Rats, mice and Cannabis
Rats and mice are rodent scavengers that are not choosy in their diet. They prefer garbage that humans indiscriminately discard, but if they don’t have an adequate food supply, they have been known to attack plant material. Cannabis fits into the latter resource.
Rats and mice have long whiskers that act much as a cat’s in that they measure the width of their bodies, thus determining the amount of space into which they can squeeze themselves. Their whiskers act as ‘feelers’ and measuring tapes. This is why you will occasionally find an errant rat in your attic or basement. They go wherever they can fit and eat what is available.
They live in dark, damp places that offer hidey holes as they too, are sneaky scavengers. This is why you are surprised when you happen upon a rat; he doesn’t want to be seen and doesn’t have the prowess to openly seek its food. Rats require one third of their body weight daily in order to maintain. It’s a good thing a rat’s average weight is under a pound! A mouse’s is even less.
Rats (and mice) have teeth meant for biting and chewing. Their teeth never stop growing. In order to accommodate the constant growth and avoid gum pain (or walking on their teeth!), they constantly chew. This may be the reason they would attack marijuana plants. The woody stalks help to shave their teeth to an appropriate level for chewing. They are not necessarily interested in the marijuana stalk as food as much as they are in using it as a maintenance tool, much as an emery board or nail file is used to control human fingernail growth.
Rats breed like rabbits, as the saying goes, meaning they don’t run out of reproductive steam. As long as you don’t provide an environment for them, rats and mice should not be a problem. The cat population in the neighborhood or on your farm, whichever applies, will help curb the mouse and rat population.
Rats and mice really aren’t a threat to your cannabis garden. They would much rather eat garbage than fresh greens – much like many humans, huh? If you have flesh eating birds in your area, such as hawks, owls and eagles, you need not worry; Mother Nature will exercise her rights in evolution and take care of the problem for you. Try to avoid rat poisons as they harm the environment over the long term and can result in dead meat odors if the affected rodent retreats to spaces in your home. The immediate result will cause long term damage and regret.
The best way to eliminate a rat problem is to avoid creating an attractive environment for them. Here are some tips:
- Keep all compost contained with a tightly fitting lid. This practice also helps the compost material ‘heat up’, resulting in sterilized compost to be used in the garden.
- Put all kitchen scraps that don’t go to the compost bin in a tightly sealed bag. Discard in a trash container with a tight fitting lid.
- Remove and clean any pet food dishes. Failing to do so, not only attracts rats, but ants, squirrels and raccoons.
- When storing items in the attic, place them in air-tight containers. Fabric and paper are often sought by rats and mice as nesting media. If you don’t build it, they won’t come!
- Keep your landscape clear of fallen fruit, bags of grain and animal food, layers of fallen tree debris, dog and cat and horse feces. Rats are attracted to and eat all of these items when left for the taking – yeah, even animal poop! Add horse manure to your enclosed compost pile to facilitate the ‘heating’ process necessary for break down and sterilization.
- Rats nest in overgrown foliage. Trim all overgrowth at least 18” from you house. Cut back any vines that wrap around trees. Not only will it discourage rodents from nesting, but it will save the tree from competing for nutrients.
- Ensure all foundations, windows and doors are sealed tightly so as to disallow entry (this also saves on your cooling/heating bill). If rats or mice have a point of entry to your home, you’ve invited them onto your property.
- Ensure bird feeders are set high enough that rats and mice can’t get to them. Birds aren’t the only ones who enjoy seed. In fact, when installing a bird feeder, choose one that collapses when too much weight is on the trough. That way, you’ll discourage squirrels and any other critter that can climb the pole, from invading the birds’ feeding spot.
By taking the above precautions, you will avoid the improbable occurrence of rats and mice choosing cannabis as their food of choice. You will also prevent them from invading your home, so no matter whether or not Mary Jane is part of your life, you should heed the advice offered in this section.
If you order marijuana seeds from my webshop and you get problems with pests or diseases, I’m here to help you. There are guides about plant care where all pests/diseases are discussed and you can contact me by mail. Please like or share this article