This has been a cyclical & bumper year for the little rodents. We live out in the country and you expect that rodents will be a part of your lives. An occasional mouse in the house meets its end with a snap trap. You understand that some plants might meet their ends due to rodent winter predation (we're in deep snow country). We keep the area around our immediate property mowed and clear. We have a big garden (veggies, perennials and roses) with an orchard.
But, this year has been terrible. Everyone around had (and, is having) problems with voles.
Over the Winter, we lost seven, 15-year-old Japanese yew to them (having covered said yews to protect them from deer predation!), multiple shrubs, all our succulents and they girdled 5 big fruit trees. 17 roses were girdled, as well. About 60% of our 80' x 6' perennial bed in our big garden did not survive their teeth.
This planting season, they have already destroyed our peas and beans (in raised beds) and have had a fine buffet in my rock gardens annuals.
Voles are incredibly breeders, the most prolific of all the rodents. Each female can produce as many as a dozen litters a year, with anywhere from 4-8 young in each litter, and those young can begin breeding at the tender age of one month. They breed year 'round (the female breeds the day her young are born). And, they eat. And, eat. And, EAT.
Happily, we have lots of snakes, hawks and coyotes. But, even they have not been able to handle the deluge of voles.
We declared war on them, trapping and killing them all winter. We use live traps to catch them (snap traps are too much of a risk to songbirds feeding around our feeders) and will not use poison (risk to other wildlife). Please, don't mention cats, we won't have 'em (that's a discussion better left for the Pets forum).
Yesterday, I found 7 vole nests, with a total of 48 babies. If each of those lived to breed, that would make 288 babies in a month! And, if each of those breed, well, you do the math...................
Anyone else having such problems this year??