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Old 22.03.2009, 00:35
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Mice in Garden: Pet-Safe Pest Control?

The snow is finally starting to melt, today I saw the garden for the first time since October... and Mice (or voles, or some such creatures) have destroyed nearly everything - the lawn is a maze of craters, most of my plants have been chewed off at the roots.

This means war. But the question is, what weapon?

I cannot use any kind of poison because of the dogs. Not to mention a chunk of the garden lies in a green zone.

Nor can I use traps, also because of the dogs. (The joys of dolichocephalic dogs - those long noses can get into anything.)

I tried one of those ultra-sonic underground beeping thingies a few years ago, but the neighbors complained about the noise.

So fellow gardeners - any (pet-safe) ideas as to how to encourage the pesky critters to pack up and leave?

All advise gratefully received.
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Old 22.03.2009, 00:59
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Re: Mice in Garden: Pet-Safe Pest Control?

I read in the "Know It All Passport", a great book in English about living in the Geneva-Vaud-Neighboring France area, that to kill the prolific moles and voles, you drop unwrapped pieces of Trident gum down the holes twice a day. Apparently the little critters get indigestion and die.

I do not have the book right here handy so I cannot look it up to tell you which flavor of gum it specified, nor can I personally testify whether or not it actually works. A nifty little tip, nonetheless.

If it works, let us know!
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Old 22.03.2009, 06:57
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Re: Mice in Garden: Pet-Safe Pest Control?

As far as I am aware, the rat / mice poison which I buy at the local Apotheke or Landi is not actually poison. Apparently it works because rodents cannot "burp" or vomit and this stuff really swells their stomachs so that they get stuck in their holes and starve to death. So I was told.

I remember on the packet that it said safe for dogs and cats.

In my situation, it seems to work OK ish, for a few months I do not see any rats, but then either a survivor or a couple from a nearby colony take over the rats maze. This year I am going to dig up the area, concrete it and make a stone garden. Could be interesting to see what I find underground - 5 years I have been putting this stuff down.

Would also be interested in any better solutions for rodent control.
I have heard that peppermint oil is a great deterrent.

Last edited by jbrady; 22.03.2009 at 08:58.
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Old 23.03.2009, 09:03
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Re: Mice in Garden: Pet-Safe Pest Control?

Let's see, I've counted over a hundred mouse-holes in the front garden alone... times two pieces of Trident per day... let's assume 7 days... that's a whole lot of gum!

Can't hurt to try - I'll report back with my results. Thanks for the tip!

(And where does one find the 'Know It All Passport'? I love that kind of thing.)

I'll have a nosy around the Landi as well - thanks for jogging my memory, Jbrady - I love the Landi. Not only do they have lots of stuff that no one else carries, there is also a nice older gentleman on hand, always happy to dispense farming folk wisdom to city slickers like me.

I'm having quite a tussle with my conscience, though.

As a died-in-the-wool animal lover, I really don't want to kill the critters (or at least, I don't want to acknowledge my complicity in their demise) - I just want them to go away.

Where's a Pied Piper when you need one?
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Old 23.03.2009, 09:10
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Re: Mice in Garden: Pet-Safe Pest Control?

I feel your conflict of emotions, Meloncollie. Is there some form of 'birth control for mice' pellets you can strew in your garden? (Heard of such a thing for cockroaches.)
Is there a transportation tube from your garden to Ms Sutter's house (her rats might enjoy the company)?

P.S.
"I tried one of those ultra-sonic underground beeping thingies a few years ago, but the neighbors complained about the noise."
Are your neighbours mice or men?

Last edited by argus; 23.03.2009 at 09:14. Reason: :)
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Old 23.03.2009, 15:56
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Re: Mice in Garden: Pet-Safe Pest Control?

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Are your neighbours mice or men?
Apparently the inventors of those ultra-sonic, inaudible-to-humans beeping things didn't reckon with the delicacy of Swiss ears. But as they say, the best-laid schemes o' mice an men gang aft agley.

On a more serious note, the nice man at the Landi sold me something called Snoek Mäuse Weg, non-poisonous and environmentally friendly lumps of something very stinky and garlic-ish. The idea is that mice find the odor unbearable, and will then take off in search of pastures new.

Ingredients: Poröse Lavakörnchen, getränkt mit rein pflanzlichen ätherischen Ölen und Harzen.

We'll see if this actually works. The nice man also had several 'safe for house pets'* options that kill the mice - but I'd rather not go there if I don't have to.


