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Use flashing LED lights as rodent deterrent

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We have volunteered at some National Wildlife Refuges where we've been strongly encouraged to surround our RV's and vehicles with lights. The place looked like an airport at night, but we didn't get pack rats!

I've never heard of flashing lights being recommended. We used white rope lights under the RV, and single bright "trouble lights" under the hood and chassis of the tow vehicle.  

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We have used rope lights to keep packrats away at several locations. Might work for mice too. Never heard of using flashing ones. 

Edited by Kirk Wood

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It takes about 80 ft to go around my RV plus another 20 for under the toad.   They are  or will be on sale soon at Walmart. Be sure they are  white and waterproof encased in tubes.  Also pick up a day/night sensor timer.  They are low amp so a single 15amp outlet powers all 10 strings.

BTW: I think the real theory behind all the techniques is to just to make sure your rig is less attractive than your neighbors.

           YMMV but I have not had a pack nor wood rat in 12 years, 9 months a year,  volunteering for USFWS is some pretty     

            rodent active locations.  Both RVS on each side of us on the Texas coast struggled the whole stay.  I think one of the 

            problems was dog food smells.

Good Luck.

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I've been told that lights work for a little while and the rodents get used to it as there is no change of scenery. If things are moved around every few days they are more effective. If that is true, then I'd think the flashing lights would be good because of the changing with the lights flashing off and on. Bet it'd drive the neighbors crazy though. Just sayin'.

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We've had white rope lights (warm) out for a couple of years now. Over time, sections would not work, so we finally replaced the entire set (five strings) this year when the Christmas stuff came out. We had some evidence of a mouse earlier this year, before we replaced the lights, but no taker for the peanut butter baited trap. Also no further evidence of mouse. I wonder if the mouse was out exploring when we left.

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Going to give this a shot, got a 2 pack of 33 ft long LED strands that are solar powered.  Has 8 light modes, so I'll change the patterns up regularly.  We don't have a problem yet, but we just moved into a wooded area with a barn next door, so I can imagine it will only be a matter of time....

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As an old framer once told me the only thing that keep rats away is a rat that you have run over.   

Rodents are not afraid of light or noise.    Rodents will look for a 'safe' place from predators.   If the rodent thinks you RV is a safe place then it will try to hide there.    

A good cat mouser might work but some evidence has showed that some types of cat urine attracts the rodents.  

 

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3 hours ago, RV_ said:

I've got two words: Rat Zapper : https://www.bing.com/search?q=rat+zapper+amazon&pc=MOZI&form=MOZLBR

Bait with peanut butter and oatmeal.

A FWS biology intern that was studying mice suggested adding a little vanilla extract to the mix.  Just a few drops ups the odoriferous attractant factor.  

 

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1 hour ago, rockylarson said:

A FWS biology intern that was studying mice suggested adding a little vanilla extract to the mix.

The problem with baits is that they only work by bringing them to your RV or if they are already inside. I prefer to use something that keeps the critters from coming to the RV!

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Flashing lights ??? 

If you park within sight of anyone , you might just find that your lights don't work very well for very long . ;)

On a more productive note ,  spray or cotton ball a bit of fox urine around your rig . 

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If you were to put lights on and under your trailer and not on the ground your neighbors would not hardly see them. Last winter I was parked next to a trailer that was used about four times all winter and there were bright lights on under it for the first month or so. Yes, it lit up under the trailer quite well, but it was in no way bothersome for me.

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Having stayed in volunteer village at a NWR where everyone had lights under their RV's because of the local Woodrat (Pack Rat) population, I'll say that it wasn't all that bothersome. Lights on the ground beneath a trailer are not that noticeable. They are far less bothersome to me than the large "security lights" and awning lights that I'm seeing more and more of.  I'm even noticing lights built into the front cap of some fifth wheels as accents. Why???

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Quote

If your planning on using flashing lights, please don't park next to us.

If you park within sight of anyone , you might just find that your lights don't work very well for very long 

1

What has happened to the friendly RV community? Vandalism now advocated? 

