Picture it: the temperature is dropping, the snow is falling, and winter’s officially here - and you’ve gotten your home all sealed up to keep the heat in. The bugs are gone for the year, and you think you’re all done with pest problems until spring - until that fateful morning when head into your garage, get in the car, and look down to see a mouse taking nibbles out of the seat cushions.
No, you didn’t just stop a tiny robber from taking your car for a joy ride; you caught a mouse in the act of trying to get warm, and using your car as the most convenient method to do so. The cold of wintertime can push rodents to seek out shelter just about anywhere they can find it, and for many homeowners the garage - and, by extension, the car or cars inside it - might just be the first line of defense against rodents.
Luckily, with just a few easy tips, you can keep your vehicles free from rodents all winter long.
Stop Those Tasty Smells
If mice want one thing in the winter - besides shelter from the wind and snow - it’s food, and they’re not afraid to poke around for it. Mice have finely-tuned smelling abilities, and will be attracted to the smell of food crumbs and other intriguing odors when other food becomes hard to find.
For drivers who like to snack on the road, crumbs may be the biggest culprit for attracting mice and other rodents during the wintertime, and keeping them at bay might be as simple as just cleaning out your vehicle - remove the temptation, and you may just remove the problem. Otherwise, it might be a good idea to introduce smells mice don't like, including sulphur pellets used for gardening, to drive mice away long before they reach your glove compartment.
It’s not uncommon for drivers to put a cover over their car for the wintertime, especially over summer cars and hot-rods that likely won’t hit the road until the snow melts. But as beneficial as these covers can be at keeping snow and salt off the finish, they can also hide whatever’s hiding inside - including mice and other rodents.
While it may be tempting to simply cover your car and leave it on all winter long, it’s important to occasionally uncover and check your vehicle for invaders throughout the cold season, especially if you’re in an area where rodents are especially prevalent.
Stop Up Those Openings
Mice can squeeze through impossibly small openings, ranging anywhere from tiny cracks in the wall to small holes in ductwork. On a vehicle, the opening can be smaller than you might expect: a tailpipe, an open window, a crack in your grille or vent, or even an open trunk.
If your area is particularly prone to rodent visitors, it might be a good idea to close off those openings as soon as possible. SImply covering your tailpipe and repairing any holes or damage can help prevent mice from making a nest in the engine block, under the body of your vehicle, or in small compartments like the glovebox or center console.
Check Back Frequently
If you don’t plan on taking your car out for trips during the winter season, the time can easily slip away - meaning it might be months before you start that engine again, or even get behind the wheel. But whether you plan on taking your car out for a spin in the winter or not, it’s always a good idea to check every so often to make sure no mice, rats, or other rodents have set up a nest where they don’t belong.
Thoroughly inspect easily-accessible points in your vehicle on a regular basis in the winter, starting with the interior and circling around to the engine block, the underbody, and the trunk. A quick glance should be enough to determine if rodents have made a nest in your vehicle, from which point you can contact a pest professional to come in and take care of the problem.
Keep Your Car Rodent Free for the Winter
There are a number of good strategies for keeping rodents away from your car in the wintertime, from checking frequently, to lifting your vehicle off the ground, to deterring them with nasty scents. However, the best method for keeping your car mouse-free until spring is to keep mice far away in the first place. With the help of an experienced pest management professional, you can do just that.
A pest professional can help implement a preventative pest management strategy for your home or storage area, working throughout the year to mitigate rodent infestations with smart, scheduled treatments to the most likely rodent-containing areas. That way, you can stop your mouse problem before you ever even put your car in park for the winter - no surprises necessary.