Originally Posted by JWA
Re: Residual Scents
On occasion I've used household ammonia diluted about 50/50 with water in a hand sprayer bottle misting the mixture onto surfaces or passages I'm sure rodents have traveled or are known to hide or nest. Eventually that slight smell is no longer noticeable to humans, it does seem to keep them away.
They do follow scent trails, which makes varmint control problematic. Here in NM (“land of the flea, home of the plague”—not to mention hantavirus virus and rabies), they’re a serious issue. I’ve used most if not all controls around the house but mostly rely on snap traps. They work and usually kill quickly, peanut butter being the best bait. Live traps become gross when successive waves of mice get caught and feed on their predecessors. Poison is slow acting, unduly cruel and may affect other animals though I’d think “relay toxicosis” could be minimal unless another critter is feeding on a lot of poison-killed critters. It’s quite lethal, however, when your dog decides to dine on the bait directly. Rats can be immune and love to sprinkle bait around their holes along with cholla pieces and dog feces. Catch and release just lets the guys go find their friends.
One of the best preventative measures for a vehicle is to drive it, even while camping. Anything left parked more than a couple of days is fair game. Leaving the hood open helps discourage engine attacks. (We try to remember to look under the hood before firing the engine up after an extended stay without driving. It’s amazing how quickly they can move in. They love the wiring insulation. I’ve even decapitated a rabbit though though that was at home rather than on the road.) Febreze dryer sheets seem to work for extended parking if you handle their stench. We leave them in the 4Runner at home when we travel.
Bottom line: if you’re lucky they just poop or eat wiring insulation. If you offended the powers of the universe in some lifetime or another, you might have an extended hospital stay in your future. Or worse.