As a cannabis grower, you face various challenges from pests and diseases during the growth cycle, such as aphids, spider mites, and fungus gnats. While you may take precautions to prevent these threats, it’s also important to be mindful of the potential danger posed by rodents, such as rats and mice.
These creatures can cause significant harm to your grow room or garden by feasting on seedling leaves and gnawing through stems. To ensure that these pests do not ruin your hard work, it’s essential to learn effective ways to keep them away from your cannabis plants.
Mice are small rodents found in many parts of the world. Though they often look similar to their cousin the rat, mice are much smaller in size and weight, averaging around 30g. They have long tails and slender bodies that can fit into tiny spaces. Mice make their nests in burrows, using matted-down fur for insulation purposes to protect against cold or excessive heat.
Though much smaller than rats, mice are far more prolific breeders. Females give birth to up to 16 pups at one time and can produce 8 litters a year in one year’s span. Just like rats, mice will feed on anything from fresh seedling leaves to cannabis stems; they generally won’t refuse sustenance when it is available.
Though their presence is often perceived as damaging because of how quickly they reproduce and their adaptability, mice fill an important role as prey on larger animals such as owls and hawks.
Rats have long been vilified as disease-ridden infestations, but their reputation isn’t entirely deserved. While it’s true that rats can carry diseases, much of the stigma attached to them arose due to human activities and overcrowded living conditions. In a natural state, rats play an important role in the environment, helping to keep prey populations regulated and contributing to healthy soil and grassland habitats.
That being said, they become less endearing when they start feasting on your crops. Just like any other opportunistic feeders, rats will quickly tuck into root vegetables, squashes, and cannabis plants if they find them available in your garden.
Thus, many farmers are left with a serious pest problem on their hands when rats come around – especially in more rural areas where rat populations are larger than in city centers. To avoid this scenario, it’s important that farmers enforce rodent control measures such as traps and poisons to keep rat populations at bay.
Risks of Mice and Rats to Weed Plants
Mice and rats can cause great damage to both newly seeded and fully grown weed plants. Cannabis seedlings are particularly vulnerable to rodent activity as they stand no chance of survival in the face of a rat or mouse infestation. For larger, more established marijuana plants, gnawing at the stem base can inhibit water and nutrient transport which significantly weakens them and leaves them susceptible to strong gusts.
Aside from the actual damage inflicted upon the plant, there are several telltale signs that can alert you to the presence of rodents in your garden.
Droppings, burrows, and scrapes on stalks are all indicative of an animal presence alongside cannibalized carcasses where other unfortunate creatures have already succumbed to their fate. More evidence includes upturned soil due to digging for roots and seeds, as well as friendly visits from cats attracted by their potential prey nearby.
If you suspect rats or mice are present in your garden it’s best to act quickly with exclusion measures such as traps or poisons before even more harm is done.
How to Deal With Mice and Rats Damaging Cannabis Plants
If you have observed any of the aforementioned symptoms, it means that the opportunity to prevent an infestation has been missed. It is crucial to act promptly to minimize further damage caused by these pesky rodents. The following tips can help you effectively address your rodent issue:
Unleash Your Feline
The furry little furballs which provide so much happiness and joy are none other than cats. Who doesn’t love playing with a mischievous kitty or two? Unfortunately, this praise isn’t always mutual, as cats use their extraordinary senses and reflexes to stalk, run, and pounce on unwitting victims like mice and rats.
We’ve all seen the damage these rodents can cause, whether it be to fine furniture or newly finished walls. Thankfully, cats have evolved to become formidable adversaries against such pesky intruders.
Whether it’s chasing them out of the kitchen, intercepting them when they are darting around the house, or simply keeping an eye on any suspicious activities, cats prove time and again that they are truly dependable guardians of home and heart.
However, if you don’t mind having your place looking a bit disheveled every once in a while, then, by all means, unleash your feline friend on your mouse infestation! But remember: it’s best to reserve this strategy for outside perils instead of inside your own home!
Humane traps provide a non-lethal approach to rodent control. Rather than causing death, they lure the pests into a contained area and lock them inside. This is preferred by animal rights activists and homeowners who don’t want to kill the animals, but still want to get rid of them.
However, humane trapping isn’t without its drawbacks. Ultimately, you are left with a live rat or mouse that needs to be moved far away from your home in order to prevent it from coming back later looking for sources of food. It’s not an ideal solution if you don’t have space or are uncomfortable with the idea of dealing with rodents up close.
Rodent traps are one of the oldest and most reliable methods of quickly dealing with infestations in your home or commercial building. While chemical solutions to vermin were once commonplace, they often fell short while leaving unappealing odors and creating potential health hazards throughout the confines of your dwelling.
