Mice can cause thousands of dollars in damage and ruin farm equipment if they get into it, particularly during winter storage. They can chew through all kinds of machinery and create a complete mess of a tractor cabin and other valuable farming equipment.
For many farmers and ranchers, particularly those in cooler climates, the fight against rodent damage is a never-ending battle. These tips can add tools to your arsenal in the war against mice.
Clean Your Surroundings and Equipment
One of the best ways to fight a mouse infestation is to prevent them from entering your equipment in the first place. Clean your equipment with compressed air before storing it for the winter. Extensive cleaning will clear out any garbage, leftover food, or grain that attracts mice in the first place.
Clearing out your barn or shed and making it inhospitable for mice will also help you prevent an infestation. Rodents enjoy places where they can hide, such as piles of debris and firewood. Clear out what you can from your storage area to make things uncomfortable for the mice. For items that you cannot get rid of, such as firewood, lift them off the ground to decrease the likelihood of mice making a comfy home.
The way you manage your whole property can affect your chances of a rodent infestation. Clear out low-hanging bushes and trim any landscaping near your storage area. This will remove hiding places for mice and prevent them from thinking your equipment shed is a great place to hide out for the winter.
Prevent Mice From Entering
Besides clearing away debris, there are other ways to prevent mice from entering your equipment. Mouse-proof your barn or storage area by filling in any holes in the walls, no matter how small.
Once you’ve built the lines of defense in your shed, you should protect your equipment as well. Seal any holes in the cabin or engine to prevent mice from entering. Many farmers also find that unplugging wiring and storing cables minimizes mouse infestations.
Enlist Animal Assistance
Sometimes, traditional methods of keeping mice away work the best. A barn cat or even a Jack Russell terrier can be a farmer’s best friend when it comes to fighting a mouse infestation.
However, not all cats are created equal. Some are natural mousers, while others will turn their nose up at working for their dinner. It’s best not to rely on only one animal to protect yourself from mice but to have several animals and a backup mouse removal method as well.
Enlisting animals in your fight against mice may cause complications when using other methods of pest control. If you put out poison for mice, your pets could also eat it and get seriously ill.
Once mice are in your storage space, the best way to keep them away from your equipment is with strong scents. Rodents are very sensitive to odors, and the right scent will drive them away. Some farmers use natural repellents made of household objects, while others turn to industrial ones.
Potent food odors, such as peppermint oil, dried orange peels, or a paste made of cayenne and water, are one way of repelling mice using objects you probably already have on hand. Other household objects, such as mothballs and fabric softener sheets, can also work.
Natural scent repellents can be an easy way to keep mice away, but they’re not always as effective as store-bought ones. Make sure you have backup pest prevention methods on hand just in case your homemade concoctions don’t repel mice.
Many manufactured mice repellents are available from hardware stores, garages, and even online retailers. Many of these products use natural oils such as eucalyptus or the scents of predatory animals to create a stronger odor than in homemade concoctions.
Other industrial mouse repellents use sound instead of odor to drive away mice. High-frequency rodent repellents emit ultrasonic sounds that aren’t audible to humans but deter all kinds of pests, from rodents to bugs.
Traps are one way of getting rid of mice once they’re already in your equipment. There is a range of mouse traps on the market, from traditional spring-loaded traps to humane boxes.
However, traps can only catch a few mice at a time, which won’t be helpful if you have a sizable infestation (and mice tend to travel in packs). The best technique is to prevent an infestation in the first place.
Keeping Mice Away From Tractors
Tractors are prime real estate for mouse infestations. Mice love to chew on cables and nest in the comfortable cabin. Tractors are also very expensive to repair and replace.
Many of the methods mentioned above work properly on eliminating mouse infestations in tractors. Cleaning out your cabin and engine thoroughly, buying an ultrasonic repellent, or adopting a cat can keep mice away from tractors just as well as from other equipment.
There are also products on the market that are specific to keeping pests out of tractors. One, called Fresh Cab, is safe for pets but repels rodents from your tractor. When setting up odor repellents around your tractor, placement is important. Put your paste, dryer sheets, or mothballs on the engine block, near wires, or under the seats—in the places where mice are most likely to hide.
Finally, one simple method for keeping mice out of your tractor is to leave the hood up when you store it. Mice enter your farm equipment looking for a warm place to hide, and opening up the hood takes away that hiding place. Only do this if your tractor will not be exposed to the elements because you want to avoid ruining the engine.
Mice are unpleasant guests on any farm or ranch, especially considering the damage they can do to your farm equipment. You have several options, ranging from industrial-strength deterrents to simple repairs, to prevent and fight mouse infestations.