Pest Control Library: Mice, Voles, & Rats

Articles→Pest Control Library

By National Gardening Association Editors

From the smallest house mouse to the largest Norway rat, these rodents live wherever humans do. Rats and mice are active at night, while voles can be seen scurrying about day or night. These creatures love to dig and burrow, making them major pests of underground plantings in the garden. Partially eaten potatoes or carrots are a sign of mice and vole activity. They also devour newly sown seeds, and feed on most flower bulbs (except daffodils). Spring snowmelt often reveals bark chewed from the base of young tree trunks.


The first line of defense is to create a mouse-unfriendly environment by removing food, water, and shelter. Seal pathways they might use to enter buildings, clean up pet food dishes, and keep garbage in secured bins. The most effective household control is the old-fashioned trap. Whether it be a snap trap or live trap, bait it with peanut butter or bacon and place it in mouse runways. In the garden, delay using fluffy mulches such as straw until late in the season. Mice love to winter over in this material and it gives them easy access to your plants under the snow. Repellents containing ammonium can be effective against rodents when applied as directed. Protect tree trunks with tree wrap or hardware cloth, making sure it reaches a few inches below the soil line and 18 inches high. Place precious bulbs such as lilies in metal cages or place sharp, crushed gravel around the bulb when planting to deter these tunneling pests.

Photograph courtesy of David Cappaert, Michigan State University,

Together with Victory Seed Company:
Victory Seed Company Logo Victory Seed Company has all the seeds you want for your best garden in 2024.

For 25 years, the family-owned Victory Seed Company has provided the highest quality vegetable, herb and flower seeds to families across the country. We are passionate about providing you the best seeds available that give excellent germination, robust plants, and the harvest you want. With a catalog of over a thousand varieties, we have everything, and our prices are the kinds that we'd want to pay. We have hundreds of yesterday's heirloom vegetables, as well as today's award winning hybrid selections. Get to know us by visiting our website and browsing through our online vegetable seed catalog.

This article is a part of our Pest Control Library.
This article is a part of our Pest Control Library.
Member Login:

( No account? Join now! )

Today's site banner is by Zoia and is called "Flag Iris"

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.