katyneu
Newly Registered
Posts: 7
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2009 10:01 pm
Location: Denver

there's a mouse in my compost!

Oh no! What do I do??? :shock:

User avatar
Kisal
Mod Emeritus
Posts: 7646
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2008 1:04 am
Location: Oregon

I always had mice nesting in my compost piles. My 5 cats would gather around in a semicircle, whenever I began to turn the compost. They knew what to do! As soon as I turned the first forkful, the mice would come bursting out of the pile, and the chase was on! :lol:

If you lack a good mouser, I recommend that you turn your pile more often. They won't nest there if they are disturbed frequently. Otherwise, it's a toasty warm home, with a readily available food supply. Mousie heaven. :wink:
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

katyneu
Newly Registered
Posts: 7
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2009 10:01 pm
Location: Denver

thanks!

That makes a lot of sense--I haven't been turning it very often at all.

Rambo 09
Cool Member
Posts: 81
Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2009 6:52 pm
Location: Winlock

kisal

do you think it could be a harm though?
xX Garden 09 Xx
16 and feelin good!

cynthia_h
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7500
Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 7:02 pm
Location: El Cerrito, CA

Mice can carry diseases, leaving viruses/microbes in their waste, running through it into areas we'd rather not know about, etc. :x

Yep. Turning that compost (use a compost fork, aka pitchfork or similar) will roust them out of their cozy nests. :twisted:

After having cleaned up my in-laws' garage post-rat-waste-infestation of yuck (now that's an image for you...), I have absolutely no patience with rats/mice/scurrying little rodents, whether in compost piles or anywhere else.

I had to observe hantavirus precautions in Fall 2007 and impress them upon my sister-in-law, who was absolutely convinced that everything in that garage was a treasure, even if it was covered in rat droppings. :shock: I told her that, if she developed a respiratory infection and fever within 72 hours of handling rat-waste items with bare hands or failing to spray a shelf with water (to keep down the dust) before picking something up, I would not call 911 for her.

Can you tell that I was supremely "ticked" :wink: off???

So, yes, mice and rats and all of their little friends may not be ill themselves, but they can certainly bring illnesses to us.

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

GeorgiaGirl
Senior Member
Posts: 228
Joined: Wed Jun 03, 2009 2:08 pm
Location: Metro Atlanta, GA (zone 7)

Eek -- I was already freaked out about roaches possibly finding their way into my compost -- I didn't even think about rodents!!

Does your compost bin have a cover on it? Mine is one of those recycled-plastic bins with a locking cover, and its ventilation holes aren't large enough for a mouse to squeeze through... or do they tunnel underground to get in?? Eek, now I'm going to have mouse-dreams tonight. :shock:

One more question - are rodents attracted to compost bins even if you are careful to bury any kitchen waste into the center of the pile? or do they like ALLLL the rotting stuff?
Julia in Georgia

cynthia_h
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7500
Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 7:02 pm
Location: El Cerrito, CA

I've never found them in my BioStack bin. The original poster said s/he hadn't turned the compost very often, but perhaps it's an open pile?

Cynthia

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25279
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

critters in compost

Cockroaches will find your way into your compost pile. In my pile I never have big numbers of them, but always a few. That's ok. That's where they belong. They are part of the process of breaking things down along with earthworms, pill bugs, other insects, bacteria and fungi. They are never in the finished compost, because there's no more food for them in that, they are only in the unbroken down part.

My compost is in a wire bin (not mesh, wire bars in an open grid). The openings are not big enough for big critters to get in, but little critters can and I know do at times, because I find things disturbed in there. I only turn mine 3 times a year, but I've never seen any sign of anything living in there. I just turned it over, over the weekend, so I'm right now very familiar with all the levels of it and there were no mice or nests or droppings. We do have three feral cats living on the property, which may be part of why; they don't allow any small creatures to stay long.

I'm trying to garden my little piece as a part of nature and in harmony with nature. That means critters are part of it. I went to the trouble of getting myself certified (by the National Wildlife Foundation) as a backyard wildlife habitat. So I'm trying to make a refuge for wildlife, not get rid of it... even though some of the wildlife, like raccoons and groundhogs, does eat my garden.... We all have to work out ways to live together.

User avatar
nes
Green Thumb
Posts: 631
Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 10:20 am
Location: Rural Ottawa, ON

We have a good enough mouser she just monitors the compost pile and catches the shrews sneaking in from the fields to check it out. Between them & the birds coming by to check out my beans the garden is more like kitty paradise!! :D
Vanessa raising organic vegetables, livestock, wildflowers, and family in zone 5A.

a0c8c
Greener Thumb
Posts: 706
Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 3:00 pm
Location: Austin, TX

GeorgiaGirl wrote:Does your compost bin have a cover on it? Mine is one of those recycled-plastic bins with a locking cover, and its ventilation holes aren't large enough for a mouse to squeeze through... or do they tunnel underground to get in?? Eek, now I'm going to have mouse-dreams tonight. :shock:
Rats and mice need a hole the size of a pencil to chew through something, even soft metals.

