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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Mice in a Trailer

“Last year, mice got into our trailer over the winter. How can we keep them out when we store it this year?” This is a question that the Newton Falls Public Library staff knows can be considered from different points of view; looked at as an RV, housekeeping, or pest problem.

We began our search with RV Repair & Maintenance Manual by Bob Livingston and Woodall's RV Owner's Handbook by Gary Bunzer. Both had information on winterizing a recreational vehicle. The Woodall's book reminds the owner to inspect the undercarriage for small holes, and to “use Eternabond or aluminum plates to eliminate such openings [p.306].” Our patron wanted to know if there was something he could put inside the trailer in the event some holes are missed.

Heloise From A to Z and All-New Hints From Heloise did not have the pest control information we needed. The Complete Household Handbook: the best ways to clean, maintain & organize your home by Good Housekeeping simply said to “set traps [p. 336].”
The Friendly Trapper: book 2 by Harold E. Bailey has an entire chapter, Mice and Rats, on the topic. While it has many unusual suggestions for catching the pests, there are none for deterring them from entering a space in the first place.

This appears to be a common problem as many online discussion boards address the matter. The most common suggestions were to make sure the trailer is completely clear of food and crumbs, that all holes are filled as mice can enter a space as small as ¼ inch, and to try using inexpensive dryer sheets or moth balls as a deterrent. A contributor to [pjanits from Schaumburg, Ill] suggests that you “get a strong light and lay on the ground under the trailer and think like a mouse. Really, follow along the axle and see what’s there or where the frame is exposed enough for little feet to grab on.” At the same site another member suggested taking out all the cushions, checking for holes, filling them with coarse steel wool, and then putting out plates of moth balls, both inside and underneath the trailer. There is a caution on the website warning people of the danger of using mothballs which are toxic to people and pets. Another interesting suggestion, if storing your trailer in a building on your property, is to adopt a spayed or neutered cat.

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