Taj Mahal maintenance

In addition to attending the USPSA match in Idaho last weekend I did some maintenance on the Taj Mahal. When I was there on July 1st and 2nd there was a mouse nest inside the storage magazine:

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I removed it and cleaned the rest of the shed so when the ATF inspector arrived four weeks later it was clean and tidy:

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The inspection went fine even though there are a lot of Yellow Jackets and nests inside the shed.

The mice have a been a problem for years and have done a lot of damage. A couple weeks ago when I was walking through Home Depot with Barb I saw the spray foam insulation. I bought three cans and figured this will keep the mice out. I probably should have bought the version with a bitter additive which is specifically intended to keep pests out. But I didn’t know it existed and didn’t find out about it until I went looking on Amazon when writing this blog post.

So…. Saturday morning I moved almost everything out of the shed to get better access. As I removed stuff we had stored there I got better and better access to all the Yellow Jacket nests. I also had a spray which is supposed to kill flying insects and is non-toxic to humans and pets. I didn’t read the fine print before buying it and found out that for large stinging insects to use something a little different and still have the non-toxic feature. The spray I used would kill maybe one out of 20 Yellow Jackets. Maybe a third would go down it they were hit hard enough but then they would appear to rub it off for a minute or so then fly away. The rest just flew away with no apparent ill effects. But at least as I sprayed the nests and the area they left. I removed something like seven to ten nests and swept the floor and the area of the shed where the cracks were.

Before:

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After clean up:

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After applying the expanding foam insulation:

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It’s not the neatest job, by far, but it is functional. The splatters on the roof are from when the spray foam insulation guys insulated the magazine two years ago.

At the base of the door to the magazine I put down a bead of the insulation, put a plastic garbage bag over it, then closed the door on it such that it would expand to fill the gap at the bottom of the door where the mice had to be getting in.

After it dried I opened the door, removed the plastic bag and we now have a near perfect seal at the bottom of the door.

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I’m certain this will block the mice from the magazine and I think I have them blocked from the shed as well. The Yellow Jackets can probably still find a way in around the shed door but their access is severely limited compared to what it was.

I threw away some stuff and rearranged the remainder for access in the order we remove it for Boomershoot:

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8 thoughts on “Taj Mahal maintenance

    • This was in a fairly enclosed space and I wanted something which wouldn’t keep me out. The spray I used had active ingredients of peppermint oil, cinnamon oil, and sesame oil. The place smelled great when I was done!

  1. For my outdoor storage shed, I finally resorted to installing poison bait stations around the outside. Available at Home Depot or similar. Downside is you have to replace the baits periodically.

  2. Insects like wasps won’t build nests directly under the open sky. It is common in the south for porches to have their ceilings painted sky blue to make the buggers think that is sky and this will inspire them to not build nests on the porch ceilings.

    This might work inside the taj mahal except I bet it is dark inside except when you are there to turn on the lights. Perhaps some sort of solar powered lights that come on during the day might make it work.

  3. They also are attracted to metal buildings for their nest due to the heat attraction. With yellow jackets or paper wasp the only thing that will really knock them down are the bad smelling / toxic sprays. There are also some really good liquid bait type traps that work really well, especially if the area will be left unattended for periods of time.
    I also, when using spray foam to keep out the field mice, mix in a fine shredded steel wool through out the foam. Helps out greatly….

  4. For wasps, we found that wasp nest decoys worked shockingly well. Just search for “wasp nest decoy” on amazon for examples. Our garage used to have wasp nests every few feet, but after hanging 2 of the fake wasp nests, they never came back. I’m not sure how they’d work in the darkened interior, because I gather that the wasps look at them and say “uhoh, that’s a paper wasp nest, and they will eat me up”, so maybe it wouldn’t be as effective as if they were clearly visible, but maybe if you hung one on each exterior corner, they’d just stay away entirely.

    For us, we went from doing weekly sprays of the new nests to not having to worry about wasps at all.

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