Most gardeners have had bad encounters with rats and snakes in their cornfields. Rats do not only destroy corn, but they also act as primary sources of pathogens. Snakes on the other hand are venomous creatures, and they can find entrance into your house through small openings.
Like most living creatures, growing corn attracts snakes and rats. Rats are omnivores and they love feeding on corn. Once rats identify a cornfield, they establish habitat and make corn their source of food. Snakes use cornfields as hideouts as they love dark and damp areas but they are harmless for corn.
There is so much to learn regarding corn and why it attracts rats and snakes. You also need to understand the signs of their presence in your corn, and how to keep them off and by the end of this article, you should have understood everything that you need to know.
Signs of Rats or Other Rodents in Your Corn (if you don’t spot them)
You necessarily do not have to bump into rats and other rodents in order to know that they have made an infestation in your field of corn. There are various signs that will notify you of rodent infestation. The signs can be as minor as coming across small, dark brown droppings in the corn garden.
Rats are very active at night unlike during the daytime. Rodents reduce the production of corn by damaging the cobs. You will need to identify signs of rats in your cornfield in order to incorporate the right approaches to keep them away. These signs include:
1. Presence of Droppings
The presence of droppings in your cornfield is the most obvious indication that there are rats around. The droppings of rats are not the same as those of mice.
These droppings resemble large grains of rice and they have a size of 9 to 14mm. They are dark brown in color. If you spot such droppings in the cornfield, you are dealing with rats.
2. Visible Footprints in the Dirt
Rodents move a lot because they are very active. These creatures inhabit dirty areas. Therefore, there is a very high possibility that the footprints they leave behind are distinct. Once you identify footprints, initiate a pest control program because vermin multiply way too fast.
3. Presence of Rat Nests
Most rodents, including rats, make nests with their multiplying population. When rodents invade your cornfield, they will identify the dry spot in the field and establish their nests there. These rodents establish their nests near the food source.
4. Bite Marks on Various Items in The Field
Rats are among the rodents that have tough enamel. They are able to chew through things like plastics, wood, lead, and cement. Coming across distinct bite marks on garden items like hoses and wood equipment is a guarantee that there are rats around.
5. Burrows in the Farm
Most rodents make burrows anywhere near the food source. Rats have an exceptional ability to dig up to six feet deep under the ground. This is where they store the corn seed that they dig up.
6. Strong Odor
When rats invade the corn garden, there will be a strong typical smell that you can sense from a distance. The smell is due to the rat’s urine which contains ammonia. With a smell, you will know that they are present even without spotting them.
Signs of Snakes in Your Corn
Snakes prefer dark and cool habitats. Your cornfield can provide a perfect hiding habitat for these creatures. There are obvious signs that will alert you that there is a presence of snakes in your cornfield.
While examining these areas, consider being more careful because snakes normally attack. The signs are:
1. Presence of skin in the farm
Snakes shed their skin as assign of growth. If you encounter a dry, scaly sheet of skin in the corn garden, inspect the place because there is a snake infestation.
2. Presence of a distinctive smell
Most snakes have a sharp smell that you will notice whenever you’re on the corn farm. If you sense the smell it is an indication that there is the presence of snakes.
3. Visible Slither tracks
Snakes move around by crawling. You might notice visible slither tracks in the dusty areas of the cornfield. The slither tracks indicate that a snake has inhabited the farm.
Unexpected noises indicate that there are foreign creatures in the corn. In case of such noises, inspect around the corn farm to find out where the snakes are hiding.
5. Absence of Rodents
If you observe the presence of rodents around the corn from time to time, then suddenly they vanish, there is a possibility there are snakes around. Snakes prey on rodents. They can not live in the same habitat.
How to Keep Snakes and Rats Off the Corn
Once you identify an infestation of either rats or snakes in the corn farm, you should establish pest control. These preventative steps will help you keep rats and snakes off the corn.
- In case there is any grass around the corn plantation, cut the lawn frequently to always ensure it is short.
- Avoid overwatering your corn because snakes prefer areas with a lot of moisture
- Consider using less mulch as it harbors snakes and rats
- Install a rigid mesh fence and ensure it is buried some few inches into the soil.
- Destroy any birdhouses present because they provide a hiding place for rats and snakes
- Use galvanized screening in your corn farm to cover all the drains.
- If you notice that snakes and rats are already residing in your corn garden, there are tips that you can incorporate to get rid of them.
- Use harmless traps to capture the rats and snakes.
- Home-made solutions like vinegar and ammonia will keep off the vermin
- Sprinkle essential oils. Snakes and rats do not like the smell of essential oils.
Can You Do Anything Once You Notice Pests in Your Corn (Can You Salvage Damaged Corn)?
Pest-damaged corn can be quite challenging to salvage. The corn is likely to display the following symptoms.
- Stunting in growth
- Missing seedlings
Do not lose hope once your corn gets damaged by pests since there are ways to salvage it.
- Low mowing will control rodents’ movement into your growing corn.
- You can use herbicides. The herbicides will keep away pathogens that are present in the corn plants.
- Introduce mulching and water the cornfields to establish faster growth of the corn.
Use the above clues to identify if you’ve had uninvited guests visiting your corn. If you have, you can try to rid your corn of them with the methods outlined. If you can control them soon enough and the damage hasn’t been bad, you will still have some corn to enjoy.