“Green” Car Wiring Tickles Rodent Tastebuds

Greetings from the North Woods!

It has been a few weeks since my last post. I think I am still recovering from the church harvest party preparation blitz. The weather has been on average above normal for this time of year, and we finally got a ton of rain after a month long drought. Winterberry pond is filled to the brim! But, in case we forgot that winter will come, there is snow in the forecast for Sunday. It won’t stick around long since temperatures are forecast to rebound quickly, but it is a harbinger of things to come.

As a I was perusing the internet the other day, I came upon some interesting information about rodents and car wiring. Obviously, we have heard lots of reports of damage to vehicle wiring from rodents and we have sold plenty of our PeeShots for this problem, but I didn’t realize that car wires actually are more attractive to rodents nowadays. Apparently, carmakers’ attempts to use more “green” materials in the manufacture of cars has created a rodent buffet under the hood.

Here is an excerpt from just one article on the topic. For the full article read: http://www.synlube.com/IncredibleEdibleCar1.htm

The unintended consequence of going “GREEN” !

Cars just taste way too good !

There are several systems where we have observed substantial damage caused by rodents:

  • Electrical Wiring harnesses
  • Air Conditioning and Heating Ducts
  • Seat Cushions
  • Trunk and Storage Area Carpeting
  • Various fluid containers made from plastics

Why does this happen?

It can be understood by looking at the composition of the materials that are eaten and what they contain:

  • Soy
  • Rice Husks
  • Wood
  • Sugars
  • Sweet smelling substances like Vanilla
  • Peanut Oil
  • Straw

Why vehicles were not eaten before ?

Simply because “before” automotive OEMs went on being “green” binge, almost everything in the car was made from metal, glass and plastic which was made 100% from petroleum.

None of those material particularly tasty or suitable for nest building by rodents.

Then in mid 1980’s first in Germany through the infinite wisdom of Euro politicians, regulations were passed without much objection by anyone, that a vehicle manufacturer bears responsibility for their vehicle from “cradle to grave“, that is from the time it is made to the time it is retired from service and disassembled so that the materials can be easily recycled.

While these regulations do not yet exist in USA, since manufacturers make cars to be sold in many parts of the world, making items from “different” materials for different markets is not cost effective.

Thus a silly regulation in even one country where it is enacted affects all vehicles sold all over the world made by that particular OEM.

The first unbelievable attempt at this “green” correctness was by Daimler on their Mercedes-Benz cars made from 1991 to 1995, where they started to use “bio-degradable wiring harness” !

There no action by rodents was necessary just heat and time did the ultimate damage and insulation on the wiring would start to deteriorate, crack, fall off and cause infinite combinations of wiring “shorts”.

Of course this would not happen until after the vehicles were out of warranty. Generally in 5 to 7 years after manufacture with almost 100% fail rate by the 12 year anniversary from date of manufacture.

Typical cost to fix this “predictable” damage ?
From about $1,600 to as much as $6,000 per vehicle.

Why are vehicles being eaten NOW ?

The quest for being “Green” correctness started also in 1990’s.

OEMs started by replacing the durable components that really did not need to last as long as they did, with generally untested improvements in material composition and with the use of “natural” materials to substitute for the petroleum in plastics.

OEMs also started replacing were possible any durable metal parts with limited lifespan plastic components.

Soy – has been utilized in just about anything from wiring harness covers, to wire insulation, to seat cushion foam and interior carpeting and trim.

Cars just started to taste way too good !

But mind you rodents (or Mother Nature, if you must) are not that stupid, indeed they are far more evolved and “smart” than humans give them credit for !

What one mouse or pack rat discovers is not kept as top secret for that individual rodent, or the immediate clan or family, that knowledge is very quickly “shared” with other rodents and becomes the knowledge of these creatures all over the world !

How that happens or how that is even possible is beyond the scope of this article, but there is definite proof that such animal knowledge “sharing” exists.

If one or two mice will eat something tasty and die shortly because of it, for example common automotive coolant that tastes sweet to animals, even if there are hundreds more starving mice near-by, they will no longer lick it, somehow they quickly learn that it is a deadly poison.

But if the stuff is not only tasty but also very nutritious, mice living hundreds of miles away will somehow gain this knowledge, and put the wiring harness or seat foam made with soy on their snack list.

Rodent damage after block party

I don’t think the “green” movement is going anywhere, so that means consumers are left to find ways to protect their vehicles from the potential of thousands of dollars in damage. Our PeeShots are perfect for this application. They come in an 8 pack and are “Pee-Loaded” with PredatorPee. Remove the lids and place the PeeShots near each tire and in engine compartment or other target areas in the vehicle. Remove before driving. Choose BobcatPeeShots for mice, CoyotePeeShots for rats and ‘coons, FoxPeeShots for squirrels, and WolfPeeShots for domestic and feral cats.

Until I find more words. . .The PeeMan

Hunting the Airstream – PeeMan’s Gotta Have Hobbies

Greetings from the North Woods!

It is a balmy 57 degrees outside, and even though the weather hasn’t quite made up its mind, the leaves have decided that autumn in Maine is here. Currently, I am spending A LOT of time readying Winterberry Farm for the annual church harvest party. I have been painting the house, mowing, and moving any and all unsightly debris from view. Also, I have put the Scout, the boat, and the new Airstream inside the pee warehouse for the winter.

Yes, I was quite proud of myself for backing the metallic beast into place in the building, but unfortunately no one was around to witness my incredible maneuvering skills. But, the Airstream is in the building, and it didn’t get there by itself! Anyway, the Airstream just happens to be the topic of today’s post. As you may recall, I have completely renovated an Airstream in the not so distant past. Well, I thought that I was going to have more ready access to that particular camper when I was done with it than I actually did. So, this summer began the hunt for an Airstream of my very own.airstream2sideview

I soon came to discover that many other baby boomers have also decided that the “silver bullet” campers are desirable, and availability is limited. I spent hours scouring Craigslist, perusing the latest Uncle Henry’s(Maine’s very own paper Craigslist), and ramming back roads in search of THE one that I could refurbish and make my very own. Needless to say, this search led to a few adventures. One example involved a trip in the pouring rain to a remote wooded lot where we were to meet a man who was selling the camper for a friend.airstream2thruview2 airstream2bathroomWell, when my wife bailed out of the truck in the torrential rain and sought refuge in the sorely neglected camper to wait for the man to show up, the seemingly abandoned Airstream was actually occupied by the very inebriated “friend”! Being the gracious person that she is, my wife tried to make small talk as she backed slowly towards the door. No cash changed hands that day!

Long story short, eventually I was able to secure at an excellent price a camper that is actually bigger than the one I refurbished previously. airstream2kitchenSo, when the snow starts flying and my outside activities are limited, I plan to spend a good deal of time lovingly turning this giant aluminum can onairstream2frontroomce again into a thing of beauty as I daydream about warm summer breezes and reading by the campfire.

Until I find more words. . .The Peeman