How do I Keep Mice out of my Jet Ski?

The leaves have started falling, the days are growing shorter and chillier, and pumpkin spice lattes are back on the menu. Saying goodbye to summer isn’t as simple as packing away the swimming trunks and bikinis. You also have to rodent-proof everything.

To keep mice out of your jet ski, block all access points. Use a cover and keep it inside if possible. Then, work to secure your jet ski by filling crevices and sealing off gaps that mice love to nest in during the long winter.

While mice may enter your home at any time of the year, as the weather grows colder, mice are more likely to enter dwellings to avoid the cold outside. During this time, they will nest anywhere safe, including those expensive jet skis you’ve packed away for the season. 

Mice love all of the pipes and holes in a personal watercraft (PWC). There are several methods that can be used to keep mice out, but prevention is key. Mice should be denied access to your home, and ultimately, your jet ski, by closing off all entryways inside. Using a high quality tight fitting cover is a start.

You can buy this rodent repellent kit on Amazon, which should take care of an entire ski. More on this kit below.

The Mouse in the House – How Mice Gain Entry

There are several species of mice spread throughout the U.S., and all of them desire to get inside your home.

House mice are the most common type of mice and may enter your home throughout the year.

They look for items like paper and cardboard to build their nests and can cause a lot of structural damage.

Deer mice are generally found in outdoor buildings but can also burrow their way into your homes and cause electrical damage by chewing through wires.

White-footed mice are found in colder areas of the country and are more likely to enter homes during colder months, leaving their forest habitats (source).

Mice usually find their way into your home through small holes in roofs, skirting boards, basements, and attics.

As mice are both small and flexible, they can fit into the tiniest holes, making prevention difficult, especially in older homes.

Any opening outside of your home can be used as an entry point for a rodent.

From the open chimney above the fireplace to small spaces around wires or pipes into the home, no entry is too small for the whiskered pest.

Unfortunately, mice do not only take residence in your home, but can also cause immense damage through chewing electrical wires, increasing the chances of a house fire, and carry a range of disease-causing bacteria (source).

Keeping it Squeaky Clean – Prevention

The best prevention against mice is to remove all avenues for them to gain access to your home.

There are several ways that can be done, saving you the potential headache of a rodent family moving into your attic without paying rent.

Creating Barriers

Before you do anything else, the first thing to do in your home or storage area is to close up as many potential entry points as possible. That means spaces inside and outside the structure.

A few potential entry points are places such as your chimney, spaces around pipes and cables entering your home and damaged air bricks.

Mice can fit into the smallest of spaces, so it’s vital to look at your home with their eyes and identify problem spots.

Cement and filling foam can be very helpful in closing up those spaces, making entry more difficult.

Wire/steel wool is also a filler that can be used for smaller gaps, as long as it is firmly pressed into place. This free-form steel wool pack from Amazon can be molded to fit in most spaces and shapes.

If there is an attached garage to your home, check if there are potential entry points in there as well. Mice do not like being exposed, so cutting back foliage and trees close to your house will also lessen the chances of rodent entry. 

Lessening the mice’s desire to enter your home can also be achieved by removing access to food items in the kitchen.

Mice often make a bee-line for this area of the home. Food should be placed into thick plastic or metal containers and should not be left in their cardboard boxes (source).

Within the kitchen, no food should be left uncovered and dishes should be washed and put away every night. Pet food bowls should also be put away overnight to discourage any midnight snacking from a rodent.

Outside your home, bird feeders should be secured to discourage other animals from eating and compost heaps should be kept as far as possible from the house. Garbage cans should have strong lids and no holes.

It is important to remember that most homes will have some kind of infestation over the years and it is not a sign of a badly kept home or dirty property (source).

When it comes to your PWCs or cars that are stored away for winter, dry steel wool in exhaust pipes is recommended, as mice refuse to chew through anything like that. 

Identification – Signs of an Infestation

There are several ways to identify if a mouse or rat has entered your home.

While mice can enter the home throughout the year, fall and winter are the most active times with many exterminators reporting the colder seasons to be their busiest times for rodent infestations.

Mouse droppings are an obvious sign of infestation. Mice can drop up to 50 pellets of droppings per day, so these become obvious quite quickly.

Droppings are a dark brown color, 3-6mm long and most commonly found in areas such as the kitchen or pantry.

You are more likely to hear a mouse before you see it. Mice often get into the walls or roofs of the house, scurrying along or chewing on wood. They also use quiet and warm areas like the roof or attic to build their nests.

Mice are always on the lookout for food and will not hesitate to chew on other items in their hunt. Mice can chew through most items, including plastic and metal cables, so any signs of gnawing is a clear sign of an infestation.

Seeing Jerry himself, that is, the mouse is the clearest sign that your home has been infiltrated. Since mice can breed very quickly, an actual mouse can indicate that there may be more on the way. (source)

Say Cheese – Intervention

Sometimes, even the best security can be overcome and it may be possible that a mouse has entered your home. There are several methods that can be used to deal with an infestation.

Traditional traps

Most organizations will recommend traps when it comes to mice. There are several types of traps that can be used from the traditional to the more humane. 

Many people grew up with Tom and Jerry cartoons, watching the inevitable mousetrap with the bit of swiss cheese constantly be ignored or outwitted by Jerry.

These kinds of mouse traps still exist but have become less favored due to their cruel method of killing a mouse.

There are also poisons that can be used but not only are they inhumane, these can be harmful to both animals and young children in the home if accidentally ingested (source). 

Humane traps focus on catching mice and other rodents to release them back into the wild later.

There are several possible options, including plastic and metal ones that trap mice without harming them. Remember when relocating a mouse, don’t release it right in your or a neighbor’s backyard.

Scented diversions – natural repellants

Mice have a highly developed sense of smell, which makes them more sensitive to odors around the home. There are several items that can be used to discourage mice from entering houses and mechanical items.

These oils and scents should be placed around your home in areas where mice are most likely to enter.

A good natural repellent is pure peppermint oil. This strongly scented oil can be mixed with water or witch hazel and sprayed into zones where mice are known to frequent. 

The oils should be pure and concentrated to offend any passing mice’s olfactory nerves. Another plus for this method is that your house will smell great. 

A strongly scented soap can also be used to keep mice away. Some people even swear that it can keep deers and moose away. A common method of creating a soap repellent is by boiling water, slicing the soap into it and while it is still hot, pouring the hot water around the perimeter of your home.

Obviously, this method is not recommended indoors (source).

Mothballs are also a common home remedy, especially in outdoor areas and if placed under and around your PWC, are very likely to discourage any rodent intruders.

Dryer sheets stuffed into key areas of the jet ski like the engine can also be a strong natural deterrent (source).

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, these methods and ideas will keep your PWC safe through the cooler months and ready for the sun and ocean breeze as soon as summer hits. Be sure to keep it on a battery tender as well, so it’s ready to go.

After a long winter, if you find that your jet ski has trouble turning on, check out How to Start a Jet Ski that has Been Sitting. And be sure properly winterize your ski the next time so it will be ready to go in the spring.

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Tim Conner, M.D.

Tim Conner, M.D. started boating in 1974. He has been involved in recreational boating continuously since then. Dr. Conner has been active in boating and watersports safety education for decades. He rode his first jet ski in 1997, and rejoined the personal watercraft arena in 2012 with a Sea-Doo GTX 155, followed by 2 supercharged SeaDoos. Scuba certification came in 1988, and he and the family have traveled the world snorkeling and scuba diving for decades. The family has recently taken up paddle boarding. Click the photo for a lot more.

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