There's a rat in my greenhouse.....

... what am I going to do? is a song I am currently singing.  Of course the original song is 'There's a rat in mi kitchen' by UB40 (1986) but at this moment it is the one in the greenhouse I am singing/thinking about.

I think it is a rat anyway, it could be a squirrel.  What is definite is that there is something getting into the greenhouse and digging in the plant pots, killing whatever was growing in them.   It is not cats, there are definitely no access points they could get in through and it is too diggy for cats.  Plus I found some poo.  I did google what rat poo and squirrel poo looks like and came to no real conclusion.  They are not that alike and yet not that dissimilar.  If rats tend to hang around together making lots of poo then it is more likely a squirrel, I have found only one poo to date which feels more of a squirrel habit not that I would actually know, I am not a rat or squirrel expert and definitely not a rat or squirrel poo expert.  I definitely have a lot of squirrels in and around the garden and the odd dead rat has been found in the garden too.  

I have recently cleared away the brambles from around the greenhouse, which is an annual task I usually undertake around this time of year.  It lets in light and gives me the opportunity to check that all is ok all round the greenhouse externally.  A couple of the louvre glass panes in the lower vents had slipped a little.  These were fixed back in place and where they were not co-operating I used some boarding to put over the vents to prevent access.

I did spend a bit of time wondering what else could I do.  I did not explore the poison route as it is just not something I want to consider.  I do have the cats to think about and I am just not a fan of poisoning things.  If there were in my house I would just get professional help, but this is not the situation.  I did look at traps but again the wimpy side of me does not want to kill them.  I don't want to use humane traps either, what on earth am I meant to do with a live rat in a trap!

I then did some hunting for some less deadly forms of deterrent.  I have in the past used sonic devices in the greenhouse and they have worked (I think) fairly well.  Whilst having a hunt I found this mouse and rat repellent.  It has a bit of a pepperminty smell, not unpleasant to me but apparently rats are not keen on it.  This explains why their teeth are so dirty, if they liked mint they would use toothpaste more.  I promptly bought the repellent and have been spraying the greenhouse around the pots every couple of days or so, so that the effect does not wear off.

Now you want me to tell you it is working and the honest answer is so far so good but I cannot say I am not still worried.  Seed sowing time is always an issue for me with mice in the greenhouse so I think this year I might have to start off even more in the house just in case.

A ray of hope is though that the seed tray where I had sowed Persicaria orientalis seeds was dug up and scattered around by the beastie.  I scooped up the compost and put it back in the seed tray not expecting much to happen......
et viola!  some of the seeds have clearly survived and are germinating.  Yes yes I know the compost is green and not looking great, don't focus on that, look at the lovely seedlings.  Maybe the beastie has moved on as it cannot stand any more of the minty-perfume in the greenhouse.  I hope so....

Time will tell......Take care and be kind.

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  1. Oh dear, I hope your technique will work. I totally using humane methods to deter them. Good luck!


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