This is why mouse traps were created, which offer an effective yet humane method of catching and removing pests without releasing harmful toxins into your environment.
There are a variety of deadly traps on the market today that allow you to quickly solve any rodent problem. Spring-action metal bars provide an ideal solution when conditions aren’t ideal for electronic solutions and don’t place much strain on the wallet.
Electronic solutions, however, are more efficient as they continually attract rodents immediately after installation but require more preparatory work to ensure a better catch rate. Nevertheless, these deadly traps put an end to pest problems in no time and can provide peace of mind to pesky visitors.
The found use of rodenticides, the chemical compounds set out to deal with rats and mice, is a rather drastic measure when dealing with unwanted pests. The majority of products usually contain one or a few of four active ingredients: bromethalin, cholecalciferol, zinc phosphide, and strychnine.
These compounds effectively eliminate infestations by causing internal bleeding in the rodents actively consuming them. However, the rather brutal effect may take up to ten days before the rat or mouse actually dies from the poison’s effects.
It must be considered that with any use of rat poison, there is always a risk factor for pets, children, and adults alike as they can also accidentally consume it if not handled carefully. It is also pertinent to remember to properly store away such concoctions in order to prevent accidental poisoning as best as possible.
How to Prevent Rats and Mice From Damaging Cannabis Plants
Prevention is always better than a cure, and this holds true when it comes to rodent infestations. By implementing the strategies listed below, you can prevent these pests from taking over your grow room or garden, saving you from the stress and guilt of having to eliminate them.
Composting is an excellent way of disposing of garden and kitchen waste and transforming it into nutrient-rich material for enriching your soil. However, as helpful as compost is for our gardens, it can also become a haven for rodents like rats and mice if not managed properly.
Rats and mice are drawn to compost piles because they contain food sources such as grains, bread, meat, fish, eggs, and dairy. Therefore, to prevent them from infesting the compost pile in your garden it’s important to limit what you put into it.
By restricting the materials used in your compost bin to mostly vegetable scraps and other organic garden wastes you can go a long way in avoiding any potential rodent problems. Adding too much high-protein organic material will attract these pests so be sure to avoid adding any food items that may draw them in. Regularly turning the pile also helps aerate the compost while deterring rodents at the same time.
Remove Bird Feeders
Relaxing to the gentle chirping of birds fluttering in and out of your garden can be an incredibly peaceful experience. Hanging a bird feeder up in your garden seems like a great idea at first, bringing a wide variety of vibrant colored birds to take prey on the pests that roam around.
Watching these birds congregate provides quite a meditative experience, and it’s easy to get lost in the beauty and serenity of nature when birdwatching.
However, you can’t expect mice and rats to respectfully pass on the chance of extra calories. Even if there’s enough food for all of them, they have much faster reflexes and stronger teeth which makes them superior in competition among other animals.
To prevent any rodents from harming your individual plants with their sharp claws and teeth, it is best advised to remove any bird feeders from your growing area. Have no fear though since these winged friends will still linger around without anything particularly tempting them their way.
Remove Water Sources
The presence of water sources in a given area can often lead to an infestation of rats and mice. Therefore, it is important to remove these water sources in order to reduce the chances of an infestation. Water sources such as bird baths, empty containers, and other items that can collect rainwater should be avoided or eliminated altogether.
This is especially true for areas where rainfall is common, as it provides a constant source of water for rats and mice that may pass through.
Rats and mice require vast amounts of water in order to survive. Mice can make do with a few milliliters of water while rats may require up to sixty milliliters each day. The less access they have to a reliable source of water such as what would be provided by birdbaths or puddles, the more likely they are to move on without settling down in the area.
Removing potential sources of water, therefore, becomes essential when trying to protect your land from pests such as rodents.
Keep Things Tidy
It is important to ensure your garden remains tidy to prevent rodents such as mice and rats from taking up residence. Accumulated debris creates perfect cover for the creatures, and can lead them directly into your prized marijuana plants.
If you have recently noticed a rodent in the area, it could be due to something as simple as an old plant pot or a pile of bricks left unattended. Taking the time to store away excess items will keep pests at bay and reduce their chances of finding a safe haven near your greenery.
Furthermore, leaving areas cluttered with random objects also encourages birds of prey to come loitering around – they often hunt mice and rats under these circumstances. To that end, you can also claim back some lost space by clearing out everything unnecessary – decks, patios, garden sheds, and greenhouses all benefit from regular tidiness; whether it’s returning tools inside their respective places or organizing any scattered supplies correctly.
Ultimately, keeping things neat helps keep wildlife well away from marijuana plants that may otherwise be vulnerable to their predatory nature.