Do greenhouses attract snakes, rats, and wildlife?


It’s not unusual to have critters and other wildlife come into your backyard, usually where your garden is. You want some in your garden, actually, but some of them might be pesky. However, this is sure that having plants around most likely means you’re going to have some friends from nature as well. But with a greenhouse, could it be different.

Greenhouses can attract snakes, rats, and wildlife. Greenhouses help close up your plants from things that might not help them grow properly, but that doesn’t mean they won’t attract certain things from nature or that these things won’t be able to get through occasionally.

This post highlights some things you need to know about greenhouses, the kind of wildlife they may attract, the kind of wildlife that is beneficial to you, and how you can control it if you don’t want to.

What are Greenhouses?

A Greenhouse, also called a glasshouse, is a building designed to protect tender or out-of-season plants against excessive cold or heat.  Think of it as a garden in a house, except that it’s not actually in your house, but you’ve reserved space for your gardening in a building outside your house and not just left small pots inside.

The greenhouse was typically developed to keep plants from a hostile climate but has been adapted to creating a controlled environment, suiting the needs of particular plants.

So, they help plants grow well by creating the conditions necessary for that growth artificially. 

Greenhouses forms

Greenhouses are usually made with a glass- or plastic-enclosed framed structure. 

As far as the structure goes, the common type has a double-sloped, or A-shaped, roof; then there’s the lean-to greenhouse, which has only one roof slope and leans against the side of a building.

The design is usually such that the plants in the greenhouse are heated by the sun or through artificial means such as heaters.

Ventilation within the greenhouse

To keep it from becoming too hot or too cold, some ventilating system is also needed, with roof openings and end-wall openings, where fans can draw air and circulate it throughout the interior. To aid you with this, you can check my recent article on ventilation for greenhouses. It covers more reasons as to why greenhouses need ventilation, spanning from pollination to better plant growth.

Common vegetables in greenhouses

Some common vegetables that can be grown in greenhouses include:

RadishesTomatoes
PeasOnions
StrawberriesPotatoes
GarlicSunflowers
Leafy greens like lettuceMushrooms

With this, we shall be talking about the different wildlife

What Kind of Wildlife can Greenhouses Attract?

Below are some of the common animals that greenhouses can attract.

Rodents are wildlife in greenhouses

Some of the common creatures that could make it you’re your greenhouse are rodents. These cause a lot of damage as they can eat anything on the plants, from the roots, bulbs, shoots to the leaves.

Rodents often feed on germinating seeds, while others prefer to attack and consume young and emerging plants.

Greenhouses typically contain tasty new plant shoots and other rodent delicacies, and they make it easy for rodents to hide and get shelter. They can create tunnels through plant soil and also chew holes in plastic pots.

Common rodents that attack greenhouses

The most common greenhouse rodent pests are the white-footed mouse and the meadow vole. Others include chipmunks, voles, woodchucks, squirrels, gophers, rabbits, moles, and other furry little mammals that can wreak. Keeping rodents out of your greenhouse can be hard.

Snakes can be found in greenhouses

Commonly, we associate snakes with violence and don’t usually want to have a meeting with them, but contrary to that notion, snakes aren’t always that bad to have around your plants.

Snakes are shy animals that try to avoid contact with people just as much as people try to avoid encounters with snakes.

Benefits of snakes in the greenhouse

Snakes can, however, be beneficial to your greenhouse as they eat a variety of pests.

Snakes can be used to control the population of rodents and other pests.

They feed on slugs, beetle grub, mice and voles, and other pests going down their tunnels after them.

The present dangers of having snakes in the greenhouse

However, snakes can still be dangerous in that, although they don’t like to be disturbed, if that happens, they can attack you or anybody entering the greenhouse, so there are times when you may find yourself in need of getting rid of garden snakes.

Insects in greenhouses

Even more common than rodents are insects. They come in a wide variety and many numbers, so they can be peskier. Like snakes, not all of them are bad.

In fact, some of them help prevent more harmful insects from getting to your plants and actually provide the plants with certain things that will help them grow better.

In essence, a wide range of insects wanders in and out of backyard greenhouses. Some are simply looking for plants to pollinate, some are just passing through, and others are searching for plants to feed upon.

