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Posted on Feb 5, 2013 in Pests | 0 comments

Mice Eating Garden

Mice Eating Garden

I’ve been seeing evidence of mice in my garden. They are eating my peas! I say they because from what I’ve read, where there is one, there is usually many. It is early days as far as the spring/summer season is concerned and I want to get on top of the problem before everything else starts coming on. My tomatoes are in flower with one plant setting fruit and if they think I’m idly sitting back whilst they feast on my berries, well then, they are in for a surprise.

I saw one pop his head up in broad daylight yesterday and am pretty sure i know where its nest is. I suspect they are a problem this year because the people behind us with chickens and have since moved. The mice are now visiting our garden looking for another food source.

After much Google consultation, I’ve done the following in attempts to fix the problem:

COMPOST: I’ve checked my compost for favourable conditions. I’ve emptied the contents and rebuilt it checking for critters. I’ve ensured it is wet enough; apparently they prefer dry conditions. My food scraps are always buried in the bin. No mice were sighted however, I did find 2 baby mice in there about 1 month ago which were released humanly far away from houses (I didn’t have the heart at that point to end there little lives). The compost is turned about once per week to discourage them.

ELIMINATE FOOD SOURCES:¬† This might prove to be tricky. They are eating my garden after all. I’ve run around with the pooper scooper, picking up all the little nuggets left behind from out little dog and will continue to keep on top of it. I was using this around ornamental beds to fertilise and deter cats but further reading indicates it can be an attractant to mice. They eat it!

All organic fertilisers/manures are to be placed in sealed containers (smell may attract them). As much as possible at least anyway. The compost bin itself has lots of fresh horse manure in it. Apparently they are particularly fond of blood and bone.

HIDING SPOTS: I have picked up and disposed of the small pile of twigs and branches that I use on occasion around the garden. I have also cleared out the garage and clear up the small wood pile (potential nest site).

I think I’ve found their nest, behind one of the garden beds (I saw his little head). I’m not going to disturb the nest instead I’ll leave them settled and apply bait nearby. As cute at they are, I feel no remorse (well maybe a little) when they devour my snow peas overnight. This means war!

Troubleshooting

SNAIL EATING BAITS: Try the following:

  • Snail control by hand collection each night. I doubtful snail baiting will be effective as I believe the mice will eat them.
  • Apply salt to inside of traps with glue or coat in strong salt solution (salt is toxic to snails) and doesn’t bother mice (so I’ve read). Trying the salt now (17th Feb 2015). Will post updates.

Updates

Week one: (starting 4/9/13) Baited with wax block (active ingredient: Brodifacoum) and 50:50 mix of cement powder and cornflour. At least one bait gone each night and cement/cornflour mix disturbed. On nights 6-7 no baits taken or cement mix disturbed. Snow peas do not seem to be being eaten any more. Have cut of any half eaten snowpeas as a monitoring method.

Week two: DAY 9: Just saw 2 mice, same place, very much alive and well. Have bought more wax baits, different brand with Difenacoum as the active ingredient (Big Cheese brand). Have put more baits out and a couple of traps(Big Cheese brand). I will leave them out for 1-2 more weeks, checking daily to make sure no more mice remain. DAY 12: Dead mouse found on grass. Will need to do a check for others that might be hidden. DAY 14: Collect any uneaten  baits and traps.

Round II

Dec 2013: It seems that a new mouse family have moved in and they’re reeking havoc on my summer crops. At first I blamed the possums but again it seems that mice are the culprits. I have put out more baits (2 taken over 2 nights) and will block all entry point from neighbour’s yards (spotted it going under the fence to a neighbour).

30 Jan 2015: These are fast becoming a long standing nemisis. Found evidence of mice behind pool so have laid out the baits again. Usual places including behind pool and behind pool filter. Baits being eaten overnight. I’ve also placed bait stations in front yard but snails get to the bait first.

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