• Chelle Hartzer

Nothing was Stirring, Except for the Mouse (AKA: Driving us crazy)


For all those that regularly follow me, you know that my blogs are often about situations I have been in, articles that have recently hit the news, and personal experiences. Those of you who are new: hi! Welcome!


Today’s post didn’t happen to me, but to the significant other, though hopefully, I helped some. In this week’s post, we are going to talk about mice and vehicles.

This actually isn't uncommon. There are many times mice (or even rats) can get into vehicles and cause havoc. It happens in urban, suburban, and rural areas. This particular case was a very rural area with fields all around it. That doesn’t necessarily mean the mice came from this “home” spot. They could have just as easily gained entry while the car was in “town” or any other place it stopped. Even though you close the door, there are plenty of entry points that mice can get in. We know that mice need just ¼ inch opening to get into a space. I once had my car parked in long term parking at an airport and coming back, I could tell something had been in there because it got into a package of granola bars. It’s not just vehicles parked outside: mice can easily be infesting a garage or storage space and get into vehicles in those structures.


One of the first steps in pest control is evaluating the conducive conditions, particularly sanitation. This case included a loaf of bread that had been left in the back seat. Not sure how long…obviously long enough for the mice to find it. I am totally guilty of often having food in my car. I travel a lot and always keep a stash of water and granola bars in case I’m stuck somewhere. After my airport adventure, I keep my food items sealed up in a jar. I want to eat my food, I don’t want to share it with any rodent interlopers. Needless to say, the loaf of bread was removed and the car was cleaned out.

Along with what we think of as “normal” food sources, some vehicles contain materials that rodents will feed on. Even if they don’t feed on it, rodents do like to constantly gnaw so they can do damage that way.


Sanitation isn’t just removing the food source, it’s also about removing habitat and potentially water. Since mice don’t need a separate source of water (they can gain all the moisture they need from food), this isn’t as important. Mice especially will gather nesting material and make themselves quite comfortable in engines, trunks, even air ducts. For this particular situation, the car was…let’s call it cluttered. Rodents are small, pretty much everything bigger than they are is a predator that will eat them. So they like messy, overgrown, shelter areas that provide them some safety and cover. Not only do vehicles provide a somewhat safe area that larger predators can’t get into, this particular situation also provided more safety IN the car.

Got one!

All of this is great to know. The bigger issue now is how we get these mice out ASAP. Probably the fastest way in this situation is traps. Like structures, placement of the traps is important to quickly intercept the little menaces. Once most of the sanitation issues are cleared (less food, fewer hiding spots), snap traps and/or glue boards can be placed to intercept the individuals still playing around in the car. As with most trapping strategies, the more traps you can place, the increased chance you will catch one. Adding a tiny bit of food bait to the trap can help to entice them in.

Preventing this from happening again is tricky. You really can’t seal off the vehicle so it will always be a chance something can get in. If the population of mice outside the car is kept lower, the chance of one of these troublemakers getting in is decreased. If a car is parked inside a structure, using bait stations and traps (of course along with sanitation and exclusion) will reduce the risk. If vehicles are outside, bait stations can still be used to reduce overall populations. Parking in areas that are wide open (like paved parking lots vs in grassy areas), will also help.


Mice (and rodents in general) will take advantage of any conditions we provide for them. Reducing the food, water, and shelter available to them can drive them away to other areas that do provide those necessities. If you’ve been dealing with troubling mouse problems, we can help get to the root of those problems and provide preventative controls going forward. Contact us now!


Lagniappe: in a weird reversal - rats driving cars!



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