This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com
I get a lot of emails on Apartment Prepper, and I always respond to readers’ questions. Here is an excerpt from a recent email from reader “S.” (I have removed any personal references.) “S” provided actual photos.
I had some bad luck recently. My car broke down coming home from work. As a result I had to leave the car at a mechanic for a week to fix a now bigger problem & figured it was wise to move my earthquake emergency bags from my trunk to my living room floor while the car was being fixed so that no one would be tempted to “borrow” from my supplies while fixing the car.
While that was happening, a restaurant next door started to be remodeled & I had to go out of town with a relative for several days. Since that relative had their own earthquake bags in their trunk I left mine at home over the trip so we’d have room for the suitcases.
I came home to my apartment & discovered something had eaten through the bags to get at the trail mix inside & had even ripped open a bag of store self tuna but decided it didn’t like it so the house smelt of rotten fish!! I had never had anything other than ants, spiders & crickets in the apartment before for years so this was a completely new experience for me!
So my question is, how do you keep your supplies safe from pests?
Reader “S” described a common problem among apartment dwellers.
She mentioned there was some remodeling going on next door. Pests do travel from one unit to another. I have noticed whenever someone moves out nearby and the unit is fumigated, there is an uptick in pests trying to come into our area. That’s because the pests are driven out of one unit and they try to invade nearby units if you let them.
Preventive measure: If you see movers, spray insecticide along entrances as well as corners of shared walls. This should help prevent them from trying to come to you. However this works on insects, but not mice. We have discussed insects in a previous post, but today we are looking at rodents.
How do you protect your emergency supplies from pests such as mice?
To protect your emergency food, store them in food grade 5-gallon food buckets. Mice or rats cannot chew through the plastic of the 5 gallon bucket. Reader “S” has ready to eat items such as trail mix, granola bars and packaged tuna – these could all go in the 5-gallon bucket. Place the sealed bucket in your closet. Make sure the lid is super secure. Hang your bug out bag (with non food items) in your closet. In the event of an emergency and you had to leave, take the food from the bucket and transfer them to your bug out bag – this should only take 5 minutes before you run out the door.
If you are storing bulk food such salt, sugar, flour etc. for long term storage, here is a link to simple instructions: Repackaging salt for long term storage
Sometimes you can get food grade 5 gallon buckets for free.
How to Get Free Food Grade Buckets for Long Term Storage
Natural repellants for mice:
Thoroughly clean and sweep your areas, and remove any food. Cover all trash cans so they don’t try to go in. If you are already using 5 gallon buckets for your emergency food, make sure you are protecting your every day food as well – do not leave anything edible on counters.
There are commercial repellants available such as Rodent Defense Spray in the areas frequented by rodents to keep them away.
Other natural repellants I have heard about but have not tried:
- Peppermint Oil: Saturate cotton balls with peppermint oil and leave them around the areas you where have found droppings. This is said to repel mice, sending them elsewhere.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: Clean floors, the insides of cabinets and countertops with 50% apple cider vinegar (does not have to be organic) and 50% water. Mice will avoid the area and leave.