Gardening: There are intruders stealing our corn

We have had a vege garden going on and off for over 30 years and we grow corn most years. When I checked the corn the other day I saw something I had not seen before. All the husks and corn kernels had been neatly removed from a cob of corn. There were ants on it but I don’t think they are responsible.

I checked the rest of the corn and at least half of it was either the same or had some evidence of attack.

For a while I was confused. A couple of years ago we had a mouse plague as did a lot of rural NSW in Australia. It was the summer of 2020-2021 when it was at the worst. Some other towns had it worse, but even so a common discussion with my work colleagues was about how many mice they had trapped and evidence of them in their houses. It wasn’t just old houses either, even some new houses had mice in them. Before I blocked all of the places they could get in I caught about 50 in the house and another 100 in the ceiling and under the house. We slept with our bedroom doors closed but a couple of times both my wife and son woke with a mouse scratching and trying to get out of their bedrooms. Not conducive for a good night’s sleep. Eventually I got all access points blocked and we have not had one in the house since. The plague ended as quickly as it had started when the frosts came.

We had planted and picked corn during the mouse plague and we didn’t see any damage so I didn’t think it was mice. Anyway there seemed to be too much eaten for a few mice.

In the summer of 2021-2022 we had a lot of rats. They didn’t get in the house but they seem to be much more intelligent and could climb higher. I had trouble keeping them out of our shed. I could block most places but I haven’t found a way to block the gap between the roller door and the shed wall. When the roller door is raised the diameter of the rolled up door increases and reduces the size of the gap between it and the wall. I don’t know how to deal with that.

I know we still had a few rats around at least until recently. Could it have been them? I used a trailcam during the mouse plague to try and record where the mice were entering the house. I set it up again for a couple of nights pointing at the corn. The culprits were quickly spotted. In fact they were there most of the night.

I’m glad I’ve blocked all entrances into the house.

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