What is eating my grapes?

Discussion in 'Grapes and Grape Vines' started by Shagio, Sep 27, 2009.

  1. Shagio

    Shagio Member

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    Location:
    Massachusetts
    We just recently moved into our new home that has a beautiful grape arbor over the back door patio. The grapes remind me of the concord grapes that grew wild in our backyards as kids. But the previous owner told me he brought the vine over Portugal? I'll do more research later on the grapes themselves, my brain is a little full with all the care and tending info I have been researching!
    Either way he has always taken very good care of them and they have produced a massive amount of tasty fruit this year. Just recently we have noticed that the patio underneath the arbor is littered every morning with grape skins and seeds, the insides all sucked out. Mounds of them but no scat? We clean it up, next morning same thing. Whatever it is I can't catch it, my dog has been crazy at the windows at night and we have tried sneaking up on it all to no avail. Please does anyone know? I'm thinking racoon, but wouldn't I see something that big trying to boogie away when I shine a flashlight on it? BTW I live in Massachusetts if that helps?
    Thanks
    Shagio
     
  2. vitog

    vitog Contributor 10 Years

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    Location:
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    I've seen lots of damage from racoons, but they never left mounds of skins and seeds. The racoons seemed to eat the whole grape, seeds and skin included. For a while we had rats eating the grapes, and they did leave a mound of skins under the bunch of grapes that was being consumed. This was a native rat that I once looked up on the Web but can't remember the name of. They are much smaller and cuter than the big Norway Rats that are the usual problem in cities. These rats really liked fruit; they also ate our hardy kiwi fruits. And they were hard to trap because the usual baits did not attract them. I found that home made fruit jam worked some times. They seem to have been exterminated this year by one or more of the new cats that have moved into the neighborhood.
     
  3. Shagio

    Shagio Member

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    Eeeeewwwwww now I've got the willies! I was so hoping no one was going to say rats!
    We live out in the country and we do have field mice which my cat does a good job of keeping at bay, but rats?
    Well , I think I'm going to prune early, at the very least cut off the rest of the fruit that is left.
    thanks for your answer
    S
     
  4. Gardenlover

    Gardenlover Active Member

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    I would like to see pics of this grape vine from portugal.

    Must be some kind of varmant....raccoon, rats, squirrels,

    Raccoons especially they eat grapes like mad
     
  5. Shagio

    Shagio Member

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    Hi Gardenlover
    I will post some picts tomorrow, too dark when I got home tonite.
    Had a friend suggest that it might be flying squirrels, well you can bet I LMAO over that (Rocky & Bullwinkle thoughts) but then I looked it up and it's not so far fetched? They are nocturnal and elusive and well they just aren't rats!
    I'm about ready to camp out and wait..........
     
  6. Shagio

    Shagio Member

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    Here are some pictures of our grapevine. Maybe you can tell what kind they are from the leaves? As I have said I haven't investigated that so far. I really think it is beautiful, especially when it is covered with leaves and grapes. It's getting late in the season so there isn't much fruit left up there, I'm planning on stripping it all off this weekend and put an end to the critters!
    I am intent on learning more about them and how to tend to them. Not sure what they are good for at this point, but they taste good!
     

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  7. Gardenlover

    Gardenlover Active Member

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    Yup, could be. If the varmants are from flying in from above you need to cover with netting like the major vineyards do.
     
  8. Gardenlover

    Gardenlover Active Member

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    Yup, could be. If the varmants are from flying in from above you need to cover with netting like the major vineyards do. Grape vine looks good to me
     
  9. Charles Richard

    Charles Richard Active Member 10 Years

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    Hi,
    As 'Gardenlover' had mentioned about squirrels. Our next door neighbour offered us some grapes and we went over and she is going through the same thing. She said it is squirrels in her situation.
    There are grape skins all over the ground and she has seen them going in to the vines.
    The squirrels have been busy eating all of the fir cone seeds which are also all over the ground as at our place. She has not don too much about it as they have an over abondunce of grapes and would never use them all.
    I know that years ago we where told to wrap this plastic netting around the poles of our grape arbor. It is sold as a bird netting (very fine black with about 1" square holes). We took it and rapped it loosely around the posts (1' or so) at the tops.
    Said that the raccoons would not go through it as it is fine the they would get their feet stuch in it. We had it over out pond for years and it was quite invisible in appearance.
    Hope you get some grapes.
     
  10. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Leaving part of the fruit suggests wharf rats to me. Here gray squirrels are seen during the day, picking fruits one at a time (plums and seed pods, no grapes here) and scampering off with them. When seen during the day, wharf rats are sitting in the trees and eating from the fruits right where they are, on the stem.

    Search Rattus rattus.

    Birds peck at fruits and tunnel them out, when they are too big for the particular species to pick and fly off with. But these do tend to leave noticeable poops wherever there is much activity. And they are active during the day.
     
  11. JimInSoCal

    JimInSoCal Member

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    Your problem sounds just like mine! Mounds of seeds and skins. Thankfully there are enough grapes (Concord, by the way) for everyone. The culprit in my case is a possum. Even though I live in well-developed Southern California suburban setting, we have skunks, possums, raccoons and rats. I put out bait for the rats, which has worked well in previous years, but now that Warfarin-based baits are no longer on the local shelves the newer green-colored blocks don't seem nearly as effective. The possum eats the rat poison too, but it does not bother him. Possums are generally regarded as 'stupid' and easy to trap, but this particular one is unusually clever. You might try one of those wire traps, although it's now against the law in most areas to relocate a wild animal.
     

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