Help me fight the mice

May 1, 2011 | By Richard Prince


Do you have any advice on storing a vehicle in a garage or barn where there are mice? I currently have a car in storage in my barn and I can already see where mice have been under the hood. I don’t want them to get into wiring or the inside of the car and start making nests. I know that they can cause a lot of damage. Please help!


When I was in the restoration business I saw quite a few collectible vehicles that had been attacked by mice, and the amount of destruction they can do is staggering. As is always the case when fighting a tenacious enemy your best course of action is to implement a multi-faceted program to defend your stored vehicles.

To the extent feasible, you should seal up the storage building to prevent mice from getting in. As you may know, mice have an absolutely remarkable ability to squeeze through tiny spaces so even very small cracks and holes should be filled with cement or a similarly hard material.

I happen to be an ardent animal lover so it pains me to say this, but your best course of action is to simply kill any mice that get into the building. And the best way to do this is with an old-fashioned mouse trap. They are inexpensive, relatively humane, and quite effective. Bait the traps with something that’s sticky so it’s difficult for a mouse to grab the goods and run. I find that peanut butter works well. If you’re squeamish, spend a bit more and get the enclosed traps. I don’t recommend the traps that consist of a bit of food in the middle of a piece of cardboard coated with a very sticky substance. While these do trap the mouse they don’t kill it so you end up with a live mouse stuck to a piece of cardboard and then what do you do with it?

We periodically get letters from readers asking about the effectiveness of electronic devices that supposedly keep mice and other pests away by emitting a noise frequency that is inaudible to humans but that they can hear, or by emitting some sort of magnetic field, or things along those lines. Do these work? I’ve tried a couple without success and suspect that most if not all are nothing more than snake oil that does not work. Besides my serious doubts about their effectiveness, I don’t think it’s sensible to have any sort of electrical devices plugged in inside your storage building unless it’s really necessary because there’s always some risk of fire from anything that’s plugged into an electrical outlet.