Something (a rodent?) is eating my tomatoes!

jplee3October 23, 2013

Hey guys,

Just wanted to get your feedback on what you think might be eating my tomatoes. I have them up on a trellis right now and they were doing fine for a while. Then the other day I noticed a shortage of them. There were two larger ones I knew for a fact were out there and now they're gone!

The other thing I noticed is that there were a number of tomatoes that were higher up (probably around 4-5" off the ground) which appear to have gone missing. I know a field mouse or small rat probably wouldn't have a hard time getting up there, but is it possible that a larger rat or possum would be able to climb up and have the vines still support it? My trellis is pretty sturdy (conduit piping) but the cross supports are just netting.

I've seen a possum once in my yard wall (before planting the gardens) as well as a dead field rat/mouse. I'm assuming it could be any of these? One thing I *have* noticed is FLEAS. I've had sporadic flea problems for the past couple years and I'm not sure where they're coming from. But there seems to be a correlation between the time the tomatoes started disappearing and the time the fleas started showing back up.

I'm guessing possums definitely carry fleas; do mice and rats?

Either way, what's the best way to go about protecting the tomatoes, or what's left of them at least... they've almost reached the end of their season anyway, so maybe I should tear them out and call it quits.

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I read around that possums will usually only eat stuff that's fallen on the ground. So it may not be possums. It's likelier that these are field mice then. I read field mice can definitely carry fleas too. I'm just thinking a small field mouse would have no issues climbing up the tomato vines and going to town on all the goodies. I probably had a dozen of them that "disappeared" in the past week. It would be cool to setup some video to try to capture whatever is going after the tomatoes but it's kinda late in the game now.

I think maybe I should setup one of those peanut butter bucket traps to see if anything comes of it. Should be interesting to find out, at least...

    Bookmark   October 24, 2013 at 3:23PM
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BTW: I should also mention that my garden is enclosed in a small yard with solid walls. There are small gaps/cracks where the walls meet the condo structure. And the walls themselves are only about 5-6ft or so high. This is why I have been guessing about it being mice, rats or possums. I'm just shocked at how fast they went through them. And there's literally no trace of the tomatoes either - reading around, I would have expected to see some half-eaten tomatoes or tomatoes with lots of holes, etc but most of them have literally disappeared. The only ones left are the green unripened ones. I'm sure these things make tasty treats when they're super ripe (I'm assuming because they're both full of water and probably very sweet).

I just contacted my homeowner's association and they said they'll have the pest control company come out to inspect the exterior walls to relocate existing bait stations or add new ones specifically in my area. We'll see what happens...

This post was edited by jplee3 on Thu, Oct 24, 13 at 15:54

    Bookmark   October 24, 2013 at 3:52PM
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