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VOLES! What do you do?

Posted by linnea2 z5 NY (My Page) on
Mon, Apr 24, 06 at 17:34

Lots of damage this year, they love all that mulch, stone walls and
other hiding places.
2 Heleniums, Artemisia 'Valerie Finnis' (! thought nothing ate that)
Zebra grass, bulbs, etc. and now they're eating Asparagus!

I'm hoping my Euphorbia lathyris (mole plant) seeds germinate.
Thinking about whirlygigs, snap traps, and really don't know what to do.

Now I have a deer spray that seems to work so, of course, voles!
Hoping the proliferation will bring predators. Though this kind
rarely comes out. No cat up there any more.

Any success with any method, anyone?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: VOLES! What do you do?

so far, i've not encountered moles or voles. a nursery that i like (ward's) has something advertised, called "molemax". like i said, i have never had to deal with these critters, so have never used this product. but... you might want to check at a local nursery to see if that have any suggestions.


RE: VOLES! What do you do?

I HATE voles!! We have used hot sauce to good effect. Spray the everloving out of the area with it. Go to the bulk food section to purchase it, cause you will need a lot. Pour it down any tunnels you see and then spray all around. Also, mothballs around the property perimeter helped. Just don't put any of those around any area where you will be harvesting food or where pets will get them. Forget the mulch for a season or two. Good luck!

RE: VOLES! What do you do?

Heigh-ho, it already smells like Texas hot wings from the deer spray.
I guess sam's club would have gallons...
But if it works, I'll try it, but, NO MULCH! I'll have a weed forest.

Plants really don't mind this stuff?
What about earth worms and other beneficial animals?

Robbie, I will check the nurseries too. The repellents are all Castor oil based.
Waiting for Euphorbia lathyris ("Mole plant") to germinate.
I'm trying to cover the bases.
I think the voles stripped the Euonymous bark too, I was wondering
how the deer could get right to the base of the trunks.
(They're alive, by the way, Decided to tidy them up once it's clear
what made it).


RE: VOLES! What do you do?

Yes, voles are probably my greatest nemesis now. Cleaning all the leaves around the base of bushes, trees and flower beds helps, but they also tunnel under the snow and cleaned out a 2'x10' solid row of siberian iris a couple of winters ago, ate every single root. Cats can be a good defence. I've heard trapping and removing works but I've never been organized enough to do it. Putting "dog bombs"
from my neighbor's greyhounds in any tunnels I find convinced the chipmunks to move from a stone defined rose bed but the voles dont seem to have many tunnels. Good luck with them.

RE: VOLES! What do you do?

Rabbits are the ones that strip bark - voles eat roots and bulbs. I put poison out about 6 days ago - mouse poison (coumarin) in a tin can laid on its side so other things couldn't get at it (cats, dogs, birds...). Seems to have put an end to their forays but I'll leave it out a bit longer. I put it by the entrance to their hole in the stone wall which is where they live. I had them quite a long time ago and they pretty well wiped out a whole border of plants before I realized what had happened. This time the tulips started to wilt and topple and then I saw the little beastie emerging from his hole. My useless dog was looking in the other direction (she has also managed to ignore the rabbits bounding all over).
When I had a neighbor across the way with a half dozen cats, there was no problem but she's in a nursing home, her cats have been dispersed and now there's a vole problem.
Incidentally, these things ar not affected by mole plants, mole remedies or whatever. They are related to mice so treat them like mice (traps, poison, cats, whatever).

RE: VOLES! What do you do?

Oldroser, thanks.
They have all but destroyed one of my favorite beds. I found out today,
going over it again. It's over and next to a big dry-wall retaining wall,
so the drainage is excellent and it gets late afternoon shade.
It's one of my best locations and was full of lilies, Helenium, Eryngium
and many other plants I cherish!

I bought the bait several days ago, but was hesitant to use it.
Looking at the bed today put me over the edge, the whole wall, 45 feet,
is a vole condo! I wish I'd done it sooner.

RE: VOLES! What do you do?

how can you tell if damage was done by a vole? sometimes a plant doesn't come back, but i've always assumed that it was because it didn't make it through the winter for some reason. but now i'm starting to wonder... i've never seen a vole -- but now i wonder if they are there, and i just haven't seen them?

we mulch our gardens. and have recently (last year) built some low stone walls around some of them. what are the signs of vole problems?