52 minutes ago, mptjelgin said:

Having stayed in volunteer village at a NWR where everyone had lights under their RV's because of the local Woodrat (Pack Rat) population, I'll say that it wasn't all that bothersome. Lights on the grothere are plenund beneath a trailer are not that noticeable. 

 

We have done that also and in fact, that is where we learned to do this. The same is true in several other locations and it does work. There is really no need for flashing lights and they don't need to be that bright. There are plenty of RV's that keep lights on the awnings or around the RV or even the RV outside lights left on all night. I see in in both RV parks and state park campgrounds and while it may be something that I don't normally do, I sure do not advocate nor support destroying of other people's property. Fortunately, it seems that most RV folks are not of that mind. 

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1 hour ago, Kirk Wood said:

What has happened to the friendly RV community? Vandalism now advocated? 

We have done that also and in fact, that is where we learned to do this. The same is true in several other locations and it does work. There is really no need for flashing lights and they don't need to be that bright. There are plenty of RV's that keep lights on the awnings or around the RV or even the RV outside lights left on all night. I see in in both RV parks and state park campgrounds and while it may be something that I don't normally do, I sure do not advocate nor support destroying of other people's property. Fortunately, it seems that most RV folks are not of that mind. 

Good that you don't advocate destruction or vandalism ... 

I don't know where you got the idea that I do . If you simply read what I wrote , you should see it as a mere 'warning' that some folks might not take kindly to the annoyance . Just a reminder that not all RVers are as friendly as we would have them .

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Having lights and saying they work because there are no rats or mice in your rig sounds like elephant repellent. A good ol boy know it all told me about the best investment he ever made, a bottle of elephant repellent. I told him there weren't any elephants in the US in the wild. He said that proved it worked!

Rodents carry plague in the US, especially in the SW. THe infection is carried from one to another by fleas who have bitten an infected rodent. Fleas jump off a dead host pretty quick in search of a living replacement host. This is why we caution about handling pest rodents shot or run over. Thus I prefer not to use the old fashioned messy "snap traps." Once it kills one, any fleas will soon begin to abandon ship and search for another host. Not in my home!! I like the idea that the Zapper could kill them too.

I don't care how many mice or rats go under or around my rig when full time. I only care about any that get in. The rat zapper is great in barns and Ag usage but in homes and RVs for me I want to Zap any that get in. Lots more things attract them than a Zapper with bait inside.

Lights may or may not work, I doubt the efficacy of sonic repellent devices too.

For prevention I got under the rig, and inside every cabinet and closet with pipe pass through openings, and sealed them each up. I stuffed steel wool down or up inside them tightly packed. I could have used some RockHard filler made up thin to go down between pipes. RockHard mixes like plaster but does indeed dry rock hard. The steel wool is a must. They won't chew it if they can't pull it out.

A mouse/rat/hamster/gerbil can squeeze through amazingly small spaces. Here is an article with a video of a fat hamster trying to get under a crack that is obviously impossible for such a fat rodent to squeeze through, at least one would think. 

https://www.quora.com/Is-it-true-that-a-mouse-can-fit-through-a-hole-the-size-of-a-ballpoint-pen

All the repellents in the world won't take the place of sealing possible entry ways. Those loosely stapled plastic escutcheon rings on every rig I've had left more gap than any mouse would need. I didn't bother replacing the collars when the hole is under something so it could not be seen. (remember I do the collars after I seal the holes with steel wool and rockhard) The rest I installed loosely for looks only. Just remember that our RVs travel and vibrate down the road and a metal collar could rub a hole in our PEX plumbing pipes over time. We traveled with our dog and the dog food is likely the attractant so we keep it stored in a mouse-proof container.

We also replaced our coiled inside power cable that was pulled out and had that flimsy plastic door a mouse could certainly get through. Ours was more like the 50 amp twist on system, and we carried a box in the pickup bed just for the cable. similar to these: http://www.campingworld.com/shopping/item/30-amp-non-metallic-inlet-with-white-cover-assembly/95377

or cheaper like this: https://www.etrailer.com/RV-Wiring/Epicord/277-000138.html

There are lots of ways to defeat the little cusses.

