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rats/mice in the air vents! eeeeek!
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mgoodwin
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2010 1:16 pm    Post subject: rats/mice in the air vents! eeeeek! Reply with quote

hey friends,

i went camping last summer in the Mount Baker Wilderness in Washington for 7 days on my own with just me and my '84 Westy. It was an amazing trip except for one small problem...

Mice somehow found their way into my air vents. They were crawling into the main cabin through the floor vents. So, they somehow found a way into the air system. My question is where would be the likeliest place a small rodent would be able to enter into the air system. I want to put some metal netting of some kind over the vent intake holes, but i just have no idea where to look.

the mice snuck up on me while i was sleeping and made fast work to find my pack of reeses! nothing like being woken up to mice two feet from your face!

thanks.

- matt -
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Westy-Life
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2010 1:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In my opinion you can plug holes in your van all week and never get them all. If the mice smell something they like, they will enter the van no matter what you do!

We use dryer sheets crammed into strategic areas of the van (especially when parked for a while) and these little sacks of some natural junk that mice hate - you can buy it at a Home Depot or farm shops. Sorry can't find the name for the product.

Did you use the search? This is not a new topic by a long shot.

Cheers!
Dave
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DAIZEE
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2010 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeppers mice can flatten themselves almost as thin as a piece of paper. Fabric softener scented sheets do work great and keep those far reaching places fresher smelling.
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tencentlife
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2010 6:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The van can in fact be made rat-tight, there aren't many places they can get in with it closed up (leave your slider open overnight and that's another story). They do often saunter on in the cabin vent intake, which is why they're usually found nesting in the fan box since that's the first place they see, and it's just perfect! From there they can also go out along the door beam/ducts and fall down inside the B-pillar to die and stink up the place most dejectedly; I had two die down there once, apparently a rescue attempt was mounted, but failed.

Just take off the front upper grille and along the top of the opening is the oddly-shaped vent opening. There may be a feeble plastic sub-grille of sorts that acts as VW's cruel little joke because it doesn't even come close to covering the ends of the opening. I covered mine with diamond lathe years ago and have had mice no more, except when I get careless and leave a door or window open overnight.
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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2010 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I second what 10c says. Work on the cowl vent up behind the front grill. I just caulked all around the edges of the screan so there are no openings left that a mouse can get through. I have only had mice in any of my Vanagons one time since I learned to do this. Don't know how those mice got in, but the attack has not been repeated.

It would be nice if TK or some other Vanagon vendor would come up with a nicely made piece to replace this funky poorly fitting plastic VW screen over the cowl vent.
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syncro2x
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2010 7:17 pm    Post subject: Mice Reply with quote

I had the same problem a couple years back, woke up to the scratching of mice. Turned on my flashlight and it ran back up the lower heater vent. Got up started the van, ran the fan and blasted the stereo. Couldn't get rid of that thing no matter what I tried. When it ran across my head I said that's it, got up and drove home at 4 in the morning.

Next time I went back I took 3 mouse traps. Woke up to mice scratching, put out my three traps with cheeze. Jumped bad in my bag and snap, had a mouse. Tossed it out got back in my bag and snap had another. Loaded up the two sprung traps again, back in the bag, snap got a third. That was the last. Mice are stupid and easy to trap. Never go any where with out a few traps
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BC Westie
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2010 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just last week I had a mouse get in my closet and die. My wife was sitting in the back with my daughter and was complaining about the smell. I said it was my daughters diaper. The next day I went hunting and found the little sucker dead. Guess he snuck in there during the winter in the barn and then I brought it home.

Next year I will seal off the intake vents behind the front grill.
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DAIZEE
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 4:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

never confuse mice and rats. field mice are aggressive little bu**ers.
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mgoodwin
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 8:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wow thanks for all the great advice guys! I'll definitely follow up on trying to seal up the intake behind the front grill. I'm sort of a newb to working on Vans so if there's any kind of pictures or something about how to go about this, I'd love to be directed to such a resource.

hopefully next time I go camping there will not be a repeat of the 'rat-astrophe'.

