Rats and mice are rodents that scavenge for their food. Marijuana plants are an example of such rodent food.
As with many scavengers, they aren’t particularly picky when it comes to eating. They generally prefer human trash, but as soon as they run out of this first option they are known for gobbling up plant material.
Rats and mice both have long whiskers that are similar to a cat’s whiskers. They function as both a measuring stick as well as a feeler. Like cats, their whiskers are there to determine whether the space is wide enough to fit the animal’s entire body. This allows rats and mice alike to confidently squeeze through tiny holes and reach your basement or attic in search of some delicious treats.
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Signs of rats and mice
Rats and mice live in secret hidy holes that are usually dark and damp. They prefer to scavenge in secret. If you stumble upon a rat or mouse you are probably shocked – it almost never happens, since they are so good at sneaking around.
It does sometimes happen , however, since rats require an entire third of their weight in food every day. Luckily for you, rats generally weigh less than one pound, and mice weigh in far below that.
Like all rodents, mice and rats have front teeth that continuously grow throughout their lives. These teeth have the perfect design for biting, chewing, and gnawing. These critters have no choice but to chew on things constantly to wear down their teeth, sort of like we use nail files to maintain and control our fingernail growth. Rats and mice would have a lot of gum pain and difficulty walking if they allowed their teeth to continue growing.
It is theorized that this is one of the main reasons they seem to like to chew on marijuana plant stalks so much. The woody stalk is another tool they can use for shaving down their rapidly growing teeth.
Rats reproduce at uncanny rates. They’re just as bad as rabbits in this respect. They won’t get out of hand just as long as you keep their environment the opposite of rat-friendly. That is, keeping the local cat population high enough to deal with these pests is generally a good idea.
This could be the neighborhood cat population as well as the population around your farm – whichever one is more fitting to your specific situation.
You might notice signs of gnawing or chewing on the stalks of your marijuana plants. You also might discover concentrations of rat stool or damage to your plants’ buds. You might even stumble upon the rats’ or mice’s nests, burrows, or colonies. If you have an eye for detail, you might be able to discover where rats have been scuttling across the ground. They generally form “runways,” which are little rat-sized trails between the food source and their shelter.
Every grower will encounter pests or bugs while growing marijuana. Learn how to identify and control these before they ruin your precious crop.
How to get rid of rats and mice
While rats and mice can be rather annoying, they generally won’t threaten the livelihood of your crop. This is simply because they prefer lots of other foods over fresh greens. Additionally, many outdoor marijuana growers know there are carnivorous birds in the local region where they are growing, meaning hawks, owls, and eagles probably already do a good job of keeping the rat population in check.
As already described, you can be sure there will not be a rat or mouse problem near your grow site as long as you make sure there is not a nice environment for them to live or scavenge in. One way of doing this (besides population the area with outside cats) is to make sure you contain your compost in a box or bucket with a tight lid. This has the added benefit of assisting your compost in its heating up process when it begins to sterilize.
If you are growing near your house, make sure to keep your kitchen scraps (the ones that don’t belong in your compost bin) sealed up in a plastic bag. You should throw it away in a garbage receptacle that has a lid that fits on snugly.
If you have any pets, make sure that you clean out their food bowls thoroughly and frequently. This will not only help avoid a rat or mouse infestation, but also ants, squirrels, and raccoons.
If you’re going to store something in the attic, make sure they are put in containers that are completely air-tight. This applies even to things aren’t sources of food for rats and mice. Both types of rodents will gladly steal your paper and fabric to improve the coziness of their nests.
You should also make sure that your entire landscape doesn’t have any delicious snacks left out. For a rat or mouse, delicious snacks can include fallen fruit, grain bags, animal food, fallen tree debris, dog or cat feces, or even horse feces. That’s right, rats even love to eat your pet’s poop. If you have it, you can add horse manure to your compost pile. It will help with the heating process that leads to breakdown and sterilization.
Keep the overgrowth trimmed around your house. Your house should be a minimum of 18 inches away from every plant. You should also trim vines that are winding their way around trees. This will help the tree and protect you from rats.
Keep your house free of any points of entry for rodents. Make sure your house’s foundations, windows, and doors are all perfectly sealed. If they aren’t, it’s basically like sending rats and mice a formal invitation into your home.
Another way of inviting mice and rats near your home is having a bird feeder that is low to the ground. Make sure any bird feeder you have is high enough that these rodents can’t reach them. You could even buy a bird feeder that actually collapses when too much weight is put on it. This will keep away squirrels as well, but will allow birds to use it just fine.
List of marijuana plant symptoms
- Bite marks
- Chewed stalks
- Chewed buds
- Concentrated mouse droppings
- Rat habitats or mouse habitats
Rat poisons shouldn’t be necessary. In fact, you should avoid using them at all costs. They will cause long-term harm to the environment, and can lead to some major unpleasantness for you. If the rat eats the poison and retreats back to your home, and then dies there, you will have some pungent dead meat odors plaguing your home. You won’t be pleased with yourself if you decide to use rat poison.
Remember that plants with strong genetics have less change of getting sick and are less vulnerable for pests and diseases. So make sure you buy cannabis seeds from a trusted seed bank.
FAQs About Rats and Mice on Cannabis Plants
Bite marks, chewed stalks, droppings and rat habitats are some of the most common signs of rats and mice on your marijuana plants.
You can keep rats and mice in check by always keeping compost and kitchen scraps tightly sealed, avoiding plant overgrowth, and keeping your house free of any points of entry for rodents.
Do you have other tips for preventing rats and mice on your weed plants? Please leave your comments below.
The founder of I Love Growing Marijuana, Robert Bergman, is a marijuana growing expert that enjoys sharing his knowledge with the world. He combines years of experience, ranging from small-scale grows to massive operations, with a passion for growing. His articles include tutorials on growing... [read more]