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How to keep mice out of lawn mower?!?!

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brino

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#1
A couple years ago I bought a Cub Cadet LTX-1142KW ("KW" designates the Kawasaki engine).

I really only have two complaints about the machine:
1) the grass height settings only cover the range of short, too short, way to frigging short and scalping.
It might be fine for someone that can cut all their grass every other day in May; but I'm not that guy.
It takes over four hours to cut all the grass, and I can never seem to get it done in one session (run out of gas or daylight, driven in by rain or bugs, etc.)
So by the time I finish cutting the entire yard it's time to start at the other end again.
Then the grass is so long that I'm leaving windrows
I have looked a few times at the linkages wanting to hang the mower deck higher, but that doesn't look easy.
I have started to wonder about just putting bigger tires on to lift the entire machine.
But that problem is for another day.

2) The local mice population love the top of the engine for building nests. I have just removed the second nest of the year. Disgusting!
So far they have not chewed thru any wires, but I want them gone.
Previously I had cleaned it up with peroxide and a brush to get rid of the smell.

I did not get a picture of the top of the engine once I removed the nest, but it is basically the fan on top of the flywheel.
I found a picture of a similar one below.

I will continue the battle to mouse-proof the storage shed, get some different traps in there, etc. but I am also looking for ideas on something I can put on the engine to dissuade them building there in the first place.

I need something that:
  • mice find sufficiently nasty
  • won't be slung off within the first two minutes of running the engine
  • won't start a fire when the engine gets hot
  • won't just dry up and disappear when the engine gets hot
  • won't damage the engine
Thanks for any ideas.
-brino

lawn_mower.jpg

mouse_nest.jpg

(a similar picture from the web)
1527253691694.jpeg
 

projectnut

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#2
All I can say is Good Luck finding something that will work. I have a Case 224 that sits in a garage that must double as a mouse sanctuary. I've tried dozens of different ways to keep them out of the engine with limited success. The only way I've found so far that works is waiting for the engine to cool then put duct tape over any opening big enough to stick my finger in. It's a real PITA, but it does work. The downside is that the tape has to be removed every time the tractor is used. Fortunately in my case the tractor only gets used every other week or so.

The local Home Depot loves me because I think their duct tape sales doubled in the last few years.
 

chips&more

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#3
Brino, a few months back mice eat the wire insulation in the engine compartment on my wife’s car. Down deep where you could only see the damage with a flash light. I had to tear off the top of the engine to get to the wires. Not fun! I bought some kinda peppermint spray to hopefully change their diet. So far so good…Dave


PS: I just looked for you and found the spray bottle of stuff. It's called "Rodent Defense".
 
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Kernbigo

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#4
i have the same tractor and i can cut at4" if i want to normally cut at 3", your deck must not be set up right from the factory. I do small engine repair should not be that hard to set it up right. try you tubing it. Also use moth balls to keep mice out of it.
 

pdentrem

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#5
Mow faster! Lol
Try Bounce dryer sheets if stored in a building. My buddy has a barn where it stores his extra vehicles and put the sheets inside the cars and a couple on the floor beside. Replace a couple times over the winter. Seems to work.
 

dlane

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#6
Brino, the mice are building there nest there because it’s safe from cats, if you leave the hood open they will find a diferant home. My truck sets in the garage till needed I leave the hood open enough that rodents don’t feel safe.
The mower deck should lift higher than that , did you buy it new ?. I was tired of living on my lawnmower/ tractor ,and other things in Arkansas on 40ac so I sold it and moved here where most of the yard is paved, but this state is messed up
Wish I never left AR now, o well.
 
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markba633csi

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#7
Put a pair of electrodes on the top of the engine and plug 'er in! Fried mousie LOL
 

dlane

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#8
Get a couple cats , I don’t have to because the neighbors have plenty, the hood up works if cats are around.
 

fradish

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#9
Could you also leave the perforated screen off of the top? That is probably only there to keep
people from getting their hands caught in the fins, but maybe with it off and the hood up the mice
might not feel safe.
 

petcnc

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#10
There is some spray for cable protection from mice!

motip-cable-protect.jpg

I had a similar problem where mice loved to make nests and chew cables of my in-law's car that were parked for long time. After spraying it with the spray problem solved.
You can find it in e-bay like here
Alternativelly use the traditional method of putting a bag with moth balls in there! moths and mice hate it!

petros
 

brino

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#11
Thanks for all the ideas!

