Voles

Zeedman

Deeply Rooted
Joined
Dec 11, 2016
Messages
709
Reaction score
1,393
Points
197
Location
East-central Wisconsin
It's that time of year again; the plants have all grown to full size, harvest is beginning - and the voles are back. :somad They tend to return in late summer, when the canopy has become dense enough to give them cover (from my resident Cooper's Hawks) and beans have begun to fill out. Some of the yardlong beans were touching the ground, and the sides had been chewed out to get the seeds - typical vole damage.

I have a lot of plastic snap traps, and put out nine of them yesterday, baited with dried apricot. They were all placed under the canopy where the mice like to run, and their locations marked with survey flags. Just checked the traps - 3 voles. They are the most damaging under cowpeas (which includes yardlong beans), soybeans, peas, and tomatoes... so I'll need to keep the traps freshly baited under those crops to minimize damage. The traps work well, I might be catching 3-5 per day for awhile.

Squirrels are stealing apples from my tree too... but they risk their lives doing so. The resident hawks have 3 newly-fledged young this year. Walking out my back door, I startled a squirrel which had just picked an apple off the ground. It ran away from me across the lawn - and was immediately pursued by both of the parent hawks! The squirrel fled up a tree, but there were no other trees close enough to jump to, and the hawks got it.
 

flowerbug

Garden Addicted
Joined
Oct 15, 2017
Messages
5,761
Reaction score
4,530
Points
297
Location
mid-Michigan, USoA
the snap traps i use for mice here tend to get caught up by raccoons and go wandering off. i like to think of them as decorations for their fur. once in a while we find one again like the other day. so now i have one back again. i keep hoping the raccoons would learn their lesson and leave the traps alone, but as usual we probably get some new ones that come through every once in a while.

we do not have voles around that often. i think the clay is too much for them and all the rocks and black plastic mulch.

we had moles wandering around this year a few times, made more of a mess than i'd like. had the traps out but took a while to get them because the moles were under the mulch more than they normally are. there's not much food under there for them so it was surprising to me.
 

so lucky

Garden Master
Joined
Mar 5, 2011
Messages
8,113
Reaction score
4,476
Points
377
Location
SE Missouri, Zone 6
Zeedman, it sounds like you are aware that other things could get caught in those snap traps, by you saying you hide them under the canopy. I unfortunately caught a cardinal in a trap set for mice. I learned I needed to cover the trap with something to keep birds out. :(
 

Zeedman

Deeply Rooted
Joined
Dec 11, 2016
Messages
709
Reaction score
1,393
Points
197
Location
East-central Wisconsin
Actually, I place the traps under the canopy because that is where the mice make their runs; that is the most successful placement. When I first started using the traps, though, I was not burying the traps as deeply as I do now, and did catch a couple birds. Gardening is a constant learning process.
the snap traps i use for mice here tend to get caught up by raccoons and go wandering off. i like to think of them as decorations for their fur. once in a while we find one again like the other day. so now i have one back again. i keep hoping the raccoons would learn their lesson and leave the traps alone, but as usual we probably get some new ones that come through every once in a while.
The raccoons (or skunks, or possums) probably ran off with the traps, because there was something caught in it that they wanted to eat. It is also possible that you caught something larger (like a ground squirrel) which dragged the trap away before breaking free... I've found a few misplaced traps with a tuft of squirrel fur attached. I don't lose any traps in my heavily-fenced home gardens, but I've had traps "wander off" occasionally in my rural garden.
 
Top