For outside I like the "walk the plank" using a 5 gallon Home Depot bucket filled third of the way with water under the rig:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/142548829626

Some folks prefer a live trap but not me. I can empty the bucket into any dumpster, pouring the water out next to it on grass. I like them better than the conventional traps that force us to handle them.

Seal it up with steel wool because they won't chew tightly packed steel wool done as I outlined above.

Hope that helps.

Edited by RV_

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As RV_ mentioned about using Steel Wool, I put a piece of steel wool at the point where the electric cord enters that flimsy white door, to dissuade any rodent intruders.   Derek (RV_brings up several items I'll need to consider to close up the gaps. I like the "walk the plank"!  I'll have to try to 3d print one!   Thanks for the tips!

Cheers

FB

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I spent TWO months at my SKP lot dealing with pack rat issues.

Here is what I learned.......

Lights do NOT work.  I put out game camera's and the pack rats were caught on camera!!  Didn't seem like the lights bothered them at all.  See video below, that matches with my experience.

Here is a video on lights and pack rats:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOdt4G2uVAQ

Lots of predators, however, do NOT like lights.  Cats excepted.  So your probably encouraging the pack rat population by putting out lights.

It is all about habitat.

In my wildlife management classes in college it was stressed that it is almost impossible to eliminate a wildlife species by hunting. It really does have to be a apex predator to be able to eliminate it by hunting.  At the pack rat level....forget it.  You cannot kill them quick enough to overcome their reproductive capabilities.

The park landscaping next to me....and bless the Landscaping Committee they do a  pretty job.

They planted Prickly Pear Catus which provides a "home" for the pack rats.   AND right next to the Prickly Pear Catus the planted a jumping Cholla the preferred food of pack rats. 

I killed SIX pack rats over a few nights time (live trap and then drowning them).  I thought I was Pack Rat free!!!  BUT just to be sure a week later I put out my wildlife camera.  They were BACK!!

I can picture in my mind....The male pack rat looking at the true love in his life and saying "What luck!!, we just found a Prickly Pear home next to a Jumping Cholla!!!  Can you believe our "good fortune".

At this point, I left.  But will take up the battle next winter!!

HABITAT.  You need to change the eco-system around your RV.  That means altering the habitat so that Pack Rats do NOT want to live there.

Like Pat and Pete I am fed up with the lights.  They violate the lighting standards for the park.  Light your LOT...you don't need to LIGHT MY LOT!! 

Nighttime lights are a health hazard......I really don't care about your health, but I do about MINE.

IF you want to eliminate Pack Rats....deal with the habitat around your RV.  And if your just there for the night....hey, let it ride.  BUT I would lift  the hood on my vehicle.   Pack Rats don't like the wide open!!

 

 

 

Edited by Vladimir

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1 hour ago, Vladimir said:

Lights do NOT work.  I put out game camera's and the pack rats were caught on camera!!  Didn't seem like the lights bothered them at all.  See video below, that matches with my experience.

Like most things in this world, I doubt it is a black-and-white as you have portrayed it.  Having volunteered at several National Wildlife Refuges where volunteers, interns, and overnight staff were strongly encouraged to place lighting beneath trailers and vehicles, as well as leaving hoods open as a defense against packrats, I have seen evidence to the contrary.  Folks who were lax about lighting or chose not to do so were much more likely to have packrat issues than those that did.  That being said, I know one fellow that did the lights consistently and still got a packrat under the hood of his truck, and others who didn't use lights that did not.  But over several years, and lots of folks, there was a strong trend toward lights helping. 

These refuges did things to manage the population density, including keeping attractive vegetation trimmed back from the sites, not allowing bird feeders (spilled seed) , etc. So the overall "load" of critters was likely lower than you are experiencing.  It sounds like you are in a park where a perfect storm of habitat has resulted in a very robust population of packrats, and there may be little that can be done to deter them.  It is likely that they are well habituated to the situation as well so "typical" deterrents may not have the desired effect. 

We volunteered for several months at a State Wildlife Management Area where the volunteer site hadn't been used in several years and was overgrown, and it was crawling with packrats. We did a lot of trapping at that site and got them under control, and I think that was necessary. 

But just as my experience doesn't prove that lights work, yours doesn't prove that they don't.  It's just not that simple. 

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