I do park it in a closed shed, but obviously there are some cracks big enough for mice to get in.
However, those holes are NOT big enough for a cat to get in!

I will try simply leaving the hood up while it's in the shed......maybe that will help.

I am also interested to see those comercial solutions......never heard of the anti-chew spray.
I will start looking locally for "Rodent Defense" or that anti-chew spray.

That shed does NOT have power, so those plug-in ultrasonic gadgets are out.

I did tell my wife that I would lock one of her house cats in that shed.

-brino
 

f350ca

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#12
I've heard moth balls work, also Irish Spring Hand soap. Squirrels are the problem here, but the dog is now on full alert and a pellet gun makes them fall from the trees.

Greg
 
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#14
I'd add some poison the wax chunks can be put around every few months . They eat and die. Try sprinkling really hot hot sauce it'll burn the senses and mouths. I'm a Hugh vermin destroyer. Even tree rats fear me , my 25 cal hatsan sniper is awesome and quiet.
 

projectnut

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#15
We must have tougher rodents in the Midwest. I've tried moth balls, leaving the hood up, traps, dryer sheets, anti rodent spray, and ultrasonic rodent repellants among other things. The only thing they did a good job of was emptying my pocket book. Just for spite every time I tried something new the little buggers would either pee or take a dump on the seat. Now I tip the seat forward so I don't get a messy surprise the first time I sit on it.

The truth be known I think some of the "repellants" actually attract rodents. We tried using "pre flavored" mouse traps. We were going through them at the rate of 4 dozen or more during the winter months. When I ran out of them I started using the old fashion and cheaper "bait em yourself" models. There are now far fewer signs of rodent activity, and none in the tractor since I started using duct tape.
 

cg285

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#16
as soon as my brother figures out how to keep the rats out i'll report back. he has resorted to professionals as of today. all his toys are outside now.

4 hours is a lot of time. how much area do you mow? my cows take care of 5 acres and the other 5 takes me 8 beers to mow and i drink fairly fast.
 

Nogoingback

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#17
Mouse trap baited with peanut butter. It'll take a week or so to get all of them.
 

cg285

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Mouse trap baited with peanut butter. It'll take a week or so to get all of them.
nope
actually green beans work better. last time we used a trap the bride had to tie the green beans to the trap
i used an electronic one that caught maybe a dozen or so in my last commercial shop. my brother has tried all, inc poison, 41 shotgun, nothing has worked for him yet
 
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#19
If you have a farm lots of air gunners would love to be invited to kill rats . They'll do it for free even at night . Which is the best time for hunting rats. Local shooting ranges is where to start. If want to add a nickel or dime bounty I know they'll be very few rats left.
 

juiceclone

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#20
Not sure exactly why, but peppermint oil (get it at drugstore or online) seems to drive them away. drops placed in the immediate area does it.
 

savarin

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#21
I once saw a video of I think a polish rat catcher who used to walk through a factory feeding the rats corn for a few days every day untill they felt safe with the food and started following him around like a grey carpet.
Once he had their trust he switched to poisoned corn and wiped them out except for the king rat.
He would sit in the dark with an infra red light and a fishing rod and as soon as the king came out he would flick the hook at it and whip it back over his head killing the king.
I cant find this video anywhere now but it was very impressive how he wiped out plagues of the smelly things.
It gave a lot of credence to the old story of the pied piper of Hamlin (except for the kids part)
 

Old junk

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#22
We use moth balls to keep rodents out of the old cars around here.put them in perforated sack .
 

Latinrascalrg1

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#23
The most "non poisonous" method ive used that worked was using Cotton balls dipped in Peppermint oil and placing them around the problem area . It does a good job of keeping mice away so long as you aren't Already over running with them where you store you're mower. Maybe for something the size of your "mower garage" you can place some of the oil into a jar covered with something to wick the oil going through the lid to help keep the oil from evaporating to quickly and then place a few of them as low to the ground and as close as you can place them to be directly under the problem area. If you can throw a cover over your mower when its sitting to help keep the peppermint fumes more confined the better the outcome you will have.

If you wish to get rid of them in a more permanent way nothing beats the old spring loaded snap traps if you remember to follow 3 rules...

