Does mulch encourage mice?

catherinet(5 IN)June 12, 2014

I have a pretty secure fenced garden.......but the problem is with mice. Last year it was awful. It was a harsh winter, and I was hoping they died or moved (yeah, right.........)
I'm finding my snow peas cut off at the ground (which kills the 6' high plants just now making pods. :(
Should I remove the straw mulch? Would that help at all?

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The poor cute little things are just trying to survive and it might help if you were to feed them something they'd like better than pea stems. I'd suggest chunky peanut butter. They seriously love that stuff. You place it on the little lips of the half dozen new mouse traps you're going to buy.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 11:52PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Haha..........I wondered where you were going with this!

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 6:54AM
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loribee2(CA 9)

Haha, I started reading that and thought, "Are you kidding me? Feed the mice? My husband would kill you if you were our neighbor," LOL

That was good.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 9:50AM
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Besides the damage to the garden, which might be tolerable depending on what you are growing and how much, there is danger to them living in or near the house, because they may chew through wires and insulation. In particular, up in the attic or down in the basement, where if there is little human presence, then they can really hide and thrive in that area for a long time before being detected.

Basically what I've read and experienced is that, by the time you start to see evidence of mice around the house or yard, it is because they have already established pretty well and are venturing out further and further from their familiar territories to find food.

When I started trapping the mice around my house/yard last year, I even got 3 or 4 rats. I did not even expect to have rats, and thought it was all just mice, but sure enough, these 12-13" rodents were much too large to be even a larger-than-average mouse.

The interesting thing is that they even looked very similar with the fur coloring, so I was hoping that they were just really big mice --- because somehow I could deal with having mice, but rats were a whole other issue. Unfortunately, the more I read, the more it was evident that they were rats -- meaning that I also had a rat problem.

It makes sense though -- if you have conditions that are good for mice, those same conditions are good for rats, if any rats happen to come by and like it.

This post was edited by gardenper on Fri, Jun 13, 14 at 11:05

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 9:58AM
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sunnibel7 Md 7(7)

I think any cover can "encourage" mice, and a lot of times that can include large plants. If you have voles you would be surprised at the sheer amount of damage that one little vole can do! They are like tiny little groundhogs! I was losing 2-3 sweet onions a day before I trapped one little vole- it was smaller than the half-formed bulbs it was eating! Having said that, are you sure it's mice in the peas?

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 10:03AM
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it is probably voles. I found that, if you have raised beds, it is easy to find them. Their tunnels run parallel to the sides. If your soil is soft enough you can punch a hole with your finger, drop some warfarin laced stuff, and close.

To minimize all this, I keep a large pile of leaves at a distant place from my garden, and I try to minimize winter mulch. The con is that come June you are laboriously mulching around half-sized plants, but mulch attracts them specially in late Fall, when they are trying to establish a home for the winter.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 11:18AM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Thanks everyone.
We live in the middle of woods, and are very familiar with them in the house. :( They love our crawl space and its a constant battle. We also discovered that they were getting in the tiny cracks in our exterior chimney. We had tons of them, until we patched that up and their numbers dropped almost to zero........but I had to wash everything in our kitchen....everything!

The ones in the garden are dark, and look like mice......but I'm not certain. We cleaned up the garden last Fall and I left the gate make it easier on cats to go in there if they wanted to. I haven't seen any yet this year.......but something bit off some of the snow peas at the bottom.

There's always somethin', right?

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 12:18PM
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