Many people don’t realize the importance of protecting your plants from field mice and other rodents but they will actually eat your plants and kill them.
Sometimes the damage they do is so subtle and inconspicuous that the damage itself goes unseen, yet the result of that damage can be devastating.
Of course, there are a lot of ways of protecting your plants from rodents in the garden and the nursery, but most nurseries opt to use a poisonous mouse and or rat bait just because it works. Yeah, I know. It’s poisonous and it’s dangerous to pets and children. So you have to use it responsibly.
This is one brand of mouse bait. Keep in mind, in an outdoor setting you need a bait that is weather resistant and will not absorb moisture as soon as you set it out. I’m not really endorsing this brand because I usually just buy whatever brand they have that is packaged the way that I need it. I really don’t know if one brand is better than another or not.
You have to get these weather-resistant rodent baits at a farm supply store.
Before we have a “Go off on Mike Party . . .”
Let me say this; You know me, I don’t like killing things. I love my little dog, you see her in all the videos, etc. and I also love the donkeys. I’m an animal lover. However, there comes a point when you just can’t afford to take the loss anymore because you are reluctant to use rodent bait.
What happens when you don’t put out mouse bait.
Years ago I had these cute little chipmunks in my yard. I wouldn’t put out mouse bait in My Backyard Nursery (photos here) because I didn’t want to kill the chipmunks. Come winter I had hundreds of Japanese maples that I grafted so I built a structure over them and covered it with white plastic. Not mouse bait. The mice got in there and made it their winter home.
They got up in the one-gallon containers and started chewing the bark off the Japanese maples. They would literally stand on their hind legs to chew up as high as they could reach. I know that because I could see exactly where they stopped chewing on the stem of the trees. Long, sad story, short. They killed them. They killed almost every single Japanese maple I had. I spent weeks pain painstakingly grafting them, then I grew them out for a full growing season, then I let the mice eat them.
They ate my rooted cuttings too!
Same winter they got under the plastic I used to cover my rooted cuttings. They ate those too. All the way down to the sand in the flats. The cuttings were gone! Completely gone.
About 40% of them came back from the roots and were actually multi-branched which is a lesson in pruning, but a bit drastic for all practical purposes. The only rooted cuttings they didn’t eat, I mean not at all, were the Red Twig Dogwoods. They must not taste good because they ate everything around them and never touched the dogwoods.
I learned my lesson about not using mouse bait in the winter.
So this winter I figured I’d show you the bait stations that I made just to give you an idea of what works and what I like to use.
I’m not sure but I think I was trained to think that mice will only go through an arched doorway into their house from the Tom & Jerry cartoons I watched as a kid.
I went a little nutso with these wooden bait stations. I only made two of them. I wanted them a little more secure because I was putting them where my dog Ally could get to them if she wanted to.
The dimension of these contraptions is about 6.25″ by 12″ in case you are wondering. They do not open up. I can just pick them up and tip to one end to get the old bait out and re-bait as needed.
And now for a much simpler model.
It doesn’t get simpler than this! This is 4″ PVC, solid drain pipe. All I do is cut the pipe in 12″ sections and each section serves as a bait station. The rodents can enter from either end and if you place these carefully so they are not where water is likely to stand, the bait inside will stay dry for a reasonable period of time.
See the bait station in this photo? That’s all there is to it.
I’m not exactly a mouse-ologist, I know, but we’ll just pretend it’s a word. As I understand it mice and other rodents don’t like traveling in the middle of the dance floor. They navigate more with their whiskers than they do their eyes so they like to travel along the edges of walls or other stationary objects. So place your bait stations in their path, along walls, etc. where they are most likely to travel.
Keep your bait and bait stations out of the reach of pets and children. Be careful to not allow your pets to discover rodents that have been poisoned. Dead rodents can make your pets sick or worse. Read the label on the bait package and use extreme caution!
Questions or comments? Post em below!