“Vehicles possess the ideal attributes that attract rodents in winter, including shelter and built-up warmth from commutes,” says Michael Bentley, Ph.D., a staff entomologist at NPMA. “Rodents hate being out in the open where they are vulnerable to predators, so when they see a car holding freshly generated heat that also offers protection from the great outdoors, they are drawn to it for cover.”
Entering into cars is easy — a mouse, for example, can squeeze through openings as small as a dime. Once inside, any crumbs the owner leaves behind, or other chewable items, will hold rodents’ attention, and that includes wires.
“Rodents are instinctively avid chewers. About three percent of their daily activity is just gnawing on objects like wires,” says Bentley. “Unfortunately, cars have an abundance of materials that rodents enjoy chewing through.”
Changes in car design may also attract rodents. Recently, numerous consumers have reported experiencing rodent infestations in their cars, attributing them to the materials manufacturers are using in their eco-friendly models, such as soy-based wiring, which is especially appealing to a rodent’s palate.
Costly car repairs aside, rodents can also have negative effects on human health. They can, for example, cause respiratory issues, including asthma and allergy symptoms.
To eliminate the likelihood of rodents infesting a vehicle, keep trash in tightly closed containers and seal up points of entry into the garage. Drivers should also regularly look under the hood for gnawed materials, nests, droppings and frayed wires.
PermaTreat also recommends getting cars checked by professional automobile mechanics if signs of rodents are found, and to consider partnering with licensed pest control professionals to help with the infestation at home.