The rats have discovered my strawberries, so the war is on. For weeks I have been watching the plants as they awakened from winter's nap, admiring the beautiful blossoms, waiting for the berries to ripen. This bed was transplanted with strawberry runners taken from another bed and it was full of tiny berries in various stages of development. One day I noticed one of the berries was half eaten. Only the ripe red part was gone. The unripe part of the berry remained attached to the plant. At first I thought it was slugs but after careful inspection, there were no signs of them. A few days later more berries were ripening and over night the same thing happened. Something was eating half of the berry, leaving the unripe part behind.
We have fruit rats in our neighborhood. They are foul and I do not want to even think about them. Nothing is more creepy to me than mice and rats. UGH! They eat our tangelos and pomegranates. That is bad enough, but the strawberries are mine. They can't have them. So I decided to build a cover to protect my delicious berries from those nasty creatures. I have a dog, so putting traps in that area is not an option, and poison is out for the same reason. Here is what I came up with a couple of weeks ago.
I used a sheet of 1/4 inch wire mesh, and bent it to create a cover. I used a wooden stake as a straight edge to fold up about six inches along each edge.
To make the corners, I cut along the fold line to the corner.
Then I folded the corner and secured it with wire.
Then I turned it over and placed it over the strawberries, taking care to push it down so there were no gaps where hungry rats could enter. Placing a couple of rocks on it secured it in place, and guess what? It works!!
If the rats discover the strawberries in the main garden, I won't be able to cover them because the space is too big. The traps will have to come out (a fence keeps the dog out of that area). I intend to win this war.