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Old 05-21-2020, 07:58 AM   #1
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2019 Nest
Austin Area , Texas
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A nest in our NEST!

Yesterday when I opened a drawer in the galley cabinet, I found that a field mouse had built a nest out of the paper towels under the sink So there must be some exterior opening that is large enough for a small field mouse to come and go. Has anyone found and fixed that opening?

More info:
Although I frequently use the sink and fridge, I haven't opened the galley cabinet/drawers for a couple of months. It looks like the mouse spent almost all of its time in that area. The galley cabinet has openings for water (2), propane (1) and sink drain (1). All four openings would allow access, for a small mouse, from the open area under the cabinets, dinette floor, fridge, and closet. Interestingly, if all the the doors/drawers are closed, it appears that there is no access into the main cabin, shower, closet or even the counter top cabinet opposite the galley.

Thanks in advance - BeSerious
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Old 05-21-2020, 08:47 PM   #2
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I quickly discovered the seeds on the battery case (photo 1). which lead me to three unsealed fiberglass penetrations in front of the right wheel for the propane and water heater overflows (photo 2). The propane hose on the left side has an even bigger unsealed hole through the fiberglass (photo 3) Luckily all four hoses are sealed inside when they penetrate the NEST’s floor, which covers nearly all of the nest, even under the cabinets, etc. (photos 4 & 5).

Unfortunately, field mice are better at solving mazes than Airstream engineers The seals at the floor are not enough to stop a clever field mouse, because the fiberglass penetrations are through reinforcing ribs that sit on the NEST’s metal frame (photo 6). These ribs run the length of the NEST and are connected at the front (photo 7). And there is where the field mouse discovered that the floor under the NEST’s front bench seating does not quite reach the fiberglass, leaving a gap big enough for a mouse to get out of the rib and up onto the floor (photo 8)

From there the mouse has free access to the…
- storage under the dinette seating, including the propane furnace and water heater
- galley cabinet and drawers
- electrical distribution panel, microwave and fridge
- the wiring and plumbing beside the closet…

BeSerious
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Old 05-21-2020, 09:03 PM   #3
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I have learned from other thread here that any hole large enough for your pinky is enough for a mouse. Flexible polyurethane like Silkaflex 221 will seal most of the smaller gaps. Aluminum duct tape sealed over with Silkaflex for the larger holes. Avoid Steel wool, Stainless wool and copper or brass wool on airstreams the dissimilar metals will corrode the Aluminum, not a problem for fiberglass.
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Old 05-21-2020, 09:35 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BayouBiker View Post
I have learned from other thread here that any hole large enough for your pinky is enough for a mouse. Flexible polyurethane like Silkaflex 221 will seal most of the smaller gaps. Aluminum duct tape sealed over with Silkaflex for the larger holes. Avoid Steel wool, Stainless wool and copper or brass wool on airstreams the dissimilar metals will corrode the Aluminum, not a problem for fiberglass.
Thanks.

I have temporarily plugged the holes surrounding the four hoses with foam pipe insulation and installed two Victor Tin Cat live mouse traps. If I catch any mice I'll give them to the foxes.

Once I’m sure that there aren’t any mice still in the NEST, I’ll work on a more permanent sealing solution for the holes. I’ve used Silkaflex 221 on our house. It’s good stuff but the holes are too large to seal without some “backer rod”. I’m considering using a spray foam like Good Stuff to fill the area around the hoses. But I’m concerned about flammability.

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Old 05-22-2020, 09:30 AM   #5
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I used Goodstuff in my house and it doesn’t slow the little bas... down.Aluminum duct tape peals away in a year or so.Steelwool, uh no.Sorry,I am looking for new ideas also.
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Old 05-22-2020, 12:16 PM   #6
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I am a true believer in using steel wheel to plug any hole, interior and exterior. The mice just hate it.
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Old 05-22-2020, 12:55 PM   #7
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There's a foam product called "Pest Block" which we used to fill up cracks and crevices in our Airstream. It allegedly tastes so bad to mice and other rodents that they go elsewhere instead of gnawing on that stuff.