I'm pretty sure the camp site was almost infested with field mice though, so hopefully with better luck and some modifications I can avoid this.
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dobryan
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 8:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are vent holes for the two battery boxes (under both front seats) that can also be used by the mice. Be sure to place some screening to block access thru those holes too.
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tencentlife
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 9:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Crude, but effective:

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randywebb
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 11:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mice can carry any number of diseases and can infect humans - even when dead

use plastic gloves and discard them after use

there is no real difference between ""rats" & "mice" - non-biologists just usually call big rodents rats

"field mice" usually means something in the genus Peromyscus, they like to go into live traps and other openings
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DAIZEE
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 11:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I learned long ago that mice can chew thru plastic containers. If it is anything with a very strong odor, put it in glass. In LCBO (Liquor Control Board Ontaario) they use green mesh when you get more than one bottle of wine. These are excellent to keep so that you can actually use glass containers safely. Their miniscule thickness is enough to isolate like jars/containers.

I think field mice are more a problem in spring and late fall but I am always prepared year round. No telling when you come across some who want to come off their diet Wink
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Lakesurfer
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 10:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great advice about the front grill/mice.
I just picked up my first Westy last week and I've been playing CSI since then, trying to hunt down the scent of demise in there. Was shocked to find evidence in the spare battery box as well.
Hope to track it down before it gets Hot in Ontario.
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dobryan
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 5:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lakesurfer wrote:
Great advice about the front grill/mice.
I just picked up my first Westy last week and I've been playing CSI since then, trying to hunt down the scent of demise in there. Was shocked to find evidence in the spare battery box as well.
Hope to track it down before it gets Hot in Ontario.


Wait until you start removing interior side panels and find the multitude of nests they have made in the fiberglass insulation. That insulation is also great at absorbing water and mice pee, and that makes a great acid mix to eat away at seams. Stupid little buggers. Very Happy
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https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=620646

Building a bus for travel in Europe
https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=695371
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DAIZEE
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 11:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My mind has been fragmented lately and I simplty didn't think about this. It is THE ultimate solution and should be present year round.

Mice HATE peppermint smell. So you get really cheap peppermint oil, cotton balls, small glass jars with metal lids. Put a few holes in the lid, put some peppermint oil on a cotton ball, put the lid on tight and place in various areas of the van (particularly important for winter storage).
The mice will leave you alone forever.

About 8 years ago my ex has a 5 plex in K-W near Victoria Park with a large lot. Mice were a problem in the garden shed and in the bldg. Someone told us about this solution and no kidding never had mouse droppings anywhere on property. Indeed his neighbor was complaining about an increase in mice present.

Don't buy expensive peppermint oil but it is not cheap. A little goes a long way. As I have no sense of smell, nor concept of smell I don't know how it smells but would think it is not unpleasant.
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GBA 88West LA
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 1:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

what about squirrells any advice on keeping them out
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 1:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dont forget there is a battery vent line that is direct path for those critters. I stuffed steel wool in that. Also around the westy plumbing under the van where the propane lines are and water dump, check those areas
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DAIZEE
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry can't remember about sqirrels but they do make a mess when they have a litter and they are persistant but easier to keep out with heavy mesh as mentioned previously.

We had a problem every winter season with the racoons invading the sailboats and setting up messes. One fellow had an infestation on dry dock and when he was launched and put way out and I mean way out on a dock, those blooming coons found his boat and kept being a pest. He was told to leave a cup of urine outside the part they kept breaking in and he never had anymore trouble. Those little azzes have articulating thumbs and ccan open doors and lift boards.

Anyone else have input about squirrels?
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Alaric.H
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 8:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I let my van sit for a month and a couple of mice moved in causing about 300$ worth of damage to clothe and sleeping bags and food but my syncro de mayo trophy snagged one of them. Looks like it got wedged in between the handle and got stuck.
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