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Keep Pack Rats Out of Your Car


Keep Pack Rats Out of Your Car

Pack Rat Nest

Linda Morelli

We do not claim to be any type of college-degreed pest control expert or authorities on animal physiology. But we do have a garage with six classic cars that have not been vandalized by the large number of pack rats that inhabit our property. And we have accomplished this great feat for over ten years with devices that have consistently been proven not to work by leading universities and scientists.

Just to clarify about the pack rat; we are not talking about a person who hates to throw anything away, and accumulates a lot of things they might not necessarily use. We’re referring to a rodent that is about 8 inches long, with a hairy tail up to 10 inches long. Pack rats are mostly nocturnal creatures and will look for shelter to hide from both the elements and their natural predators. A vehicle has many nooks and crannies for this highly destructive rodent to hide. You may think that the interior and passenger compartments are what lures them, but instead, it is the engine compartment, which may afford warmth if the vehicle was recently driven and then parked, or the many wires, which are insulated with a substance that attracts many rats to chew.

These annoying creatures will also chew their way through the fibrous firewalls near wheel wells and the front passenger compartment. Pack rats seem especially interested in chewing on rubber parts and water tubing. Once they have begun chewing and gnawing, it’s just a matter of time before they cause serious and costly damage.

First we must say that we know pack rats are living amongst us because we see new nests built as soon as we tear them down, catch them in live traps, see their dropping around the patio and repair the outside wiring they destroy. Those pesky critters keep us extra busy around Christmas as they think the lights are our yearly gifts for them to munch on.

And how we have managed to keep them out of our garage and storage areas for the last ten years is using electric ultrasonic repellers. Our most recent purchase, which was four years ago and still going strong, is the Bird-X Transonic Pro Pest Repeller and not one pest dropping found in the six car garage to date. It is the noisiest device out of the three we have in other storage areas, but not annoying enough to complain about.

Now if you do a Google search on the effectiveness of ultrasonic pest repellers you will probably find this:

“Ultrasonic pest repelling devices have repeatedly been shown to be completely useless.” University of Florida.

“Ultrasonic treatment devices (such as ultrasonic flea collars) claimed to rid homes of pests are completely ineffective.” University of North Dakota.

“Ultrasonic devices do not meet advertiser’s claims for their products.” University of Maryland.

“With proper use of rodenticide baits, there are few situations where the additional cost of ultrasonic devices is warranted.” University of Saskatchewan.

In regards to the rodenticide baits, that would not be an option for us as we have a wonderful population of horned owls and red tail hawks that would not appreciate that method. We have actually built owl nests to lure more of these pack rat predators to our property.

With all the bad press on ultra-sonic pest control devices, we still stand by our recommendation to have one operating as protection against pack rat destruction. We also recommend never leaving any food or garbage in the garage, even the residue of an empty potato chip wrapper is enough to bring unwanted guests.

What about cars that need to be parked outside the garage you ask? Well we just acquired another vehicle that unfortunately won’t fit inside and use a car cover to protect it from the elements - a bigger lure for these nocturnal pack rats. After several recommendations from fellow enthusiasts, we purchased a Rid-A-Rat unit. According to the manufacturer:

It works on the principal that rodents are nocturnal and thereby most active at night. This unit interferes with the ordinary behavior through supplying precisely timed light bursts. These interfering lights cause rats to seek other shelter for nesting, which is the primary reason vehicles are targeted as safe shelter for rat pups/young.

The Rid-A-Rat unit was easy to install inside the engine compartment and so far, no signs of pack rat infestation in the car.

For more information check out Bird-X Transonic Pro Pest Repeller and www.rid-a-rat.com

Suggested reading:
How to Start a Car That’s Been in Storage
Classic Car Care Tip - Removing Bird Droppings
Prevent Your Classic From Overheating

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