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??
That sounds very frustrating! We haven't had any issues like that with rodents. In the past 5 years we've had some really long, snowy winters, and I've lost just one fruit tree to girdling. Of course it was the expensive 4-in-1 apple tree with grafts way above the girdle line. I'd be heart broken with the losses you've described! Hope you are able to get them under control.
I had this problem last year. Everything was getting eaten in the garden. We ended up using the small snap traps baited with peaches because that is what worked. They were set up under the tomato plants, and often we would set up a trap, start walking away, only to hear it snap. The traps killed just under 50 voles in about a week, but once we got them all, we didn't have any more problems. I haven't had problems this year. I feel your pain!
We had the same problem last year, and the vegetables did so poorly. Less problems this year (although I did have the unmentionable animal), but I think the population had to do more with cyclical breeding patterns than anything we did or didn't do. We had some live traps, but we mostly hoped, prayed and waited it out.
Busy keeping up with three children and an awful lot of chickens!
I have been setting snap traps in the voles trails/paths they make in the lawn.Gotten a few that way.Dogs get some more. I think the snap traps are the best option.Poison is so much of a worry. Tough dealing with the babies,but it must be done.