Crocus predators

Jim McKenney
Tue, 13 Dec 2005 13:55:35 PST
Carol's remarks suggest that in Denmark mice are mice.

However, even in Denmark it's not that simple. In addition to house mice
(Mus musculus, family Muridae) there are gray-sided voles aka red-backed
mice (Clethrionomys rufocanus, family Crecitidae, and its relatives) which
are serious garden pests. In Danish, GrĂ¥sidemus, in German Wuhlmaus.

The house mouse, Mus musculus, is not a serious garden pest here in

Part of the problem is the English language. The word mouse usually means
the house mouse which, with the rat, belong to the zoological family
Muridae, the old-world mice and rats. 

The serious garden pests belong to the family Cricetidae, members of which
occur in both the old and new worlds. Voles and meadow mice belong here - so
do hamsters!. Our American voles belong to the genus Microtus, a genus found
also in Denmark and other parts of Europe. In Danish, Markmus or
NordmarkmusGerman, in German Feldmaus. 

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7, where I'm sorry to say I know
more from personal experience about these things than I would prefer. 

-----Original Message-----
From: []
On Behalf Of Carol Jensen
Sent: Tuesday, December 13, 2005 3:59 PM
To: Pacific Bulb Society
Subject: Re: [pbs] Crocus predators

At 18:19 13-12-2005, you wrote:
>Mike's mention that the worst problem growing crocuses in his area is 
>animal predators motivated me to mention yet another new attempt at 
>controlling mice in a crocus collection. Field mice won't take many of the 
>baits sold for control of house mice, and the ones currently at large here 
>seem unusually clever at robbing the bait out of traps without triggering 
>the traps. I finally decided to try distraction. Since they love sunflower 
>seeds, I just put a bowl of sunflower seeds (the kind sold for bird 
>feeders) in the crocus area of the bulb frame where they were digging for 
>corms. They've been taking the seeds and have left the pots alone for a few

>days now. I hope this will be an environmentally safe compromise. I plan to

>move the seeds gradually away from the crocuses and teach the mice to go 
>somewhere else for food.
>Jane McGary
>Northwestern Oregon, USA
Good idea, Jane. However, do you make a real distinction between field mice
and house mice? In Denmark house mice are field mice that get cold and
hungry around late November and move indoors, leave for the fields in
March-April. We never have mice in gardens in summertime, as there is so
much to eat in the fields.


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