Part II: Protecting Your Harvest from Vertebrate Pests - Non-toxic Management, UNL CropWatch, 2012
June 14, 2012
Figure 2. Deter rodents by removing weeds
This is the second article in a three-part series. Also see:
Part II: Exclusion: A Non-toxic Way to Reduce Rodent Damage to Stored Grain
If rodents cannot access a structure, they cannot cause any damage. Though exclusion has the highest initial cost in terms of time and materials, those costs will seem inexpensive given the benefits that accrue year after year.
Seal Cracks and Crevices
Carefully inspect structures for cracks and crevices a quarter-inch in size or larger. Use sealants to secure gaps up to a ½ inch in diameter. For larger openings, such as gaps around pipes, use copper Stuf-fit or Xcluder™ mesh to fill the gap and follow up with a sealant appropriate for the surface.
Screen Passive Air Vents
Using ¼-inch hardware cloth is ideal, but galvanized ½-inch mesh also is effective. Be sure, however, that screens will not restrict airflow excessively.
Establish a Weed-free Zone
Pour ½-inch crushed gravel to a depth of 3 inches to create a 12- to 24-inch apron around the structure. The crushed gravel removes ground cover needed by rodents to hide from predators and hinders their burrowing.
Trim Tree Branches and Bushes
Sometimes rodents use trees, bushes, and other tall plants to gain access to structures. Ideally, tree branches should not be within 6 feet of the structure and shrubs should grow no higher than 4 feet of the roof’s edge.
For long-term rodent management, exclusion is the gold standard. Even if you are unable to implement all the strategies, we strongly suggest following as many as you can afford. Don’t forget that what you can’t do this year can be done in the next.
Extension Wildlife Damage Coordinator
Extension Vertebrate Pest Specialist