Pests and Diseases forum: Rats and mice what do you do?

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California, San Joaquin valley (Zone 9b)
RenaeC
Jan 21, 2017 12:01 AM CST
How do you keep rats and mice out of your garden beds? I currently rent and my yard is very large, but I am unable to plant anything because there is a city garbage bin behind my house and we occasionally get some rodents that sneak in our house or in our yard. My dogs have killed so many now from getting to my white onions growing in my kitchen window. It breaks my heart I am unable to put up a green house or use the space I have since they keep getting into everything. They've already destroyed my bluebells, so for now I just collect seeds until we are able to move in the Fall. How do you take care of pests from getting to your harvests or plants? Sighing!

pamelia55
Feb 14, 2017 9:47 PM CST
I am searching for the same. Looking forward more replies. Thanks.
Name: Dee Moore
Arroyo Grande, CA (Zone 9a)
Seller of Garden Stuff Seed Starter Garden Art Butterflies Annuals Cactus and Succulents
Greenhouse Container Gardener Region: California Winter Sowing Garden Photography I helped beta test the first seed swap
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DomehomeDee
Feb 14, 2017 10:28 PM CST
I feel for you. I have a severe gopher problem myself. It's hard to come up with ways to deal with these problems and still keep your dogs safe. I use traps myself but gopher traps are buried so there's not the dog hazard there is with rat traps. You can make wire mesh cages to go over your beds, they can be lifted to garden. I use this method to keep the deer and rabbits out of certain tasty plants in my garden. I live in the country so as food gets scarce my garden becomes "Dee's Plant Zoo". I have a number of cages around plants, when people ask why my plants are caged I tell them the they keep trying to get away.
California, San Joaquin valley (Zone 9b)
RenaeC
Feb 14, 2017 11:02 PM CST
Welcome! pamelia55.

Dee I can't remember where I saw it...i think it might've been here on an article, but basically the article said something along the lines of digging a hole and placing chicken wire down there and then applying the soil to cover it and this will help with keeping gopher's out. And, rats pretty much eat through anything. Their teeth never stop growing so if they wanted something I had growing bad enough they'd find a way. There's also a lot of farming area closeby maybe more than a couple miles out, so there's little tiny field mice that found their way to the dumpster by my house. Im so confused though cause there's a lady around the corner who feeds all the stray cats (like 15 of them) and they keep having kittens and all those cats hang out at night by the dumpster yet there's still a rodent problem here :sigh:
Name: Dee Moore
Arroyo Grande, CA (Zone 9a)
Seller of Garden Stuff Seed Starter Garden Art Butterflies Annuals Cactus and Succulents
Greenhouse Container Gardener Region: California Winter Sowing Garden Photography I helped beta test the first seed swap
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DomehomeDee
Feb 15, 2017 5:11 PM CST
Cats probably are the best for mice, maybe a small herd of dachshunds would work for the rats. I do make underground cages for special plants, I also use pots in my landscape. I have however had more than one plant die and when I went to dig it up the roots were very neatly trimmed back to the chicken wire cage! Where I'm at we have tree rats, wood rats, and field mice. The owls and birds of prey keep the populations down. When people talk about the need to protect these types of birds I know exactly why, without them we would be waist high in rodents. Keep fighting the good fight!
Dee Crossing Fingers!
California, San Joaquin valley (Zone 9b)
RenaeC
Feb 15, 2017 6:38 PM CST
Lol if we had a mini herd of dachshund's I'm sure we'd need a much larger place and my SO wouldnt agree to having so many around, but that would be funny to see a bunch of them running all over in the yard! Rolling on the floor laughing

we have one of our rescue dogs that's really into going on "rounds" around the yard when we let her out and checking every corner and every part of the fence to make sure nothing is getting in or out. The other's are a bit more laid back, but they're also older than her and not as on edge as she is. We won't get another dog till we can at least get a bigger place we're going to be at for a while or are ready to buy.

