Mice are eating my bean seeds!

gamebirdJuly 16, 2009

Last week I planted lima beans around my bean teepees, along with cucumbers (so if the limas didn't take, maybe the cucumbers would). The cucumbers have come up, but only a couple limas have. I've found two seeds that were dug up and had the germ chewed out and I can see where little holes have been dug where I put the other seeds. I figure it's mice. They destroyed some of my spring crops. I'll be putting out mouse traps, but I'm looking for other suggestions too.

I was thinking I'd take my next batch of lima bean seeds, make them moist, them coat them with cayenne pepper. Do you think that would help? I'm not sure mice dislike cayenne, but I've been told squirrels hate it.

I've also thought that maybe I should put boards or rocks over where I put the lima bean seeds and then remove them after 5 days. I think if I can prevent the mice from digging them up for a while, then they won't be as interested in the sprouted ones.

I lost my lettuce after it sprouted to the mice and I still have regular damage to my parsley from them. How likely is it the mice will eat the sprouts? How can I prevent it?

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I've experienced birds eating my bean sprouts, but mice, never! The cayenne might work, sprinkled around the planting area. It's very inexpensive if you buy at Walmart or DG, and don't buy the pricy labels. I used it all over my cantaloupe patch at the ranch last year with limited success. But in my opinion, cats are the best deterrent for rodents. Hate those little suckers!


    Bookmark   July 16, 2009 at 11:52AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Game bird,

Cats are the best ultimate solution and keep our yard and garden virtually rodent-free, which is quite an accomplishment here in a rural area where the population of field mice, voles, gophers and moles is huge.

Sometimes you can cover newly seeded beds with 1/4" hardward cloth or metal window screening material weighted around the edges with something to hold them down and they'll keep the mice out.

Sometimes cayenne pepper is effective and sometimes it is not, so you'd just have to try it and see. Sometimes mint leaves or lavender leaves repel them.

Mouse traps can be placed directly in the garden if you don't have roaming pets or small children who can't resist the urge to 'tough' the traps. Glue traps would catch mice too, but also dirt, leaves and insects.


    Bookmark   July 16, 2009 at 1:52PM
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Cats certainly do have a place around the garden, preferably not IN IT! I have 2 cats, who make my garden into a race track. They love to hang out there, and when it's cool, (ha ha, comparatively speaking) in the evening, they chase each other all through the garden while I'm holding my breath as they race through the baby tomato plants I've just set out, sometimes breaking a stem, or knocking over a pepper plant. The plus side is that mice, rats, small snakes, or moles don't stand a chance.
Fortunately for me, I'm not allergic to them, but some people are, or for other reasons can't have cats.

Anyways, gamebird, are you sure it's mice and not rabbits? Until I got my fence put up, they were eating me out of house and home. Don't know about mice ever eating anything. Some folks say that squirrels like garden veggies. But I was wondering if perhaps you could have a 'special place' somewhere in the corner of your garden where you could toss out an amount of bean seeds, or whatever it is you think the culprits like to eat and let them have at it.
I saw a turtle in my garden yesterday and I've been rather concerned about him eating the tomatos, or cucumbers. I may have to find him a different home if I start seeing damage.
I know it can be very discouraging to work so hard trying to have garden and then seeing it destroyed no sooner than it breaks ground. I agree with Dawn that cayenne pepper may not work. Hopefully, you'll find out for sure what's doing the damage and find a solution.
Good luck!


    Bookmark   July 17, 2009 at 12:39AM
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Gamebird - I agree with Barbara about it being Rabbits. This year, our green beans, spinach & mustard were doing beautifully....then things just started disappearing. It took us about 3 weeks to see Mrs. Bunny in the garden and find where she'd chewed thru the deer-netting. Once we fixed that with a layer of chicken wire - no more "dig" spots or missing beans. You might just try chicken wire. It's less hassle than tending a cat. And the red pepper...our vermin just like it. The squirrels lick it off the bottom of the bird feeders.


    Bookmark   July 17, 2009 at 1:01AM
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Greetings from chilly Saskatchewan! (I'll be getting home soon.)

Boards over your seed, if this is caused by mice, might well make things worse. Mice and small rodents love to get under boards, etc.

I agree with Dawn about cats. But I can't bring myself to get one. We had a really bad experience with a cat once, and one of my daughters will bear the scars for life.

If you set traps, be careful that you don't set them just out in the open. You could catch birds, which are usually your best friends in the garden.

I put out some of that block poison they sell in the Farmers' Co-op. But I set it in a coffee can, tilted slightly, so if it rains, it doesn't get wet. This solution would not work if you have any pets, such as dogs, who get into the garden.

If you have squirrels, they could be the culprits. I have never heard of rabbits digging up seeds, though they can and do dig. A small live trap, about 24" long, would be perfect for squirrels.


    Bookmark   July 17, 2009 at 8:32AM
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Oh! Thank you for reminding me about birds! That's why I'd only been using peanut butter instead of cheese. But yesterday I had some moldy cheese and I used that. I just went out to collect my traps and luckily for the birds, the mice took care of things for them. I'd set out 8 traps last night just at dusk and this morning I have three dead mice and one missing trap. I count the missing trap as another dead mouse. We have coyotes and feral dogs out here and they've taken traps before. I figure they take the ones with dead mice in them. I've found traps with only half a mouse in it before.

I'd also left the rest of the moldy cheese out there, which was an ounce or two of it and it was gone too.

It might be rabbits also, but I have a mesh fence around one of my teepees now and today I'll try to fence in the other one too to keep out rabbits. I'm pretty sure the rabbits ate my more mature bean plants a few weeks ago, just as they were recovering from the virus.

I think the seed eating is mice because I've found a few bean seeds with only the germ eaten out. I can see the striations left by their teeth and they're very small.

Right now we don't have a dog or cats. We also don't have a fenced yard so I don't feel it would be safe to have one with the coyotes and feral dogs around. It wouldn't help us much to have a cat if I could only let it out under supervision. Maybe next year things will be different.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2009 at 11:50AM
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