Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Not Your Everyday IPM

I was looking forward to a leisurely evening at TCBY with my friend last night, but little did I know it would end up with an IPM adventure!

Forget about IPM in Schools or IPM in Daycare Centers, I have a new specialty...IPM in Cars!

When I arrived at my friend's house and we had just gotten into her car, she said "I know you know about you know about mice?" I had to cringe a little at that. Mice are cute...I love pet store mice, and I even had a pet lab rat when I was in college, but when it comes to WILD rodents in the house, I get a bit nervous.

I told her I knew a little bit about mice and hesitated.."why?" I was sitting in the passenger side and she pointed out some chewed up kleenex in the box on the floor by my feet, and then opened her glovebox and showed me a chewed up napkin. My preliminary reaction was denial...a mouse wouldn't want to go into a car, would it? I'd heard of cases, but thought it was probably rare. Maybe her dog had done it! However, upon closer inspection I saw mouse droppings among the napkin scraps and knew I had to face reality.

I asked her if she had any rubber gloves and cleaner, so I went back inside and brought my "combat" materials out, along with a plastic bag and flashlight. I wasn't feeling particularly confident, as I wasn't enthused about a mouse running out quickly and scaring the heck out of me. But I put on a brave face and slowly started sorting through the items in the glovebox after spraying them with disinfectant (my friend was not happy to find out that mice are incontinent!). In the end, there was a lot of nesting material but no mouse. I threw away the chewed up napkin and the entire kleenex box, and put most the items in the glovebox in another area of the car. We also shook blankets and other items that were in the car...just in case. But we figured he was most likely in and around the dashboard and glovebox since that's where we found all the evidence. After all this cleanup and a couple false alarms (yes, I jumped!) as I moved stuff from the glovebox, I threw everything away and told her we had just implemented IPM in her car. By removing nesting material, the mouse wouldn't have any material to nest with now. In addition, although there didn't appear to be any food in the car other than a couple popcorn kernels (which could have been brought in by the mouse) I recommended she not have any food in there for awhile.

The background to this story is that my friend had been staying out at her sister's acreage for a few days in the country, and the nights have been getting cold, so the mouse probably thought that her Fit was a great place to spend the night. Since we didn't know if he was still in the car (she hadn't heard any odd shuffling sounds or anything else), I told her to be safe we should go buy snap traps and set them in the glovebox. I don't know why you never have a camera when you need one, but we did manage to take a cell phone photo of our night's work. Now I am anxiously awaiting word to see if she caught our unwanted passenger!

In the end, we still did get our TCBY, but we certainly had to work for it! Just goes to show you never know when you might have to implement IPM!

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