Subterranean activity in the polytunnel.

Over the winter there are more and more tunnels appearing beneath my poly tunnel soil, and the access holes are getting bigger!

We do have moles here, and mice take any peas or beans sown direct so I always sow in pots.

However this is getting silly! There is now more tunnel then soil in some places.

Any ideas on how to identify the culprits.

I can not see any rat droppings which would be my primary concern, however the size of the access points seam too big for mice.



  • Jim MacdJim Macd Posts: 751

    If the holes are about the size of an old metal drainpipe then they're rats. If they’re the size of a broom handle, it’s mice and, well, you shouldn’t see holes for moles, just a molehill.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,776

    Sounds like rats to me image

    Gardening is cheaper than therapy, and you get tomatoes. 
  • Would rats not be helping themselves to produce?

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,776

    They'll have been flooded out of riverside and ditchside tunnels and their first priorities will have been to establish new colonies for breeding in - they've found somewhere dry and warm - perfect image

    Yes, they'll be looking for food too, but I'll bet there's plenty about - neighbours with hens that lay eggs, potatoes stored in sheds and potato peelings in compost bins (rats will do anything for potatoes - ask my potato-farming brother), droppings from bird tables, and of course they'll shin up into trees and bushes and bird tables to take bird food directly, and solidifying fat and worse in the drains and sewers image  There's lots of stuff they'll find without having to look very hard. 

    Gardening is cheaper than therapy, and you get tomatoes. 
  • Yikes, what do I do?

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,776

    Check your local authority website - they may have a service (which you will probably have to contribute towards) - if not then there will be pest control companies in your area.  

    You can buy stuff on the internet, including pet proof containers to put it in etc.  but in my experience it is better to get the experts in - rats in some areas are developing immunities to some poisons, and your local experts will know what works where you are and will be able to deal with the problem efficiently and in the shortest possible time.  They will need to make several visits. 

    Also check around any drains/manholes etc on your property - if there's evidence of the rats having tunnelled into or out of the drainage system your local water/sewage company may come and deal with it and bear at least some of the cost.  

    Gardening is cheaper than therapy, and you get tomatoes. 
  • Alan4711Alan4711 Posts: 1,569

    Hi Briggsy, my old allotment neighbour had the same problem, he used the rain water down pipe gadget only takes 20 mins to make and no body disposing needed, we used the tried and tested dip in  parrafin ,not soaked just dipped,the mice dug a couple up but didnt eat them i just pushed them back down we had a great show of greenhurst peas they were so good, and the mice moved on. good luck

  • Thanks all,

    Have just come in from tunnel to check the size of the holes - some are broom handle size, some bigger just to confuse.

    Stopped to pick slugs out of the cabbages, I remember hearing someone refer to cabbages as slug hotels- they were not wrong!

    I will be planting new potato in the polytunnel on the weekend - if rats are that keen on them, I should get me answer pretty quickly!

    Something has definitely been nibbling the oca!

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 11,893

    Could they be voles not rats? My daughter has voles in her veg garden and under her apple trees. tells you about them.

  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 11,092

    I have a hole the size of a broom handle at the side of the slabbed path in the greenhouse. As I have lost trays full of things like sweet peas etc, I have put " big cheese" mousetraps down. They have caught 8 mice in the last fortnight, but one got triggered and didn't catch anything, and they chewed the plastic top off to get at the peanut butter. I have voles in the garden, similar size holes, dug into sandy banks.

    It's not a mess, it's a nature reserve.
  • Could be.

    I would be expecting to find rat droppings if it were rats as they are large & easy to spot.

    I can see the advantages of living under the tunnel where is is relatively warm and dry.

    Perhaps I'll try and catch one of the little blighters to be sure.


  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,115

    And how are you going to catch the rat?  And how are you then going to kill the rat?  

  • With a rat trap of course (or a metal cage trap which I happen to have from trapping a squirrel some time back. he had moved into the attic!).

    Who said anything about killing it! I'm too soft for that kind of thing.

  • artjakartjak Posts: 4,168

    Borrow a Jack Russell, it's what they doimage

  • Nice thought, but I suspect he would cause havoc amongst the veg!

  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,115

    Yes Briggsy, but you do know it is illegal to release a trapped animal back to the wild?

    I wonder what you did with the squirrel.

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