Cultivation (growing techniques): The rodents are coming!
Started by: Ben Probert
Argh, mice are attacking my bulbs,Go to latest contribution by Ben Probert, 08 January 2007, 05:54. Go to bottom of this page.
Argh, mice are attacking my bulbs! The little... sods... have been digging up my first forays into Narcissus (the classy little ones!) and have even damaged some of my aroids, including my poor little Ambrosinia bassii! I know anything in the plunge beds at ground level is at risk anyway, so I've moved my tougher Arums down there, but now the little buggers have moved onto the benching. This is no mean feat for a small mammal to climb aluminium benching! Does anyone have any techniques that would save the rest of my bulbs?! I'm not keen on conventional mouse traps, and I know that if I use humane traps and release the mice a few miles, the mice will get back home before I do! I was hoping there was some way of putting them off coming in rather than having to deal with them once they are in! Tips please!
I use conventional traps. I happily watch the odd mouse feeding on spilt bird food on the lawn, but in the greenhouse I trap them. Some years 10 or more during the winter. Peanuts work very well. I get very annoyed when they mow off fresh leaves, and then don't even eat them. Dry loose soil seems to attract them most. They rarely dig through coarse grit.
Last year I had to trap 2 rabbits, after finding things like hardy orchids mown off. I thought my wife was seeing things when she said a rabbit was sitting on an alpine sink, but then it was grazing the lawn later. When the ground collapsed into a burrow alongside the greenhouse that was it. Only the rammed foundation saved the packed greenhouse contents. I used a live trap and released them 3 miles away, the other side of the Thames.
As cat owners, we don?t have too much of a problem with mice, but one did get into the bulb house last winter. It didn?t eat anything, but burrowed into the sand plunge under the pots and they all collapsed into the hole. I?m afraid I used an old-fashioned mouse trap baited with a peanut to kill it.
I have heard that one way to stop them eating bulbs in pots is to bury a piece of wire mesh in the pot above the bulbs. The holes would have to big enough to let the foliage through, but small enough to stop the mice digging past it.
I?m surprised they ate your daffodils. I left a selection of bulbs on the potting bench in my shed a couple of years ago and the mice were very selective, eating everything but the Narcissus. I assumed they had cleverly realised they were poisonous.
I subsequently trapped 20 mice in the shed - obviously taking refuge from the cat which isn't allowed in there!
That's interesting- I hadn't realised that Narcissus are poisonous to them, so I'll keep an eye out in case the bulbs have been moved by the mice and their burrowing. I suspect that if I make life difficult for them they might return to the field next door where no doubt they came from! Unfortunately I can't rely on getting in there on a regular basis, so opportunities to remove small corpses may be limited. Still, after the spring Arum flowering season I might be less intolerant of foul smells!
Last nights visitors to my small alpine house mowed off some narcissus leaves and neatly removed the yellw flower buds from ipheon dialystemon, or whatever it is currently called.
I agree with Jim, In the 15 years we have been here we have never been bothered with any of the pests mice,squirrel, wood pigeon,or other cats,since he passed on 3 years ago they have all moved in on the vacant patch,we would certainly have another cat except that he /she may outlive us and we would not want that.
I've decided to go down a particularly unusual route using the... by-product of a ferret! Hopefully the scent will use the same fear factor as products like 'Zoo Poo' do for larger animals. The offending muck will be put into a commercially available snail pub which has a lid and steep sides. Fingers crossed the smell will carry around the greenhouse but with minimal chances of it spilling it's smelly cargo!