Common insects in the greenhouse

Some common insects include leaf miners, Aphids, Thrips, Cutworms, Armyworms, Cabbage looper, Beetles, Earworms and hornworms, Green vegetable bugs, Spider mites, Stem borers, Root-knot nematodes.

Snails and slugs are bad for plants too.

How to Keep Wildlife from Your Greenhouse

For those who may not want to have any wildlife, the following steps may be considered. You can vary how much wildlife you let in with how many methods you incorporate.

Identify the creatures in the greenhouse

You should know what type of wildlife is getting into your greenhouse or which your wildlife can attract to make sure they are not dangerous or know how harmful they can be to you and your greenhouse.

Plug up holes in the greenhouse

Regularly check your greenhouse to cover up any holes that critters might have made to get in. You can do this by removing hiding or nesting areas or cleaning up brush piles and tall grass spaces.

Also, consider blocking crawl spaces beneath your porch or decks.

Utilize Repellents in the greenhouse

You can deter pests through scent repellents, such as garlic clips, castor oil, and predator urine. You will, however, need to monitor them and reapply them to make sure they remain effective.

Look into using products with hot peppers against wild nibbling rabbits.

Some plants are also not attractive to rodents and in ft serve as a deterrent, such as a castor bean and fritillaria.

Different types of repellants that you can look into

Visual and auditory repellents can also be used. These include ultrasonic repellent, motion-activated water sprayers, noisemakers, and visual scare devices such as reflective tape and faux predators. You might need to change these methods after some time, however.

Insecticides can be very effective against pests. Consider short-lived natural pesticides as they can damage the outer layer of soft-bodied insect pests, leading to dehydration and death within hours.

Fences can be used to keep wildlife in the greenhouse

A fence can be an effective way of keeping out wildlife. You can set a fence around the greenhouse.

It would help if you tried to get the fence to go a bit below the ground to keep the rodents that burrow underground from getting in.

Use an electric fence to keep woodchucks, rabbits, and deer at bay. You can also put a steel or plastic lid over the plants so pests can’t get to them.

Traps in the greenhouse

Traps are used to capture wildlife, so they don’t destroy your plants. The material of these traps is commonly galvanized steel that comes in different sizes.

For example, a spring-loaded door that closes, locking a trapped creature. Use food like vegetables, crackers to lure the animal inside.

You can also look into using yellow sticky traps as another method of entrapping insects.

Net against insects can be used in the greenhouse

You can also look into getting an anti-insect net, preferably with a 1/5-inch mesh at most.

When installing these, make sure that there is no space larger than1/5-inch-wide all around the net as it surrounds the greenhouse, even the areas found near the ground.

Anti insect nets are proven to be very effective against tiny insects approaching and attacking your plants.

Do Hosing in the greenhouse

We can also do a true and tested method of physically removing insects and wild creatures on our plants by hosing the leaves or plants they have attached.

Consider using a strong blast, high-pressure hose. Do this at least once a week along with the other methods for best results.

Natural predators in the greenhouse

Insects such as parasitic wasps, ladybug beetles, and predatory mites are predators to insects that can damage plants. Natural predators are known to destroy nymphs and pupae, and other smaller insects found in greenhouses.

Organic Neem Oil in the greenhouse

You can utilize neem oil as an all-natural and nontoxic substitute to control some pests in the garden. Spray it on plants to kill the pests’ eggs, larvae as well as the pests themselves.

By spraying all of the plant leaf surfaces, you effectively stifle the larvae’s development and effectively eradicate them before adulthood.

Neem oil may act as a repellent, which effectively prevents adult insects from landing on the sprayed plants and laying their eggs on the leaves.

Conclusion on greenhouses attracting wildlife

Greenhouses can attract wildlife. Of course, not all wildlife is bad. If, however, you can create conditions that won’t allow your plants to need not many forms of wildlife, then you don’t need to let them in.

With these steps above, you should have more time to focus on giving your plants ideal conditions as that is the main purpose of a greenhouse. Hopefully, they will help you, and remember that you can maximize their effectiveness by mixing and matching methods to find which best suits your area and greenhouse.

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Tony O'Neill

I am Tony O'Neill, A full-time firefighter, and professional gardener. I have spent most of my life gardening. From the age of 7 until the present day at 46. My goal is to use my love and knowledge of gardening to support you and to simplify the gardening process so you are more productive

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