I am just collecting ideas....I have seen tunnels, and am a little concerned. The dog pounced on a few when we first moved down here, but she doesn't do enough damage to make a dent in the population....
I'm hoping my cats make more than a dent. They catch 1 - 2 a week.
Meow! I live in the burbs here in Columbus and my two cats bring in 3-4 mice per week. I'm trying to figure out where they are nesting and my neighbors think that one of our more untidy neighbors who doesn't really enjoy cutting his grass is providing a good mouse environment.
When I read this I wanted to look up the common rodents found in the garden. I have a Mole problem so I know how you feel!
Voles; Herbivore that dosen't tunnel, commonly mis-identified as a field mouse. Some conflicts about the tunneling, but this is the most common rodent in the garden.
Shrew; Insectivore which which is very much like the vole, but has a very long snout/nose.
Mole; Insectivore and larger tunneling rodent (rarely seen) that produces traces just under the ground with exit holes with a pile of earth where the Mole pop's his head up.
Field (House) Mouse; Eats just about anything really and will invade (chew, dig, destroy) just about anything in search of food. Just as happy to eat the peice of cheese on the counter or the grain stored in the barn.
If you're seeing damage to your plants like chewing on the lower stems/bark or evidance digging right down next to the plants to get at the roots, then the first thing is to make sure any mulch isn't right up against the plant. This gives the critters some protection while they feed on your plants.
The internet is filled with useful info, but I've found that some of it is conflicting and at times completely useless. To rid yourself of Moles many like using chewing gum, but this will only waste money on Juicy Fruit, while eliminating the food source will only work if you want to launch the equilivant of a A-Bomb and kill all the bugs (good and bad) in the yard.
In general terms to control rodents you want to trap, bait, or repell and make your yard/house uninviting to the critters so they find more a more favorable enviroment. Most mice are very smart and reproduce at an astonishing rates, so you may not be able to eliminate them once they've got an established colony, but you can bring the numbers down to a tollerable level. Also I've read making sure the grass is cut helps too as they'll use the tall grass as cover.
My cat has caught 5 mice in the house so far this fall, if only he would "dispatch" of them. He pounces and then sit back to watch the mouse wiggle and jerk in obvious pain or the shock the cat gave them wears off and they decide to make a run for it, directly past ME of course. Amazing thing is last winter I never once saw a mouse in the house... so I can't figure out why I'm seeing so many now. I've put out traps and I've got this somewhat useless cat here, so I can only hope I've seen the last of Mickey and friends.
Mice move inside in the fall, so if you haven't had a problem before, now is the time you'll see it. At least your cat catches them! I had a cat who only caught a mouse who was already in a trap.
I am aware of what voles eat, what they look like, and the damage they do. I am always amused at how people confuse voles with moles....Unfortunately, if we mulch to keep weeds down, voles like it. If we leave our grasses up for winter interest, voles like it. If we have nice soft amended soil for our perennials, voles like it. If I mulch to kill patches of grass for a lasagna bed...voles like it....Voles also like to eat lillies, hostas, iris, crocus and a heck of a lot of other things I like to grow...While part of me says "plant enough to share" (not really, just plant enough so you aren't wiped out) I realize that that just isn't possible, especially since I am working on turning non-planted house into planted house....Sigh.
So far, I've soaked my bulbs in ropel...and I will have to say if you use the product, don't cheat and try to get the bulbs out with your bare hands...It tells you not too, but my glove got the ropel inside it...and a short while later I was tasting the bitterness on my lips.....and skin...I had absorbed the active ingredient. I just hope my liver is ok with that. It was an interesting experience.....
My cats, for the most part, aren't outside cats (I let one out with me ONLY when I am out there with her). My experience is that if you have outside cats, they live much shorter lives....I'm thinking of putting traps under pots, as I am concerned with poisoning them for fear that another critter will eat the poison laden rodent....
Chipmunks also eat your bulbs and make tunnels. Some critters also use abandoned mole tunnels. I have a Chipmunk in my garden but I've only actually seen him two or three times in the last 5 years...and I work in my garden almost everyday approx 6-8 hours in the summer...but I've see plenty of the damage he has done, as well as the moles and voles..My Irish Setter has caught a few moles for me...Since the Cicadas are gone I've seen the mole population drop.
The only thing I can tell you is to be sure you don't leave any pet food out overnight. It will attrace mice and voles , they will hoard it. I've found stashes all over the place.
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