Seedling nipper identity?

I have seedlings started indoors in polystyrerne cups, under lights: tomatoes & peppers up about 1 inch but not yet with true leaves. This morning I find about 30 percent are nipped off 1/4 to 1/2 inch above soil level. In most cases the young first leaves are gone. Completely vanished - just a stub of stem remains.
I see no sign of whatever pest has done this (apparently overnight when the lights are off.)
Can anybody make an educated guess, what beastie would this be? And what can I do to protect the rest of my seedlings - please be quick! - as well as thwart the pest in future?
Thanks, Alexander Miller Port Alberni, B.C. (Canada :) )
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On Wed, 18 Apr 2007 22:20:38 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@home.net wrote:

Hmmm, cutworm? But how it would get indoors I have no idea. Where did you get the potting mix from?
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wrote:

Got a cat?
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On Apr 18, 3:20 pm, snipped-for-privacy@home.net wrote:

Since this happened at night, you need to prevent access to the seedlings at night. Cover each cup with something and wrap it tightly with a rubber band or just group the cups together and cover with something large enough and heavy enough to block anything from entering, for example a large book or board. If something still happens you'll know that whatever it is, it's in the soil. It sounds like a slug/snail. Or as Victoria said, a cutworm in the soil, but then they would have to be in each cup, a cutworm probably couldn't move from cup to cup. Did you see any slime trail from a snail/slug? Hope you find it; that would be very discouraging, to say the least! Emilie
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Thanks all for the responses & suggestions.
The good news is, no further damage after another night. For want of a better idea, I had doused the seedlings with appropriately diluted Safer's soap. Don't know if that had any effect. Was also going to sprinkle with rotenone but chickened out.
(Apologies to politically sensitive chickens.)
The soil mixture varies from pot to pot - including some garden soil, some sphagnum, commercial potting soil, vermiculite etc, etc. Not anywhere near uniform enough for a cotrolled experiment! Isolating each pot, or the whole lot, under a sealed cover would have been difficult so I didn't try - but the idea was sound; thanks.
As an added variable, I've been moving everything outdoors under cover on the warmer days.
And no, there is no cat with access to the seedlings. Their indoor environment is in my garage/workshop. But I've been blaming the neighborhood felines for chomping down the greens on my outdoor garlic. Any comments?
No trace of slug slime on either seedlings or garlic.
Aren't gardens fun !!!
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Bad idea. Probable source of your problem. I always buy a new bag of "Professional" Mix.

Don't put plants in the sun with a transparent cover over them; they'll cook.
vince norris
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wrote:
|>The soil mixture varies from pot to pot - including some garden soil, | |Bad idea. Probable source of your problem. I always buy a new bag |of "Professional" Mix. | |> I've been moving everything outdoors under cover |>on the warmer days. | |Don't put plants in the sun with a transparent cover over them; |they'll cook. | |vince norris
Yes they would cook if enclosed. They are only covered - to protect from birds & (?) cats - and well ventilated.
Garden soil I've previously sterilised before using for seedlings. This year I got lazy. Could have been a problem; maybe not.
Still no new damage. I'm betting on a mouse (caught one last night.)
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snipped-for-privacy@home.net wrote in

Could be. My cat loves my chives which are indoors right now.
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On Fri, 20 Apr 2007 11:04:33 +0000 (UTC), FragileWarrior
| snipped-for-privacy@home.net wrote in
| |> And no, there is no cat with access to the seedlings. Their indoor |> environment is in my garage/workshop. But I've been blaming the |> neighborhood felines for chomping down the greens on my outdoor |> garlic. Any comments? | |Could be. My cat loves my chives which are indoors right now.
Leads me to a new thought about the seedling nipper. We do have the occasional mouse. Small enough to get in under the fluorescents where it's nice & warm with tender shoots to graze on - ??? Didn't see any droppings though.
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