What better place to find in a wood at the top of a hill than a warm, dry, ready built shed to build a cosy nest? It’s unreasonable to expect that the local inhabitants, mice, squirrels, pheasant, badgers etc will not be investigating our trailers and, for the mice and squirrels at least, to be delighted to find even more luxurious accommodation inside the mobile sheds.
Many years ago, in our early days at The Park, squirrels found an ideal hiding place for their nuts, inside the wing tip of a glass single-seater. Having discovered them, now consider how you might extract them? There’s no easy access to the inside of a 7m wing tip. You cannot simply poke anything down there and vacuum them out!
Our solution was to raise the very expensive, pristine wing to the vertical and shake them out. It was not an easy task to accomplish without damage but we utilised the bridge from the field to the clubroom, with the root at ground level by the kitchen and people on the bridge to steady and shake the wing. All went well.
How do we avoid the problem? Very expensive and awkward to fix damage, not always easily visible or easy to track down (eg. radio antenna wiring down the fuselage), can be caused by rodents gnawing and they do seem to like electrical insulation ( as well as any tiny pieces of food left in the cockpit pockets). I was advised that an effective deterrent for old wooden gliders and trailers was mothballs and, early every autumn, I used to scatter a few in my Astir trailer, placing some carefully near likely entry points ( it’s very difficult to seal a trailer completely against mice). I never found any evidence that mice had been in there or any damage, so I reckon it worked. I did have mousetraps in there – not baited of course – and none were ever triggered, other than by me.
I didn’t mind the lingering mothball smell and considered it far better than the potential damage. You cannot buy the “original” mothballs any more ( health and safety for the factory workers) but substitutes are available. Also, many animals are deterred by the chemical limonene, according to the contents on the packaging of many products in hardware or garden stores. I never tried “car air fresheners” but they might work. See what you can find and share your ideas.