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Mice in a greenhouse; cleanup; hantavirus; prevention

 
Gilbert Fritz
Posts: 1132
Location: Denver, CO
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I have a high tunnel unheated greenhouse. Due to a number of factors, it has been standing empty. I need to clean it out; this involves removing layers of wood chips on top of layers of plastic (a failed attempt at self watering seed starting beds) as well as lots of junk.

Things tend to be dry and dusty here. I'v observed lots of mouse droppings; I assume they are burrowing under the plastic sheet. This combination of factors brings up the risk of hantavirus.

The government agencies all recommend spraying down an area with a bleach solution before cleaning, to disinfect and even more to keep down dust. I've got conflicting information on the use of a face mask. I don't think spraying anything around would do much good in this case; the area under the plastic would be just as dusty as ever. And I don't think the bleach would ever make contact with all the stuff.

Any suggestions as to how to clean this up without killing myself?

Any suggestions for how to keep the mice out of the greenhouse in the future?

 
Denise Kersting
Posts: 41
Location: South Central PA
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Hi Gilbert, I would definitely suggest a proper respirator for the cleanup event, you can get a decent one at any big box store. A simple dust make is not going to provide you adequate protection, they just never fit quite right. That being said, you also have to know how to use one, you can message me if you'd like more info. (I'm former military and believe safety first) If the floor of your greenhouse is dirt, and the walls don't terminate and seal at the floor level to a structure (i.e. the mice can just pop under the walls and they are in) you will always have a difficult time keeping them out. I'm sure you will get plenty of advice, and mine comes not from a greenhouse but a cabin. They hate dried sweet woodruff. I have it planted outside of my cabin, and every time I'm there I pull handfuls up and make little bundles and place in every windowsill, on every bed, counter, table, you name it. They also don't like steel wool. I use that to pack any openings that they might use to get in. You could try spraying the outside of the greenhouse, near the soil line with a nice concoction of 1 head of garlic, and a couple chili pepper, healthy squirt of non-toxic dishsoap and 1/4 cup of veggie oil, 1 gallon of water (steeped for 1-3 days then strained). That's what I use as  mosquito spray, but it might work for mice too.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/cards
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