"Gather ye rose-buds while ye may." Robert Herrick

"Gather ye rose-buds while ye may." Robert Herrick

Hello Friends!

Friends, Romans, countrymen...y'all. Foodies, gardeners, artists and collectors - let's gather together to share and possibly learn a thing or two in the mix.

Donna Baker

Friday, June 30, 2017

Hollyhocks And Rat Catching


I've never had Hollyhocks before so I should be grateful.  To the naked eye, these look black.  My iPhone camera found some color.  This is not a color I would have chosen, but it's what I ended up with. Whatever.

Now, I need some advice from my English friends.  In the states, we all covet an English garden.  My take is that for the most part, it is mass plantings and correct me if I am wrong.  I am thrilled with mine, except for one thing.  Besides the gophers and moles, I am now over-run with Norway rats.  Gray with rounded noses, shorter tail and ears and not as large as brown rats, they are adorable, and very friendly I might add.  I have had to move the bird feeders down next to the lake.  The rats eat the seed and try to climb the poles and jump from tree limbs etc.

I have fed birds for forty years.  It is a joy.  Google says I have to get rid of bird feeders and clear out all foliage.  WTF?  I quit filling the feeders, but I'm not mowing/clearing out my gardens.  I've thought about a bb gun, tried traps and even went to buy a humane trap.  I couldn't kill them up close and looking at me.  Poisons are out because of the dogs.  

They've had three cases of plague next-door in New Mexico and with all these rats....  What to do?

40 comments:

  1. From the UK. We tried everything. Over run by rats. We reluctantly went for the poison. Safe in a locked box only rats and mice could get into. Now no rats. Our cat has survived. No corpses for dogs to eat. Heaven.

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    1. Oh thank you. Will look for one of those traps.

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  2. Oh My Goodness I LOVE your Hollyhocks ! ! ! One of my favorite flowers.
    No answers about the rats, sorry. When I live right by the ocean in Laguna Beach the chipmunks, and squirrels use to get the plague ever so often, they lived in the hillsides right next to the ocean, every so often and the City would try to catch them ? The rats used to live in ant ivy planted area and all the restaurant alleyways.
    Do not have an answer but I hope you find one.
    Just got home from a very early morning vet visit, yet again, for an emergency x-ray, not gud.

    Hug your Ladies for us today.
    cheers, parsnip and thehamish xo

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    1. I figured it has something to do with the lake. My garden goes up to the edge. No trash or anything, just bird seed, until now. My heart breaks for Ham. Very frustrating for both of you. Hope the new meds help!!!

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  3. We are overrun with them here now also. I had one that moved into my stone fountain. It was awful. I was terrified one would come thru dog doors into the house. They love to live in palm trees here which DO NOT belong here but idiots insist. I finally hired a company for a month who set traps that were safe for kids and pets. They checked traps several times a week. We caught three, but only one lived here I think, the other two were visiting : D I never saw them as boxes are contained. Here it was 45.00 more expensive than signing up for full service but if they return I will definitely call them again. One of the reasons for the yard redo was to rid my area of habitat for them, so if you cannot do that and can afford it, hire someone. Worth it

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    1. There are about 20 that I've seen. Parents and their half pints. I was afraid to call anyone as the city might find out and condemn my garden. Everyone else's property has grass right down to the lake. I'll make them pets before I mow down my garden.

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  4. Ooh, Donna...
    I was thinking it is because you have bird feeders, and ample opportunity for seed feeders, not only that, the lake would probably attract rats, also a source of water.
    I know rats can feed off fields of grain in the fields, and have witnessed hundreds in my uncle's horse barn, feeding off the grain bins.
    I was thinking my deer would love your beautiful Hollyhocks, but wouldn't want to trade you for rats ;)
    Take them seriously, since there is a renewal of plague surfaced.
    Hugs,
    ~Jo

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    1. I will have to do something Jo as I am afraid someone will turn me in to the city.

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  5. Your hollyhock is fantastic. Not too late to plant them this year.

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    1. I did not know that Joanne. I don't have room for potted plants right now so it would have to be seeds.

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  6. Love your hollyhock. The wind knocks them down here, but I have (and love) some miniatures.
    No answers on the rats. We have them too.

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    1. I tied them to a metal something. They are taller than I am.

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  7. Your hollyhock is beautiful. I've always loved Hollyhocks but have never grown any.

    Sorry about the rat problem. I am not sure what type of rats we have had before in our back yard, but they have been there in the past, and may be there now. My flowerbeds are in the front yard, so I don't spend much time in the backyard.

    Many years ago, there was one out there who used to steal dog food out of the dog bowl with the dog laying there sleeping just three feet away. I saw it taking one or a few kibbles away, and then coming right back getting some and taking them out past the range of the porch light. I watched as the rat did that several times. The next day I got a couple of big rat traps and we (my husband) baited them with bacon. Who doesn't like bacon? That rat apparently. He didn't eat the bacon at all. The dog had to come in when the traps went out. The next night we just put some dog kibbles in the traps and we caught the rat. It must have been a Norway rat like you wrote about because he was cute. I felt bad about killing him. He had a pink nose and pink feet, was very fat and sleek, with very soft not ratty looking fur. His fur had that high protein dog food glow. I have always thought that our collie thought he was a pet at our house since he didn't even mind the rat taking his food. I never saw any other rats doing anything out there the rest of that year. If our collie saw any he wasn't saying anything to us about it.

