Disappearing seedlings. Culprit dead. Mystery solved!

Madison, IL(Zone 6b)

I still can't believe that weeks of nurturing my pepper and tomato seedlings was in vain. With 2 house cats, I lastly expected that my seedlings would disappear overnight due to a mouse with a voracious appetite for pepper and tomato seedlings. I'm especially surprised that the mouse left no evidence behind. However, my suspicions were validated when I placed an electronic mousetrap next to the seedling tray before bedtime. The next morning only 2 plants remained out of the last 6 standing & the culprit was dead in the trap. Since the plants were on a book shelf so high that I have to stand on a chair to water them & right next to my bed, I can't believe that pesky was able to sneak past me & the cats. I now realize that last year's disappearing seedlings that I had growing in the basement, and the year before on a window sill were not destroyed by my grand-daughter or the cats as assumed. Mystery solved. Apology to my grand-daughter & the cats who have finally been vindicated.

(Judith) Denver, CO(Zone 5b)

I have a similar problem, but it sounds like your mouse was inside, yes? My problem is outside on a 6th floor balcony. Something -- sounds like your mouse -- has been chewing my seedings to bits. Also a clematis shoot from my carefully nursed vine, and a newly emerging hosta. These are container plants. Makes no sense, but I'm guessing it could be a mouse. What do you think?

Madison, IL(Zone 6b)

Well, I had to buy tomato plants and a few days after I set them out -- guess what?? Yep, chewed up. Now I'm thinking that it could be birds or the mice have moved outside??? With all the other plants in my garden, I don't get why only the tomato seedlings. Perhaps, your pests could be birds. Around this time of year, birds are collecting nesting materials. Gives me the creeps to think that rodents made it to your 6th floor balcony, but it's possible. I hope that you catch the culprit(s).

(Judith) Denver, CO(Zone 5b)

I think I'll put a regular mousetrap near the plants they seem to like. If anything it might scare them off. They're not doing it when I'm around, so I'm guessing it's when I'm asleep. Grrr...

Madison, IL(Zone 6b)

I understand with container plants the mice will actually burrow into the pot's soil and nest there. A greenhouse owner was having this problem. When she was tending a plant, mice came running out of the soil and up her arm. Just a warning!

(Judith) Denver, CO(Zone 5b)

Mousetraps coming right up! If I load 'em with cheese, maybe I'll get some. I have a mesh suet cake holder over my clematis shoot, so if it gets eaten in spite of that I'll know it's rodents for sure.

Southern Dutchess Co, NY(Zone 5b)

Peanut butter might make better bait. That's what we use in the traps. Don't think it matters what type.

Janice~ Gulf Coast, MS(Zone 9a)

electronic mousetrap? WOW oh wow that is news/new to me... lol.. I love the idea.. I know a little ole lady who could use one of those.. She has problems setting the regular traps. Gonna, let her know about these.. :-)

Madison, IL(Zone 6b)

I also baited my trap with peanut butter.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

We had the same problem, years ago, with mice that wintered over in part of the crawl space and they feasted on the new plants my DH grows annually, under lights, in the basement. A few traps solved the problem. It's a heartbreaker. I'd also use Repels All (wear gloves or just shake it out of the container) for potted plants.

Madison, IL(Zone 6b)

I've figured it out! This year I'm growing my seedlings in gerbil cages. My oldest daughter has some stored in the basement and garage. I'm going to put them to good use. I figure that I can suspend a fluorescent light from the ceiling of the cage and put the seedlings in the bottom. If the mice can't get out, they shouldn't be able to get in! I'll update this post next Spring with the results just in case anyone is curious.

Southern Dutchess Co, NY(Zone 5b)

Great idea! A wonderful way to reuse what you already have. My next suggestion would be the deer netting I have placed around many things outdoors to keep those pests from decimating the plants there.

Madison, IL(Zone 6b)

My seedlings are currently growing in gerbil cages. This seems to be working out very well. I'll post photos soon. Just haven't had the time.

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