Here's an example, via a clean quick link to Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B007TUF0FY

We have also used what looks like copper wool to fill the larger holes before (or instead of) gooping them up with Pest Block. Unlike Steel Wool, it won't rust. Not sure about galvanic issues with Aluminum (which your trailer doesn't really have since it's fiberglass), as I'm no expert, but it seems to do the job. Again, a quick clean link to Amazon for an example: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00149P89E

Oh, and the "tin cat" mousetrap seems an excellent idea, at least until you're sure you've got all the mouse-capable holes filled up. You can put said mouse outside after catching it, and if it gets back in, you know at least one hole is still there.
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Old 05-22-2020, 03:08 PM   #8
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Thanks all, for your suggestions. Iím still working on the final plan for sealing those holes. The biggest issue is how irregularly shaped these openings in the fiberglass are. Sealing the holes will require flexible material like has been suggested. But ultimately the odd shaped holes need to be covered with a material like a metal/plastic plate. More on those plans later.

Last night I caught 2 field mice in the Tin Cat under the sink. And there had been activity at the Tin Cat in the right side dinette storage area. None of my temporary seals around the 4 hoses were damaged. So those two mice must have been inside when I plugged the 4 openings OR there is another entrance I havenít found Iíll run the trap experiment again tonight.

BeSerious

p.s. Mrs Fox enjoyed the mice for brunch
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Old 05-22-2020, 04:09 PM   #9
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Sad to read about your struggle with rodents!
My grandfather, a long time ago, had a green thumb and kept a huge garden. He spit tobacco juice on his plants to keep away rabbits, mice, and other eaters.
Now, I am not sure you want to start chewing tobacco to reduce mice. If you do, try Bloodhound! On the other hand, none of his rabbits, mice, or other eaters were known to develop oral cancer!
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Old 05-23-2020, 10:03 AM   #10
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This AM the trap under the dinette seating had another mouse, increasing the odds the there was another entry point. So I spent some quality time on my back under our NEST looking for additional holes. And found 7 more!

Six of the the 7 are ways to get into the galvanized boxes surrounding the holding tanks. Four of those also go through the frame (photo 1). The other two are where wiring/hoses go through the frame and into the front most galvanized box (photo 2). It not clear to me how risky these 6 holes are. But inside the galvanized boxes I suspect there are several unsealed openings through the fiberglass.

The seventh hole, at the left rear, is a more likely entry point for mice, since there is convenient access from the ground via the left rear stabilizer mechanism (photo 3 after temporary seal).

So to date I have found 11 holes large enough for a field mouse to enter our NEST and have live-trapped 3 mice

BeSerious
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Old 05-23-2020, 01:35 PM   #11
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Update: When I opened the Victor Tin Cat trap to give the mouse to Mrs Fox I discovered that there were 2 mice in the trap. Mrs Fox seemed to think that was OK

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Old 06-07-2020, 09:25 AM   #12
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I hate those little f'ers. I use a five pronged approach.

1. Fresh Cab behind the cabinets
2. Peppermint oil on cotton balls in an ice tray
3. Mouse bait outside the trailer
4. Close up the entry points as best you can
5. Don't keep smellable food in the trailer. Canned goods are ok. Always clean the trailer after an outing. No crumbs, no dirty dishes, no trash.

I refill the mouse bait about every two weeks in the spring. Three to four weeks otherwise. I think the bait serves to keep them outside the trailer since their quest for food is satisfied, then they go off to die. The bait is in a pet-proof trap, the dead mice are not, but this is at a storage lot.

