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Rodents Eating My Orchids.

Discussion in 'Issues, Disease and Pests' started by CoolGrower, Aug 11, 2013.

  1. CoolGrower

    CoolGrower New Member

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    Roof rats or tree squirrels are eating the new growth and developing flower buds on my orchids which I grow outdoors on a deck attached to my house. After three years without a problem they discovered my plants a month ago. My exterminator says rats do not eat plants and tells me the squirrels are the cause and to use hot pepper spray or trap them. I have set rat traps out and caught two. Whatever it is is able to remove the bait from the traps without triggering the trap; this happened twice. Any thoughts? Thank you.
  2. KellyW

    KellyW Orchid wonk Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Redding, California, USA
    Rats will damage orchid plants although I don't know if they actually eat them. When my greenhouse was about 2 years old I started noticing some damage to some of the plants and thought I was being clumsy while "playing" with my plants. Then ... I caught some motion out of the corner of my eye and saw a rat. It was building a nest between the polycarbonate and sheet plastic using bits of my plants. I trapped them (2) and plugged all of the holes and haven't had a problem since. They were roof rats.

    Also, I could be wrong but I don't think our west coast tree squirrels are nocturnal. Rats are.
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2013
  3. Marni

    Marni Well-Known Member Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Santa Rosa, CA
    I have seen a rat gnaw off the top of a Laelia dayana pseudobulb. I know of a number of people who have had rat damage on plants where pseudobulbs were eaten. My problem was in a greenhouse and I blocked the places I knew they were coming in. The dug through gravel and gnawed through plugged holes to come in the same way. I learned that rats follow the scent of previous rats and will try to get in the same way and are very determined. I sprayed the perimeter of the greenhouse (and especially heavily on the areas of entrance) with white vinegar and they stopped coming in. Since you are outside, it may be more of a problem, but if you were free of them for 3 years you might be able to get rid of scent trails where they are accessing your porch. If you are not opposed to putting out bait, there are good, water-proof blue blocks that have a hole through them so you can tie them in place. Put the bait away from the porch and especially where there are places that they might be nesting. They hug the wall when moving around, so next to a fence or wall is another good place to bait (or trap).

    I'm sure others may have some other ideas.