User avatar
smokensqueal
Green Thumb
Posts: 392
Joined: Thu Jun 26, 2008 1:36 pm
Location: St. Louis, MO Metro area

Depending on where you live and what type of mouse it is, but typically mice aren't an issue. They will tunnel though your compost pile and help aerate it. Most mice don't carry any diseases since they typically only stay in the fields and eat grains. Unlike rats that move from place to place eating almost anything and not as "groomed" as mice. They carry bugs and fleas full of diseases.

Like others have said the more you turn your pile the less they will stick around. And or get a good mouser (dog or cat) and that will keep them under control. Your not really going to prevent them unless you have an enclosed very tightly sealed bin of some sort.

Rats on the other hand will not bother the pile as long as you keep out dairy and meats. That's been my experience.

User avatar
plkelly
Senior Member
Posts: 160
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 1:52 pm
Location: Springfield MO

I'm trying to garden my little piece as a part of nature and in harmony with nature. That means critters are part of it. I went to the trouble of getting myself certified (by the National Wildlife Foundation) as a backyard wildlife habitat. So I'm trying to make a refuge for wildlife, not get rid of it... even though some of the wildlife, like raccoons and groundhogs, does eat my garden.... We all have to work out ways to live together.
Although I haven't gotten certified, I certainly share your philosophy.
Patsy

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.
--Margaret Atwood

cynthia_h
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7500
Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 7:02 pm
Location: El Cerrito, CA

Re: critters in compost

rainbowgardener wrote:
... We all have to work out ways to live together.
And one of the ways I "live together" with--say--spiders is that I have a Rule:

:arrow: Spiders in the garden are great! Spiders in the house are NOT.

I also don't try to kill ants outright when I see them outdoors; I just don't like them making nests in the raised beds. OTOH, when ants invade my house looking for water / dryness / warmth / coolness / food, I have no compunction whatsoever about using Fantastik (the counter cleaner spray) and drowning the whole parade of 'em.

There are lots of birds who alight on my blackberry vines and rose bushes, and at least one neighborhood cat who's fascinated by my (now pitiful, thanks to him...) catnip plant. I *had* planned to give some to my own cats...

Butterflies wander by, and absolutely loads of bees--several kinds--even the occasional dragonfly.

But if raccoons were to invade again, like they did in Berkeley, I'd get rid of them in whatever manner is permitted by law. Possums, too, which I *also* dealt with in Berkeley. Unfortunately, I didn't have dogs in those days...

Nature plans for some animals to be predators and for others to be prey. Prey animals tend to have litters of babies rather than singles or twins. That way, enough individuals survive to reproduce so that the species doesn't fade away. Or, at least, that *used* to be the plan...but I have a Bright Line, and I know where I draw it: somewhat to the right of RBG and far to the left of Monsanto!

Cynthia

User avatar
plkelly
Senior Member
Posts: 160
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 1:52 pm
Location: Springfield MO

Of course you make a good point, Cynthia. We tend to get brown recluse spiders occasionally in the house, and I can't put up with those.

Likewise, I'm sure if the 'possums or racoons, fox or deer tried to move into the house, I'd have to tell them to step back out. But we are just outside the city limits on about an acre, and it has never even crossed my mind to try to get rid of the critters. I really enjoy them.
Patsy

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.
--Margaret Atwood

razaross
Newly Registered
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat May 16, 2009 11:17 pm
Location: Seattle, Washington

Maybe try a closed composter?

There are different types of composters that prevent pests. A mouse isn't a huge deal unless your pile really starts to attract a few and they start getting into your house. However, an open compost pile can attract other pests that aren't as benign such as rats, raccoons, etc. I personally have a vermicomposter (Worm Factory) which is closed, but I researched before getting one and I found this page to be very informative about the different types available and their pros and cons. [url=https://www.urbangardensolutions.com/types-of-composters-a/141.htm?click=11348]types of composters[/url]

Hope this helps! :D

User avatar
smokensqueal
Green Thumb
Posts: 392
Joined: Thu Jun 26, 2008 1:36 pm
Location: St. Louis, MO Metro area

Like cynthia said. Prey animals reproduced in litters and the predators aren't around much any more. For example rabbits. We have millions of them and nothing to keep them under control. So got a dog and he seems to help and just got a cat and I'm going to keep it outside to help keep them away or if he's luck he might catch a few. But for the few hundred that continue to invade my space and garden I've pulled out my old Dasiy BB gun and I'll be on the hunt. :twisted:



Return to “Composting Forum”