When connected to shore power, the hole where the cable goes into the trailer is an easy entry point. The cable is just a bridge into the trailer. I've considered changing my shore power cable to be just an outlet on the side of the trailer.
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Old 06-07-2020, 09:34 AM   #13
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I had trouble with mice in an outdoor storage location
They were climbing the safety chains that touched the ground and entered through the open box frame at the coupler
Once I lifted the chains, no more mice
I do not leave the stabilizers down
That way the only point they can climb is the wheels where I have no reachable openings and the jack post that doesn't lead to an opening. and isn't mouse friendly
If you are worried about dissimilar metals I think you might be over thinking it
Stainless steel wool or scrubbies will have some effect but require constant moisture to activate the galvanic currents. Others with aerospace experience have often noted they routinely use stainless fasteners in aluminum aircraft without affecting the aluminum
I purchased bronze scrubbies for the steel frame openings. Good choice for steel and aluminum.
Agree with polyurethane type caulking for small holes. Stuff is nearly permanent. I never use silicone for anything. Acrylic industrial grade caulking is my preference.
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Old 06-07-2020, 10:25 AM   #14
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My Dad always said

If you see a mouse, there's 7 more in the wall that you haven't seen.
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Old 06-07-2020, 12:01 PM   #15
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Thanks for all the tips/advice.

I’ve been running 2 Victor-Tin-Cat traps since we first found the evidence of mice. In total we have live trapped 5 mice and gave them to Mrs Fox We caught 2 the first night, 2 the second night and 1 the third.

During that time I plugged the five obvious openings in the fiberglass with short sections of foam pipe insulation wrapped around the various hoses. Over the last two weeks we have had no evidence of mice and the traps have been empty I’ll continue running the traps while I work on a more permanent solution.

FWIW I’m not concerned with corrosion. The only aluminum on our NEST is trim. The five most obvious entry points are through fiberglass. The other 6 are entry points to the galvanized box which holds the water tanks. Two are easily plugged with stainless steel wool. And other four would require the field mice to stand on each other’s shoulders to reach the openings

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Old 06-07-2020, 12:21 PM   #16
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Fresh cab

Are use fresh cab for storage in the winter. My friend has mice in his tractor, but Iíve never had a problem in my airstream. With fresh cab I also use ultrasonic rodent plug-in repellent. The combination is so far work for me well.
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Old 06-07-2020, 12:48 PM   #17
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Mice, not so nice

Well, I have had the same issues. Mice don't need a hole, they just need a reason to be there. It's shelter, often there is alot of material to build a nest available. So why not. It's deluxe digs.
I put traps in the trailer, check them every so often. And do a hanta virus cleaning, with a mask and bleach thruout the trailer before using it for the season. And clean again before and after each outing.
When not in the trailer, we live in the tropics. We have an issue with geckos here. I don't mind a few, but when they start to rule the roost, I go on the defensive. Right now i have egg shells on my window sills. Its supposed to trick the ghecko into thinking there is a much bigger thret to him and he will vacate. We shall see. I also read tobacco mixed with used coffee grounds will do the trick. I think they nibble and die. Haven't tried it yet but am thinking about it. So maybe the tobacco spitting, has some credence. I think that might work on mice also. At least you won't have to chew and spit. Good luck!
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Old 06-07-2020, 06:00 PM   #18
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If you're a good enough shot with the tobacco juice to hit a gecko, that's an accomplishment in itself. Celebrate that!
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Old 06-07-2020, 09:25 PM   #19
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One more item to add to my list. In the winter I always remove all the bath/kitchen towels along with the paper towels. No sense giving them nest material.
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Old 06-08-2020, 08:10 AM   #20
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Sealing putty

I used to use the foam insulation around the openings on my house. It ages especially if the sun UV hits it. I had installed some risers on my septic tank opening and used some sealing tape, which is really like a .25 x .75 inch putty tape. I used that by my house rear step. A small opening in the concrete and wood step transition. It stays flexible and is built for underground applications. It has an ASTM specification so it is good. I think it would work good on an RV opening.

The mice have not bothered it nor the sun nor weather.
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