*Note for pet owners. According to my vet, the 'pet safe' label doesn't necessarily mean that the product is completely non-toxic, it could also mean that pets (or hedgehogs, etc.) will avoid it due to smell, taste, etc. So I mail him the ingredients of any chemicals I'm considering putting down in the garden, and he checks with the toxocologist.

(And yes, I am completely OTT when it comes to the mutts - but then, they graze more than most cows.)
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Old 23.03.2009, 16:11
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Re: Mice in Garden: Pet-Safe Pest Control?

I got the "Know It All Passport" in the English Bookshop on the 4th floor (top floor, might also be know as the 3rd floor in eurospeak?) of the Globus in downtown Lausanne. Their website is www.booksbooksbooks.ch.
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Old 23.03.2009, 17:56
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Re: Mice in Garden: Pet-Safe Pest Control?

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Apparently the inventors of those ultra-sonic, inaudible-to-humans beeping things didn't reckon with the delicacy of Swiss ears. But as they say, the best-laid schemes o' mice an men gang aft agley.

On a more serious note, the nice man at the Landi sold me something called Snoek Mäuse Weg, non-poisonous and environmentally friendly lumps of something very stinky and garlic-ish. The idea is that mice find the odor unbearable, and will then take off in search of pastures new.

Ingredients: Poröse Lavakörnchen, getränkt mit rein pflanzlichen ätherischen Ölen und Harzen.

We'll see if this actually works. The nice man also had several 'safe for house pets'* options that kill the mice - but I'd rather not go there if I don't have to.


*Note for pet owners. According to my vet, the 'pet safe' label doesn't necessarily mean that the product is completely non-toxic, it could also mean that pets (or hedgehogs, etc.) will avoid it due to smell, taste, etc. So I mail him the ingredients of any chemicals I'm considering putting down in the garden, and he checks with the toxocologist.

(And yes, I am completely OTT when it comes to the mutts - but then, they graze more than most cows.)

Now we know the answer to the riddle "how quiet do the Swiss want the neighbourhood to be?"

Why do I keep reading 'nice man' as 'mice man'?
And that he himself will taste the stuff you mail him? (Remember Christopher Walken in 'Mousehunt' (1997) as Caeser the exterminator who tasted mouse droppings?)

Mmm, I wonder if the Goaway Mouse snack smells like Baerlauch.

The dog who stays with us has eaten anything from cigarette butts, candy wrappers to all manner of firewood, twigs and sticks. "Fetch, not eat!" So I perfectly understand your concern.
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Old 23.03.2009, 18:00
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Re: Mice in Garden: Pet-Safe Pest Control?

Meloncollie, could it be something other than voles or mice? Of course they can make holes gardens but I thought the usually went for bulbs rather than roots. Could it be an infestation of crane fly larvae (ie leatherjackets)? They eat grass roots and plant roots and make holes when they emerge at night which birds can make bigger when they search for the. Just a thought given you have so many holes. I once had this problem in my garden in Ireland and had to treat the lawn with some mixture applied with a watering can.
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Old 24.03.2009, 17:04
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Re: Mice in Garden: Pet-Safe Pest Control?

Interesting thought, Nev...

I googled leather jacket infestation - from some of the destruction pictures, it could be a possibility. When I walk across the lawn, it starts to sink in 5-10 cm in places, which is why I thought about critters tunneling underneath. Did you find anything like that when you had the problem?

And, if it is leatherjackets, did you use nematodes? (At least that's a true 'pet safe' solution. )

I went out this morning to see if I could find any grubs or larvae... but we have ca 10 cm of new snow!

I may ask the gentleman from the garden center to stop by for a look - he could probably diagnose the problem.

Thanks for the tip!
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Old 24.03.2009, 18:27
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Re: Mice in Garden: Pet-Safe Pest Control?

No, my lawn didn't sink but I had yellow patches. In the end I used a pesticide because I only noticed the problem in Spring and the garden centre told me that nematodes need to be applied before the Winter. But as you suggest, I would check with your garden centre.
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Old 24.03.2009, 18:50
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Re: Mice in Garden: Pet-Safe Pest Control?

Meloncollie,

if it turns out not to be six legged creatures (I suspect mice with this having been such a hard winter), I can only suggest getting yourself a cat!!!!

What you or your canine buddies might think of that,I can only guess, but still, maybe worth a thought.

Ros
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Old 24.03.2009, 20:02
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Re: Mice in Garden: Pet-Safe Pest Control?

I suspect that may be the root of our problem, Ros.

One of my dogs is not cat friendly. And I mean seriously, unrepentantly Not. Cat. Friendly.

