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I have a problem and know someone out there has a solution. Mice (or squirrels) chewed completely through the electrical wiring/lights on some Christmas deer ornaments which are made of pvc & chicken wire. The deer are stored outside. I have debated about attaching several bags of moth balls to each deer, but don't know if that'll work. Is there anything I can use which will keep the rodents away? Thanks!

-- Marsha (CaprisMaa@aol.com), January 08, 2001


I'm putting my money on the squirrels...both as the culprits, and for winning in the long run. Any christmas lights left out seem to be a real favourite of squirrels -- they seem to like the texture for chewing and will chew most anything to see if it's edible and sometimes aren't fast learners that it isn't. Go ahead and try the mothballs, they're cheap enough, and not likely to release liver- toxic fumes into your home since it's going to be outside. Or try hanging them somewhere that the critters can't get to them by a rope. If you think a squirrel will shimmy down the rope to them, try one of the squirrel baffles on it to keep them off. I don't know that it'll work, but maybe!

-- Julie Froelich (firefly1@nnex.net), January 08, 2001.

We have the same problem with our shredder. The little critters get in there and chew up all the wiring every winter. We have tryed the mothball thing, didn't work. Sure would be interested in hearing what others do for this very annoying problem.

-- diane (gardiacaprines@yahoo.com), January 08, 2001.

I think the hanging them up sounds like a good idea...but I was thinking about my own mouse poulace around here. Every winter they just seemed to get in the attic and the barn , the chicken coop and other sheds. Since I got two barn cats this past spring, (they were itty bitty dumped off kittys!sooo cute!) I have had ZERO mice. Anywhere. I am very pleased with their performance to say the least. Good luck!

-- Doreen (animalwaitress@excite.com), January 08, 2001.

RAT traps

-- Stan (sopal@net-port.com), January 08, 2001.

My cat is so big, he eats squirrels.

-- Dee (gdgtur@goes.com), January 08, 2001.

I think I'll have to go back to the drawing board... I have to agree it's probably squirrels vs. mice. However, I have 3 outdoor cats and they catch/kill them, even the flying squirrels. Tried to train the cats to leave the flying squirrels alone, but they just won't listen! As far as hanging the deer from rope, cord or metal wire greased w/vasoline, I don't believe it would work--tried it on all my bird feeders (incl. the squirrel baffles), and those squirrels are awfully ingenious. The deer are kept in an outdoor shed but I keep the top dutch door open just so the cats can get inside for rodent control. And I refuse to use any type of poison. Guess I'll be stringing more lights on those poor deer next year. Thank you all for your suggestions!

-- Marsha (CaprisMaa@aol.com), January 09, 2001.

Very simple - every year, as you put them out, take a spatula and mix a good 1/4 cup of seriously hot peppers (fresh, minced fine - or run through a food mill, even better) with a decent dollop of vaseline (enough to cover your light strand). Mix well, let set in warm room overnight to thoroughly "meld" the flavors. Take a cotton ball rubbed in the stuff and rub down all of the exposed wiring. Yes, it's a small pain, but it beats chewed cords. This should make a goodly amount, depending on how hot your peppers are (the hotter, the more vaseline you can use). Use rubber gloves when mixing and applying, and perhaps when wraping up cords for the season, for those who do this. It will also keep cats and other "chewers" off of just about anything - but will not work on birds.

-- Soni (thomkilroy@hotmail.com), January 10, 2001.

Here's another idea based on Soni's. I've used red pepper in my bird feeders and it really keeps the squirrels out. So how about steeping red pepper in some kind of oil for a while, mix it with water and a 'spreader' (dish soap) and use a spray bottle to put it on since they're going to be stored somewhere covered that it won't wash off.

-- Julie Froelich (firefly1@nnex.net), January 11, 2001.

I was thinking that "sprayed on" peppers might gum up the bulbs (oil on hot bulbs can cause them to fail), and that a fine spray might get down into the bulb connections.

-- Soni (thomkilroy@hotmail.com), January 11, 2001.

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