Garden AdviceHow to Get Rid of Moles in the Garden
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People usually talk about pest problems when the pesky little critters invade houses and flats. But the truth is, they don’t just decide one fateful day to come and say hello. Like every other living creature, they just go where the food is.
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It’s impossible not to notice when something is amiss. The best way to be sure you have a rodent problem is if you look for the following signs.
In Britain, the most likely culprit behind a mouse infestation is the wood mouse. It’s no bigger than 10 cm, with a tail, which can be as long as 11 cm. It has huge ears, pointed face and dark brown coat.
Another example is the yellow-necked mouse, which is slightly bigger and has a longer tail. It’s easily identifiable by the yellow band across its chest. In the south of England the wood mouse’s larger cousin, the yellow-necked mouse, sometimes comes into people’s gardens.
There is also the classic house mouse that invades both gardens and properties. It’s the same size as the wood mouse, but with a grey coat. Because they look alike we have created a guide on how to tell house mice from filed mice. Both species can be found all over the UK, while their yellow-necked cousin is more often found in the southern regions. Neither is protected as a species.
Rodents, whether rats or mice, can cause serious damage to your garden. Not only do they feast on the results of your hard work, after spending time planting and growing your produce, but they can also gnaw on wooden structures, like your garden shed, or the very walls of your property.
Another damaging problem you should not underestimate is when they chew on electrical cables. This can cause a short circuit and even lead to a fire.
There is also a health risk. Rodents often carry diseases, including Salmonella, Leptospirosis, Weil’s disease, Listeria, Cryptosporidium and rat bite fever. All of them are harmful to humans and pets. They can also carry ticks, mites and fleas and thus, can cause a whole new infestation.
And let’s not forget that once upon a time they caused the Plague.
Infections can be triggered by direct contact with their urine, faeces, or saliva. Rarely, but still possible, one can get sick through their bites and scratches. Coming in direct contact with a dead mouse or rat carcass is also a possible scenario for getting infected. There have been cases where pets have transmitted a rodent-related disease to humans. Sometimes, even inhaling dust particles that contain infectious microorganisms is enough.
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Once you’ve noticed the infestation, it’s time to make the invaders go away. There are a few widely known successful methods.
If you don’t like any of the mentioned techniques above, there are always convenience stores where you can find manual mice traps. They differ in type and design.
Any professional pest controller would advise that you do not dispose of rodents manually and/or without protective gear, whether they are dead or alive. A bite can put you in danger of contracting an array of diseases, and getting in direct contact with a carcass is even worse. Simply inhaling the dust around it can cause respiratory problems.
But if you are doing it anyway, make sure you use protective clothing, such as rubber gloves and a dust mask. If you want to dispose of a dead animal, bury it away from your house in a deep hole in the ground, so it doesn’t get dug up by neighbourhood pets. And always check any relevant national and local regulations.
Once you’ve identified the likely suspect, it’s time to take action. Here are several steps you can take to keep rodents out of the garden:
Empty the rubbish bin as often as you can. Take the bird feeders down and don’t leave cat or dog food outside. If there is no food, they have no reason to come. The same applies when it comes to their shelter. Keep the grass short, don’t pile up plant matter, and periodically move woodpiles.
Your house or your garden shed is a good shelter for rodents, especially in the winter. Call a professional to inspect the outer structure of your property, at least once a year. If there are cracks or holes, they should be sealed.
The best thing to keep mice away is to show them that their most hated predator has claimed the garden for themselves. Just make sure you don’t have catnip planted in the garden, as it can cause a whole new array of problems.
This should be an addition to your preventative measures. There are certain plants that keep mice and other rodents away. You can plant mint, pennyroyal, garlic, lavender, wormwood and onion between your flower plants, veggies and fruit shrubs.
Place plastic mesh tubes around tender seedlings to prevent mice and rats from eating them.
Mice and other rodents are a problem for every home and garden owner. If you spot one, you can be certain there are going to be a lot more, since they breed at a very fast rate. And even if they are mostly seen in the garden, you can be sure your house will be their target as well, especially if winter is coming.
That’s why it’s always advisable to ask for advice and help by professional domestic mouse control every time you notice the signs of an infestation.
Do you have any personal experience, dealing with rodents in your garden? Please, share what worked in your case in the comments below.
Image source: shutterstock / Timchenko Natalia