By SCOTT RALL
The Globe outdoors columnist
It is time for the campers to come out of storage, and many folks have already been camping for a few weeks or more.
I co-own a camper with my brother, McChyne Rall. I am the perfect camper co-owner. I store the rig in the winter and help fix what needs fixing. In the 7-8 years that I have owned half a camper I have slept in it, I think, one time. Perfect partner if I say so myself.
We tried something this winter storage season I saw advertised to repel mice. There are small devices that you plug into a wall outlet that are supposed to emit a high frequency sound that keep mice away. They come in a 4-pack so we bought two packs and installed them all over. There were three in the camper itself and the other five were plugged in the wall outlets in the storage shed.
We left the camper plugged into the wall so the batteries would stay charged and so the mice-repellent wonders could do their job.
So how did they work? Let’s just say that if the camper was a venue for country or rock concert events it would have been a full house every weekend. Even though we were loaded up with these wonder devices, more than twice as many as they say were required to be effective, there was mouse sign everywhere.
You know the old saying that if it sounds too good to be true it is probably too good to be true. Save your money.
In the past we just used the old standby poison pellets and dryer sheets to control mice. A friend used the same method in his lake cabin a few years back, and when spring came the mice had moved all of the poison pellets from his half-dozen spread-out locations to one location under the covers on one of the beds in the lower floor. Oh, what a nice surprise.
At that point we started using poison blocks instead of pellets. The blocks were too big for the mice to carry around. So the electronic methods of mice control don’t work and we are back to the more conventional methods.
There is one big drawback to the conventional methods, and that is how often I hear about dogs or other pets getting into the poison locations and getting sick. That can be serious if ingested in amounts large enough.
I solved that problem with about $15 worth of materials.
You purchase a 10-foot long section of PVC 1.5-inch diameter pipe. Add to the list three T’s and several mounting clamps that hold this kind of pipe to the wall. You will need some PVC glue as well. Cut the PVC pipe into three sections 18 inches long and six pieces eight inches long. Glue the pieces into three separate units that all look like an upside-down capital letter T.
Attach the unit to the wall, with the tall segment running vertically and the short segments flat on the floor using the clamps. Fill the unit from the top, filling the tall upright with poison. I would use the small blocks of poison and not the pellets. The mice enter along the floor and eat what they can and then leave. You can fill the unit with many poison blocks that might last you most of the year.
The mice can easily reach your tempting offering, and there is no way for a dog or other pet to get into the poison and consume it.
If you put these outside, you will need to purchase a few PVC pipe caps of the appropriate size. You don’t glue these in place and just remove them by hand as needed to add more poison and then replace the cap.
I have a few of these around my makeshift campfire building on my wildlife property, and if I fill them three times per year, that would cover me in most years.
The mice like to chew the battery caps off the battery in my Polaris Ranger, which I store in a separate smaller building. The only thing I have found to work for any length of time in this kind of situation is an old worn-out sock filled with moth balls. Add one under the seat in the storage area and another in or around the battery compartment. They last one season and don’t fall apart the first time they get wet.
Batteries have been safe ever since. There is lots of wildlife out and about this time of year. Get a wildlife ride scheduled for this weekend and see for yourself. Mice beware!