I have mice!

lilacs_of_mayJuly 5, 2008

I was out this morning looking at my zucchini and melons. Two of the zucchini plants had been heavily hit by flea beetles earlier, but they hung on and started forming new leaves. Today I came out to see that the new leaves were nothing but stems. I heard a rustling in the undergrowth and saw the back end and tail of a little grey mouse disappear.

Mice may be cute in cartoons, but they are NOT cute in my garden! What does this mean for my zukes, 'lopes, maters, taters, and brassica? I don't need something else to lose my vegetables to. This year, because of the economy and high food prices, gardening isn't just a hobby, it's a necessity. I sprayed the zukes and melons with Hot Pepper Wax. Should I spray all the other plants, too? Will that effect pollination when my zuke and melon flowers bloom?

I also have Liquid Fence to use, although I'm almost out. I'm worried that the squirrels will also be a problem when my tomatoes, zukes, and melons begin to ripen.

As hard as gardening sometimes is, I sometimes wonder how we survived as a species.

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jaliranchr(z5 EC CO)

You could try a diversion, lilacs. Occupy the mouse with some corn or cornmeal away from your plants. Opportunity meal might distract em. Bloodmeal will deter the squirrels if you sprinkle it around the perimeter.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2008 at 2:32PM
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runktrun(z7a MA)

lilacs,
I feel your pain my summer has been ruined by barn rats in my garden. As I am over the top phobic about rodents I have had to cope with my fear by educating myself. The link below is from my thread on the New England forum. Although rats and mice are different in many ways they do share some common characteristics; such as not travelling very far from their home usually not more that 100 to 150 feet. I would suggest you look around the area of your garden and take note if there is any wood laying close or directly on the ground as that is their favorite place to nest under. Also keep in mind for every mouse or rat you see particularly during the daytime there are at least ten fold that you are not seeing. Frankly if you are feeding birds and or have and standing water you might want to remove those things. Best of luck. Oh from what I have been told rats and mice eat what we eat it is however pretty rare for them to remove food from the vine but they will eat the rotting dropped veggies. kt

Here is a link that might be useful: The Rats Of Nihm

    Bookmark   July 6, 2008 at 3:02PM
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bluelytes(Washington Stat)

Two words, spring loaded mouse traps. Ok, thats 4 words, but you get the idea, ;)

Coat the "bait" part with peanut butter, those little buggers LOVE peanut butter, and SNAP, no more meeses. I hates meeces to pieces to quote a famous cat.

Regards;
bluelytes

    Bookmark   July 6, 2008 at 4:23PM
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digit(ID/WA)

Would the presence of rodents making me want to climb the fence count as "over the top phobic?"

Voles have eaten the blossom-ends off Summer squash in my garden, Lilacs. If they would just limit themselves to consuming one entire squash, they'd be more tolerable but to travel around and sample many is especially aggravating!

They have eaten holes right into melons and pumpkins - from the bottom of the fruit (the sneaky vermin!). Once inside, they have eaten the seeds. I don't know how they could go much farther in making themselves enemies of the gardener than this behavior.

digitS'

    Bookmark   July 7, 2008 at 8:54AM
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runktrun(z7a MA)

digit,
I believe fence climbing entitles you to membership in the Rodent Phobics of America Club, and frankly if the fence is tall enough you might even get a seat on the board.
Too bad about your veggies voles do a number in my woodland area, this winter I lost 7 ilex glabra, bayberry, & rhodie. The only thing that works for me is to remove all mulch and or leaf cover back off around the base of the trunk. This causes the vole (a vegetarian) who tunnels just barely under the leaf matter, mulch, to be exposed to predators which they don't like. Of course now that I am writting this it has dawned on me that voles in the Rockies probably have very different adaptations than those in the North East. Never mind!!! kt

    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 10:03AM
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Azura(z5 CO)

I have been avoiding using mulch after I read that using it encourages voles. I still have a vole problem, depending on the season. I think the voles in my yard have learned to run faster out into the greenbelt when I (or a predator) come near them. The greenbelt is only mowed once a month. I bought a grasswhip to keep it shorter but they also run along the fenceline. At this point in the season, my garden is grown up enough to hide them and in the winter the snow hides them.
I also found a mouse in a different bed last week and I wasnt real worried about it causing damage to my plants until I read this post. The problem is that my neighbors put boards up between their retaining wall and fence. Its a perfect 50'x1'x1' housing for bunnies, mice and who knows what else.

Does the liquid fence or hot pepper spray work for anyone? I tried it years ago but between re-spraying after rain and rodents getting used to it, it didn't seem to be effective long term. I've also used the electronic sonic noise mole repellent and had mixed results.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 5:45PM
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lilacs_of_may

I never thought about voles. I assumed it was a mouse. Last year I found a dead baby mouse in my yard, so I figured they were around somewhere.

When I bought this place it backed onto greenbelt, one of the reasons why I chose it. Then they tore up the greenbelt, planted duplexes on it, and filled them with trailer trash neighbors.

I would still choose rodents over these neighbors. I can't legally trap the neighbors. And they can jump 6 foot fences.

My one zucchini hill is HUGE, and I can see five male flower buds already. I thought that this was the year I'd finally get zucchini and tomatoes, but I never thought I'd have a rodent problem.

I'm not phobic about rodents. I've handled lab rats and mice. I've even handled snakes. What sends me climbing fences is spiders, and I've got tons of those, unfortunately.

Saaaay! I wonder if I could get some garter snakes to put in my yard. Might scare the rodents away. Might even scare the neighbors, too. Heh heh heh.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 8:00PM
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vic_zn5

I found a couple mice too, EEEK! I set traps and over 2 weeks only caught 2 and I'm hoping that is it, but after reading the 10 fold comment......

Lilacs I seen your post from last yr, and when it didn't have any recent comments I had hoped your nieghbors had moved or been evicted! Is the situation still as bad? I was thinking if you couldn't put up a fence tall enough that a nice high clothes line with some blankets on it would help, I'd rather look at an old ratty blanket than them!

Vic

    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 9:55PM
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digit(ID/WA)

I didn't expect to find this guy when I turned over a log bordering my veggie shade garden last week:

The photo is from the site linked below. They say, "Some scientists believe a rubber boaÂs home range could be as small as 100 square yards if the snake can find adequate food, cover, and hibernation sites there."

Think of it!! You could have a permanent resident rodent killer in a space about the size of a family garden! He went right back into the cover around the garden.

I have zero problems with snakes and went after this guy so that I could get him off the ground and have a good look at him. I wouldn't have been so quick to pick him up if he'd been a couple feet long. But, even at that size, I doubt if he'd have been able to bite me - tiny mouth. My behavior was different when I lived in rattlesnake country but a rubber boa bears no resemblence to a rattler. (Snakes usually have beautiful skin. :o)

Found a tick on my clothes today. I do NOT want to find the next one on my skin!!!

digitS'

Here is a link that might be useful: Montana Outdoors - Rubber Boa

    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 10:46PM
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