Monday, June 6, 2011

Mares eat oats and does eat oats but little voles eat rudbeckia.

I'm learning the pitfalls of having lawn rodents.

I've never dealt with tunnelling rodents on such a large scale but the war has begun.  I'm not a big "grass person" and was kind of happy to think there were natural grub predators living on my property, thus hopefully wiping out the majority of Japanese beetles that could potentially destroy my vegetable plants and flowers.  Sadly, I was wrong thinking that I had moles.  I have voles.  Under one of the native beds ran multiple tunnels with several entrances, and I was sort-of okay with that when I thought it was moles.  When I first noticed them, the tunnels didn't lead directly under the plants so I wasn't concerned with root damage. 

Remember the Bugs Bunny cartoons when you can see a moving tunnel and watching carrots pop down into the hole as he's travelling along?  Twice now I've gone out to discover two of my biggest and happiest rudbeckias half gone, with a hole near the damage and the entire plant barely in place because of a root tunnel.  I immediately got the Bugs vision in my head, figuring that's what happened to my flowers as I slept.  A little online research has educated me that I have voles and not moles.  Yesterday, on that one bed, I sprayed on some castor oil repellent and watered it into the soil and will also try setting traps baited with peanut butter at the tunnel openings.  I don't like killing anything but I also don't like things killing my plants, either.  I'll see which one is more effective before going on to working on the pests in the front yard, as I have almost no grass there and joke about "mowing the dirt."  I don't want the little buggers moving onto another tastier part of the land. 

And, although I don't like the movie, I do have a better understanding of Caddyshack and the mole wars.

Please feel free to put me out of my misery if I start acting like Carl Spackler.

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