- Signs of bite marks on wires
- A nest in the engine compartment
- Noises such as scratching when the tractor is not running
What to do Next
Once you know you’ve got a problem with rodents in your tractor (or other vehicles), you need to get rid of them fast. They can reproduce at an astonishing rate, and a few mice can turn into a few hundred in a very short amount of time.
The first thing to do is to employ stink tactics, just as I outlined earlier. Strong-smelling essential oils are not liked by mice.
The manufactured rodent deterrent liquids seem to work quite effectively, but you do need to reapply them regularly.
Another option is to use a good hot cayenne pepper and mix it into a paste with some water, and spread it where you think mice are.
Some people swear by dryer sheets and believe that the strong scent of the sheets works in a similar way to essential oils. Your tractor will never have smelled so fresh! Remember to remove them before you start it up though!
Also, using the same ultrasonic devices may help to put them off entering your tractor.
Mice and vehicles really don’t mix. If you want to be sure you can deter or get rid of them, employ multiple methods at once.
Remember, mice follow the same paths over and over, so identifying where they run will help you know the best place to set traps.
To interrupt their pheromone trails, use strong-smelling essential oils to disrupt their sense of smell.
Getting a bit of feline help can be very beneficial, and having a few cats around the place is nice too.
We have a variety of other farm truck related articles on our site, along with many more farming topics. Why not have a look at this one about old farm trucks?