Pros: It repelled the squirrel army with the first shot.
Cons: Extreme care must be taken when using this product
The service manager said hed never seen anything like it. All the air conditioning passageways and vents were clogged with insulation taken from the hood and with bits of leaves and twigs. The plastic fins on the A/C ventilating fan had been gnawed away. He guessed mice were the culprits and asked if I wanted the mechanic to remove the debris, cautioning me it would take at least two hours, maybe more. I had no choice if I wanted my A/C cooling again during the oppressive, sultry midsummer heat wave. This first rodent strike cost me close to 300 dollars.
How do I prevent a reoccurrence? I asked. The only suggestion the service manager could offer was to park the cars in a garage.
That would be a problem, I told him. We have three cars and dont have a garage.
The attacks continued on all three cars. Insulation from the hood of the Beretta kept disappearing. Three sets of spark plug wires were replaced. Hoses, belts, wires the marauding, guerrilla rodents victimized all. Repair costs escalated for months, approaching the thousand-dollar mark, despite my efforts to dissuade the appetites of the relentless waves of rodents. Mechanics were replacing difficult to access parts that normally were seldom replaced.
These latest feeding frenzies were the work of squirrels. We could see them stealthily slink under the cars and crawl up into the engine compartment to feast on the rubber entrees. My wife kept entreating me to do something. I browsed the pest product aisles in the hardware stores, researched squirrels and squirrel deterrents on the web, and learned that these bright rodents love to chew on the insulation on electrical wires and cords. With my new expertise I was ready to battle these pests in earnest, to try any means to drive them away short of murder - at least not yet.
I put mothballs in the engine compartments of the cars without success, then mint leaves. I treated the ground around the cars with ammonia, cayenne pepper, even rotten potatoes. I sprayed the wires with cayenne hot sauce. The smell in the passenger compartment became so odious I had to drive with the windows down and wear a filtered mask.
Next I tried live traps. Peanut butter and a product called Pecan Surprise were the best baits. For some inexplicable reason potato bait was unproductive. The metal traps caught about twenty squirrels, each hapless captive taking a one-way ride and released in a distant,wooded area. One pest site advised that squirrels should be released at least 10 miles away because they are intelligent enough to find their way back. I really didnt like trapping the squirrels. They became ferociously angry in the traps, scolding me with angry screams when I approached. When I released them I was leery of a retaliatory bite from one of the livid squirrels.
My last release ride was at night. Animal Control was supposed to pick up the squirrel and their borrowed trap that day, but it was getting late and the squirrel was hurting and bleeding from its horrific efforts to escape the trap. I drove to the usual place around 9 oclock that night. With a flashlight in one hand I fumbled with the release lever while trying to avoid the young squirrels dangerous teeth. I stepped back as the traps door opened. The bewildered squirrel, still making impossible to describe guttural vocalizations, shot out of the cage then froze in the bright glare of the flashlights beam. It was scared, angry, hurting, disoriented and alone. At that moment, as we looked at each other on the side of that desolate road, I felt great pity for this creature despite what he and his tormenting family had done to my cars. If it werent for the risk of a serious bite, Id have considered bringing him back home. As I watched the poor animal disappear hesitantly and uncertainly into the dense, black night, I resolved to try another approach.
RO-PEL, an animal repellent, had been recommended on several pest web sites. When I saw the 8 ounce plastic bottle on the shelf of the Farmers Co-op, I decided to try it. RO-PEL is a spray that tastes terrible to chewing rodents. It is not a poison though the directions and warnings printed on the spray bottle are a bit daunting. The surfaces to be protected should be sprayed until completely wet and sprayed a second time after the first application has dried. Its protection should last one to two months.
The user is warned to avoid contact with eyes, skin, food, or clothing. One is advised to avoid breathing the spray and not to use RO-PEL indoors. If the product gets on the users skin, he/she should wash the area with alcohol and then soap and water. The container should be disposed of at a sanitary landfill or incinerated, being careful not to breathe the smoke.
RO-PEL may not work for everyone, but it did the trick for me. I sprayed all the wires and hoses in all three cars twice as directed and have had no rodent attacks since, though I have seen a few daring guerrilla squirrels creeping guardedly along the fence in the backyard, black face paint under their beady eyes and tails camouflaged with leaves. RO-PEL is supposed to be odorless, but a foul odor seeped into the car's passenger compartment nevertheless and lasted about a week. Maybe this is because some overspray landed on surfaces that became very hot. Overall I am pleased with the effectiveness of the RO-PEL and have plenty left over in case I have to do battle again with the squirrel menace.
U-Spray Inc. has a terrific and useful website with copious information about common pests and ways to combat them. (http//:www.bugspray.com)
Another recommended pest repellent is Rid-A-Critter, a foul-smelling formula available in liquid spray, gel, and granule compositions.
UPDATE:July/06 - We've been plagued by hungry,flower-eating deer recently, and when I noticed a deer pictured on the Ropel label I thought I'd give it a try.
The deer continue to nibble on the Ropel treated plants.
This may be because I was too cheap to soak the leaves thoroughly as directed. On my next attempt to thwart Bambi, I'll saturate the leaves and buds as directed and hope for the best.
Thank you for reading this review.