THREAT ALERT: DANGEROUS RODENTS

Like it or not, wherever you live on planet Earth, with the exception of the rumoured “break away civilisation” sequestered in the Antarctic, rats and/or mice are dwelling within proximity of where you sleep and where you grow your cannabis.

Rats and mice rodents
Rats and mice rodents

Of all the pests that can potentially infest your cannabis crop, be it indoors or outdoors, rodents are perhaps the most dangerous and difficult to deal with it. Infestation happens gradually, then suddenly!

Every cannabis cultivator needs to be aware of the real, not so clear, but ever present danger rats and mice pose to cannabis crops. Don’t be naive and assume the threat is limited to outdoor marijuana gardens and greenhouses.

Both rats and mice have protruding front teeth for a reason; they keep growing for their entire lifespan. They can easily munch their way into your home or squeeze through tiny holes and cracks in brickwork and timber.

Moreover, they are possessed with a lifelong lust to chew and gnaw just to wear down their teeth. Electrical wiring and cables are a favourite of 21st-century rodents and pose an unseen fire risk to indoor weed growers.

KNOW YOUR ENEMY

Rattus rattus or more commonly known as the “true rat” is the common black rat with a tail longer than its body. This rat was the original “ship rat” and is an inasive species so it is present virtually all over the world. Plus it was the vector for plague-carrying ticks that caused the “Black Death”.

Rats and mice facts
Rats and mice facts

Rattus norvegicus or the Norway rat is the “brown rat” with a stubby tail and even more ill-tempered than the black rat. This species is also globally widespread.

Rats are pretty large for rodents and in some instances they can be huge. The average rat is about 45cm long, including the tail. Lab mice and pet mice differ only in that they are usually white, still 100% vermin.

Mice of all varieties and colours are generally lumped together into the Mus genus. Field mice, house mice, it’s all the same. The mouse is basically a micro-rat usually weighing no more than 500g and less than 10cm long.

Just like rats, they are also biological breeding machines and compulsive chewers. It’s mathematically possible for a breeding pair of mice or rats to turn into thousands within 12 months.

PREVENTATIVE MEASURES: ZERO TOLERANCE

Indoor growers with even basic DIY skills can take a number of simple practical steps to rodent-proof their grow show. Start with a visual inspection of the exterior of your home and the surrounding area. What you’re looking for are possible entry points for rodents like cracks, holes and unprotected air vents.

Also keep an eye out for any kind of garbage or debris that might be enticing to rats and mice. You can’t undertake a single handed “Tidy Towns” initiative, but keep your environment as clean as you can to avoid attracting a pest problem.

“An ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure” - Benjamin Franklin

Some silicon sealant for cracks, a dab of cement here and there for holes and mesh grills to protect air vents should be enough to secure your premises and won’t cost you a fortune either. Apart from that, good housekeeping and proper waste disposal is really all that’s necessary to avert most pest infestations.

Outdoor cannabis cultivation by definition is more perilous. Climate and environmental conditions will be dictated by Mother Nature and the risk of both pests and pathogens increases exponentially.

Root rot, bud mold and spider mites are more publicised threats to cannabis crops, but outdoors the grower must also take extra measures to defend against all kinds of creatures great and small, rats and mice jostling for position as worst of the worst.

Guerrilla growers would be advised to clear away as much undergrowth as possible upon selection of a clandestine grow plot to discourage mice and rats nesting in the crop.

Trails and passages
Trails and passages

As well as looking out for game trails and farm animal’s, rural growers must be eagle-eyed when choosing a marijuana planting ground. Outdoor ganja farmers must carefully scan the terrain for evidence of the presence of rodents.

Tiny trails littered with droppings, which can become rodent expressways if they get half a chance to colonise the area, are a red flag. Even on suitable weed farming land, many growers construct chicken wire cages and even rigid metal frames in some cases to protect plants from any creatures that might take a nibble from mouse to moose.

DESPERATE MEASURES: OCCUPIED TERRITORY

If you find yourself in the midst of a full-blown Indian rat flood, deadly force is recommended; by the way, this flood actually occurs about once every 50 years, with armies of bamboo rats literally ravaging rural areas like furry locusts.

Caged rat
Caged rat

Shotgun blasts of birdshot are a brutally effective solution to a rodent infestation; buckshot is too much firepower and will leave your crop looking like the aftermath of the Manson family Christmas party.

Most of us in Europe don’t have access to firearms of any kind, let alone pistol grip pump action shotguns. Bows and arrows won’t cut it, so traps and poisons are really what it boils down to if you really want to put an end to a rodent hostile takeover of your beloved marijuana plantation.

Animal lovers are probably thoroughly enraged at this point, but we did advocate prevention before having to resort to last stand kind of action.

Sure we could have recommended non-lethal countermeasures to curb infestation, but we owe you the truth, however unpleasant. And when it comes to vermin taking residence in a cannabis garden we say kill 'em all.

Wherever you decide to cultivate your cannabis, remember forewarned is forearmed. Rats and mice infestations are best avoided altogether and by including pest control in your cannabis grow plan, you are insuring your crop against the worst that could happen.

Finally one for the animal lovers. You could always get a cat or a terrier perhaps if you’re a dog person. But the best natural 100% eco-friendly solution to guarantee rodent infestation never troubles your weed cultivation endeavours again is to get a few pet Burmese pythons and turn them loose in your grow show.

LIST OF COMMON PESTS AND PROBLEMS

LIST OF COMMON PESTS AND PROBLEMS

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