Cayenne keeps out the rats

Cayenne keeps out the rats

A little cayenne pepper sprinkled around your car’s engine might keep it running smoothly this winter.

In previous e-Alerts I’ve told you about the healthy benefits of cayenne. Turns out, cayenne might help automotive health as well, according to a New York Times article about a fairly common car problem: rats.

For rodents, car engines provide a perfect refuge from the season’s harsh elements. And this is no surprise to Gotham mechanics who frequently find that engine problems can be traced back to unwanted visitors. Rats must wear down their incisors by constantly chewing, and the plastic wires and tubing in car engines apparently provide the perfect chew toys.

But rats don’t care for cayenne, so a little sprinkled in the right spots may send them in search of another car.

Of course, not every town has the rat problem of New York City, where some estimates place the rat population as high as 12 rats per human. But rats and other small animals that live in the desert have been known to cool off in the shady confines under the hood of a parked car. Many farmers and maple syrup producers are also familiar with the auto- rodent phenomenon.

A Manhattan mechanic told the Times that an old farmer’s trick sometimes works to keep rats away: Hang a sock with mothballs under the hood (making sure the sock is placed well away from engine parts that move or become heated). The downside to mothballs is that the odor may find its way into the car.

Better stick with the cayenne.

“Under the Hood, a Cozy Rat Retreat” Patricia Cohen, The New York Times, 12/29/07,