The dozen or so moggies who patrol the neighborhood have learned to steer clear of our garden; I suspect that the mice in the surrounding fields have now cottoned on to the fact that our garden has become a feline-free zone, and taken up asylum here.

Bit of a Teufelskreis.
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Old 24.03.2009, 20:35
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Re: Mice in Garden: Pet-Safe Pest Control?

A cat's a great idea! Just don't get a snake, they don't work.
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Old 24.03.2009, 23:02
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Re: Mice in Garden: Pet-Safe Pest Control?

Sorry if it was mentioned above, but I am going to bed soon and didn't want to read through all the replies.

I used to have a problem wth mice eating my tulip bulbs. What I did was start planting cloves of garlic all around my planted bulbs.

Make it as stinky as possible - i.e. cut the cloves of garlic open! If you start off with a large clove of garlic, you can cut it into 3 chunks which, when strategically placed, was enough to save one tulip bulb. You must also deal with the stalks of the garlic shooting up in your garden, but they are not so ugly, so I never minded.

After cutting and planting all that garlic, you will have stinky, garlic fingers, but you can get the smell off of your fingers with lemon juice.

I don't think this method harms anyone in any way.

After tulip season finished, and the lawn mower had been passed over the remains of the tulip bed, there was a strong garlic aroma throughout the garden.
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Old 19.10.2009, 20:09
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Re: Mice in Garden: Pet-Safe Pest Control?

I'm reviving this thread, as I've noticed a distinct increase in burrowing activity in as the cold weather sets in - and I may have found something new to try in the eternal battle between man and mouse...

Fritillaria imperialis.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fritillaria_imperialis

The gentleman at our local garden center recommended planting Fritillaria bulbs in mice-prone areas, especially among my other bulbs, as the scent apparently repels burrowing critters.

(The bulbs are described as having a foxy odor - more like ripe skunk, I'd say. )

Hopefully planted downwind, away from the house, and covered in 8 inches of soil the smell won't be noticeable (to human noses ).

I don't know if Fritillaria bulbs are entirely safe for dogs, so I'm only trying them in the front garden, which is off-limits to the mutts.

Anyway, have any of you tried Fritillaria bulbs for pest control, and does it work? Or am I off on (yet another) fool's errand?
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Old 19.11.2012, 17:32
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Re: Mice in Garden: Pet-Safe Pest Control?

If your feeling a little vindictive... you should try using these traps: http://www.domyownpestcontrol.com/mi...ap-p-1303.html
They look gnarly and they work just as well as the traditional snap trap. To bait you could use anything ranging from professional rodent bait to peanut butter.
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Old 03.08.2015, 11:26
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Re: Mice in Garden: Pet-Safe Pest Control?

Bringing this back up, as I fear the mother of all battles looms on the horizon...

In the past few months I suddenly have holes popping up in the top slope of my garden - as in many dozens. No above ground craters visible as in my opening post, only the holes. So perhaps a different critter has taken up residence. The holes are between 5 and 10+ centimeters in diameter, deep. I'm guessing there is a network of burrows throughout the entire slope.

I found a dead hairless pink critter that seemed to be too large for an newborn mouse or vole, but legs much longer than a mole. Not sure what is living and breeding in that hill.

I stop up the holes with steel wool, gravel, and then dirt - but a new one, or ten, soon appears.

I need to do something, quick, as the holes are large enough to pose a danger to the dogs should a leg fall into the hole during their loony-toons chase play. I am having nightmares of broken legs.

Any ideas?

(As per the rest of the thread: Poisons are not an option because of the dogs.)

Many thanks.

ETA:

During last week's winds one of the mature lilac trees toppled over - we saw that the roots had been chewed off. I suspect the same critters. What kind of a critter chews thick tree roots, in preference to all the tender plant roots surrounding them?
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Old 03.08.2015, 12:11
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Re: Mice in Garden: Pet-Safe Pest Control?

Have you looked up this dear little fellow who doesn't even hibernate but chews up the root of your trees all the year round?
https://www.landwirtschaftskammer.de...uehlmaeuse.htm

I love being a little ray of sunsine.
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Old 03.08.2015, 12:18
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Re: Mice in Garden: Pet-Safe Pest Control?

Our lawn has holes which have appeared over the past few weeks too. We got some fumigation bombs from Landi. It's going to need a few more treatments as a couple of the holes have opened up again. You can set them off, they burn for a few minutes + you can keep your pooches out of the way during that time. Then you fill in the hole & hope the creatures have gone.

(Note to put them burning side down into the hole, not sticking up like a firework . You can put a bucket over the top to stop the smoke going out into the air around).
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