1) whenever handling the trap make sure you are wearing some type of rubber glove....this includes removing them from the packaging so that you dont transfer your scent onto it.

2) peanut butter works as good or better then just about anything else I've tried and is very easy to apply without worry about it falling off the trigger. HOWEVER when you add the PB to the trigger make sure to use as little as possible and to smear it thinly and packed into any holes without leaving big clumps behind. This forces them to get more aggressive trying to collect the goods which gives a better chance of the trap springing at the right time which means your less likely to have a false trigger because you wont need to have it on the edge of a hair trigger setting.

And 3) Place the traps so that the trigger side is closest to the wall and in the darker or covered places.
Mice tend to stick to the baseboards as much as possible and will try to avoid open space as much as possible so you might get lucky and catch a few just running by.
 
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rgray

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#24
One of the best traps I've run across is a 5 gallon bucket half full of water with a board set on it with the opposite end on the ground.
Figured this out by accident.
Mice go up the board and fall in trying to get to the water. Then can't get out.
Cuts down on trap/poison costs.
Empty and refill before the mosquitoes hatch.
Now to just figure out a winter version.
 

David S

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#25
I finally found a mouse trap that is easy to set and very difficult for the mice to remove the food. I use peanut butter. It goes into a small cup that is accessible by a hole in the trip lever. I have caught over a dozen mice and still on the same PB.

Wilson Predator Fast Set Mouse Trap

David
 

f350ca

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#26
One of the best traps I've run across is a 5 gallon bucket half full of water with a board set on it with the opposite end on the ground.
Figured this out by accident.
Mice go up the board and fall in trying to get to the water. Then can't get out.
Cuts down on trap/poison costs.
Empty and refill before the mosquitoes hatch.
Now to just figure out a winter version.
Ah the beter mouse trap.
Add a rod across the top of the pail with a pop can. Punch a hole in the bottom and top to allow the can to spin easily on the rod. Coat the can with peanut butter and bring the stick close. When they reach out to get the bait it spins and in they go. For winter add prestone or windshield wash fluid.

Greg
 

rgray

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#27
Ah the beter mouse trap.
Add a rod across the top of the pail with a pop can.
Friend of mine used to do that with a wire and pop can.
I've never done the additions and they end up in there anyway. I'll have to try it and see if I get more "customers".lol
 

Ken from ontario

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#28
That area where the mice set up their nest needs to be filled with something non flammable, maybe a round disc with nails welded to it, you can easily remove it when you need to mow the lawn and put back in when not in use.
I have done this for birds ,they used to make their nest right on top of eavestrough near the corner of the house, what I used was a square piece of sponge with lots of nails pushed in from one side ,then stuck it on the spot I liked the best ,used double sided tape ,birds still come by and hover on top of it for a few seconds but there's no place to even land, then they just leave.
In your situation I would use a piece of round steel to fit in the middle if the fan. it is also easy to weld nails to it.
 

projectnut

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#29
Mouse trap baited with peanut butter. It'll take a week or so to get all of them.
Been there done that. I went through about 10 lbs. of peanut butter and dozens of traps, but they just kept coming.
 

RJSakowski

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#30
Ahh mice! The universal problem. My neighbor had them build under the cowling of her wood splitter engine. The big problem happened when her dogs ate the plastic gas tank trying to get at the mice. In my wife's Audi, they built a nest in the engine air intake and ate through her ignition cables.

To combat mice in the boat this past winter, I eliminated any hanging straps, ropes, etc. Now they have to be fairly adept at free climbing reverse inclined faces to get in. I didn't see any evidence of over-winter occupation this Spring.

I used to have a problem in the house. they have done literally thousands of dollars in damages over the years. I read on line where if you could fit a Bic pen into a hole, a mouse could go through so I crawled around the entire perimeter of the house, sealing every opening. That has greatly reduced the infestation but a few still manage to get in. A few trapping sessions takes care of them.

Out buildings are a different matter. As for specific areas like the top of your engine, I would dissolve some mothballs in a solvent and spray it on the exterior of the engine (cool, of course!). Apparently, mice leave a scent trail which keeps bringing them back to the same place and the moth ball odor will mask that. Snakes will hang around a scent trail to pick traveler but they really aren't too effective because they eat so infrequently. I have never had any success with electronic repellents.
 
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