During winter when our bikes are in storage, motorcycle riders have to think about the battery, fluids and reducing rust. One factor often gets pushed to the bottom of the winterization list: Pests.

Although this can happen any time of year, mice, rats and squirrels looking for warmth in winter may target your motorcycle, especially if your garage is not fully sealed. They can burrow into the exhaust pipe or air intake box, build a nest in your saddle bag and may chew through wires.

Before you discover pests living in your bike or have to pay for extensive repairs once spring arrives, here’s what you should know about protecting your motorcycle.

How Pest Infestation Happens

man working on bikeMice and squirrels do not hibernate during winter, but they still want a warm place for temporary shelter from the cold. Your motorcycle, particularly if stored under a cover, can look like the perfect home.

If you periodically check your motorcycle while it’s in storage, you know you’re dealing with a rodent problem if you spot droppings around the bike. You may also see scratches or bite marks on the seats, saddle bag and anything else that’s not made out of metal.

Unfortunately when you spot these signs, you have other things to worry about. Most importantly, rodents constantly need to gnaw to keep their teeth from growing too much. To do this, they will go after wires and other hard surfaces of your bike. As such, if you haven’t checked your motorcycle in a couple of months, mice may have gone after the electrical system.

Additionally, mice that have been there for a while will likely make a nest, tearing parts of leather, rubber and paper to create one in an enclosed area. You might see a nest inside a saddlebag, between the handlebars or on the seat.

Rodents also carry various diseases that are harmful to humans and pets. Through their presence and droppings, your motorcycle has been exposed to whatever they may be carrying. Touching or taking a ride in the spring could become a health and safety hazard.

How to Prevent a Pest Infestation

To avoid a pest infestation while your motorcycle is in storage:

  1. Fully clean off the exterior to remove odors that could attract pests, then seal all holes that a small rodent could use to burrow. Some people suggest adding steel wool with a few drops of peppermint oil, which acts as a natural rodent repellent.
  2. On the subject of rodent repellent, consider using a natural solution over the wires and other sensitive components.
  3. Also consider setting up a few mouse traps underneath and around your motorcycle.

If mice have already gone after your bike:

  1. Have it thoroughly cleaned, using hot water and soap after you’ve blocked all holes.
  2. If the seat has a strange odor, you may also need to schedule an upholstery cleaning.
  3. Take your bike in for an inspection. If mice targeted the air intake box, you may be dealing with leftover droppings, hair and urine.
  4. Once you’ve cleaned off your motorcycle, consider having your oil changed to remove any leftover particles or debris.

How do you deter pests while your motorcycle is in storage? Share your tips and suggestions on our Facebook page.