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    1. I don't have anything they can eat but seed, or not anymore. I just hope the baby birds are going to neighbors feeders. At the farm, opossum, raccoons and skunks come eat cat kibble regularly. Probably rats too. There were many plants at this house I did not know. I am sure I pulled up many thinking they were weeds. One thing I love about the mass planting, is there isn't as much need to weed.

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    2. We never feed the dogs outside or leave food out the coyotes will come and eat it then eat your dog or cat.
      Do you have a Vector control in your area. If so your hole lake are cold us it .

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  8. gorgeous hollyhock. I finally had to resort to poison to kill the rats that kept getting in the walls of my house. of course the fuckers died IN the walls.

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    1. Did that with mice at the farm. Poison said they'd go outside to find water and die but they didn't.

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  9. Many years ago, we had a Norway rat (it was also called a roof rat) that would come out from under the back porch to eat bird seed that had fallen on the ground. We had two young children at the time, so poison was placed under the porch. No more rat.
    Your hollyhock is gorgeous. I have various shades of pink, but the pale yellow ones sometimes show up - very dull and insipid. Your hollyhocks are lovely and bold. -Jenn

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  10. If you get cats, they will eat the birds. Maybe a Jack Russell dog?

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    1. My weenies try and catch them, but the rats are faster and hide out. One weenie, Sister, will bark until it nearly kills me.

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  11. The hollyhock is beautiful. What a colour! I have heard of hollyhocks but never seen one.

    Good luck getting rid of the rats

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    1. Thank you and I need it. I'm going to look for a bird feeder that keeps seed off the ground. Oh, that probably won't work unless I hang it out over the water since the rats crawl up the tree and pole.

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  12. always like hollyhocks, we used to make dolls with them as children.Rats are tough, cats keep them down at the farm

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    1. They are pretty and I will plant more next year. I think the rats are eating the flower seeds I have scattered. I have not seen a cat since I came to the city, so I'm wondering if cats have to be on a leash. It is true. Some communities don't allow cats to roam. They would work.

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  13. The Hollyhocks are stunning. We don't have access to the backyard here, but rats used to come up to our deck, lounge & munch on tiny apples. I think the landlord put out some poison as the rats seem to have moved on to another yard. I know this doesn't help you because of the dogs. I read about the plague outbreak. Crazy!

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    1. There is nothing animal or human - food wise, outside and yet, I watched two skitter by up near the house this afternoon. Going to look for traps today.

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  14. I have never heard of them Donna so really can't offer any suggestion.

    As to the Hollyhock - it is exquisite and you should be rightly proud.

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    1. Yes Pat, there are many blooms to come.

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  15. Beautiful Hollyhocks! Rats need lots of water, so living by the lake is a problem. When we lived in Montecito, we had problems with roof rats. A common problem in California, due to the temperate climate. Trapping them in a container specially made for rats might help. Best of luck with that.

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    1. I never had these problems last year. Or, at least I didn't notice them. More to come.

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  16. Funny my hollyhocks will be black too..not beauties like these.You must save the seeds.My hollyhocks get rust..unsightly and earwigs eat the leaves..😢😢😔😢😔😞If I found rats I would succumb to tears.I have squirrels and raccoons .way less squirrels since I got my 2 chickens.I hated the movie Ben☺️Kidding aside..cause it is not funny..I hope you find a way to make them leave

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    1. Didn't know I could save the seeds. Good to know. I saved all my zinnia seeds last year then couldn't find them. I have a feeling the rats will eat them. I saw four near the back porch and goldfish pond yesterday. Little fu&*#^S. Just wish there weren't so many. I am going to the farm for the fourth but plan on catching rats when I get back. They make a rat shot, but then they'd arrest me for firing a gun in the city.

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  17. Your hollyhock is a lovely colour, I have always found that you can't guarantee the colours if them unless you buy them in flower. We had problems with rats we gave up composting and reduce the amount of bird feed we put out. Sarah x

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    1. That is what I've done Sarah. Both. I'm trying to figure out a lever system to hang a bird feeder over the lake so the rats can't get the fallen seed. I didn't even know the hollyhocks were there last summer.

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  18. Your black hollyhock is stunning Donna. I have black too but mine are not that gorgeous. As for your rat situation...hope you can be successful getting rid of them. Hugs!

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    1. I'm still trying Debbie. I had three traps set last night and nada.

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  19. I desperately wanted to plant Hollyhocks this year, but couldn't find any locally. I guess I'm going to have to order them.
    Yours are beautiful.
    Darn critters.

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    1. I am collecting seeds even though I'm a little dismayed by the color.

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