You're in Arroyo Grande , are you near the national park area? You know maybe you should try looking into different ways to keep the gopher's away like you could get dig where your plants are going, then add in the chicken, then maybe have, some plywood or a sheet of plastic and line it over the chicken wire this way your plants still grow while keeping their roots protected from the gophers. Just a suggestion though, i may be wrong about it working since I don't know the outcomes it'll have on the soil, but it seems like it would work since people have raised beds with wood and plastic in them, never hurts to try :)
Name: Dee Moore
Arroyo Grande, CA (Zone 9a)
Seller of Garden Stuff Seed Starter Garden Art Butterflies Annuals Cactus and Succulents
Greenhouse Container Gardener Region: California Winter Sowing Garden Photography I helped beta test the first seed swap
Image
DomehomeDee
Feb 15, 2017 8:22 PM CST
I've learned to live with them. Some years they are numerous and I get the traps out. I don't use poison as you end up killing other things, like snakes, who help keep the population down. Raised beds work but I'm in the country and I garden mostly flowers for my seed company, RobinSeeds. I have several "areas" for my plants, none are square, I fence to the shape of the sprinkler I'm using. I over-seed and grow replacement plants every year, being it's both annual and perennial flowers. The little buggers took like 6 full grown Agaves last year, I just let them as I have more Agave plants than any sane person needs anyway. It would be different if I had limited space. Mice and Rats are a real problem, I had one wood rat move in after our dog passed and he's been a real thorn in my side as he likes to munch my succulents. I hope your neighbor cats figure out where to come for dinner, cats and dogs are probably the best answer for a city garden.
California, San Joaquin valley (Zone 9b)
RenaeC
Feb 15, 2017 8:40 PM CST
There are pest controlling devices that won't kill animals, but drive them away. Ive seen them on amazon just most reviews say it didnt work on the kind of bugs and rodents that are in this area, I think once we move it'll be different. I'm counting the days down already haha. Good luck with your gopher problem too!
Name: Dee Moore
Arroyo Grande, CA (Zone 9a)
Seller of Garden Stuff Seed Starter Garden Art Butterflies Annuals Cactus and Succulents
Greenhouse Container Gardener Region: California Winter Sowing Garden Photography I helped beta test the first seed swap
Image
DomehomeDee
Feb 16, 2017 8:27 PM CST
I've used a thumper thing for the gophers. I used to joke that it was really a dinner bell. We use a interesting deer deterent device that has a motion sensor and sprays a high powered stream of water. It works but is really a miserable thing to get hit with when you forget that it's on. Might be fun to see that take out a rat, it would shoot him all the way across the yard Hilarious!
California, San Joaquin valley (Zone 9b)
RenaeC
Feb 16, 2017 9:57 PM CST
Idk if that would work on rats. Theyre pretty clever creatures. Im sure they would start testing it for weak points. You could get one of those timers to remember to automatically turn off the sensors after a certain time
Name: Abbey
Eastern New York State (Zone 6a)
Bookworm Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Garden Photography Garden Art Birds Region: New York
Herbs Container Gardener Annuals Dog Lover Butterflies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
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Garden10
Apr 15, 2017 11:50 AM CST
RenaeC, have you tried mint? I've never had to deal with rats, but it works with mice, it's supposed to be all rodents can't stand the smell of mint, so I plant mint in season, and I douse the perimeter of the house in early autumn with damp mint tea bags, mint extract, whatever I can get cheapest without anything sweet in it, and it works.

And you should tally your losses and send it to the city with request for reimbursement, they have some nerve keep something like that adjacent to a residential property Grumbling
"Every now and then I leave the book on the seat and go and have a refreshing potter among my flower beds from which I return greatly benefited, and with a more just conception of what is worth bothering about, and what is not." The Solitary Summer -- Elizabeth von Arnim
California, San Joaquin valley (Zone 9b)
RenaeC
Apr 15, 2017 4:10 PM CST
Lately we havent been seeing anything around thankfully, but it's only a matter of time till something is around here again since that dumpster is very close to my house. I will try the mint plant thing though, thanks for the info! I've used tea tree oil with the black widows, but it hasn't really phased them.

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