Ornamental nurseries reminded to check for rodent damage in poly houses
Increased snowfall and very cold temperatures may push rodents looking for a meal into poly houses.
Michigan State University Extension recommends nursery growers who put plants to bed for the winter in poly houses check for rodent activity at this time, specifically meadow voles, pine voles and even field mice. The increased snow cover many areas received combined with the bitterly cold temperatures may have slowed down rodent activity, but they are still searching for food sources to sustain themselves. Poly houses contain hundreds of potted plants in a nice, tightly packed environment for rodents to hide and feel a bit warmer, and have ample amounts of food sources in bark, twigs and leaf debris to hunker down with.
Most growers baited with a rodenticide earlier this past fall as they closed up for the winter. It is wise to check houses now to see if activity has spiked with rodent feeding. Look for plant damage and reapply baits if needed. Some common products used in the industry include Ramik, Prozap and ZP Rodent AG. Some of these products require a Restricted Use Pesticide license to be able to purchase them. Check with your pesticide dealer to determine the products status to the buyer.
When using any rodenticide, please refer to label and follow baiting instructions carefully. Be sure to use a proper dispenser for the baits so that any non- target wildlife, neighborhood pets or small children do not contact the poisons. “Bait Stations for Controlling Rats and Mice” from the University of Nebraska Extension Service is a good publication on bait stations.
For further assistance, contact your local MSU Extension nursery crops educator.
The use of brand names and any mention or listing of commercial products or services in this publication does not imply endorsement by Michigan State University Extension nor discrimination against similar products or services not mentioned.
Photo credit: Jason Ahrns, Flickr.com