As if farmers didn’t have enough challenges to face, mice and rats chew up headliners, seats and upholstery in trucks, tractors, combines and other expensive implements. These rodents damage air conditioning and air intake filters and shred plastic and rubber lines. They also create electrical shorts and fires by gnawing on wiring. These destructive rodents cause, in all, $8 million in damage to U.S. farms every year.
Kari Warberg Block, a farm wife from North Dakota, had one experience in particular that made her fully aware of this problem.
AUDIO – Block on an experience on the farm that caused her to invent a mice repelling product.
“One of the first times I was ever on a farm was when I was dating a farmer,” Block said. “He needed my help pull starting his truck because no one else was around. As I pulled ahead in the front truck a mouse ran up my leg and right in my crotch and really freaked me out. ”
Block’s initial instinct was to get her perfume out and spray it around the truck cab. Low and behold that did the trick and the mouse high-tailed it out of the door.
It was a while later, after Block married a farmer, that she recalled that little maneuver and began using it regularly when rodents became an issue. That is when her company Earth-Kind, and its first product, Fresh Cab, was born.
AUDIO – Block on the trial and error process of inventing Fresh Cab.
“I started doing research and testing and found out that there wasn’t a product out there for this dilemma,” Block said. “So I invented Fresh Cab, got a patent and an EPA registration.”
Today her product sits on 20,000 store shelves and sales have reached the $40 million mark. The reason Fresh Cab works so well is that rodents can’t see very well and rely heavily on their sense of smell to navigate.
“So I thought that if I could get a smell that is strong enough and gets stuck in the mouse’s nose, not only will they not be able to see but they won’t be able to smell and they’ll go elsewhere,” Block said. “It took 8 years of trial and error to find a scent that would last, a scent that was pleasant to people and only offensive to the rodents and not dogs and cats.”
The successful formula of Fresh Cab that met all of those criteria includes balsam fir, a very common Christmas tree.
“It smells good, it lasts a long time and to top it all off, it is grown on American farms,” Block said.
You can find Fresh Cab at any John Deere, Ace Hardware, Do It Best, True Value and more. You can also order Fresh Cab direct from Earth-Kind’s website.