RE: VOLES! What do you do?

Robbie, that part's easy. When (belatedly) clearing out last year's old stems,
many whole plants just came up. The roots were completely eaten out
and there was a hollow where they should have been and little surface tunnels
in the mulch all around, ending up at a well used hole by the wall.
Also, I've spotted the little buggers.

Today I checked my bait tubes. two were empty and three looked untouched,
so I refilled the empty ones and tried three new locations.
Right now I'm hand watering to avoid getting the bait wet and anything
new I plant in these locations (I have many ideal vole heavens, what great
gardens don't?) is going in with grit all around them.
I can't believe they ate Artemisia!! I thought nothing did!

RE: VOLES! What do you do?

ok, i haven't noticed this --- yet. i'm sorry that you have! let us know how your efforts go!! i'd be interested to know if the "mole plant" works out? i'm not familiar with that plant. i just did a little searching around on the internet. some people say it worked like a charm, other seem to think that the moles just avoided the euphorbia, and went after the other plants? i dunno... might be worth a shot, anyhow. hopefully, it'll work out well!


RE: VOLES! What do you do?

Thanks Robbie, it's nervous having this stuff around, I have to keep track
of my dog's movements all day. Also, it takes five days for them to die!
That's a long time for a ceature whose lifespan is six months!

I'd use the snap traps, but there are hundreds here, I'm afraid.

My "Mole plants" have yet to germinate. Euphorbias are quirky.
It's a beautiful plant, I love Euphorbias.

Keep an eye out for missing root sections and little tunnels.
I hope you never get them!

RE: VOLES! What do you do?

They wiped out one bed I had during the winter - some years back. Wwhen I went out in April to prune roses, each bush came right up in my hand - all the roots were gone. They also ate all the perennials and bulbs in that bed - about 25 feet of garden. The only rose that escaped had suckered out into the gravel driveway. Once the voles had departed, having eaten everything in sight, the rose suckered back into the bed though it took three or four years to reestablish itself.

RE: VOLES! What do you do?

I feel your pain Oldroser. I wonder what my face looked like,
standing there with my first big, rootless plant in my hand.
Except for my Tujas, it's worse than the deer have ever done.

We used to have a pair of mature Black snakes living here,
some idiot contractor killed them.
I'm considering adopting a stray cat for the factory/gardens
property. If it would stay up there.
After I stop the baiting, that is.

RE: VOLES! What do you do?

Here's what's working so well for me this year...mouse traps set with broken, shelled pumpkin seeds! I catch all kinds of nasty, plant eating rodents with these seeds.

The fruits I usually catch them with (strawberries and bananas) get eaten by ants immediately, so I found the seeds are ant-proof.

RE: VOLES! What do you do?

Years ago I started planting in wire cages to keep voles at bay, then I discovered that the voles tunneled around the outside of the cages creating air pockets and either stunting the plant's growth or killing them. I have since discovered Permatil, which is the same product as Vole Bloc but less expensive.
If you have a vole-friendly environment you'd have to raid the local SPCA for enough outdoor/micer cats to kill the voles year-round.
When using Permatil, remember to put 1-2" on the soil around the plant.
I may try experimenting with regular gravel this year, as Permatil can get quite pricey.
BTW, moles eat grubs and voles eat vegetable matter, (roots and stems), and, rarely, insects. Therefore, Milky Spore and nematodes will not deter voles.
And, as far as moth balls go, they are quite toxic to animals, including the human animal.

RE: VOLES! What do you do?

What's Permatil? A chemical?

RE: VOLES! What do you do?

My environment is getting more vole friendly by the day;
more mulched beds, more stone walls.
I don't want to repel, they'll just move around.

I have no choice but paper and mulch, I'm hacking out gardens
out of excavation backfill, the top soil was never set aside.
So I'm amending from the top down, it works really well, I have
1200 feet of adjacent Mugwort seeding, as well as all the usual plagues;
bindweed, crab grass, horse weed etc. Without paper and mulch,
I couldn't do it at all.
And the stones are finding uses.

I have to face it, it's either cat/s or guillotines or poison.
Or other predators, I'm hoping the take-out menu goes out to
all the redtail hawks, black snakes, fox and possum.
My new tenant is getting a cat...

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